Training Ordered at Animal Shelter; Accidental Euthanasia of 2 Kittens Brings Review of Animal Care Protocols

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Byline: Beth Reese Cravey

Multiple errors by Jacksonville Animal Care and Protective Services staff led to the Sept. 19 euthanasia of two kittens that were to be placed with a foster parent.

As a result, the entire staff will be retrained on existing euthanasia "protocols," Scott Trebatoski, who heads the department, said in his report of the incident.

"The protocol currently in place should have been sufficient to avoid this tragic event from taking place. A series of errors and failure to follow policies, procedures and protocol short-circuited the system," Trebatoski said in the report. "Major revisions to the systems in place are not necessary to avoid a similar incident in the future. Review of various policies and protocol with the entire staff are recommended."

The kittens were among four that were brought back to the shelter by one foster parent and were to be taken in by two other foster parents. Two of the kittens were successfully transferred; these two were euthanized by mistake.

At the time, the overcrowded shelter was busy handling a rush of families wanting to adopt or foster animals.

The errors included failure to properly assess the motherless kittens' health when they first arrived Sept. 19, failure to note in their file that a veterinary evaluation was warranted, repeated failure to subsequently record whether they were eating on their own, allowing a former employee-turned-volunteer to place a "hold" on the kittens in their file and removal of the hold by a staffer member not authorized to do so, Trebatoski said in the report. …