Animal Drop Boxes and the Economic Recession

Katy Steere

Dog left in drop box in Sacramento, CA

As more and more Americans face poverty and homelessness during this economic recession, their pets are being left at after hours shelter drop boxes in droves. Foreclosure pets make up a great number of the pets surrendered every day. After hours drop boxes are outdoor kennels attached to shelters where people can anonymously abandon their animals when shelters are closed. Animal drop boxes are controversial because states with animal cruelty laws in place have provisions making animal abandonment illegal.

Elkhart, Indiana is one of the hardest hit recession areas in the United States. Kari Huus of MSNBC.com writes, “Each day at five, staff members of the Humane Society of Elkhart County close the animal shelter and hold a meeting. And each day, like clockwork, they begin hearing a “thump, thump, thump” from outside.” Many of the animals being dropped off are malnourished, diseased and beyond the point of rehabilitation. The shelter is seeing an influx of 600 to 700 animals each month while the shelter only has space for 266 animals. Huus writes, “Since October 2008, the shelter has handled 5,783 animals, 42 percent of which were abandoned anonymously.” When the drop box becomes full overnight, the staff finds animals tied up outside the shelter as well as animals roaming the parking lot. Because of this overwhelming influx of animals, the shelter is euthanizing two to three times the number of animals it would in an average month. The Elkhart Humane Society is desperate for donations to help them deal with this incredible influx.  Continue reading

Great Lakes Compact Council to be Headed by Industrial Ag. Zealot

The Berry Street Beacon has an excellent post on the hard-to-fathom reality that Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana will chair the Great Lakes Compact Regional Council.  The Council is the oversight body of the newly minted (and highly significant) Great Lakes Compact (full name: Great Lakes- St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact) enacted this past fall.  For more on the Compact, see Professor Noah Hall’s informative blog, Great Lakes Law.

The Great Lakes contain about 20% of the world’s surface water.  Governor Daniels has determined that the answer to Indiana’s financial woes lies in turning the Hoosier State into a haven for industrial agriculture.  Industrial agriculture pollutes water — both surface and ground.   It thus seems sub-optimal that someone with Daniel’s views would emerge as the choice to head a Council charged with administering 6 quadrillion gallons of the stuff.

I guess stranger things have happened.  But I keep wondering why they do.

David Cassuto