August 11, 2010

Countryside opponents talk alternatives at meeting

Update: We weren't able to cover the meeting tonight, but Beth over at Racine Uncovered was there and is planning a write-up for her site tomorrow. We'll link over there when she posts a story.

Original post: A meeting to discuss alternatives to Countryside Humane Society is scheduled for tonight at 7pm at Fountain Banquet Hall, 8505 Durand Ave.

Local residents concerned about the care Countryside provides to animals are hoping to develop a competing organization to take over local municipalities' animal control contracts. The City of Racine will pay over $200,000 to Countryside this year to take in stray and unwanted animals, and adopt them out or euthanize them.

People at tonight's meeting are invited to provide feedback and input regarding alternatives to Countryside. Also, a group may step forward to announce it will make a credible bid to takeover animal control services in Racine County.

Opposition to Countryside has grown in recent months after it was revealed the shelter issued expired vaccinations to over 600 local pets. The criticism recently reached Racine's City Council. Two aldermen - Aron Wisneski and Terry McCarthy - spoke openly in favor of replacing Countryside's management.

Countryside has responded to the criticism noting it's required, by law, to take in every homeless or unwanted animals regardless of the animals' physical and behavioral health. The shelter takes in far more animals than are adopted out, forcing it to euthanize animals.

Opponents of Countryside claim the shelter euthanizes too many animals, while the shelter says its rate for 2010 is 36 percent, well within the acceptable rate for shelters around the country. The shelter's 2009 data shows it euthanized about 50 percent of the animals that came under its care.

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