Thanks for the Kuranda bed donations… but we won’t be using them.

Kuranda beds are the gold standard of dog bedding in shelters, they not only provide off-the-floor comfort, but as stated on their website, “The Kuranda dog bed is vet recommended to help prevent joint-related difficulties and eliminate ugly elbow calluses. It is beneficial for arthritic, geriatric and special needs pets.”

The dogs at Columbus Animal Control are provided with NO bed or bedding of any sort, and are forced to sleep on the hard cement floor. A few months ago, one animal loving citizen utilized Kuranda’s Donate A Bed Program for Columbus Animal Control so that people could purchase beds to be donated to the shelter! It’s proven successful and over 20 beds have been donated so far! Sounds awesome, right?

I’m left wondering why these beautiful brand new Kuranda beds are always hanging on the walls of the kennels and never on the ground for the dogs??? I was there Saturday, and I put them all down for the dogs to lay on before I left. Sure enough when I was there tonight all but two or three were again hanging on the walls, out of reach for these dogs who are spending tonight on the cement.

And why aren’t they being used, you ask? Was it a mistake? Did somebody forget to take them down after cleaning? No. One volunteer said, “I had heard that when it is cold they would not be used as the floor is heated.” Another said, ” I was told the same about the beds, the floor is the only source of heat :(

Sure, heated floors are pretty nifty, but what the heck (and I’m really biting my toungue here) is the point of having us ask people to donate beds, if Animal Control isn’t even going to use them? The floor is made of cement, and *NEWSFLASH* cement is not comfortable. There’s enough room for the dogs to choose where they want to lay down, there are TWO SIDES of every run/kennel! The simple act of giving the dogs a choice has proven to help reduce stress in a shelter environment. A warm but hard cement floor, or a not as warm, yet comfortable bed.

We’re being told that there is no point to those beds at least, what, 3 – 4 months out of the year? There are two sides to each run, one side can have a bed, one can not. WHY do I even have to explain this!?! Think about it – would YOU choose to sit/lay down on the cement, when you could be laying on a comfortable bed? Why is Animal Control taking that option away from these dogs, when the beds are hanging IN the runs???

Seriously, I can only take so much of this. This is COMMON SENSE, the beds are there to be used. They were donated by some very generous folks for a reason, those people paid good money for these beds so that they could be used, and the shelter isn’t allowing that to happen.

WHY the constant obstacles in the face of what seem like common sense solutions? It’s one thing to NOT allow me to give the donated Milk Replacement to a litter of 3-4 week old kittens (which I still attribute for the subsequent death of all four kittens days after they were released from AC), but now beds have been donated and they won’t use those either?

SOLUTION: If the comfortable bed were provided, they could give them blankets for warmth. Or, if they refuse to use the beds, blankets should be used for padding on the warm cement floor. I don’t want to hear the same ol’ “the dogs chew them up”, “the blankets make cleaning more difficult” or “blankets clog the drains”. MOST dogs would not chew them up if provided with the physical and mental stimulation that they so totally need, and if they were being monitored as they should, those dogs that DO chew blankets could be identified and no blankets for them. Or heck, don’t give anybody blankets, but GIVE THEM A FREAKIN’ BED FOR CHRIST’S SAKE!

Some of these are OLD DOGS, some are dogs with injuries, many are malnourished with bones protruding, there are dogs with arthiritis, hip dysplasia, these are our pets, and it could be your dog.

PetFinder.com lists their Minimum Requirement Guide for Dogs in Shelters, and at the very top of the list is a bed. “I don’t care if he chews his bedding, defecates on it every night, urinates on it, or chooses to push it out of the way. Every dog deserves something soft and dry to sleep on.”

Testimonials from satisfied Kuranda users: “Those beds have truly made a difference in the comfort of our dogs. We recently have had some severe abuse cases and these beds supported their weaken bodies.” – Laurie Dethloff Executive Director, Central Nebraska Humane Society

“They really do bring up the quality of life for our shelter dogs. Our shelter takes in over 50,000 animals a year, sadly often there are few things we can do for them other than make them comfortable. The Kuranda beds make that possible. Our hearts get broken a lot; giving a dog a great bed makes the job a little easier. Plus, I sleep better at night knowing they sleep better at night.” – Brenda Central California SPCA

If you have been gracious enough to donate a Kuranda bed for the dogs at Columbus Animal Control, or if you want Animal Control to start thinking about the well being of the animals, please politely contact Drale Short, Special Enforcement Division Manager, and tell her that you think the dogs should be given the beds that have been donated to them. Her e-mail is DShort@ColumbusGA.org, or you can call the shelter at 706.653.4512 and you can ask to speak with her.

