Thursday, December 17, 2015
V is for victory or vendetta
The spotlight continues to shine on the town of Shawnee Oklahoma. Tonight kicks off the first of two nights aimed at protesting the Shawnee shelter. The events are no longer being called a protest however, they are now deemed a "victory demonstration " yes, victory. Since the protest and its associated events was first announced we've seen residents of Shawnee finally go to a city council meeting and speak up about the problems at the animal shelter. This is something that should have been happening for a long time now. In my mind that is a victory.
A few short days after this city council meeting, three dogs were gassed to death. The circumstances of this gassing clearly spell retaliation, at least in my mind they do. Someone was unhappy with all the negative attention being directed at Shawnee and its animal shelter. So unhappy it seems, that three innocent dogs suffered a horrible death as retribution for the unwanted attention.
Less than a week after the dogs were gassed to death, we see announcements and headlines proclaiming that the shelter supervisor has been put on administrative leave pending an investigation. Even more attention is on Shawnee! Within hours this man is the object of everything from hatred to death threats. Is this the "victory" that is supposedly being celebrated? If this individual is responsible for a retaliatory gassing of three dogs, then yes, it is somewhat of a victory. My question is, what if it wasn't this individual's decision to kill the dogs? He has a boss, right? He is a city employee, subject to the authority of several others in the Shawnee city government. How do we know he wasn't following someone else's orders?
With all that being said, lets examine this "victory " that is being celebrated in Shawnee by the group of people initially planning to protest. The gas chamber is stil being used, three dogs died in it on Friday. There is still no clearly defined timeline for the gas chamber to be discontinued and replaced with humane lethal injection. The rumor that has been going around is that gassing will be replaced with heartstick, definitely not something to celebrate. Nothing at the Shawnee shelter has changed. The shelter is still closed on weekends. The hold time for stray animals is still only 48 hours. Animals are still brought in sick and injured with no veterinary care available. The adoption process is still complicated and unappealing. It is still very time consuming and cumbersome for rescues to become approved to pull from the shelter. Volunteers are still not allowed to work with the animals, providing temperament assessment or other information that rescues and adopters need.
From what I can see absolutely nothing has changed other than one shelter staff member being placed on administrative leave, and it's uncertain whether or not he is even the one responsible for the decision to gas the dogs. The reality in Shawnee today is that nothing has improved and three dogs are dead. Where is the victory?