Tuesday, February 14, 2012

No-Kill to Slow-Kill to Puppy Mill

In a recent post Just One Day, one of the items discussed was that allegations had been made against Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary of Sussex County by former board members and volunteers.  The Cape Gazette article on February 3 discussed concerns and about "financial mismanagement" and "improper care" of animals, with dogs contracting heart worms while under the care of the rescue organization.  The article also referenced the Facebook page for Citizens to Save Safe Haven of Sussex County which detailed even more worrisome allegations.  Everything from dogs being held at commercial kennels for 400+ days, dogs contracting heartworms due to lack of preventative medications, unaltered males and females being housed together in kennels and foster homes resulting in pregnancies, expired vaccinations, and untreated illnesses. 

Despite the many concerns that were brought forward by this group, fellow No-Kill advocate Jane Pierantozzi of Faithful Friends and some Safe Haven supporters stood steadfast in their ideology.  They not only dismissed these concerns as "kinks", but did so without delay in Letters To The Editor posts on February 10.  Due to the quickness of responses, it's apparent that their words of support for current management was made without any due diligence to establish whether there was truth to the allegations. 

Puppies Bred Under Rescue's Care

While these individuals were providing their stamps of approval for management, I decided to look further into the story concerning the rat terrier named Lady and her pregnancy by the cocker spaniel named Smokie.  I remembered Lady's picture from Safe Haven's site last year when they were taking a number of transfers from Kent County SPCA.  She is a pretty little thing that would have no doubt been adopted quickly if she had remained at KCSPCA.  Instead she was transferred to Safe Haven.  Although she has disappeared from Safe Haven's website, she is shown below in this picture from their Facebook page posted July 21, 2011. 

Lets jump ahead to January 23, 2012.  Below is Lady as the momma she has become since being transferred to Safe Haven.  Needless to say, far more time has elapsed than the typical 62 day gestation period since her transfer to Safe Haven.  So I don't think they can get away with the argument that her cohabitation with an unsterilized male occurred over 6 months ago at Kent County SPCA, even though that is where they typically like to point the finger at.    

Below I've included a letter written by a Safe Haven supporter about Lady, and one from the supporter that adopted one her babies Swoop.  I have no way of knowing what they were told by the Safe Haven staff that handled these adoptions, but I find the stories extremely bizarre.  Lady was either under the care of Safe Haven at a kennel, in a Safe Haven foster home, or with someone who had adopted Lady from Safe Haven when she became pregnant.  So if there really was cruelty, starvation, and abuse, why wasn't it prosecuted?  Were the stories manufactured to make it look like Lady didn't get pregnant under Safe Haven's care?   I'll let you form your own opinion. It makes my head hurt just trying to keep the stories straight. 

So let's meet the proud papa Smokie.  This is his picture posted to Safe Haven's Facebook on July 21, 2011.


And here are the 5 babies that I know of.



Sweet Pea

While you're forming your opinion regarding the alleged rescue from a starving and cruelty situation, keep in mind that there is also a picture of Missy at 3 weeks old on Safe Haven's FB page.  So when did this alleged cruelty happen?  It seems from the pictures that they knew where the dogs were and were taking snapshots of their progress.

Missy - 3 weeks

While this is only one of the alleged cases of pregnancy that Citizens to Save Safe Haven discussed, I think any reasonable person can conclude that "no-kill" at any cost is not acceptable.  Nathan Winograd professes that to states considering CAPA, that communities can become "no-kill" overnight.  Well this is what happens when a state tries to do that with reckless legislation that states a shelter must transfer to non-profit rescue no matter how they operate.

There's no doubt in my mind that Lady would have been adopted without the transfer to Safe Haven.  While that may not have been the case for Smokie due to some medical conditions, we also have to consider the ramifications of the resulting pregnancy.  Although Smoke may have been a save, his save cost 5 other dogs their lives.  Those are dogs that could have been adopted into the families that adopt these 5 puppies.  It makes no difference whether these 5 puppies were bred by a puppy mill, or by negligence of the rescue organization's management. 

And it's even sadder that the 5 dogs who lost adoptive homes to the puppies are considered "kinks" that need to be worked out or "operational challenges".  I can't imagine any adult not knowing that you shouldn't place unaltered males and females in the same house, let alone people that are supposed to be shelter professionals. 

No-Kill to Slow-Kill

Citizens to Save Safe Haven also have a website  which is continually adding more information about their complaints.  Of particular interest is the page concerning Anne Gryczon's tenure at the Humane Society of Henderson County.  According to the newspaper The Gleaner, the following comments were made regarding an impromptu inspection of that facility:

"The place was not real clean. Quite honestly, in my opinion, there were still too many animals being housed there. There was one cage that had seven in it and another had six dogs. It was way overcrowded, ... They're holding way too many animals. There were animals loose throughout the facility. There was food and feces on the floor. We're trying to hold onto every animal we've got," instead of euthanizing them. That is creating a major, major portion of our problems (with disease), from parvo to distemper. We're turning it from a no-kill to a slow-kill facility because of the disease."  Judge-Executive Sandy Watkins
The article also notes that the Humane Society of the United States and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals had sent complaints to officials in Henderson. 

Could the above description be the future of animal welfare in Delaware due to CAPA?  We lost a shelter director that operated a clean and fiscally responsible shelter for 18 years, despite being tasked with handling 75% of the animals across the state.  That shelter was continually being vilified for doing their job.  The same "no-kill" community that attacked Kent County SPCA now shows us that they have a far lower standard for their own shelters.

I wish Citizens to Save Safe Haven well.  It's nice to seem some additional sound minds in the world of Delaware animal welfare.