Our Call: Compassion at county animal shelter? Not here

Editorial 

As professional observers of government, and especially government in St. Louis County and the region, we often find ourselves shaking our heads wondering how a certain county official ever came to the conclusion that something was a good idea.

Some things just fail basic aspects of a common-sense test. A good question for government officials to ask before making a decision is: Will the public be outraged over this? If yes, perhaps they should reconsider.

So when it came to the sad case of Faust, the dog found nearly frozen to death on a sidewalk in the city by a mail carrier two weekends ago, it was no surprise that Stray Rescue came to the rescue, raised $10,000 for Faust’s medical care and sent the 6-year-old pit bull to Veterinary Specialty Services in Manchester to theoretically get the best care money can buy.

But after Faust woke up from a coma, she bit a veterinary technician. The animal hospital sent her to county animal control, which euthanized Faust within hours instead of keeping her on a mandatory 10-hour hold.

Faust had literary inspiration behind her name, but perhaps she should have been named Kafka, as she encountered a Kafkaesque bureaucracy at county animal control that decided to euthanize her faster than County Executive Steve Stenger could text them not to.

They didn’t contact Stray Rescue, even though it had been widely covered rescuing the frozen dog and was the owner on Faust’s tag and microchip. Tellingly, animal control officials seemed to have no idea that the dog had become a cause celebre in St. Louis rescue circles.

They euthanized Faust because she was showing signs of rabies, such as stumbling around, without noting that she had just been in a coma because she had been frozen to death on the sidewalk and was at the vet hospital for critical care.

They consulted with the state veterinarian, Howard Pue, but not with locals who were familiar with Faust and why she might be impaired.

They say they followed the law to the letter, but Stray Rescue contracts for St. Louis city animal control and had facilities to either quarantine Faust or decide to euthanize her themselves. Would anyone seriously have objected if Stray Rescue had gotten involved in this situation with its own dog?

We all speed on the highway sometimes, and while we should follow the law, common sense should prevail.