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Savannah Shelter Puts in the Hard Work to Change from a Pet Killing Facility to a Lifesaving Shelter

A recent article in the Jackson Sun looks at the commitment to lifesaving at the Savannah Animal Shelter in TN.  Charlie Nickle, director of the shelter, said that 3 years ago the primary focus of the facility was impounding homeless pets and killing them.  But things have improved greatly:

From Nov. 1, 2011, to Nov. 1 this year, the shelter took in 657 animals and euthanized 29 of them. The remainder were adopted.

That’s a 96% live release rate.  Mr. Nickle attributes the dramatic change to a number of factors:

“We tried to look at placements and adoptions instead of killing them,” he said. “We’ve been very successful in that. We’re very proud of that.”

He credits the efforts of staff and volunteers working the phones and networking animals online as well as a good relationship with the city commission, a strong spay-neuter program and a new benefactor.  In addition, Robin Haspiel, shelter coordinator, says the convenient location of the new building has been helpful.

So to recap, in the views of people who work at the Savannah shelter and have been part of the turnaround, the success can be attributed to staff and volunteers committed to lifesaving instead of killing, building good political relationships, efforts to make spay-neuter accessible to the community and a good location.

For an outsider’s view, the paper turned to the Collierville Animal Shelter director:

Nina Wingfield, a Collierville resident and president of the Animal Control Association of Tennessee, said Savannah is an example of a community that has rallied to support a public animal shelter.

“It’s been turned around,” she said. “It just takes money. A city can’t continue thinking it doesn’t need one. I have no problem with euthanasia, I just don’t have to do it much here. We just got behind spay-neuter education. Euthanasia is putting a Band-Aid on a gushing wound. It’s just creating more animal issues. … There are just not enough homes for all these animals.”

It just takes money?  That’s not what the people doing it said.

By the way, how comforted is everyone to know that the president of the ACA in TN has “no problem” with pet killing?  As for the notion that killing pets is “putting a band-aid on a gushing wound” – ouch.  If death is your band-aid, I’d hate to look inside your first aid kit.

But this is what you get when you buy into the old “not enough homes” myth.  Killing is your solution.  Money is your elusive friend.  The public is your enemy.

The Collierville shelter’s website says they offer a “comprehensive pet adoption service”:

It is not the Animal Shelter’s intent to make pet ownership seem inexpensive or unrealistically easy.

Which puts me in mind of Ms. Wingfield’s earlier quote, “I have no problem with” pet killing.

Right.  That’s the problem.

(Thank you Clarice for sending me this article.)

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