************ Update as of 3:00pm, 11/02/2011 ***************

I sent a message to Drale Short to inquire about the beds. This is her response: “This facility was designed to be a temporary holding shelter for animals. With this mission in mind radiant heating was installed so all of the dog runs are heated throughout the winter and during the summer cool water runs through those same pipes to ensure comfort for the animals. We also must look at the size of the animals, space is limited in these runs, and if we have to double up or have a big dog in a run there is no room for a karunda bed especially the runs with the guillotine in between, there is no room. We also find the majority of the dogs either urinate on them or chew on the legs. We must remember the majority of the animals we receive are stray and are not acclimated to furniture of any kind. We will continue to use them in our 8 long runs that do not have a guillotine door. ”

Of course, I see a few problems here. First of all – if the dogs pee on the beds FREAKING CLEAN THEM! Is that really too much to ask? Dogs pee on things, they also pee on the concrete floor that they are forced to lay on. Second, according to Karunda’s website, these beds are made up of a “Patented, chewproof design”, AND replacement parts can be purchased for a small fee. Finally, to imply that these dogs have all been living on the streets their entire lives is simply ludicrous. Taking their intake numbers and average age of the dogs entering the facility, it’s silly to suggest that Columbus could possible have that many stray dogs at any one time. Most of them are OWNED ANIMALS that don’t even need new homes, they need to be reunited with their owners… but that’s a whole other can of worms!

 

22 Responses to “Thanks for the Kuranda bed donations… but we won’t be using them.

  • I have sent an email to the shelter and I hope that everyone else will too.

  • Stefani, do you ever get a headache from butting heads with Animal Care and Control? I’d be surprised if you didn’t. Every step has been met with resistance. Oh, sure they finally came around to some of the requests and sometimes I even thought you were pushing for too much too fast. But this bed thing is ludicrious. Let me get some facts first. We you told the beds were not going to be used in cold weather? Were you told told the center made use of geothermal heat? Did they have an explanation for why the beds weren’t just put in the kennels as you said to let the dogs decide where they wanted to lay? Is ACC being painted as the “bad man” when there is a legitimate explanation? I’m pretty sure PAWS made use of geothermal heat in some parts of their building too, but I don’t know if that resulted in taking the Kuranda beds out of their kennels(or never putting them in there). I can imagine the persons donating them and finding out they won’t be used for half the year will be incensed. The beds don’t come cheap and I understand that some donors provided more than one. If, as you have written, ACC doesn’t have a very logical excuse for their decision, it would seem to be one more example of their lack of interest in working for change in the program. I’m very interested in your posting from yesterday on finding out about the “TOTAL” number of animals killed at ACC because numbers aren’t making a lot of sense. If they kill twenty pitbulls a day because they are vicious, then say you are forced to do that. Don’t hide the facts. I don’t think Winograd ever intended for that kind of animal to be placed in a family setting. But make sure you have that documented by dependable sources(more than one). As we advocate for the animals in this county, the numbers of animals euthanized is a figure used often to convince people they need to be concerned(greatly concerned). It also goes a long way in getting people to adopt rescue dogs and cats from shelters rather than “buy” them. It isn’t that they should want to brag that the number is high. Advocates just need to know what they’re facing. And this business about not wanting the criteria for choosing the animals slated for “killing” on a given day to be known is also ridiculous. You can’t put down an animal before its adoption date and not expect people to notice. Just as you can’t allow an adoption before that animal has stayed the required number of days required for owner reclaim. You’re right about the Open Records act. People are using it all the time these days. You can still find a way to hide some things but the internet makes it harder to hide most things. Keep prodding away. Gains are being made and little backslips like the Kuranda beds should not make you feel like you’re hitting your head against a brick wall.

