LEWISTON (NEWS CENTER Maine) – The Greater Androscoggin Humane Society is generally on par with other Maine shelters for euthanasia numbers.
Accusations have been swirling on social media about the shelter – after an ex-employee claimed the shelter is quick to euthanize dogs.
Amanda Kimball, a former shelter employee, claims euthanasia doubled with new management.
The shelter has not responded to repeated requests for comment by NEWS CENTER Maine, but has posted multiple statements on Facebook -- denying the allegations.
The Humane Society said in Facebook statement that in the last 12 weeks, it euthanized 28 animals.
One woman from Lewiston says her dog was put down - and she wishes the shelter had given “Cookie” more of a chance at life.
“I had it in my head that they were going to help her,” Jennifer Fish said. “Rehabilitate her and be able to give her to somebody that could love her more than I could at the time.”
Fish says Cookie’s demeanor changed after she gave birth to puppies and more family moved into the home. She says the stress made Cookie aggressive.
Fish surrendered to the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society on May 5 – with the hopes she'd find a new home.
It was a week later, as she scrolled through Facebook and saw that fired employee's viral post that Jennifer learned her Cookie was euthanized.
“When I was reading that, I couldn't stand any longer,” she said. “I kept thinking, ‘no that can't be her. That can't be her.’”
The post claims euthanasia has doubled in recent weeks at the shelter.
A counter post by management says this isn't true - and specifies that the shelter euthanized 28 animals in the last 12 week. If it continues on that trend, it will euthanize around 84 animals in 2018.
For context, NEWS CENTER Maine obtained statewide euthanasia data for the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society and comparable shelters from 2015 to present.
In 2015, GAHS euthanized 72 animals.
In 2016, it was 77 animals.
In 2017, the shelter reported euthanizing 52 animals.
The Greater Androscoggin Humane Society identifies as a "no kill" shelter. Jennifer says she thought that meant they never euthanize, which is not true.
The shelter released a statement on Facebook to specify what "no kill" means, saying, “we save every healthy and treatable pet, regardless of their age, length of stay or space available. Euthanasia is only reserved for terminally ill, untreatable animals or those considered dangerous to public safety.”
A representative from the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry says the state of Maine is exceptionally good at not euthanizing animals, with a 95-percent live release rate.