Facebook Group Exposing the Inhumane Practice of Pound Seizures

by Denise Carey-Costa

A little-known, yet longtime practice referred to as “pound seizures” is getting some exposure and negative backlash thanks to a Facebook group known as “Stop Pound Seizure in Alabama.” Their focus is to shine the light on the Russell County Phenix City Animal Shelter practice of giving healthy, unclaimed dogs to Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine to be used in experimental procedures.

The American Anti-Vivisection Society define pound seizures as the “sale or release of dogs and cats from a pound or shelter to a research, testing, or educational facility.” This practice started in the 1940s when many state laws were passed that required pounds and shelters to release dogs and cats to research laboratories.   According to a 2016 study by the Humane Society of the United States, only 18 states ban pound seizures.

“Stop Pound Seizures in Alabama” feels it’s time for these laws to be changed as they are not only inhumane but antiquated.  They feel that Tuskegee is not open to or receptive to more modern methods of surgical practice and training, that other veterinarian schools are using.  Instead, the University obtains hundreds of young, healthy, adoptable dogs from Russell County Phenix City Animal Shelter every year; practices surgical experiments on them and then kills them.

In an interview with an anonymous graduate of the College of Veterinary Medicine, WRBL Channel 3 News in Columbus, Georgia  learned what goes on behind closed doors and how many students are traumatized by these practices. According to the student, perfectly healthy dogs are having their eyes removed, amputations, foreign bodies placed in their throats and then euthanized when the experiment is over.

The student also stated that the University accepts an average of 15 dogs every two weeks, which are then kept in quarantine until they are used in the experiments. Many of the students expressed their concerns regarding performing unnecessary surgeries on healthy animals, but their concerns were ignored, and they were made to feel if they did not cooperate they would face being expelled.

Other insiders have expressed their concern with how the animals are being cared. They claim the dogs are not socialized and are only fed one cup of food per day regardless of size. The animals do not receive any medical care for any injuries they may have when they arrive or develop while they are in custody.

Imagine if you were a resident of Russell County/Phenix City Alabama, and your dog escaped and ended up at the shelter and from there was transported to the University to be experimented on and killed. This happened to the Hively family when their seven-year-old dog Sheba escaped. By the time they tracked her down to the Russell County Animal Shelter, her seven-day stray hold was up.

Tina Hively soon discovered that Sheba had been sent to the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine to be used in surgical training practices.The Hivelys say they were shocked to think their beloved pet had been taken to be test subject. Tina made several calls to the vet school and was finally able to speak with a professor who confirmed Sheba was in their kennel.

Sheba was sent back to Russell County to be reunited with her family. When Tina asked the Russell County Shelter direct questions as to what had happened to her pet, they offered multiple, vague answers. Tina Hively is happy they got Sheba back however, there are so many families whose pets are never found. They would all be shocked and infuriated if they knew their beloved animals were going to be experimented on and then killed.

The Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine claims all allegations made against them are false and they stand behind their current practices claiming they are not outside the law. Often what’s legal is not what is humane. The next step is getting the laws changed.

– First published in Pet Rescue Report

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