We all know how public shelters work— A dog or cat is brought in and held for a period of time. Then if not adopted, he will be euthanized to make room for the next. But rarely do we hear of what happens next.
Every week, busy city shelters have to deal with the remains of the dogs and cats that never made it out again. Some of these were strays and some were once a loved family pet. A shelter is not set up to handle animal remains by burial or incineration. This is why they must contract out to animal removal services that make weekly stops to pick up the deceased.
In a recent news report, investigators took a closer look at what one removal company did to reuse the remains they collected. D & D Disposal claims to specialize in the removal of large animals. They run routes throughout areas surrounding Los Angeles for local homes and public animal shelters. But instead of just turning the remains into ashes, pets are turned into common household products.
Here’s how it works. D & D makes routine pick-ups throughout the city and places them in the back of a truck. At this point, they are usually bagged and possibly frozen to keep decay from setting in. Then they head back to the facility. The report goes on to explain:
“Once there, the remains are boiled, ground and processed into animal by-products that are then resold for use in lubricants, polish, soap, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, gelatin and fertilizers, according to a 2004 report by Los Angeles County.”
But if you think this only affects Los Angeles, you’re wrong. The products made are not just sold locally but distributed throughout the United States. It’s been known for years that certain products we use contain animal components, many consumers just didn’t know it could be an animal from their local pound. And you can be sure D & D isn’t the only company to utilize the process.
In this case, the county shelter claims they had no idea what was happening to the animals.
“As a Humane Society, we would never consent to allowing the bodies of these precious animals (to be) used in research or any medical uses and research, or certainly not to be re-used in a form of food for any purpose,” said Carin Orange, a development coordinator with the local Humane Society who said she was under the impression the remains were cremated.
The animal-friendly community will likely be upset by the news and put the Humane organization under fire. But right or wrong, it’s the risk you run when you give up ownership of your animal. Everything from that point on is under the discretion of the facility and their own codes of conduct.
This is just one more reason to spay and neuter your pet. And to be responsible in finding your dog or cat a good home if you find yourself no longer able to handle the commitment.