Animal advocates in Healdton, OK say they have been trying for months to get someone to feed, water and shelter the dogs at the city pound and/or to allow volunteers to help. The police department is in charge of the pound but the only thing the police would reportedly allow the volunteers to do is donate pet food, which would be left in a pile at the station. Meanwhile dogs have allegedly been starved, suffered frostbite and some puppies allegedly froze to death after being forced to sleep on bare concrete with the unheated pound’s 8 foot door left wide open by the police department all night.
When animal advocates addressed the city council meeting Monday night regarding the allegations of ongoing abuse, the city manager was all “Whaaaa?” and claimed to know nothing. He did however feel immediate suspension of the police chief was warranted as well as an investigation. The investigation is ongoing but the police chief quit. The pound has been closed temporarily and impounded strays are being taken to a neighboring city facility.
When animal advocates know public employees are not doing their jobs at the shelter, they often feel the appropriate course of action is to work with those in charge and aim to improve conditions over time. After all, we are frequently told that nobody wants to kill animals and some might believe that the abusers aren’t monsters, but rather animal lovers who have lost their way and need some guidance. This plan may yield results in certain situations.
But most often, particularly where shelter animals are being starved, neglected and abused to death, animal advocates should take their complaints directly to the city or county funding the facility. This serves to create a public record of the allegations, places the responsibility on elected officials to take swift action, and eliminates any possibility of them claiming they were ignorant of the abuse. Waiting while animal abusers hurt shelter pets for months or years, hoping they will stop, is not advocating for animals. Bring complaints directly to the elected officials in charge of funding the shelter. If the shelter staff won’t do their jobs, make those seeking your vote for public office do their’s. Shelter pets can’t wait while compassionate people hope.
(Thanks Clarice for the links.)