Dogs and shelters
(Re: “Surviving shelters,” cover story, Nov. 10.) I want to thank Elizabeth Miller for writing this article. Finally someone is willing to be honest publicly about HSBV’s less-than-humane decisions about the animals that people take to them, thinking they will be safe.
I am a foster parent for Wyoming Australian Shepherd Rescue and Akbash Rescue. I know firsthand how much money comes out of my pocket and out of the pockets of people running the rescues.
I didn’t realize before this article that HSBV actually pretended to put dogs on the euthanasia list so that the rescues would work harder to find them foster homes. Wow, with a huge budget, one would think that Boulder’s humane society would want to help the rescue organizations rather than misuse them.
About seven years ago, I was being asked by HSBV’s volunteers if I would be willing to read their stories about what was going on at the shelter and expose the stories to the public. These volunteers only wanted to see HSBV become an advocate for the animals, which they didn’t think was happening. Too many of the stories involved animals being killed for a lack of space, which goes against one of their policies. I found other such discrepancies when comparing the policies and procedures with stories I was told.
For many years and still now, people in Boulder believe that HSBV is a no-kill shelter, or that they only kill sick or very aggressive animals. Not true!
I suggested they need to be responsible for what they write. “Today, only animals that are not deemed adoptable for temperament or health reasons are euthanized,” is a direct quote from their website. This is true, but remember that an “unadoptable” dog or cat could have a very treatable skin condition, like Sawyer. He is not the first one with a treatable skin condition that HSBV didn’t want to keep alive. I took lists of them to a local vet, asking if the skin conditions listed were treatable. The response was usually “yes.” When I told him they would be killed because of these conditions at HSBV, he was in shock. I am so grateful for Elizabeth’s article for many reasons. But, the most important is that you, the public, know what might happen to your animal when you take it to HSBV. Please remember the peril you might be putting your animal in if you take them there. They appear to be about getting the animals out in a timely fashion rather than putting the animal first.
What a hatchet job and a poor job of reporting in a fair and balanced manner. Very disappointing.
Boulder Humane releases 91 percent of the animals they take in, it’s documented and verifiable; the article even touches on that. They also take in every animal brought to them, and they regularly take transfers from other agencies throughout the country.
They’re an animal welfare organization, they’re not breed-specific, and they don’t advertise as a no-kill shelter. Breedspecific rescues are filled with “animal people,” not people who are prepared to make the hard decisions that not every animal surrendered or picked up is adoptable. The fact is, not every animal is adoptable, and a 91 percent live release rate is amazing, given the fact they don’t turn anybody away and take so many animals from other shelters in the country.
What I found most important and I feel was glossed over is the fact that Boulder Humane actively exhausts all options before considering euthanizing an animal. They take the animal in, they evaluate, they train if necessary, they contact rescues, not the other way around, and if every option is exhausted, then they consider euthanization.
How about you focus on the good things the shelter does? The way they responded to the animal welfare needs when there were fires in Boulder County last year? How about you focus on their humane no-pinch collar training techniques? How about the fact they have one of the most highly acclaimed animal behaviorists in the nation making evaluations for them? How about you focus on goes both ways. Fact is, no animal is their being awarded the top shelter for going to be euthanized if a rescue says live adoptions by the ASPCA in the they can take it. country last year? Really disappointed that your article Instead your article focused on the sought to pit people who are doing good “sky is falling” stories of a few “animal work against each other. The fact is, they people” who are committed to their spe- all do good work and Boulder Humane cific breed. I’ve had a couple of dogs from in particular has been recognized nation- breed rescue and I recognized the breath ally for that work. less innuendo I’ve experienced firsthand Scott Cameron/via Internet the minute I read the quotes in the article. They believe no animals should be euthanized. They believe every situation
Boulder Weekly welcomes your e-mail correspon- is urgent and requires immediate action dence. Letters must not exceed 400 before the animal is put down. words and should include your name, address and telephone number for The reality is far from that. While it verification. Addresses will not be published. We do not publish anony- appears there can be an improvement on mous letters or those signed with pseudonyms. Letters become the the communication front, it’s also clear property of Boulder Weekly and will that Boulder Humane actively promotes be published on our website. Send letters to: firstname.lastname@example.org. these rescues as another way to save Look for Boulder Weekly on the World Wide Web at: www.boulderweekly. lives. It’s also clear that communication com.