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!
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!