Whoa, looks like that horse has done took off for parts unknown. Where is Ryan Clinton while this is going on? Taking a crash course from his Messiah in how to make excuses.
This is going around, an email describing the horrible conditions I have already reported about with San Antonio Pets Alive, a "branch" under Austin Pets Alive, of which Ryan is the volunteer legal counsel. Once again, "No Kill" turns a blind eye to the suffering it creates.
Sent: May 20, 2012 2:49 PM
To: John Bachman
Cc: Joe Angelo , Sandee Bowman <4paws123@sbcglobal. net>,
"jburgess@gvtc. com" , "CPRExchange@ yahoogroups. com" , Mayor
Julian Castro , City Manager , Erik Walsh , Jeanne Saadi ,
Vincent Medley , "ellen.jefferson@ austinpetsalive. org" , Sherry
Derdak , Deanna Lee , "lone-star-1964@ hotmail.com" ,
"AAPAW@yahoogroups. com" , "saFeralCats@ yahoogroups. com" ,
"vtdavis@express- news.net" , "bchasnoff@express- news.net" ,
"bmylar@ksat. com" , "NewsFlash@woaitv. com"
Subject: Re: [AAPAW] Re: 140 KITTENS AT MARBACH KITTEN UNIT
I am forwarding this account from one of several members of my group who, along with me, volunteered on both Saturday and Sunday mornings at the SAPA kitten unit. We -- like many of you -- had heard good things about the SAPA program and we were eager to support it. However, there were some very disturbing things that we witnessed firsthand and she asked me to post her account in order to get the word out about conditions in the kitten unit.
This is an extremely long and detailed e-mail, but I hope you will read it in its entirety and then take whatever action you are capable of, and deem appropriate, to address this situation. A collective and public outcry will have more effect than any one voice could.
Vee DuBose, Cat Alliance | Trinity
Here is the volunteer's account:
l and several other members of Cat Alliance | Trinity have been volunteering our time this weekend at the SAPA kitten ward. We went down there because we wanted to make a difference, wanted to support what we had hoped would be a successful new program, and most of all, because we wanted to help the KITTENS.
I want to give you all a firsthand report of what's happening at the SAPA kitten ward, and I will do my best to report objectively and not totally emotionally. While I understand that others, apparently including executive director Ellen Jefferson of SAPA, consider the myriad problems this program is experiencing to be expected while this program is "getting started," I fervently disagree. There are some EXTREMELY SERIOUS problems, including lack of proper sanitation and disinfection, and improper or insufficient means to safeguard against disease transmission.
When a high volume rescue partner signs a legal contract with the City of San Antonio for a potential $200,000 payment, I expect to see a VERY well-thought- out, well-managed, fully-staffed, professionally- run operation in return for that investment. Instead, what we have received is a near (or, in my opinion, full-blown) disaster.
Saturday morning at 5 am, this is what we found: No SAPA personnel on the premises, no point people, no instructions for procedure. The small handful of volunteers who were there "guessed at" what was supposed to be done, and did their best to handle the huge task of feeding, medicating, and cleaning the cages of 140+ kittens. Supplies were all over the place and disorganized. Facilities for hand-washing and correctly cleaning dishes were lacking or entirely unavailable: The hand sink in the women's restroom was missing from the restroom entirely, and was sitting in the middle of the main room's floor along with some other random plumbing equipment. This left us women (i.e., the majority of us) to wash hands in the "kitchen" sink, which was actually a mop sink in a small closet. The "disinfection" bowl (a large plastic bowl which was supposed to contain hot water and bleach for a final sanitizing dip after washing of nursing bottles and feeding syringes that were to be reused), was set in the bottom of the mop sink, where anything and everything could and did splash into it, including old food, used soapy water from dishwashing and hand washing, etc. In one minute the "disinfection" bowl was itself contaminated, and yet I saw volunteers dipping feeding equipment into that dirty water and in fact telling me to do so as well.
Hang on. I've only just gotten started. Cages were dirty. Some of the KITTENS themselves were dirty and had fur matted with formula, and there was no place or method with which to clean them, except to wipe them down as best we could with a wet towel. We were -- and apparently every shift has been -- very shorthanded, so everyone did all the jobs, and, lacking good sanitation measures, you can see how it was not only unclean, but unhealthy both for people and for cats, to have a person bottle-feeding one minute, then cleaning cages the next, then over to medicating, then back to poop scooping, etc. There were no gloves on the premises. Can you imagine? People needed protection from the cats (excrement, bodily fluids, etc) and the cats needed protection from us and from each other (there should have been a glove change between cats, or at least between litters of cats to reduce the chances of disease spread). I am an admitted germaphobe. I am VERY aware of proper sanitation procedures. I cannot tell you how horrified I was to see how things were being done there.
I will also mention that there is NO vet or vet tech on premises. I was told that a vet came only once a week, and that a vet TECH came by once a day. No medical staff was onsite to oversee emergency needs. I wonder if Dr Jefferson, who is herself a vet, has visited the facility, or if anyone from ACS has done so. If they have, I wonder how they could possibly have approved of the facility itself or the unsanitary conditions under which the program is operating. The SAPA kitten unit is basically functioning as a kennel and veterinary care facility, yet it does not have the equipment to act as such where it is located (in a large open office space in a strip center). This is not a one-day adoption event, where only healthy animals are present, and only for a few hours on that one day. Provisions for medical care and sanitation have not been made, and possibly cannot be made, within a strip center location.