  • Thanks Linda, and yes, I often feel that way. Why do we have to waste our time getting upset about these things that can so easily be prevented, when we should be focusing on what’s important – SAVING LIVES!

    Geothermal heating is the process where underground piping absords heat from the earth, and relays that energy to the surface, in this case, the cement floor of the dog runs.

    At PAWS Humane, the holding room with the geothermal heating has about 6 or 7 runs, with HALF of each run heated, and the other half NOT heated, and yes, Linda, they do provide Karunda beds in those runs. In my experience, the dogs don’t even REALISE the floor is heated(!), and they still CHOOSE to lay on the comfortable beds.

    Who’s bright idea was it anyway, to take that option away from these animals? It takes just ONE PERSON. ONE PERSON can make or break our efforts… or at least try to break us. It’s frustrating, to say the least.

  • I also have radiant heat. I still use a bed. They should look up the definition of radiant, heat RISES morons. Laying directly on the heated concrete is probably too hot for the dogs.

  • I just emailed her I hope many more do as well.

  • I’ve just sent an email in protest. Thanks for the good and frustrating work!

  • That’s a shame to have them and not utilize them. I work with a very small county shelter in Cobden, IL. These poor dogs have NO beds, NO access to outside runs and only ONE light in the tiny building. It’s shameful, but it’s all they have. The AC does the best he can for these poor animals. I’m 150 miles away and deal with a lot of Animal Controls. I’m very impressed by this one man trying to do his best by these discarded and abandoned animals.

    • What’s really sad is that we are trying, people really do care about the well-being of EVERY SINGLE ONE of these animals, and it’s like they refuse to believe that it’s possible. Sherrie, your AC has NOTHING – Columbus Animal Control is extremely lucky to have such generous supporters, and if I had donated one of those beds, I’d feel really unappreciated. And the community is FULL of caring concerned people that are getting fed up. It’s so simple, it’s like magic, the solution is this: The No Kill Equation.

  • Wow!!! I’ve just read 98% of the above and only “1″ person pointed out what went through my mind since the first sentence written on this whole situation. And that was how heat “rises”. Those beds allow the air to circulate around the bed and animal and yes, if the floors are heated, then there is a chance that the dogs paw pads are probably getting burned. Since you don’t know what the dogs have been through prior to showing up at the shelter, there is no way of knowing whether the dogs have sensitive feet or issues. Their paws don’t have to be burned to prove that. I’m with you all, if beds are given to a shelter for dogs to lay on them, then it seems like the only “humane” thing to do is allow the dogs an opportunity (one they may not have had prior to arriving and may or may not have after they leave the shelter) to sleep comfortably during their time there. Since a shelter is a “middle of the road” (one of life’s pit stops, if you will) before the dogs move on to better housing, it seems like it would be a “common sense” situation. If you don’t agree, then why don’t you stay the night in one of those concreted floor cages. One night without the bed and one night with a bed or something more comfortable to lay on. Once you put yourselves in their situation you might just see how uneducated a decision you have come to has affected all of us who have responded. We all need to walk a mile in other’s shoes especially if we are in a position to make or break their living conditions. These are expensive beds, give the animals a chance to experience a good night sleep for once in their lives. What have you got to lose? Who knows, maybe the dogs will wake up in better, happier dispositions. How will you know if you don’t offer/try?

  • This city really makes me sick !

  • Please tell these people to open there eyes and make these animals as comfortable as possible. Use the darn beds and give them some kind os peace. If they destory them who cares it is theres and they can do as they please.

  • I have sent a polite email and shared on my fb wall. I hope that everyone can find some time to do the same. The only way to get this animal control to change their ignorant policy about the beds is to pressure them to do so.

  • They probably don’t want to use them since they could care less about the animals anyway. I mean their just gonna gas them all at the end of the week anyway

    • Thank GOD they don’t use gassing chambers at Columbus Animal Control. They kill intraveniously (injecting the Euthanasia solution into their vein) or by Heartstick (stabbing their heart – or closest proximation to it – and injecting the solution into the heart. Since it’s quite difficult to heartstick accurately, most often the solution is injected into their body cavity, taking much longer to effectively kill them). Nice, isn’t it.

