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Cat Ordinance, Policy on Euthanasia in the Works

The new animal control facility will be able to accept cats but officials continue to wrestle on the wording of the policy.

The Legislative Council continues to wrestle over the language of a new feline ordinance that would allow a new soon-to-be-completed town animal control facility to house cats, as well as incorporate provisions to allow officials to euthanize animals, if necessary.

The full council, which has met twice on the matter already, delayed voting on the matter Wednesday after officials stumbled in their attempts to craft appropriate language.

Part of the problem also had to do with a town policy on animal euthanasia First Selectman Pat Llodra said she was in the midst of developing that would address situations, such as when animals are "medically unsustainable," present a public health risk or other conditions.

Llodra said the town needed to have such a policy, which would outline situations where animal euthanasia would be warranted and require that more than one person participate in the decision. That policy would need to receive approval of the full Board of Selectmen, which has not yet met on the matter.

"We don't want to encourage random or uncalled for euthanasia of any animal," she said.

The new feline ordinance is necessary because the town wants to be able to take in domestic cats and possibly feral cats in its new facility. State regulations require a town ordinance be enacted before that can happen.

A new animal control facility is under construction, and may be ready as early as January. The council's delay in voting on the ordinance, and sending the matter back to a subcommittee, will likely mean that a version of it won't be adopted until well after the November election and after new members are installed.

"It's more important to get the policy right," Llodra said of the delay.

Llodra said that while officials do not euthanize dogs due to space constraints, animals have been killed in the past for various reasons, and she wanted to have town policies around the process of making that decision.

A dog, Jed, was euthanized about a month ago after a veterinarian deemed that the animal appeared to be suffering from a brain tumor, which caused it to bump into walls and other problems, according to Animal Control Officer Carolee Mason.

Susan Joy October 20, 2011 at 05:09 PM
Besides rabies what other public health risks do shelter animals pass on to people to cause a health risk? I am not sure why euthanizing an animal for an untreatable or extremely costly medical care,(running into the 1000's) would cause a public outcry. I am not sure I understand why this is causing a lengthy debate. I would hate to see an open ended policy were random euthanization was performed. It seems the town veterinarian and the Animal Control Officer, Carolee Mason be the best people to decide on the fate of a shelter animal. I am confident that they both have the animal's best interest when making such a difficult decision.The new pound should be something to celebrate, not something that creates new policies to upset the animal community in Newtown. Once again will this be something to be thought of as not "Nicer in Newtown"?
Mary Ann Jacob October 20, 2011 at 07:06 PM
I think the issue you've raised is exactly the point. The language proposed was too broad and it needs to be tightened up to avoid what you referred to as random euthanization. Getting it right is what matters most, as mrs Llodra pointed out.
Mary Ann Jacob October 20, 2011 at 07:08 PM
BTW. I am a member of the legislative council, but the comments above are my own:)
Brenda Lobdell October 25, 2011 at 02:05 AM
"no kill" shelter?...language should address both dogs and cats that may need to be euthanized as a humane necessity...if people spayed and neutered animals more responsibly it would help too. Newtown has great clinics for this, and I just hope people take advantage of this. Glad we have folks on the LC and at the "top" who care.

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