Clare Storey is a volunteer at the shelter in Castaic, CA which is run by the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control. There is a lengthy piece at a local radio station website on how the shelter’s image is being brightened by efforts to work with the public, instead of condemning them. Ms. Storey came to the shelter from a rescue background:
Storey said that her past experience working with a local rescue gave her a somewhat ‘superior’ attitude when it came to “granting” ownership of animals. Most rescues ask applicants to fill out long forms with many questions about the environment, family, time and future for the animals.
She explains that after listening to a pet advocate speaking on the subject of adoption applications, she changed her view:
“[The speaker] said the form should have just a few questions: name, address, email if you want to. Will you kill this animal? No? Brilliant! It really brought it home to me that I had been playing god.”
Education and understanding are a better approach for the Castaic shelter in communicating with the public than attempting to shame owners. While Ms. Storey doesn’t conceal her opinion that there are some people who should not own a pet, she has expanded her view of the general public as adopters:
“I’ve come down off my rescue mountain, down to the real world and I realize in my dealings with the public who come to the shelter, who come to offsite adoptions, that 99 percent of them are fabulous people. They are caring people, they have chosen to adopt, they have listened to us, they have seen the bumper stickers, for the last 20 years, “Adopt Don’t Shop.” They have listened, they have taken notes, and have made the decision to save a life, which is what adopting a shelter animal does.”
99% are fabulous people. They may care for their pets differently than we do, they might benefit from some pet ownership education, but they want to save a shelter pet’s life by adopting. I think we should let them.