(Re: “Surviving shelters,” cover story, Nov. 10). The last comment I saw about Boulder’s humane society included this statement: “Boulder Humane actively exhausts all options before considering euthanizing an animal.”
Obviously this person doesn’t have the facts straight. What happened to the Akbash with the skin condition was not exhausting all of their resources. They clearly didn’t want to deal with a simple skin condition and give meds. I agree with the person that said if the veterinarian deems a dog “unadoptable” because of a treatable skin condition, he/she needs to find another job.
Please read the facts about the dogs Elizabeth wrote about. Those were adoptable dogs. Just because Humane Society Boulder Valley (HSBV) claims a 91 percent adoption rate doesn’t mean they are treating the other 9 percent fairly and compassionately.
If you want to defend what HSBV does, that is fine. Yes, we can see what they have done, and Elizabeth pointed those positive things out in her article. But don’t overlook the facts about the animals that suffer or don’t get a chance because of a lack of compassion for dogs that enter the shelter scared, who are still subjected to a temperament test within hours of arriving.
Don’t overlook the animals that came in crying for help and didn’t behave that well and HSBV put them on the e/c list. And most of all, don’t ignore what other volunteers and staff have said they saw firsthand.
What you are mad about is that Elizabeth pulled up the rug and showed these ugly creepy crawlies that Boulder Humane, or apparently you, doesn’t want to look at. Get honest about what is happening and help them make better decisions with their $5 million budget. I agree they could be so much better if they just looked into the sad eyes of a dog who doesn’t want a plastic hand in his food after not eating for days, and said to the dog, “Let us help you and we will exhaust all our options to do so,” instead of, “You don’t deserve to live because you failed the test.”
If they truly were “exhausting all of their options,” we wouldn’t be in such an uproar.
The homeless pet population is not well-served by inaccurate and incomplete articles such as the one by Elizabeth Miller.
For a weekly giveaway paper to try and present a fair and balanced image of the shelter and rescue worlds is ludicrous. The result is not helpful and actually harms critical relationships necessary to reach the true goal — helping safely re-home as many pets as possible. I volunteer for breed rescue as well as Boulder Humane. The cases mentioned had a chain of responsibility that started long before the dogs came to Boulder Humane. Many factors contributed to the difficult situation for the dogs, including poor breeding practices, improper gift of a pet, and failure of follow-through. Boulder Humane was left to pick up the pieces and make the best decision in light of their constituents. Those decisions are complex. It is unfair and unhelpful to create controversy that does not or should not exist. It is our job to find the best solutions for the pet overpopulation issue, and that means solving problems others have created.
There are many more homeless dogs and cats than can be absorbed into our society. It is up to us to find forward-thinking solutions that address the problem from beginning to end. Simply complaining about who should have done what during a few isolated incidents diverts energy and resources away from the serious problem at hand.
I so appreciated Elizabeth Miller’s accurate article “Surviving shelters.”
As a volunteer for Nederland-based Mountain Dog Rescue, I personally picked up from the Humane Society of Boulder Valley each of the three dogs chronicled in Ms. Miller’s article, and none of them were “untreatable or unmanageable,” the standard HSBV uses to justify euthanasia. Trill, the cute-but-hyper little puggle, is a total sweetie pie who just needs basic training and an outlet for his energy. Trill’s behavior was obviously situational, a result of the stressful shelter environment, and he is now doing great in foster care. Sawyer is a big honey and I could barely find the minimal hair loss on him, and in no place did he have bloody, raw skin. And Rafa, the 12-week-old puppy, was high-energy, cute as a button and friendly with everyone he met.
As a progressive, animal-loving community, we need to look at the 9 percent who are killed at HSBV. Dogs like Sawyer, Trill and Raja should not be being killed for treatable, trainable or situational problems.
The majority of the dogs that are killed at HSBV are dogs from within the Boulder community (owner surrenders or strays that they must take because of their county contract, paid for by taxpayers). The transfer dogs that come in on the Petsmart Charities wagons are pre-screened for health and behavior issues, so far less of them are euthanized.
HSBV kills close to one dog per day. Euthanasia should be the absolute last option, used only after tremendous consideration, utilization of foster homes, working to find rescue, etc. HSBV could join the nationwide movement to be “no kill,” which means only extremely aggressive dogs and medically untreatable dogs are euthanized. They could use their $5 million dollar budget and their supportive Boulder community to help all the animals that come through their doors. Boulder should be a model for the rest of the country, but instead lags behind other shelters even in our own state.
I know for sure that Sawyer, Trill and Rafa all deserve to live. Our community has poured our tax dollars, donations and volunteer hours into this shelter, and it is now up to us to make sure they fulfill their stated mission of “saving more animals’ lives” by providing all animals in their care the opportunity for a new home.
I am disappointed with the way BW presented the story on the Boulder Valley Humane Society. The first impression that one gets by looking at the BW cover is that the shelter is needlessly killing animals. The story that lies within is that the shelter gives deadlines for other individuals or organizations to make decisions about unadoptable dogs. Yawn.
The relevant story here is that the 91 percent successful adoption rate that makes BVHS one of the best shelters in the country is incredible, considering the individual needs of every animal and human the comes through the BVHS doors.
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