Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Rumor has it, change is on the way

 Last night was an important night in Shawnee Oklahoma, at least for animals and animal lovers it was. 
 Last night saw the monthly city commissioners meeting in the town of Shawnee. What made this meeting different was the four residents of Shawnee who came up to the podium and expressed their dissatisfaction with the animal shelter and its use of a gas chamber. The maximum number of people allowed to speak on a subject is four, although I saw a number of other Shawnee residents who may have spoken as well if they had the opportunity.
 The usual rhetoric put out about the issues at the Shawnee shelter tells us that it's "only people from outside of Shawnee that are bothered by the gassing shelter. The people of Shawnee don't have a problem with it." Well, last night's meeting proved that this statement is false!
 The sentiments expressed by the Shawnee residents prompted the city manager to address the issue as well. According to the city manager people should expect a date for the cessation of euthanasia by gas sometime in January or February of 2016. It was announced in February of this year that the city of Shawnee was planning to transition from the gas chamber to lethal injection. Until last night no other information has been reported on the issue. The city manager again stated that lethal injection would be the new euthanasia method.
 Unfortunately there seems to be conflicting information about what exactly is meant by "lethal injection ". After the initial announcement about the change, rumors began to fly about the lethal injection actually meaning heartstick, a particularly brutal method of "euthanasia". Apparently those rumors have resurfaced in full force after last night's meeting. Heartstick is completely unacceptable and no one should be willing to accept this.
 Something else of note has happened today, the Shawnee animal control website is down. This is the website where all the animals currently in the shelter can be viewed. The website hasn't been properly updated since last week and none of the animals recently brought in to the shelter can be seen.
The fear of animal control retaliating against any unfavorable publicity or situations they dislike, by gassing animals, has been expressed by numerous people over the course of many years. I don't know if there have been incidents in the past that created this attitude or if it's just another product of the rumor mill. Either way, I'm hearing a definite current of fear with today's situation.
 Now more than ever the animals of Shawnee need us. As of right now they, and the shelter, are receiving more attention than ever. Over 1,000 people are talking about this subject on Facebook and there is an article from the Examiner about last night's meeting. The people of Shawnee need to stick together and see this through to a positive outcome for the animals. Those willing to speak up should continue to attend city meetings, ask questions and keep pushing the issue until the correct changes occur. Those of us outside of Shawnee shouldn't forget that nothing is resolved yet, there is much work to be done and Shawnee and its animals can't be forgotten.