Martin County residents criticize Humane Society

Posted at 10:57 AM, May 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-24 20:07:02-04

Martin County residents showed up by the dozens at the county commission Tuesday morning to speak out about the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast.

They say they are disgusted with the shelter's euthanasia protocols.

Last week the sheriff's office said it concluded its investigation into the allegations but found no criminal activity.

But even though no one broke the law, the sheriff said they questioned if the best practices were used.

Today a vet agreed and asked commissioners to take action.

“Staff readily admits ignorance of the law, in particular the appropriate methods performed of humane euthanasia. The CEO readily admits in his statement, under oath, he has no knowledge of what happens in his own shelter,” said Dr. Julie Kittams.

A humane society representative says they are working with the University of Florida to make improvements.

She says a recent report commended the staff for its care and concern for animals.

Some residents have asked for the county to withdraw its $47,000 monthly commitment to the shelter.

In response The Humane Society of the Treasure Coast released the following statement:

Humane Society of The Treasure Coast is an open shelter, which means that no companion animal will be turned away regardless of the condition in which the animal is received. Animals come to the Shelter directly from residents of the community and from Martin County animal control. Many of these animals cannot be placed in homes for adoption for various reasons such as the degree of injury or illness that the animals are suffering or the dangerous or feral nature of the animals. At times the animal is terminally ill and/or has been so gravely injured that there are no viable options to save the animal. Sadly, there are times, the only humane option is to euthanize the animal. Currently, Martin County laws do not allow us to trap, neuter or spay feral animals for release back into the wild. Thus, there are many challenges we face as we work to carry out our mission. In order to address the many challenges of Shelter medicine, we invited the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program to review our entire operations. We also advised the University of Florida of the concerns we have received from the very vocal critics of HSTC. “The University of Florida School of Veterinary Medicine - the state’s foremost expert in animal care - has reviewed our operations and administration. The University of Florida in its evaluation and review recognized HSTC for its clear commitment and concern for animals, the outstanding caring and the life-saving accomplishments of HSTC. Our staff was viewed as intelligent, professional, and transparent as to the needs of the Shelter. We were also noted for the quality of care provided to the growing population of Martin County. Three other independent investigations of the Shelter operations resulted in findings that HSTC provides compassionate care to abandoned and homeless animals. We still have work to do and we will continue tirelessly working to improve animal’s lives. We are grateful to our employees, volunteers and supporters, all of whom are involved with us because of a shared commitment to animal welfare in our community.”

Jeff Atlas, Chairman of the Board
Frank Valente, President, CEO