- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 10, 2015

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - The Dubuque Regional Humane Society is defending itself against widespread social media criticism of its decision to euthanize a kitten.

Maria Benham, the CEO and president of the regional humane society, released a four-page statement on Monday outlining the organization’s policy regarding euthanasia, the Telegraph Herald (https://bit.ly/1DXIOxv ) reported.

“Over the weekend, there were some people who were voicing a lot of concerns about the euthanasia practices at the (humane society),” Benham said Monday. “There was some accurate information combined with some misinformation, and a lot of people were chiming in and wanting to know more.”

The criticism began when a volunteer, Lois Sutton Richardson, admitted a cat named Brooklyn in mid-January. Richardson assured the humane society staff that Brooklyn was adoptable, but Brooklyn was euthanized last week.

The humane society said the cat was agitated and acted aggressively toward several staff members, who deemed her a bite risk. Benham said that at one point, Brooklyn ran away with a vaccination needle still attached to her body.

Richardson had been reprimanded for saying “the vet here kind of gets a little kill-happy,” while admitting Brooklyn. After Richardson posted her frustration about Brooklyn being euthanized on Facebook, she was dismissed. A Facebook post about her dismissal was shared 764 times.

“I never intended for people to bash the humane society. There’s a lot of good that goes on there,” Richardson said. “The reason I did it is because I want to change (euthanasia practices).”

In her statement, Benham said about 50 percent of the 2,059 cats brought into the humane society in 2014 were euthanized. Some showed behavioral problems and a smaller number were euthanized due to space constraints. The humane society has tried to reduce the need for euthanasia by lowering the fees for cat adoption and extending adoption hours.

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Information from: Telegraph Herald, https://www.thonline.com

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