MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) The Mobile County Animal Shelter has come under fire this week after euthanizing 49 dogs after fears of a distemper outbreak. Local 15 News talked with one woman who said her cat was put down by the shelter just minutes after it was brought in.
Kaitlyn Hughes and her cat Porkchop have been together since day one. Kaitlyn always wanted an orange tabby, and he grew very attached to Kaitlyn.
"Just from the get go he was very snuggly," she said, "walking back and forth in the apartment, he would follow me."
Until one day, a few weeks ago, Porkchop snuck out behind Kaitlyn as she left to go run errands. When she got home, she realized what had happened.
"I put out wet food and dry food, a bowl of water and a toy, and a pair of my shoes, because I read if you put something that smells like you it can help steer them back."
Kaitlyn searched around her apartment complex all night, but no luck. First thing the next morning, as she was posting fliers, a neighbor approached her with some great news. He'd found her kitten, mistaken it for a stray, and brought it to the Mobile County Animal Shelter.
"I was so excited, my heart was racing," she said.
Kaitlyn raced to pick up Porkchop, but when she got there, no sign of him. After asking lots of questions, and getting nowhere, she says a supervisor came out to speak with her. He gave her the news, Porkchop had been euthanized the day before.
"I lost it," Kaitlyn said. "I didn't know what to say."
Shelter policy clearly states all animals brought in are given a seven day window to be picked up, just in case they're a pet. Porkchop wasn't even given an hour.
Paperwork we obtained shows Porkchop was admitted at 4:06 p.m. and put down at 4:15, just nine minutes after being dropped off.
"The first thing I said was, did you even look at him? This cat was bathed the day before, he had been neutered, vaccinated, he was well taken care of."
When we contacted the shelter, they declined to speak with us on camera. When asked over the phone about the seven day waiting period, an employee told us she wasn't sure if that was policy or not.
The report we obtained also states an employee offered Kaitlyn her choice of a new pet. "He said, this is an orange tabby, this looks a lot like him," she said.
Kaitlyn says after her experience, she's convinced something needs to change.
"If somebody was over (the shelter), holding them accountable for the things they do," she suggested. "I feel like right now they kind of make up their own rules on the spot."
A letter Kaitlyn received Friday from a county official expressing regret over the situation. It says the county will be taking corrective and disciplinary action in addition to reviewing the shelter's policies.