Last December many of us were deeply moved by the Just One Dog video of sweet Stanley’s rescue from a California shelter. Sadly we have another stark reminder that Stanley’s story is only unique in the he was noticed by someone who could help. Cookie, pictured above, was just another dog suffering a tortured existance in a Georgia county shelter that appears to have some serious problems. Fortunately, he is out of the Floyd County shelter, is now being treated by a vet, and is getting pain medications, treatment to ease his itching, and treatment for all his underlying problems. Cookie has a Facebook page documenting his progress.
I think so many public shelters in the U.S. are overburdened, understaffed, and underfunded and the Floyd Co. Shelter where Cookie was found is no different. For instance, in 2009 a proposal to expand the facility was stopped by the County Commission. Earlier this year though, the Floyd County animal shelter began working with volunteers from 52 rescuce groups to improve things. Then in September, the Georgia Dept. of Agriculture investigation of a case of animal hoarding lead to the discovery that not all of the resuce groups were following regulations. A press release from the county says:
reference-checking has been delegated to others outside of Floyd County, animal tags have been falsified, and licenses apparently used improperly in the rescue of animals….animals from the Animal Shelter (were) transported to uncertified rescues and persons who are not legally compliant in their home cities/counties…
So the volunteer program was suspended until it could be reexamined. Shelter director Jason Broome and the County Commission are ultimately responsible for these problems and Broome has publicly said he takes full responsibility. Cookie was found in the aftermath of this upheaval.
If there is to be any finger pointing though, I think that finger should be pointed right back at us, the public. I believe a lot of us don’t want to think about what goes on in our public animal shelters. I know I don’t. And the problems there can seem insurmountable. However:
- We need to speak up and demand that our animal control departments recieve proper funding.
- We must demand that progressive, qualified directors be hired to oversee operations and to set goals.
- If we visit a public shelter and see problems, we need to act—contact the director to politely voice your concernes & contact your representatives to let them know.
- Spay & neuter your pets. Don’t contribute to the numbers of unwanted cats & dogs.
- And, please, think long & hard about buying a pet when there are so very many cats & dogs in shelters who desperately need someone who cares.