State senator’s comment on animal shelters draws response
Topeka — A state senator on Tuesday said animal shelters make money off dogs that are confiscated from breeders that are shut down by the state.
"For the shelters it's a pretty good deal," said Sen. Larry Powell, R-Garden City.
"They would love to have these facilities shut down because they are in direct competition with these breeders," Powell said during a meeting of the Special Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The committee is considering possible changes to the Kansas Pet Animal Act.
During the meeting, officials with the Kansas Department of Agriculture said that when they shut down a breeding facility because of violations, they often find shelters that agree to take the animals. That prompted Powell's comment.
But officials who advocate on behalf of animals pushed back against Powell's statement.
"They're not making money," said Midge Grinstead, state director for The Humane Society of the United States.
Dr. Jennifer Stone, the staff veterinarian for the Lawrence Humane Society, said the shelter is a not-for-profit organization. "All of our money we actually make goes toward expanding our mission, finding animals forever homes," Stone said.
She said animals that shelters and rescue operations receive from facilities that have been shut down are often in poor physical shape and require extensive medical treatment that costs far more than the fee to adopt the animal.
State Sen. Mitch Holmes, R-St. John, said perhaps shelters should make an early assessment on what animals' lives can be saved and then euthanize those that can't.
Stone said that is a philosophical decision that every animal shelter must make. "Most try to save as many as possible. We are not animal control, we are animal welfare," she said.