Kent County Shelter Stops Offering Euthanasia for Pets - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Kent County Shelter Stops Offering Euthanasia for Pets

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - Kent County's only animal shelter has stopped providing euthanasia services to pet owners.
Kevin Usilton, executive director of First State Animal Center and SPCA, tells WBOC the procedure had been provided for years until it was stopped earlier this month.
State regulation allows animal shelters to have a vet, vet tech or certified euthanasia tech put down shelter animals.
Until recently, the center had also done owned pets when requested. According to its own reports, it put down about 650 cats and dogs a year in both 2013 and 2014.
"We used to provide a low-cost alternative to a veterinary hospital where our euthanasia technicians would euthanize your pet if it were sick or injured or old, and you couldn't take it to a vet," Usilton said.
Usilton says after conversations with the state over the past few months, the decision was made to stop offering that option. A sign went up on the front door of the center to notify people of the change.
The state's current law on veterinary practices has been in place since the 1960s. It lists the things only a vet can do. That includes euthanasia on non-shelter animals, like a family pet. WBOC spoke with the head of the Delaware Board of Veterinary Medicine, who says someone, who isn't a vet, performing euthanasia on a non-shelter animal could be considered to be practicing veterinary medicine without a license.
So, that's no vet techs nor no certified euthanasia techs. And according to Usilton, the center doesn't have a licensed vet available 24 hours a day.
He says he's concerned about animals owned by people who can't afford to take them to the vet.
"It means that the animals are going to suffer."
Usilton says the center used to charge less than $100 to put a pet down. Checking in with a number of Dover-area vets showed they generally seem to average about $150 to euthanize an animal.
While the Veterinary Practices Law covers non-shelter euthanasia in Delaware, the Shelter Standards Law deals with the procedure for shelter animals. The state's relatively new Office of Animal Welfare oversees that. Back in May a number of changes were made to the regulations regarding shelter animal euthanasia in Delaware.

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