Pound Seizure: Shelters and Research Labs

by Mary Haight on October 16, 2015

Pound SeizureBefore I interviewed Allie Phillips in 2013( Animal Cafe) I had never heard of pound seizure. Once I knew about it, I couldn’t forget it. That municipal shelters could sell lost, relinquished, adoptable animals to research labs turns the concept of “shelter” on its head. Sadly, in the intervening years, nothing has changed.

Pound Seizure Laws by State

There are, depending on how you define it:

  • 19 States that have banned pound seizure, though only partially in two cases
  • 23 States that have no laws at all
  • 10 that allow the individual municipality to decide.

Oklahoma stands alone in requiring shelters to give up pets when research labs and universities ask. You can see more data on each State’s pound seizure laws here.

The US is not alone in allowing this practice, as Canada’s Animal Alliance related in an interview. While the EU has banned animal testing for cosmetics, recent news revealed by claiming a need to test for safety due to workforce exposure during manufacturing, some are making an end-run around the ban.

How To Advocate For Change

All of this tells us what we already knew in our heart of hearts: If we want this changed, it is up to you and me. Once we achieve this goal, as with any other goal met in animal welfare, we’ll need to fight to keep it in place.

This work requires that you know what to do and how to proceed without getting tripped up by red tape and closed doors. I’m happy to say that Allie Phillips’ Understanding Pound Seizure makes certain the time and effort you put in won’t be wasted. Here’s your blueprint.

You can listen to my interview with Allie on the podcast below, and read more on pound seizure and about the author at AlliePhillips.com.

Have you ever run into this practice at your local animal control? Now that you know about it, does any past experience make you wonder if that’s what happened? Please share.

(Thanks to 4Knines.com for sponsoring this podcast!)

31 comments
CathyArmato
CathyArmato

GASP!! I'm utterly horrified by this! I volunteer at a county shelter & have never heard of this practice. I need to find out more about my state & whether or not this practice goes on. Thank you for this informative post, as hard as it is to learn about this awful practice!

Love & biscuits,

Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

MaryEHaight
MaryEHaight moderator

@CathyArmato Yes, it's pretty scary, isn't it? I'm glad Allie Phillips has the Pound Seizures laws by State available (it's linked in the post). Then all these States with "cities and towns can do whatever they choose" is such a mess! Imagine your dog gets out and ends up in shelter two towns over, and he's gone before you can even find him. Ugh. Glad you stopped by, thanks =)

Sweet Purrfections
Sweet Purrfections

So happy to see this isn't allowed in our state of SC,  Hope other states soon change this.

MaryEHaight
MaryEHaight moderator

@Sweet Purrfections It's a relief when you find your State is not involved in this. Some States really split hairs on this practice, leaving a patchwork mishmash of practices from town to town.Thanks for checking out the facts =)

petsarefound
petsarefound

Such a very sad situation. Thanks for increasing awareness & helping people understand how they can help. 

MaryEHaight
MaryEHaight moderator

@petsarefound It's sad and horrific, I agree Annette. Thanks for spreading the word -- until the majority know that this is going on and the details of it, they don't realize it could mean their lost dog or their neighbors lost cat could get swept up in this practice.

JessicaBGibson
JessicaBGibson

Didnt know about this...now I need to learn more. Thank you for sharing!

talenthounds
talenthounds

OMG I had no idea about this. When you hear shelter, you assume protection. I was surprised when I found out relatively recently that some of our local shelters still euthanize, let alone give animals up for research. 

MaryEHaight
MaryEHaight moderator

@talenthounds We all make assumptions about so many things, I know! In this pound seizure practice who would think that it is still happening in the 21st century? It sounds like something they did when children were kept in workhouses. 

To your point about local shelters -- if they are "open shelters",  meaning if they take all animal give-ups, they usually have a kill for space policy. So many now have great connections with rescues and no-kills who can save some adoptables.

Keep in  mind that it's the municipal shelters who exist on tax dollars, not the private shelters, involved in this practice according to Allie Phillips, attorney and guest on my show. She's been working on this problem for more than 15 years. Thanks for joining the conversation =)

dailydogtag
dailydogtag

Wow.  I had no idea.  Thanks for sharing this important information.  

MaryEHaight
MaryEHaight moderator

@dailydogtag  This is news to so many people, and it's not surprising given the lengths animal controls go to to keep this information out of the public eye. Thanks for stopping by and hope you share this with others =)

MaryEHaight
MaryEHaight moderator

@CarleenPruessCoulter Whenever you can, perhaps spread the word on this -- the more people know, the better it can be for the animals caught up in this mess! Thanks for stopping by =)

mk_clinton
mk_clinton

Wow! This is an eye-opening post. I am ashamed to say that my state is listed among the ones with no regulations.  Sadly, it does not surprise me.

dancingdogblog
dancingdogblog

It's a surprising, well-hidden fact of life for shelter animals in so many States. Knowing is the beginning of advocating for change. Hopefully if you find yourself meeting those experiencing something strange at a municipal shelter, you'll be able to suggest the book and/or the podcast if they want more info =) Thanks for stopping by!

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FiveSibesMom
FiveSibesMom

It's so important to get the word out. It should be banned in all states. Thank you for this post and raising awareness of pound seizure. Through posts like this, maybe one day we will see the change that is so needed. Great post, Mary!

MaryEHaight
MaryEHaight moderator

@FiveSibesMom Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I appreciate the sentiment. It does seem like one of those "no-brainers" for legislation across the US. Wish common sense were more common =)

pawesomecats
pawesomecats

Thanks for raising awareness of this important issue... together we can bring change!


tenaciouslittleterrier
tenaciouslittleterrier

Apparently Oregon doesn't have a law on this issue. We normally have pretty strict animal rights laws. 

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