Thieves broke into the Pocatello Idaho Animal Shelter late last week. Staff discovered the break-in and burglary on Friday. A Pocatello police news release states that a “Burglary occurred at the Pocatello Animal Shelter at 3100 Avenue of the Chiefs. Taken were items used in animal control and a radio. Detectives responded to investigate the burglary.” A back door was discovered to have been forced open, and the burglary’s most notable detail is the theft of the shelter’s entire supply of euthanasia drugs. A safe containing the lethal drugs was ripped off of the wall and removed.
A local television news report that includes input from shelter staffers addresses the drug theft from the usual perspective on phamaceutical thievery; stealing for human consumption. However, in what may or may not be a timely coincidence on the heels of National Shelter Appreciation Week, Nov. 4-11, no-kill advocates asked their supporters to engage in protests at high kill shelters this weekend. This leads us to wonder at the motive for the deadly drug theft. Authorities and the local media are cautioning the public about the drugs’ dangers; their only purpose is to kill.
We are not aware of area no-kill advocacy efforts, but easily learned that, in 2008, about 75% of cats ending up at the Pocatello shelter, and over 35% of the dogs were put to death, according to statistics listed on the Friends of Pocatallo Animal Shelter website. We don’t know the percentage of these animals who were seriously ill or injured or ready to pass away from old age. We do know that 75% of cats is a lot of cats to put down. Considering the widespread upward spike inthe number of cats ending up at shelters and animal control facilities this year, along with the notable downturn in adoptions, things may be even worse at Pocatallo this year. Sadly, the Friends of Pocatallo Animal Shelter site banner reads “A Safe Haven”. The Friends probably do what they can to help; they are 501-k group formed to assist the shelter. As is so many other places, there are far more homeless cats than there are people and rescues to take them.
In the local news reports on the theft that we have seen, shelter staff refer only to “old and seriously injured pets” in discussing their use of euthanasia drugs. That ‘s a lot of old and sick cats in Pocatello, 1581 out of 2107 to enter the shelter in 2008 were killed there. There is no mention in those local reports that advocates are suspected in the burglary.
Police are investigating, and the shelter says it cannot euthanize any animals at present.