(U-WIRE) WASHINGTON – D.C. health officials have apologized for using a Northwest Washington elementary school as the venue for a cat sterilization clinic and have banned using schools for any similar events in the future.
The nonprofit organization, Alley Cat Allies, spayed and neutered 500 cats in John Eaton Elementary School’s cafeteria over the weekend of Feb. 19.
“This is a great idea, great people, but the wrong venue,” said Peggy Keller, interim chief of the Bureau of Community Hygiene at the D.C. Department of Health. “I want to deeply apologize for the error in judgment. We’re deeply sorry, deeply concerned, and we apologize.”
Many parents were angered when they heard that the clinic took place, expressing concern for children with asthma and allergies.
“The process has failed us,” Deborah Evans, a mother of two girls who attend the school, told the Washington Post. “We’re not to trust what the Department of Health tells us anymore. They sanctioned this.”
Parents voiced concern that the cat hair and dander would not be properly cleaned possibly causing children to have allergic reactions. In response, Alley Cat Allies and the D.C. Health Department hired professional cleaners to clean the school thoroughly. The reopening of Eaton Elementary school was delayed a day due to the cleaning.
“Sometimes well intentioned people do stupid things,” Mayor Anthony Williams said of the sterilization clinic.