Recent Transpirings

There have been a lot of changes happening at Columbus Animal Care & Control. There was quite an uproar after my last two blogs (which can be read here and here) were posted and shared by many. I knew there would be repurcussions, so I immediately began sharing information about Section 1983, “a very old legal remedy available to rescuers who find that their advocacy on the front lines has led to the suspension or elimination of their rights to visit, monitor, and rescue animals from these shelters.”. Every animal advocate should be familiar with Section 1983, as it protects volunteers and rescuers from retaliation for speaking up for the animals that we are here to save.

The day my blogs were shared, I was blocked from posting to Animal Control’s facebook page (and subsequently had another citizen blocked for sharing a comment of mine). This was a page that had been created to “provide information and answer questions from the public”. Instead, the staff monitoring the page became defensive and started DELETING the tough questions instead of using them as an opportunity to educate, and BLOCKING anybody who they felt threatened the status-quo.

They quickly changed the page so that users (that AREN’T blocked from the page) can only respond in comments, under the status updates that the staff provides – which mostly includes fluff pieces like “Yay, we adopted out 3 dogs, 1 cat was returned to her owner, and 2 dogs were transfered to a rescue!”. Two days later, the entire Volunteer Program was cancelled.

A short history lesson: Columbus Animal Care & Control moved into their brand new building in November of 2009. In an effort to save on resources, it was decided that the new building would also house the entire Special Enforcement Division, which in addition to Animal Control, includes complaints about neighboring overgrown lawns, junk cars, and more. At that time, the Special Enforcement Division Manager (the head honcho) was Chris Brown. For reasons unconfirmed, he was removed from that position (relocated somewhere with the city) and replaced by Drale Short. Shortly after, Drale Short was removed, and Chris Brown was reinstated - we’ve been working with him with since our No Kill initiative began earlier this year. Well, Chris Brown has proven his inability to make real change, instead only providing excuse after excuse as to why things are now the way they are. Last Friday Chris Brown was removed from his position for the second time, and he was replaced by none other than Ms. Drale Short. And so it goes – Chris Brown, Drale Short, then Chris Brown again, followed by Drale Short again, all within 2 short years. I welcome any and all theories as to why this game of musical chairs has been going on in our city…

So, when Drale Short came on board she cancelled the Volunteer Program. The day before the Volunteer Program was scheduled to launch, the appointed Volunteer Coordinator backed out. Luckilly, the Volunteer Orientation continued as planned, lead by the staff at the limited-intake shelter next door, PAWS Humane, but it provided little (if any) real information or training specifically for Animal Control. The volunteer program was basically a free-for-all, set-up for failure from the very beginning, which is supposedly why it has been put on hiatus - until some structure and protocol can be developed. A smart move in my opinion.

A volunteer gets a helping hand while making signs for our Off-Site Adoption Event!

Two new Volunteer Coordinators have been appointed. Caitlyn Townsend (who created and runs the Happy Homes facebook page) is the Off-site Adoption Coordinator, and Sally Gowins is the In-house Volunteer Coordinator. We will be meeting with Drale Short and others later this week, and hope to have the volunteer programs up and running asap.

Off-site adoptions have continued (with some limitations), with volunteers that have already attended the orientation being allowed to host their own off-site adoption events, which we did Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of last week. Drale Short has been helping to get these off-site adoption events organized, more efficient, and most importantly “by the books”. We all want them to be as successful as possible, and the sooner we’re all on the same page, the more lives we can be saving!

Right now, I think we need more volunteers with organizational skills that can help manage some of the volunteer groups that will be created. *Check back for information about upcoming volunteer orientations.*

A lot has changed since Drale Short was at Animal Control. The community has been quite clear in what we want, and what we’re willing to do – and that’s ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that is needed to save these pets! This is her chance to look really good, and to make this city look really good, by embracing and implementing the programs and services of the No Kill Equation.

Unfortunately (and isn’t there always something), miscommunications, easily treatable illnesses like URI and *suspected* Coccidia, along with the staff’s need to “make space”, continues to cost lives. These are LIVES that we’re talking about… it could be your dog, it could be my cat, but my next blog will include my rant about the lives lost this weekend.

In addition, the staff-person mentioned in this blog (who dragged and bloodied the small dogs) is still employed by Animal Control.

8 Responses to “Recent Transpirings

  • First, limiting the off site Adoptions to 5 animals is ridiculous, and killing the day before the adoption event is just wrong. The changes that are coming such as individual rescuers are not being allowed to (adopt) more than 5 animals a year is a slap in the face to No Kill! AC is counting the adoption per person as you read this.
    Making nice and sympathizing with the powers to be will get you nowhere in Columbus. The good ole boy’s with the old money call the shots in this town and the majority of them are in the Humane Society of Columbus, which by the way has been fighting and blocking the No Kill Movement from day one. Since PawsHumane holds a City contract as being the adoption center for CACC why is it that they are not doing more? According to the IRS tax return for 2009 PawsHumane has almost 1 million dollars in stock, income revenue of $ 1,2 million, paid $ 642,000.00 in salaries but yet no money for the animals of this community. They have aimed No Kill towards AC while they are the man behind the curtain.

  • I couldn’t agree more, but am hoping that the 5 animal limit will be increased after we get some of the logistics straightened out. Saturday, the off-site adoption host had to spend almost an hour going back to Animal Control for more pets after they adopted out all the dogs they brought with them!
    As far as PAWS… it all comes down to priorities. If SAVING LIVES were more important than MAKING MONEY, things would be a lot different for the animals in Columbus.

  • Keep up the good work and the wonderful efforts. I am getting so sick of small minds and big egos who are in positions of power and ABUSE their authority to block progress and keep on killing. Sickening.

    • Are we allewod to volunteer for a particular part in a catagory ie. in Marketing + Publicity, would I be able to only volunteer for, let’s say, assisting with the management of facebook/twitter account ? Or whatever part

  • While Mayor Teresa Tomlinson finds the name ” No Kill” offensive, no one within the City Government find the actual killing offensive. Saving life’s becomes controversy and killing is viewed as noble?

  • http://www.irs.gov/charities/article/0,,id=135033,00.html

    Request a copy of any non profit organizations tax return directly from the IRS :)

  • If PAWS was looking to really rescue animals they would adopt the ones that have been there the longest. Instead they pull the cute yorkies, Maltese, and other dogs that are pretty much guaranteed to be adopted. It’s all about money…

  • I was told about the meeting last Thursday and how AC is being even more resistent to implementing Save-A-Pet (aka SAP – that’s us!) Maybe now is the time to call the mayor out about her deception in saying the killing will end while the killing goes on; time we did letters to the newspaper and contacted reporters; time to get on City Council’s agenda and flooding the room with citizens; directing energy towards community outreach to get more people speaking out; getting petitions signed, etc. Do you know if the No Kill Advocacy Center is available for guidance? We sure could use some experienced help right now. The poor, poor animals are dying because people at animal control are on a deadly power trip! It is beyond my understanding what kind of person wants innocent cats and dogs to die.

    Is there another NK meeting planned any time soon?

    Stephani, I hope you won’t give up on us in Columbus. It all feels so defeating, but, as Gandhi said about all great social movements, “First, they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.” I say, let them bring on the fight so we can win!

    And, Keep Fighting the Good Fight.

    Jan

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