FOX Files Follow-Up: Solving The Animal Euthanasia Problem

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GRANITE CITY, IL (KTVI)-- After an uproar over a FOX Files report on animal shelter euthanasia, FOX 2's Chris Hayes kept pushing for answers.  Some believe the very private Humane Society of Missouri is obligated to address the problem and be more open.

Picture in your mind the cutest little dog and you probably don't immediately think about how many more puppies he could produce.  Brace yourself, because it's almost not believable.

According to Spay USA, one un-spayed female dog and her mate can produce 67,000 dogs in just six years.  That's a small city of animals that can breed uncontrollably if none of them are ever neutered or spayed.  A group called Operation Spot is working to break that chain one animal at a time.

Liz Rudder said, "We go to low income communities and we bring a very low cost program to them."

Rudder and her team work out of a mobile clinic called the OpSpot Spay Neuter Waggin.

Rudder added, "Hopefully in my lifetime, this will catch up and we will see that every animal that is brought into the world is one that is wanted by somebody."

In Granite City, Illinois, during our visit, vets operated on 30 dogs daily.  The cost to dog owners = $10.

Rudder called it a solution to the massive amount of animals euthanized every year.  She added, 'It is not the fault of any organization.  It's certainly not the fault of the wonderful shelters taking them in and trying to care for them, trying to find new homes for them, but there simply aren't enough homes for all these stray and unwanted animals."

Yet some still don't hear the message.  That may be because some groups don't want to talk about how many dogs and cats shelters put down.  Even the Humane Society of Missouri declined to talk on camera about the 7,084 animals it euthanized in 2011.  People who've rescued dogs believe the organization should be open.

Christine Liang commented, "I think that they need to make sure people are informed.  They don't need to put big posters up or anything, but I think they should not be afraid to talk about it, that it's a serious problem."

The Humane Society of Missouri's president seems to be paid enough to answer the public's questions.

According to tax forms from 2010, Humane Society President Kathy Warnick made $280,133 that year.  Compare that to the APA's Steve Kauffman at $91,220 and Stray Rescue's Randy Grim at $48,653 that same year.  Since APA and Stray Rescue do not bring in the same revenue as the Humane Society of Missouri, we looked at a similar sized group, the Humane Society of Michigan.  That organization's president made $216,301 according to 2010 tax records.  It's closer, but still nearly $64,000 less than Warnick.

Dog owner Christine Liang commented, "I had no idea that was how the money was being spent towards. I just kind of figured that if, I mean if I was the President of the Humane Society, I certainly would hope that I would not take advantage of the funds and give them to myself."

Warnick refuses to talk about it.  Only through her press contact, after many requests, I got a statement saying Warnick's base salary is consistent with similar presidents.  Her base salary was about $195,000 in 2010. Deferred compensation made up the remainder.  Tax records show Warnick received about $80,000 in deferred compensation in 2010.  The two years earlier, she got payments of about $236,000 in each of those years.  A Humane Society statement stated that those large figures were to make up for a past accounting error.

Spay/Neuter Resources:

BARC for low income; no residency requirements
http://barcstl.org/?page_id=4

Carol House Quick Fix Clinic for anyone; no residency requirements
http://www.stlspayneuter.org/ 314-771-PETS (7387)

OPSPOT
http://www.opspot.org/   314-995-8678

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