Moving Past the Odious Sylvia Murphy and Resolving the High Kill Rate

murphy campaign poster

Update:  Comm. Carruthers has claimed that constituents from other districts will find her door open if their own commissioner disagrees with them on a particular issue.  Therefore, I went ahead and contacted her about the high kill rate.  Can’t wait to hear what she’s going to do to address this horrible problem.

Update 2:  Well, I sent that email to Carruthers over a week ago.  No response.  Shocker!  So much for that open door.  Maybe I’ll send a follow-up.

Let me start by saying that the high kill rate at the Upper Keys animal shelter can be fixed.  Sadly, the political will to do so simply does not exist right now.

The Odious Sylvia Murphy (OSM) has somehow been re-elected.  I’d love to say I’m surprised, but I know Murphy has some strange appeal to the voters.  I’ve observed that fact for many years, but can’t for the life of me understand it.  Never have.  Never will.  Maybe someone would be kind enough to explain it to me. claims that the OSM is known for her “brutal honesty”.  Huh?  I don’t know about honest but she certainly is brutal.  When asked to comment on the high kill rate at the Upper Keys animal shelter in 2015, the OSM had this to say:

“I’m perfectly happy with the services at the clinic,” she told the Free Press.

To put this statement into perspective, let’s take a look at a table comparing the kill rates at the three shelters.  These are unadulterated, apples-to-apples numbers obtained from monthly reports submitted by each shelter.  No monkey math from county staff.

2015 Euthanasia rate

The kill rate at the Upper Keys shelter is three times higher than the other two.  The OSM is okay with that.  In fact, she’s “happy”.  And people vote for her because…?  Somebody please help me out here.

With that oblivious and heartless attitude, it should come as no surprise that little progress has been made on the high kill rate from one year to the next..  In fact, rather than take action to improve the situation, county staff distorted the facts about the number of animals handled at each shelter in the 2015 State of the County report – a truly despicable act.  Getting down to the facts is the first step in addressing the problem.  The county, very clearly, has no intention of doing that.  They prefer to play vile political games.

Without public pressure, improvement will be next to impossible under the current regime.  But the news isn’t all bad.  Shelters in New Hampshire have achieved very low euthanasia rates.  In fact, there are so few animals in New Hampshire shelters, that many people adopt from out-of-state, typically from high kill shelters in the south.   Here’s a link to one organization that arranges these adoptions, and here’s a link to an organization that transports the animals.  I’m currently looking into adopting a shelter dog from Mississippi.

The pet overpopulation issue in the Upper Keys can be successfully addressed.  If New Hampshire can do it, so can the Upper Keys.

Here are a couple of resources that explain how it happened.

Getting to Zero: A Roadmap to Ending Animal Shelter Overpopulation in the United States

Replacing Myth With Math

Accurate data collection is a big factor in successfully reducing euthanasia rates.  The county, in fact, requires data collection.  Unfortunately, the county does not use that data to design effective programs or make sensible funding decisions.  Basically, the county retroactively distorts the facts to support the self-serving decisions they’ve already made.  Great for lazy, heartless politicians, I guess.  Not so great for the animals or the community.

Oh, by the way, I asked Robby Majeska what he thought could be done.  He suggested a mobile spay/neuter clinic.  That’s something a lot of communities do.  Folks in the Keys, especially the Upper Keys, absolutely can fix this problem.  They just have to decide they want to.

I’ll be taking a close look into the financials of each of the animal shelters coming up.  Who knows what I might find?


This entry was posted in Animal Shelter, BOCC, Bubba System, Monroe County. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Moving Past the Odious Sylvia Murphy and Resolving the High Kill Rate

  1. sue heim says:

    re the high kill rate – the question is – what’s behind the WHY ? They get enough money to maintain the live cats, and not all the cats are diseased or infirm. So WHY? The WHY, I suspect (without a speck of proof) is financial gain. They are selling the dead bodies to whatever market is buying.


    • M_Blank says:

      Hi Sue. Thanks for the comments. The animal control situation is so sad. And I don’t know WHY either, unfortunately. The Upper Keys shelter most definitely receives less funding on a per animal basis. That’s number one. What sort of analysis does the county do when they allocate funding? And how do they measure performance?


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