Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Carmel on the Case: Cat Follow-Up
An animal shelter under fire over the way it was euthanizing cats. Activists say it's against the law, but the state says otherwise. Carmel Cafiero with a follow-up to her exclusive investigation that we should warn you, shows the animals being put down.
WSVN -- This silent video which shows animals about to die proved to be a lightning rod of controversy for Miami-Dade Animal Services.
A 7 News investigation first revealed what appeared to be an employee using a method of euthanasia called a "heart stick" on cats and kittens.
The controversial and painful process involves a needle stuck directly into the animal's heart. At the time, the shelter's director said use of the heart stick violated her policy.
Dr. Sara Pizano: "Yes, that would not be the way we would want to euthanize the animals."
Carmel: "Because you would consider it to be cruel?"
Dr. Sara Pizano: "Yes."
But after investigating the incident, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has now cleared the shelter and the employee of criminal conduct. It also reported animal services was "Unable to determine the exact procedure used."
This despite the fact, the director told me the video showed two uses of the heart stick.
Dr. Sara Pizano: "That was the other one that I felt I could see."
Jeffrey Weiner: "I've got to compliment the Governor and his staff for mandating a review of this case."
Attorney Jeffrey Weiner requested the investigation. He represents a shelter employee who was fired after she blew the whistle on the use of the heart stick.
Carmel Cafiero: "Were these animals sedated?"
Grace Avila: "No, it would have taken twice as long if they were."
According to state law that's OK.
Jeffrey Weiner: "The law says that sedation may be used. The law should say sedation shall be used. The groups that care about animals need to get this law changed."
The shelter had nothing to say about all this, but expect animal activists to have lots to say.
Jeffrey Weiner: "If the law were changed, I have no doubt that criminal charges would be filed, so the law needs to be changed, that's the message here and it needs to be done quickly."
Meanwhile, Miami Dade no longer records what goes on in the euthanasia room.
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