On Monday, September 23rd Kimberly Abels was called to rescue a pregnant cat that was at the Humane Society for Fremont County. As usual, Kimberley rose to the occasion and made some calls. She confirmed placement and got back to the shelter. On Tuesday Kimberly notified two separate employees at the shelter to make sure this cat and her soon to be born kittens would be saved.
On Friday, September 27th, under Tom Cameron’s control, this nameless cat and her unborn, but viable kittens, was killed. When a rescuer set to save this cat’s life went to the shelter, she was told that this cat was no longer available to be saved. It had a fever. So they killed it. The said euthanize, but clearly they don’t know what the word means.
Fremont County is supposed to take care of homeless pets. A pregnant cat with a slight rise in temperature is not a terminal condition or untreatable condition. Thomas Cameron, the director posted on the STOP Fremont page: “Hello all. This cat that you are speaking of had a temperature of 104 degrees and was very ill. We had held her for ten days waiting for a rescue group to take her. It is never our intention to euthanize animals.”
The casual notification of killing the cat is eerily telling.
The cat had a slight fever which they are using to justify killing this unnamed cat and her kittens. The director posted to the Stop the Humane Society of Fremont County Facebook page the 104 temperature irrefutable proof that Cameron humanely made a decision to kill a cat.
I spoke with a veterinarian about this. According to the doctor, 104 is not an insignificant temperature; it is a high temperature, comparable to a human having a fever of 102. BUT, he says it should not have been killed. It could have been treated and brought back to a normal temp. Last week this Doctor treated a cat with a temp of 106, and with Dexamethasone and penicillin, it was fine the next day.
UPDATE: I spoke with a second veterinarian that said killing a cat with a 104 degree fever is not euthanasia. Without further tests indicating some severe untreatable health issue, there is now way to tell if anything was wrong with the pregnant cat. In addition, she reaffirmed that 104 is not even an indication of a serious illness, although more tests should be conducted in order to ascertain exactly what the issue is. There is no indication the director ordered the cat to be examined by a veterinarian or more tests conducted.
No further evidence of the cat’s condition, no veterinarian examination, no diagnosis documents, no test results were given. The temperature of 104 degrees is cause for a vet to check out, but not to kill a pregnant cat with a rescue on their way to save it and place it in a caring living home. The poor judgment on the health of this animal, the fact a rescue was ready and acting to take it and the casual defense put forth by Cameron is indicative that the choice was made for reasons other than sickness, or the decision is the result of incompetent, lazy or vindictive management.
The cat was held for ten days, but was already confirmed to be picked up by a rescue. This rescue has repeatedly taken animals in poor condition in the past. A cat with a slight fever was absolutely something inside the rescue’s competency to handle. They were never called and told the cat would be killed. If they were, they would have told the shelter they were willing and able to take the feverish cat and bring it back to health as they have hundreds of cats in the past. This is why there is a belief this killing was a message sent to the volunteers and rescues standing up to the shelter management. This kind of horrific action is not uncommon with regressive management.
And then the mantra “It is never our intention to euthanize animals.” First, I would need to point out the definition of the word “euthanize”.
Euthanize: “the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.”
Actually, if you euthanize, it should be your intention. It is the purposeful intent to relieve the suffering of a homeless pet because there are no other alternatives. It is not killing an animal for cage space, it is not calling a fever a terminal illness, it is not to address training issue, and it is not because a rescue has annoyed you. Euthanasia is for terminally ill, critically injured and irredeemably hostile animals that every alternative has already been attempted to save that live. Some open admission shelters are now saving 99% of all animals coming in their front door. Fremont could be doing that, but not without a change in management.
In 2012, Mr. Cameron saw more than 2 animals killed in his shelter every day. 789 homeless cats and dogs died under his tenure just in 2012 (See official PACFA reports). So, I will estimate the vast majority of these animals were healthy or treatable. I am not just assuming this, but referring to the success rate of shelters around the U.S. that achieve this on an annual basis. You can find them here and here.
This unnamed mother was just another check mark in his growing tally of kills this year. The community for Fremont County is speaking daily about his removal. Volunteers, rescues, vets and the general public have asked the board for the removal of the current management and replacement by a compassionate hard-working director.
Unlike the shelter, Kimberly and the handful of other volunteers have saved numerous lives since being banned from the shelter. Since June 11 through September 25, 2013, 5 of these individuals have been instrumental in saving more than 116 dogs and 271 cats from ending up or remaining in the shelter by finding them homes, places in rescue or returning them to their owners. That’s about 4 homeless pet lives saved per day. Oh, and they managed to not kill a single one.
The people behind STOP Fremont have offered on multiple occasions both publicly and it private conversations and emails with board members to help turn the shelter around. The board of Fremont’ Humane Society refuse to take the actions needed to save lives. How do we move them to become a lie saving organization that Canon City and Fremont County deserve? Please contact the local officials and state agencies to let them know you want to see Tom Cameron removed as director of the Humane Society of Fremont County and a compassionate hardworking director put in his place.