June 15, 2010

Marcus backs Wednesday's protest of Countryside Humane Society

Racine City Council member Eric Marcus is throwing his name behind a protest Wednesday outside of Countryside Humane Society's annual meeting.

Marcus and others are protesting management of Countryside, which holds animal control contracts with 18 communities in Racine County. The humane society came under public scrutiny last month after it was discovered they issued expired vaccinations to hundreds of local pets.

Here's Marcus's press release about Wednesday's protest:
A protest will be held at the annual meeting of the Countryside Humane Society at 4pm on Wednesday June 16th at the Racine County Ives Grove Bldg. 14200 Washington Ave.
On May 28, 2010, Countryside Humane Society issued a press release stating that it had “discovered expired 1-year rabies and 3-year rabies vaccines used during the shelter’s vaccination clinics and adoptions.” They went on to state that some of these expired vaccinations had been given as early as December 10, 2009 and as late as May 26, 2010. 
According to the Racine Journal Times on May 28, 2010, Countryside Board President Marilyn Benson said she does not know why the expired vaccines were given. "It slipped by," she said.
All 18 communities in Racine County have animal control contracts with Countryside and while no concerns are being raised about the quality of our county humane officers, there is much concern about the overall management of the facility. The City of Racine is paying $178,788 itself for animal control services from Countryside and they are preliminarily seeking more than a 20% increase from the City. There have been allegations of too much euthanization, unsanitary conditions and poor quality medical attention. For example, Countryside euthanizes feral cats immediately (cats that have not had prior human contact) while Safe Harbor Humane Society in Kenosha spends several days evaluating these cats before considering euthanization.
“We need to objectively evaluate Countryside's performance including their management and the conditions at Countryside before the City considers renewing their contract” said Racine Alderman Eric Marcus. Marcus' request to the city's Board of Health asking that the animal control bidding process be started immediately was unanimously approved. 
Countryside is trusted to care for animals taken or surrendered to the facility. The communities that support Countryside should be asking what happened to their management controls and where does the responsibility lie – the executive director, the president of the board, the directors.