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3/27/2013

Missed coverage on girls soccer

Missed coverage on girls soccer

Just wanted to say thanks for the great coverage of the first home game for the Garden City High School girls soccer team. It was played on March 14, 2013.

KEVIN BUTLER,

Garden City

Shelter makes positive steps

This is in response to the letter from Teresa Chagrin of PETA, regarding the animals euthanized at the shelter a few weeks ago.

The dogs that were put down had been handled and had interacted with shelter staff and volunteers. The pregnant terrier, Moonpie, was due to deliver puppies any day. A rescue had already spoken for her and lined up a special foster home, knowing the behaviors she exhibited at the shelter. Rescues have experienced foster providers, staff members, vets and behavior specialists at their disposal to work with and evaluate dogs. They screen adopters more thoroughly than public shelters to match dogs with appropriate homes.

Ricky, the puppy, was socializing with staff and volunteers without incident immediately before the decision to euthanize. His rescue commitment came a few hours later. While Ricky did display some fear-based behaviors, he made considerable progress at the shelter, working with staff and volunteers. Many fear-based behaviors can be successfully remediated in an experienced foster home and many simply dissipate once the animal is out of the shelter.

Danna Jones, a volunteer, works tirelessly to find rescues for dogs. Her efforts, together with the shelter, volunteers and Humane Society brought the shelter kill-rate for dogs down to around 12 percent last year, which is outstanding for an open-admissions shelter. Danna would not jeopardize future placements for adoptable dogs to gain a placement for a dog she knew would simply be evaluated by the rescue, deemed unadoptable and euthanized by them. Allowing dogs to go to rescues equipped to evaluate and work with special needs reduces the number of dogs killed and provides another layer of observation and training between the shelter and potential adopters, decreasing the likelihood of inappropriate dogs ending up in adoptive homes.

The shelter, Humane Society, and county and city officials are committed to avoiding needless killing. There was never any opposition to appropriate euthanasia; the concern was that it was not the most appropriate outcome in this instance. More than 1,000 dogs were transferred to rescues last year from our shelter. The policies that allowed Moonpie and Ricky to be killed prior to being transported needed to be re-evaluated to take into consideration the current practices and placement options, and both the city and the county responded by making adjustments to facilitate rescue placements for dogs like Moonpie and Ricky.

In contrast, PETA believes that it is better to put an animal down to avoid the possibility of ending up in a bad home and has a history of supporting high-kill policies while criticizing shelters and rescues that attempt to reduce euthanasia rates. PETA has a dismal placement rate for adoptable animals placed in its care, and a high kill rate. We can be proud of what our shelter has accomplished while still asking for better policies to further eliminate unnecessary killing.

As a community, we also owe it to our pets to spay and neuter, discourage backyard breeding, adopt when possible, volunteer, donate and advocate for humane resolutions for animals.

LUCI DOUGLASS,

Garden City

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