Monday, October 26, 2015

Animals among us

Today I had the pleasure (it's difficult to use that word even sarcastically) of visiting the Shawnee shelter, inside, up close and personal with all the animals, even the one working the front desk. 
The kennel area was quite clean, the interior kennel area completely free of any kind of clutter. You know, those messy things like food or water bowls or beds. I couldn't say what was outside as I couldn't see it.  The animals in this place were obviously terrified. I saw several shivering as they sat or lay in their kennel. Others barked, whined or growled out of nervousness or fear.  They all shared one thing though, that same, sick, terrified look in their eyes. The most heartbreaking was the older shepherd mix who was an owner surrender. Yes, she was abandoned in this hellhole by her owner. How many years of loyalty had she given her owner, only to be discarded in this horrible place? 
Probably the worst example of animal behavior that I saw today came from the individual working the front desk. No greeting or acknowledgement for the rescuers coming in to save the animals relegated to his "care". I guess it's easier to throw them in the gas chamber than deal with paperwork. This attitude was quite obvious in his reaction to the paperwork that had been faxed in by the rescue that was trying to help me pull this dog. The same rescue that tried all Friday afternoon to call the shelter to find out what the procedure was, and to tell them they were sending their paperwork. This shelter employee was absolutely indignant that the rescue had the nerve to ask them to hold this particular dog for them. Imagine that, someone asking them to put in such a huge amount of effort to save a dog. This employee was so busy flinging the paperwork around and ranting about how they didn't hold animals for anyone, that he didn't hear my questions about how to get the appropriate paperwork to the rescue requesting the dog. Much like their inability to answer the phone, they seem to turn a deaf ear to anyone wanting to help.
The Shawnee shelter is one ugly nightmare created by a variety of factors; The attitude of the state government and many citizens toward animal welfare. The ignorance, willful or otherwise, of the locals in their refusal to spay & neuter , vaccinate, or properly care for their pets. The shelter staff, caring and compassion are definitely not job requirements and any venture into the modern world is obviously also unthinkable.
With all these factors, is there any hope for shelter reform in Shawnee,
or will the dedicated and overwhelmed rescuers continue to be the only hope for the unfortunate animals who end up there?