Sunday, December 9, 2012

Shelter Inspections And Real Standards Demanded

It was nice to see so many residents attend the Public Hearing by the Delaware Animal Welfare Task Force on November 29, especially considering that some media outlets didn't post about the upcoming meeting until the day of the hearing.  There was one consistent theme that came out of the meeting, the need for inspections of our animal shelters, and real standards of care that ensure animal health and welfare.
Erin Giebel, a veterinarian at Savannah Animal Hospital suggested a local physician or committee under the Department of Agriculture should oversee shelters. She said this person or committee could inspect shelters to ensure they are following animal standards laws.
“They could be doing spot checks and unannounced visits,” Giebel said. “They should also limit the rescue groups and create a list, so anyone can find them.”
Giebel also wants guidelines for animal vaccinations and alterations for all animals. Similar to guidelines for vaccinating children, Giebel said a timeline for vaccinating and fixing animals is not difficult to establish. - Article by Rachel Mavity - Cape Gazette
The Cape Gazette article will provide you a great deal of information regarding the various speakers at the public hearing.

Lindsay, who is now employed elsewhere as a vet tech, said all shelters should be held accountable for what goes on at animal shelters.
“Safe Haven has become a hoarding situation and something needs to be done,” Lindsay said.  - Article by Rachel Mavity - Cape Gazette

Demanding Random Unannounced Inspections And Real Animal Shelter Regulation

I've said for some time that Delaware's CAPA, or as the politicians like to call it "the shelter standards", has never been what most of us would consider to be real standards that ensure healthy and safe conditions for our animals.  There are consistently complaints about various shelters, on both sides of the no-kill battle here in Delaware.  So it's time for our legislature and governor to come up with a solution by enacting comprehensive animal shelter and rescue regulation, especially now that there appears to be common ground for both sides requesting regulation.  Regulations that ensure an animal is fed and watered appropriately, proper sanitation, proper cage space, etc.  North Carolina passed similar legislation in recent years, and it's shameful that in Delaware there is not one agency authorized to inspect a shelter, or address most of the issues brought up at the recent public hearing.

Unfortunately our CAPA, which is reminiscent of a teenager pact by the self proclaimed cool kids to bully everyone else, needs to be replaced with a grown up laws like the North Carolina one.

Amusing Highlight

I think the most amusing comment of the night was by Lois Fargo, a board member for the Safe Haven organization.  There appeared to be a great deal of excuses and claims that Kent County SPCA had of "coordinating a smear campaign against the Georgetown shelter", but the fact is that the people who spoke against their shelter was an employee that left on good terms, and a volunteer who had volunteered as a foster caregiver for Safe Haven.  Neither has any connections to the Kent County SPCA, and in fact do have first hand knowledge of Safe Haven, so it's obvious that Ms. Fargo's claim of a smear campaign couldn't be more wrong.
Safe Haven co-founder Lois Fargo disputed those claims, insisting that the agency is the target of harassment because of its no-kill policy.
"It is a group of people led by one woman who worked with us for two weeks and she later told our board of directors that she really wanted the executive director job," she told the task force. "Marleen here tried to break into our facility to steal a dog but we did not press charges." - Article by Stephen Goss - Dover Post

Ms. Fargo's comments reached the pinnacle of ridiculous when she even accused a woman than runs a rescue in New Castle County of trying to steal one of their dogs.  This rescuer had posted on a public Facebook page that she was going to go to Safe Haven back in March to see how far along their construction had progressed, and even has video of her self guided tour outside of the facility.

Based on the construction workers casual interaction with the rescuer in the video, I'm just not hearing the theme song from Mission Impossible in my head, or picturing Marleen with a grappling hook and camouflaged  face for this alleged theft attempt. Considering she has enough on her plate trying to find homes for the dogs already in her care, it does seem ludicrous to believe that she would go to Safe Haven steal a dog.  But I will certainly entertain the fact that there could be a ghost dog from the Safe Haven directors Kentucky past in one of the empty kennels seen in the video that Ms. Fargo thought Marleen was out to steal, and would welcome any ghost busters out there to view the video to search for the dog that the rest us us can't see ;)

Speaking up

I hope the Delaware Animal Welfare Task Force has the next Public Hearing in a larger venue.  The rhetoric since the meeting is getting more intense, which will bring more people forward for the next hearing.

I know that that some of those that spoke had concerns about the fate of the animals if they came forward. But for anyone who hasn't some forward, please keep in mind that the more animals that end up warehoused, the less likely authorities will be able to save as many as possible.
Of the nearly 200 dogs in Safe Haven’s care, only 80 are living at the Shingle Point Road facility outside Georgetown, Gryczon said. The remaining 120 dogs, Gryczon said, are divided among two off-site kennels, one in Kent County and one in Sussex, she said. - Article by Rachel Mavity - Cape Gazette
So if you, or anyone you know, has concerns that need to be brought forward, please contact anyone and everyone concerning those issues.  Contact the Attorney General office, and your state senators and representatives, and the governors office.  Don't wait until we end up like Lied Animal Shelter in Las Vegas where 1000 dogs and cats had to be euthanized due to crowded conditions and disease outbreaks. The more animals that become involved, the less likely that there will be a good outcome for as many animals as possible.