Julia Roberts Goad
PIKEVILLE, Ky. — When Boone County, Ky., Animal Shelter Director Becky Reiter visited the Pike County shelter, she came to help offer advice on how to run the shelter after recent controversy regarding how the shelter is operated.
But it seems her visit did more to fuel the fire concerning what a “no-kill shelter” is.
In her visit, Reiter is quoted as saying “there is no such thing as a no-kill shelter.”
Yet the President of the Appalachian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) says her statement is “patently untrue.”
In a press release from the Pike County Fiscal Court regarding Reiter’s visit, she praised the Pike County shelter’s employees as well as the county’s efforts in animal control.
“I was surprised that Pike County has such a great animal control ordinance for such a rural county,” Reiter said. “I very quickly determined that the staff here is well qualified.”
Reiter then addressed the issue of no-kill shelters. She explained that there is a national movement toward the policy, but that it is a slow process and is not always attainable.
“To be considered a no-kill shelter, a shelter has to have a 90 percent live release rate,” she said. “Ten percent of the animals brought to a no-kill shelter are still euthanized.”
Cindy Johnson is the President of the Appalachian SPCA in addition to being President and CEO of East Kentucky Broadcasting, which owns eight radio stations in Eastern Kentucky and Southern West Virginia. In an email to the Fiscal Court she informed the Court her stations would not use the press release that included Reiter’s statements regarding no-kill shelters.
“It appears that this press release is propaganda to support the idea that ‘there is no such thing as a no-kill shelter,’which is patently untrue” her letter to the Court said. “It is interesting that your press release does not share the kill rate at the Boone County Animal Shelter, which is where Ms. Reiter works.”
Johnson goes on to clarify that a no-kill shelter does not kill health adoptable animals, although “there will always be animals that must be humanely euthanized for health or safety reasons.”
She says the label of “no-kill” is simply a matter of language.
“To get hung up on semantics is silly,” Johnson’s letter to the Fiscal Court said.
When contacted, Pike Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford’s office said the release with Reiter’s quote was meant to simply share information with the public.
“The purpose of the press release was not to re-ignite the furor over the feasibility of a no-kill shelter,” Rutherford’s office said. “The purpose of the press release was to show that the Pike County Government is doing everything within its power to operate a more efficient shelter and to strive toward our ultimate goal, which is to reduce the number of euthanized animals.”
The Daily News attempted to contact both Becky Reiter and Cindy Johnson. Calls to both were not returned.