According to a report in the Richmond County Daily Journal, the Humane Society of Richmond County may change its mind about turning the animal shelter over to the county at the end of October, which they voted to do last week.
Some animal advocates believe that turning the pound over to county would be a bad thing. One wrote in the comments of a previous post here:
When city/county/state government is in charge of “shelters” you can bet deaths will be their top agenda. Their idea of “efficient” means killing more, less work for them. There is no compassion in any government run “shelter” I’ve ever seen. They are not shelters, but a place to cage cats & dogs until they kill them.
The Humane Society running that shelter may not of saved as many lives as possible, but when the local government takes over you’ll see the killing increase greatly. I’m just so sorry for dogs & cats that ever get involved with “shelter/pounds”. There’s gotta be a better way.
But a look at HSRC’s killing record casts doubt on that view. In 2011, slightly more than 70 percent of the “furbabies” that came into their pound ended up in the dumpster. Even county-run pounds not known for trying very hard can manage a better live outcome rate than that:
- Person County pound, 2011 kill rate: 67.71 percent
- Charlotte-Mecklenburg pound, 2011 kill rate: 64.31 percent
- Harnett County pound, 2011 kill rate 64.18 percent
- Robeson County pound, 2011 kill rate 61.38 percent
- Rutherford County pound, 2011 kill rate 51.37 percent
- Wayne County pound, 2011 kill rate 56.62 percent.
Heck, even the Granville County pound, whose director purposefully doesn’t put pets up for adoption because she would rather kill them has a kill rate only slightly higher than the HSRC’s (77.75 percent).
A look at the stats over the last 10 years shows that the pound has always been high kill. The best year of that whole period seems to be 2004, when the adoption rate was up to just over 28 percent and the kill rate dipped to just under 64 percent.
Being run by a non-profit group instead of a city or county does not at all guarantee that a pound will be better run or kill fewer animals. The late not-so-great Johnston County SPCA was a stinking example. The Durham County Animal Shelter is run by the very well-funded non-profit Animal Protection Society of Durham, and its kill rate was more than 68 percent in 2011.
What determines the success of a shelter is the dedication of it’s leadership. A look at the ever-growing list of No Kill communities shows a mix of shelters run by cities/counties and by non-profits, all with save rates of more than 90 percent. What they have that kill pounds don’t is leadership that rejects the “save a few, kill the rest” approach, is committed to implementing the programs necessary to stop the killing and is dedicated to working with their community instead of blaming them.
HSRC director Valerie Davis, on the other hand, gets defensive, calls her community irresponsible and tells them to just shut up. Instead of being inspired to help at Davis’ pound, some volunteers feel driven away. Here are some excerpts from a comment left at the FixNC facebook page:
There are some really good people that truly want to help animals but they are outnumbered or overpowered by the people that don’t have a clue what they’re doing and as you can see, refuse to listen to feedback to make improvements.
They had some fabulous volunteers and people working for no-kill (which only lasted a few months), but many have become fed up or were run off. The doors are often locked early but they blame people for not coming in. I’ve shown up with 250 lbs of food when a facebook request went out (by the way, Valerie made a post on FB to refute their being out of food and defending their practices rather than clarifying and showing appreciation) because they were so low, and the shelter was closed 30 minutes early. Another person from out of town was trying to donate an SUV full of cat items after her pet passed away, a third person had a large bag of food, and two families coming to adopt left because they couldn’t get in. I waited until someone was leaving and caught the door and carried everything in, with the help of that one person leaving, without so much as a thank you from Valerie and Cindy who were talking at the desk no more than 2 feet away.
The shelter smells so bad it’s horrible even though the local mercantile has donated cleaners. The building is not properly ventilated and the only response you get is “it’s a shelter, what do you expect.”
My fiance went to HSRC for the first time so we could fill out adoption papers for 3 dogs my Mom and I fostered and when a couple weren’t even spoken to and were about to leave, he jumped in and showed them around by following the pawprints and guessing, talked about the benefits of pets, and helped them find a dog that would fit their lifestyle so they became adopters that day without ever speaking to an actual employee until signing the adoption papers.
We’ve fostered, adopted, donated money and hundreds of pounds of food, and taken treats and toys to the animals but I don’t even read the FB page or walk in any longer because it’s so frustrating and breaks my heart that so many animals die via heartstick while blaming the community instead of finding ways to home or foster pets and educate the public.
If the employees seem to hate the place, what are potential adopters supposed to think? I thought having some brochures that would help people find animals that would best fit into their homes and lifestyles would be a help in adoption and preventing returns to the shelter but never heard a response.
I suggested having a program to get local businesses to partner with the shelter to become their “pet partner” or “partner in paws” for the month. The business makes a donation and for that month the shelter puts up a flyer and info on facebook about that business. I gave the example of working with an autoparts store and in exchange for the donation, the flyer would describe a suggestion for preventing accidents when animals run into the road by replacing windshield wipers or headlights and have the store include coupons for just 5-10% off those specific items. People would come into the shelter to get the coupon and have a chance to see animals and the business benefits by increased exposure and customer traffic. Small coupons won’t cut into the profit margin but will draw customers so everyone benefits. I even offered to go with an employee to help pitch the idea but didn’t get so much as a “no thank you.”
If they worked as hard on changing their image as they do blaming the public, maybe so many people wouldn’t be driving to Scotland and Moore Counties to adopt and volunteer instead of the 5-10 minutes across town to their own shelter.
Having the county take over the management of that pound would probably be a good thing. It certainly couldn’t be much worse.