Friends of Mpls Animal Control petitioning new policy that could lead to more euthanizations

The city recently made it much more difficult for moderators of the fMACC Facebook page to do their jobs.
The city recently made it much more difficult for moderators of the fMACC Facebook page to do their jobs.

For some time now, when dogs or cats have been taken into custody by Minneapolis Animal Care and Control, agency volunteers have passed along information about some of the animals to moderators of an independent Facebook page called "Friends of Minneapolis Animal Care & Control."

The moderators would then use that information, including photos and descriptions of behavioral characteristics, to put together posts about the animals. The hope is that people will save the animals from euthanization by adopting them. If nobody steps forward to adopt the animals and they're put down, the posts are updated with an "RIP" tag in the Facebook page's "Rainbow Bridge" section.

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But according to fMACC, the MACC-affiliated folks who supplied the information used for the Facebook posts were recently ordered to cease doing so or risk losing their jobs. The reason? The city has created its own in-house website that is intended to pass along the same information people have come to expect from fMACC.

The city's new policy prompted fMACC officials to create a petition, entitled "Minneapolis Animal Care & Control: Stop the effective banning of the Friends of MACC Facebook page."

From the petition, which as of this morning had been signed by more than 2,000 people:

Since its inception, the Friends of MACC facebook page has proven invaluable to the animals at MACC when it comes to networking and providing visibility that ultimately helps these animals live.

The page is run by a dedicated group of former MACC volunteers who have slowly been forced out, and recently the volunteers at MACC were completely prohibited from contributing information or photos to this public site or risk being fired.

MACC has implemented a shelter-management software system that interfaces with their city website that has no social media presence to speak of and limits the information on their animals to that site alone. They feel this is a better option than the Facebook page that is already in place and has a following of over 10,000 people. Only one photo is allowed, and limited details are available as to the personality of the animals.

We are pleased that MACC has a way to provide real time information on the animals in their possession, but there is no reason to not allow the fMACC page to continue as well as a compliment to their page.

In a conversation with KARE 11, city spokesperson Matt Lindstrom explained the new policy thusly: "This new system just provides a level of oversight on the content to ensure that it is current and accurate, something the previous system did not allow."

But fMACC officials believe the city's new stance is really about avoiding negative PR.

"The one thing [the city] never really enjoyed about the Facebook page is some of the notoriety it brings them when animals are euthanized," Cheryl Anderson, a former volunteer at Minneapolis Animal Care and Control who now runs the fMACC Facebook page, told KARE, adding that the "RIP" posts about animals who have been put down causes "a lot of stir."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at [email protected]

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