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City animal shelter dumps carcasses at landfill while incinerator is broken

By Brian Cuaron
Oct. 5, 2011 at 5:05 a.m.


HOW OTHERS DISCARD ANIMAL CARCASSES

Comal County (population, 108,472): County delivers the carcasses to a landfill, said Gene Szakacsy, superintendent of the county's road department.

Kaufman, Kaufman County (population, 103,350): A contractor picks carcasses up from trash bin, said Joel Norris, animal control officer.

Angelina County (population, 86,771): Smaller animals taken to city of Lufkin's incinerator and livestock taken to a dump, said Melanie Wade, animal control officer.

Greenville, in Hunt County (population, 86,129): City uses an incinerator, according to John Jones, animal control officer.

Orange, in Orange County (population, 81,837): A contractor picks carcasses up from a trash bin, said Jerry Ziller, deputy fire chief.

Bowie, Montague County (population, 19,719): Pet cemetery picks up carcasses and buries them in mass grave, said Willy Conway, animal warden.

NOTE: Population numbers are from the counties and 2010 census data.

With its incinerator broken, animal control had to find another way to dispose of euthtanized animals.

Since the incinerator broke in August, the Victoria City/ County Animal Control Shelter workers have taken the carcasses to the landfill near Bloomington for disposal.

The shelter cremated about 100 animal carcasses, usually cats and dogs, each week, said Dr. Bain Cate, city-county health department director.

However, the shelter's incinerator broke on Aug. 16 and won't be fixed for another four to eight weeks, wrote Cate in an email.

Cremation is the best way to discard of animal carcasses, said Inga Fricke, director of sheltering and pet-care issues for the Humane Society of the United States. Yet she noted that process could get expensive.

Sending the carcasses to a landfill is another option, Fricke said, but the shelters must make sure to handle them with respect.

"We certainly wouldn't advocate throwing animals out like garbage," Fricke said.

When dumping carcasses, animal shelters need to ensure that other, live animals that feed on carcasses don't get sick from the euthanization chemicals used, Fricke said. She recommended the animals be bagged or boxed, then covered with dirt.

Republic Waste Services, which contracts with the city to manage the landfill, follows the recommendations set forth by Fricke.

The city-county animal shelter trucks the carcasses to the landfill and dumps them into an area where other trash is being dumped, said Dennis Delesandri, landfill manager. The carcasses are then mixed with the other waste and covered with soil.

Smaller animal carcasses are boxed or bag, Delesandri said. However, larger ones, like a horse, are not.

Dumping animals in a landfill is common in Texas, Cate wrote. A look at similar-sized counties and their cities correspond with that assessment.

The city of Orange's animal shelter freezes the carcasses and puts them in a trash bin for a contractor to pick up, said Jerry Ziller, the city's deputy fire chief.

The city of Kaufman does the same thing, and Comal County delivers its carcasses to a local dump.

Angelina County takes its small animal carcasses to an incinerator at one of its cities, said Melanie Wade, the county's animal control officer. Livestock carcasses are taken to a dump.

Bowie, in Montague County, takes its animal carcasses to a pet cemetery where they are buried in a mass grave, said Willy Conway, the city's animal warden.

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