After we finished our (very busy) shift, I talked with another person who had also volunteered Saturday morning. She fully agreed with my assessment of the situation. The more we recounted to each other the things we had seen, the more furious we each got. The kitten unit facility itself is inadequate, unsanitary, and dangerous to the health of people and cats, and in my opinion, cannot be "reorganized" or "rearranged" so as to be safe. A proper facility should have several separate and fully-functional washing areas including (1) a hand sink in the care area for people to use (in addition to proper sinks in both restrooms), (2) a dish sink for dishes, (3) an area for cleaning and sanitizing medical equipment (and some things should not be reused), (4) an area for cleaning kittens, and finally, (5) an area for washing out and disinfecting carriers or portable cages and litter pans.
Sunday morning at 2 am: I arrived to find that the supplies, at least, had been organized -- not by SAPA, but by volunteers from Saturday night. There was a SAPA person on the premises. She did go over procedure about bottle feeding with volunteers. My hopes were momentarily lifted. However, it soon became apparent that there was still not good sanitation in place, and the effects of the lack of sanitation procedures from the previous days were beginning to be noticed. On Saturday, we got a clean bottle for each kitten, or at least changed nipples between kittens in the same litter, and changed bottles entirely when going to a new litter. This resulted in tossing out some (yes, expensive) formula. On Sunday, however, bottles were filled and waiting for us in the refrigerator, with one numbered bottle per numbered cage. All kittens in that cage would drink from the same bottle. But what about the fact that MANY of the kittens were sick? The nipples on the bottles used by the sick kittens infected (1) any of us who touched the bottles and (2) each of the other kittens in the litter who drank from those bottles. All to save some formula, at the expense of lives.
And here is what did it, ABSOLUTELY DID IT, for me this morning: Another volunteer and I were feeding a litter of kittens and I happened to notice that one of the kittens was jerking and lolling its head and neck around, but otherwise laying much stiller than its litter mates. None of us volunteers were vets, but we knew this was not right. In fact, one of this kitten's siblings seemed to be concerned about it as well, and kept nosing at the jerking kitten. We notified the SAPA person and was again horrified to find that the"procedure" for getting medical attention for this kitten -- who possibly had FIV or toxoplasmosis -- was to call and leave a message for a vet, then wait until the vet woke up and called back with advice, which turned out to be to have a vet TECH from ACS come and draw blood / pick up the kitten to test to see what was the cause of the lolling head. Mind you the condition was noticed and reported to the SAPA person on duty at about 2:45 am. The vet tech wouldn't be able to come until after 8 am. Meanwhile, the poor sick kitten was put BACK into its cage with its other siblings, and then that cage was put BACK onto the shelf next to all the other bottle feeders. You know what this means, as well as I do. ALL those bottle feeders have now beenexposed to whatever disease it might turn out to be. Not only that, but all the people doing the bottle feeding have been contaminated and are potentially spreading that disease around to the entire 140+ kittens, as well as potentially carrying it home to their own animals. What is happening here is that the SAPA program, as a partner with ACS and under their control and direction, has created a satellite ACS facility, complete with all the same -- and maybe worse -- unhealthy and unsanitaryconditions as those that exist in the main ACS facility. What is happening here is unacceptable. This is not an appropriate way to house or handle sick animals. Many of the volunteers, most of whom were either in rescue themselves, or friends of rescuers, were of the same opinion. I would do anything to help the kittens, but I cannot continue to support this program, and in my opinion it should be shut down immediately and permanently, unless or until an appropriately safe, sanitary, and professionally- staffed version can be designed than could replace it.
It is not appropriate to ask untrained volunteers from the community (which is what I assume SAPA was hoping for, for community buy-in) to come do the work of professionals, without guidance, in an ill equipped facility. Nor is it right to expect rescuers to come do double-duty in the middle of the night in
unsanitary facilities that expose them and their own animals to disease. Again, I say that this program needs to be shut down NOW, with no more animals given to SAPA. I would hope that the poor kittens who are currently in the kitten unit could be taken in by fosters, either as singles or a litter at a time, to be CORRECTLY nursed back to health (at least those kittens who are infected only with the relatively minor ailments such as respiratory infections or diarrhea, or the two who were missing an eye). Those cats, in my opinion, were "promised" good medical care, and they deserve to get it from someone who can and will provide it.
I realize that shutting this program down would likely result in many kittens being euthanized due to overcrowding at ACS, but that is more humane than letting them starve to death or die slowly from lack of medical care. Our only recourse for the moment may be in educating citizens trying to turn in kittens to this program through ACS: Tell them not to be so quick to assume that the mama cat has abandoned her kittens -- better to wait awhile and see if mama comes back. Emphasize to people that turning kittens in to ACS will not save their lives, but rather will end them. If people want to save kittens, THEY need to save the kittens. Teach people how to bottle-feed, and encourage them to do their part, with their one litter of kittens, to help San Antonio move toward no-kill (or just because it is the right thing to do). Better for the city to pay Good Samaritans or vetted fosters a bit to bottle-feed and take care of kittens than to make a huge and expensive contract for unqualified providers to take on too many to care for properly.
I will not go so far as to discourage other volunteers from going to help the kittens currently in the SAPA kitten unit -- and I applaud everyone who has gone down there to do their best to help -- but I would encourage each of you to also call for an IMMEDIATE STOP to this program, and for transfer of kittens currently in the unit to individuals or rescuers willing and able to appropriately provide for their health and well-being. These kittens deserve that much.