  • When I attended the August meeting at the library, I was aware that the speakers repeated that Save-A-Pet was only a proposal at that time and needed to be run pass other city government officials for approval and passage. If it has not become official governmental policy, then AC does not have to do anything they are not willing to do. In the meantime, does anyone know if Save-A-Pet ever became policy? If it did, an attorney might be able to file a Writ of Mandamus and the Superior Court might order the city, i.e. AC, to comply. If not policy, then we are all back to square one and Save-A-Pet virtually does not exist. (The lies to and the deception of the the taxpayers is another matter.)

    Complaining about AC will never get you anywhere – they have all the power and we have none! We have been reduced to arguing with them about off-site adoptions and Karunda beds while they continue to be high-kill! Columbus has and still does operate only on “Who has the power?” If you want anything in Columbus, Georgia to change, you have to create a fairly large public outcry with a few prominant citizens joining in.
    Our local politicans fear that kind of public power.

    Let me assure you, Animal Contol will never change the way it does business without force from the outside. May I suggest a No Kill meeting to discuss how we can do community outreach about the NoKill movement in general and how we believe our local Animal Contol should operate, specifically.

    • The Save-A-Pet Press Conference was Sept 23rd, 2011. Mayor Tomlinson has a photo album on her facebook page here. It is in effect, and is effectly doing nothing. You are right – the Save-A-Pet virtually does not exist.

      And remember, this is OUR city, we pay taxes that fund Animal Control, and they work for US. We have a lot of power, and we have to use it to DEMAND REFORM.

      Yes, Janet. We are in need of another No Kill Meeting. Would you mind making some notes about talking points or a specific agenda, and also look into locations, since the Library is still not taking reservations for their meeting rooms. We need to community to come together and push this No Kill initiative further. It’s time to get serious.

  • I also had to send an email but I have to say it wasn’t very nice. I meen why would they care all the animals will be gassed at the end of the week anyway

  • Oops just now read the above comment but yes the heartstick method is no better very painful and takes too long. I’m just so fed up with these so called shelters and their methods of euthanization it’s supposed to be humane!

  • I have sent an email. I let them have it!! As a vet tech I know the importance of good joint health. Those beds will help provide that. I stated that they need to comply with the community or the community will not support them. Then will there be a need for their job? I also asked them to use compassion in their decisions. Clearly they have used it very little. I was blunt and to the point because that seems to be all they understand. I don’t waste my time being polite with people whom choose to be heartless. I just state the facts for those who cannot speak for themselves. I’ve grown weary of the lack of compassion amongst these so called shelters.

  • This whole situation is so frustrating. I donated one of those beds and it sickens me to see that it’s going to waste. I currently have a small dog myself that I rescued 3 years ago, and she is the best thing in my life. I’m not able to foster animals where I currently live nor financially able to take care of more than one animal right now. My resources are limited and when I’m able to I donate food and items to PAWS, I do. The Kuranda bed I donated recently was my first donation to animal control and I am offended that they are wasting resources that people in this community are providing for them so that these animals can have just a little bit of comfort. It seems as if this city’s officials are slapping this community in the face not only by this blatant disregard of donations but also by putting all liability on volunteers at the off-site adoptions and limiting the resources for getting animals photos and information out to the public. It honestly appears that the officials of this city want the no kill movement here to fail. This community has shown huge support for the no kill equation and city officials need to open their eyes and realize that this disregard for the lives and comfort of our animals will not be tolerated.

    • Just sent an e-mail to Ms. Short and the mayor in regards to all of this as well.

  • Stefani,

    Thanks for the response. If community outreach is on the agenda for the next meeting, I’ll be glad to add my thougths and perceptions. Since I’m not a good community organizer, maybe as a group, we can come up with a plan that each of us will be willing to take some part in.

    I have been working non-stop with others to put together a program for feral cats that AC will allow. Ferals need places for relocation, vets who will do sterilization at a reasonable fee, sponsors to help fund that sterilization and volunteers to monitor and feed. We have had promising results and am trying to arrange a meeting of TNR volunteers to decide what we do next. Hopefully, someone from the feral cat program will have good news to report at the next No Kill meeting.

    Sorry but I don’t know of any places to meet except libraries, the college, continuing ed center, Cols Tech, restaurants. The TNR volunteers are only a few and we’re struggling to decide on a time and where to meet!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>