Animal activists fight what they call ‘inhumane practices’ by local animal shelters working with Tuskegee University

Tuskegee University
Tuskegee University [Photo Credit: Adam Jones via Flickr |]

An Alabama Facebook group is creating waves in the animal rights community. Their main focus: stopping pound seizures from the Russell County-Phenix City Animal Shelter to Tuskegee University.

According to the American Anti-Vivisection Society, pound seizure is the “sale or release of dogs and cats from a pound or shelter to a research, testing, or educational facility.”

“Beginning in the 1940s, many state laws were passed that required pounds and shelters to release dogs and cats to research laboratories. Though these pound seizure laws were enacted in the 1940s and 1950s, some of them still exist today,” the group says. The Humane Society of the United States shows that Alabama is one of those states.

Stop Pound Seizure In Alabama, a Facebook group dedicated to changing these laws in the Yellowhammer State has recently shed light onto one serial example of what they believe is an inhumane practice.

According to the group, the Tuskegee University Vet school receives live animals from the Russell County-Phenix City Animal Shelter, so that students can practice various surgeries on them and then kill them.

Tuskegee turns a blind eye to the more progressive vet schools which have moved to other ways for their practice surgery training. The taxpayer-funded pounds that Tuskegee obtains their victims from try to hide the relationship because they know it is shameful. Young, healthy, adoptable animals are given to Tuskegee by the hundreds every year. They admit to having a “contract” with the city/county but refuse to reveal the details.

Inside information from concerned individuals say the dogs are kept in poor conditions, no socialization or enrichment, fed only 1 cup of food per day, regardless of size (because they don’t live long enough to starve to death), and given no medical care for any injuries they may arrive with or develop while being held. These helpless dogs, family pets, are already terror-stricken from their time at the pound, then hauled to Tuskegee in their dog trailer and stuffed into cages where the smells and sounds of death surround them. Then they are cut on and killed.

According to the shelter’s monthly report, 61 animals were transferred in May, while 45 were transferred in June both reports indicate that a list of other agencies the animals were transferred to is supposed to be attached to the report. But neither report actually has a list.

Meanwhile, the Tuskegee University Vet school has an Animal Health and Safety Plan, in which clear guidelines are set in order to ensure that animals at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital receive “appropriate care and support.”

The plan includes guidelines for the following:

  • Feeding—Animals are fed palatable and nutritionally adequate food daily or according to their particular needs.
  • Watering—Animals have access to fresh, potable, uncontaminated drinking water. Watering devices are examined routinely to ensure their proper operation. When water bottles are used, they are appropriately sanitized.
  • Veterinary Care and Euthanasia— A program of preventive and emergency medicine has been established by and supervised by a veterinarian. Sick or injured animals receive veterinary care promptly. Animals are euthanatized when necessary only by qualified personnel, in accordance with recommendations in the current report of the AVMA’s Guidelines on Euthanasia, and as permitted by law.

But at least one student has been accused of animals related crimes while attending the school.

In April, Fallon Blackwood was accused of deceiving several horse owners.

“She was getting the horses and telling the owners they were going to nice pasture land and would happily live their days out. What she was doing was taking the horses to slaughter,” Macon County Sheriff Andre Brunson told WTVM, in Columbus, Ga. “Slaughtered to potentially be made into dog food is what is believed to have happened to some of the horses that landed in Blackwood’s possession.”

Blackwood currently faces criminal charges in North Carolina for her actions.

Alabama Today attempted to contact both the Tuskegee University Vet school and the Russell County-Phenix City Animal Shelter, but neither had comments at time of publishing.