Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Animals again and again .... (not geese)

So it is August 8, 2007, and I can’t see the online edition of the August 8, 2007 City Paper yet. I am saying this because the City Paper had an article in their "Going through the Motions" section about the animal thing, adding to what I know about it. Essentially it said that Jim Motznik was driving the effort to switch animal euthanizing to Triangle Pet of McKees Rocks. He was doing this because Animal Rescue League’s limited agreement to continue euthanizing feral rabies vector animals was set to expire 7/31. Now, Darlene Harris produced a letter from ARL saying they would extend for two weeks, while the city resolved its issues. And what are its issues? Well, the animal control officers have been training on euthanizing animals using sodium pentobarbital, but the state requires a veterinarian to sign off on the officers performance, and the city can’t find a vet. (Hint, try Pitt with all its animal research). The animal control officers have been directed, since August 1st, to take feral animals caught to Triangle Pet, despite Triangle Pet having no contract with the city, and having once written a letter to council saying they didn’t want a contract. One of the animal control officers, Gerald Akrie, a union steward who testified before council in the last go-around of this issue, stated he thinks “management has been dragging its feet” on the certifications for officers and in general on this issue. Mr. Akrie said there are other methods of euthanizing animals besides sodium pentobarbital, but the city has done no research in two months (see brain drain). I did a stint managing a database for Pitt’s animal research oversight people, and I believe Mr. Akrie is correct, and more so, you would want to know as many methods as are legal since we are talking about animals unhappy and possibly rabid. Watching Guy Costa a couple of months ago catching himself before saying he would have to kiss the ass of Triangle Pet to get them to reconsider refusing to business with the city, I can believe Mr. Akrie. Public Works management does not want its officers taking over more duties. Once again, Darlene Harris is surprising me by stepping up and going above and beyond. Pity the city administration is ignoring her efforts.

See also here for the PG's August 1 article on the subject. Rich Lord implicitly chides the council for spending too much time on animals

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