The gross misdirection the Humane Society of Fremont County uses under current management to get money and resources for the shelter is so blatantly apparent. Yet little action is being taken by people with the power to make change. What is it going to take to make these people see they no longer have license to simply maintain the status quo of keeping the shelter alive rather than the homeless pets they are there to save?
In 2012, the shelter killed more than 2 pets everyday they were open. They killed more than 1 in 2 of the live cats entering the shelter they had an opportunity to save. They do not have any intake protocols for medical/temperament assessment to speak of. Only when a pet has a paid adoption fee do they consider spay neuter and minimal vaccinations. This is not the way to save lives.
These protocols put other animals at risk for infection during their stay. Regressive shelter will generally kill animals based on the fact they were exposed to a disease. The shelter will say they were exposed by another animal. But that is not true, they are exposed by the shelter’s inadequate intake protocol.
By banning volunteers (for exposing the flaws at the shelter) that had strong relationships with other shelters and rescues, they also fail to save animals that could be transferred as opposed to the choice too often used, killing pets. Colorado has hundreds of rescues and shelters that will accept transfers and do every day. A shelter job is to save lives, and to make it as easy to do so for the people who and organizations that also are in the business of saving lives.
Free or low-cost transfers, use of existing resources such as vehicles and volunteers for transporting, subsidizing fuel for volunteers to move homeless pets are all ways shelters can better save lives. The shelter has the money, they have a budget of about $500,000 annually.
To the management at the Humane Society of Fremont County, here is a basic smarter, more humane protocol for intake:
- 1. Assess the homeless pet for medical issues by a qualified veterinarian
- a. Remediate if serious immediately
- 2. Assess the animal for temperament from a person with knowledge of animal behavior
- 3. Vaccinate the homeless pet and perform any other medical needs
- 4. Spay/neuter the animal
- 5. Put the healthy well-defined homeless pet up for adoption at a reasonable price
- a. Market it thoroughly through your available resources
- 6. If the homeless pet is not being adopted after a prescribed reasonable amount of time, post for a rescue willing to take the animal, let them, and if possible for free.
“We take it seriously when people bring their animals here to us,” she said. “Our first goal is to find them homes. If and when we can’t, we’ll transport them to other organizations. We use part of the donations for that. The other part of the money just helps us remain open so we can be here another day so we can continue keeping animals safe. “In the process, the dogs need to be neutered or spayed, vaccinated, tested for heart worm and health checkups, which cost around $119 per dog, Cameron said.
The money also helps pay for medical care for stray animals, provides quality care, longer stays at the shelter and transferring them to other shelters. Along with that, it replenishes the Nazalee Workman spay and neuter cat fund to help reduce the population of cats.
In the future, the shelter plans to provide cat etiquette tips to teach the public about cats and how to care for them with money from the fundraiser. Another plan is to spay, neuter and release program for feral cats, as well.”
According to Summit Dog Rescue:
“Mr. Cameron can Summit Dog Rescue get their money back for all the vetting we had done to Lady? She came to us with just a parvo/distemper shot. No rabies, no spay, no heartworm test, no microchip – I have the records. Boy, I am sure SDR could really use the $200 they spent on her vetting.”
And Lucky Dog Rescue
“We never got any money for taking an animal from them! Also – the ones we did take were almost always sick and had sketchy vaccination records at best!”
According to a volunteer:
“They do not do [heartworm] testing or health checks and do not neuter or spay prior to adoption so of course none of this would be done on animals given away to rescue groups with no money exchanging hands. A few of the most adoptable male dogs were neutered by Dr Gangel but as a general rule it is not done prior to adoption and NEVER comes out of shelter coffers but from adoption fees. It sounds to me like Mr. Cameron is attempting to gain favor and increase donations from the guileless public. For shame!”
And another volunteer:
“I never got gas money for the dogs I transported – nor was it offered. I would also like to know how much the shelter contributed to the Workman Fund.”
“The shelter got gas money from CARE, there were no funds to give to private individuals. The answer is I’m sure ZERO.”
The shelter finally asked for volunteers. We hope they are ready to get to work saving lives. When the people they banned apply, what will they do? Frankly, these people are saving more lives every day with no budget than the shelter is. Will the shelter be smart enough to call them for help? They should be begging for them to return.
When will new policies and procedures be created and enacted? Will they be transparent for those of us that care about homeless pets can see them and support them or make recommendations we know work in other places? When will the shelter start reaching out to the dozens of homeless pet supporters ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work saving the lives of Canon City and Fremont County’s homeless dogs and cats?
Thanks to Lynn for the information that prompted this post.