Valerie Davis, director of the Humane Society of Richmond County, wrote a letter to the editor of her local paper in response to “several issues that have come about lately in the public eye.” (Anyone have any idea what these issues are and care to share?) Instead of addressing the actual issues, however, Ms. Davis ripped a page out of the High-Kill Shelter Director’s Self-Defense Manual and decided to get defensive, blame the public and call them irresponsible and then tell them they have no right to say anything if they aren’t doing her job for free.
The public is so quick to demand service. They wish to surrender animals at will without making donations. They allow their pets to breed and then surrender the litters to us. They will refuse to spay or neuter even when the service is offered at a low cost.
If the residents of Richmond County and the surrounding townships wish to help with any of these shortcomings we welcome their help and guidance. If you’re not supporting the shelter in some way, then please guard your criticism.
In 2011, the Humane Society of Richmond County threw more than 70 percent of the pets they took in into the dumpster. And the woman in charge there wants to lecture her community about how to take care of animals? So much for leading by example. And is it any wonder that the public is not beating a path to volunteer for her when she has demonized them and blamed them for her inability to do her job and protect the animals in her so-called “shelter?”
Ms. Davis and/or her staff apparently can’t even thank a supporter without getting in a swipe at her community:
Perhaps if Valerie Davis would stop taking potshots at her community, she could take a few minutes to see that there is an actual proven program that would end the killing of healthy and savable pets in Richmond County. It is in place and working at more than 50 open-admission shelters in communities across the US. But it only works if you stop blaming your failure on your community and forge an actual trusting relationship with them.
But instead Ms. Davis, whose shelter is a recipient of public funds, has the gall to tell taxpayers that they have no right to complain about the service their money is paying her to do. This brings to mind one of my favorite quotes (from YesBiscuit’s Facebook page):
If you are a taxpayer, you have the right to complain about the municipal services, including your local animal shelter, funded by your tax dollars. Don’t let anyone bully you into silence by telling you that if you aren’t at the animal shelter volunteering, adopting, transporting or whatever, you have no right to speak about the shelter. You are paying for it. You have every right.
Imagine if the city hospital was killing the patients and all the candy stripers did was wag their finger and tell people that if they weren’t at the hospital passing out magazines, they had no right to complain.
UPDATE: Reader Charlene contributed a comment about her experiences with the Humane Society of Richmond County on the FixNC facebook page.