The fight for PetFinder continues into National Animal Shelter Reform Week.

This is my follow up to my last blog, PetFinder.com. Designed for shelters, just not this one.

From our own Mayor’s facebook page:
Stefani Buzzard: Why cancel a program that is already saving lives, before the new account is set up? I will be happy once the new PetFinder account is started and linked in real-time to the website, but Drale Short said that it will take AT LEAST two weeks before that happens – what about the animals there now? The first PetFinder account was working, and it saved lives. Why shut down something that was working? Was it because AC was being flooded with phone calls? Was it because people were calling inquiring about pets that weren’t there?

Mayor Tomlinson: No Stefani. It was because the third party doing it for us had many demands on their time and could not update so that the information was out of date and new animals were not getting on PetFinder. We will do it direct now.

Well that’s the first time I heard that answer! It would seem as if their other lame excuses have already been revealed for what they are, so Mayor Teresa Tomlinson just pulled this one out of her butt! So, since the volunteer didn’t keep it updated with every single pet, they decided to cancel it so she couldn’t do anything at all, closing the account before a better alternative had even been created… This is ludicrous! She’s trying to make it sound like they are actually concerned that not every animal was getting exposure, when they didn’t want ANY of the animals on PetFinder to begin with! Some of their animals aren’t even photographed upon intake, and others never make it to their website at all!

The original PetFinder account wasn’t perfect, but it was working. If this is the excuse they want to go with now, why not give us a chance to find another volunteer to help with the work load until their PetFinder account was up and running?

PetFinder tracks the views from all the different websites that the pets information went to. This was sent to me by the volunteer who was updating the original PetFinder account…

Daily Total Views
Saturday November 05, 2011 327
Friday November 04, 2011 381
Thursday November 03, 2011 481
Wednesday November 02, 2011 462
Tuesday November 01, 2011 461
Monday October 31, 2011 354
Sunday October 30, 2011 417
Total Hits 2,883

That’s almost 3,000 views in one week! Even if not ALL the pets were listed, who could deny that it was helping the ones that were? If the new account takes two weeks to set up, that’s 6000 views that these animals are missing out on.

This is just another one of many examples of our efforts being thwarted and unappreciated. The city is NOT letting us help, they don’t want to change and they only do so on an elementary level, and only after a large public outcry. They can still at least try to save face by reactivating the current PetFinder page for the time being. Please contact Mayor Teresa Tomlinson at ttomlinson@columbusga.org or on her facebook page (which she does check regularly) and tell her what you think needs to happen so that we can get down to business and start SAVING these ANIMALS!

Sometimes I try to justify their actions in my head, like surely there must be an explanation, but you have to look at the big picture. Look at what is happening, how difficult this all is being made. It’s so painfully obvious, but because they SAY one thing then DO another, it get’s confusing. They are not, themselve, going to make any real changes. What have they done on their own? They do not have the DESIRE to do any better, so they aren’t going to do any better. But that’s what we’re asking them, that is exactly what we want, for them to do better. The few advancements that have been accomplished were done so only after an unneccessary amount of resistence against US. It’s quite clear what they are saying.

Today is the official kick off to National Animal Shelter Reform Week. It is a week dedicated to educating the American public about neglect and abuse that is rampant in U.S. “shelters”, the systematic killing that goes on there, and what we can do to bring this tragedy to an end. It is also a week dedicated to celebrating the many animal advocates across the country who are fighting to reform our shelters and winning, so that others can be inspired to emulate their success.

No Kill efforts and suggestions for life-saving alternatives for Columbus Georgia’s Animal Care & Control Center have been met with resistance by shelter leaders and city officials. Their Save-A-Pet Program has been grossly misrepresented and has created a false sense of what the city is, or rather is not, doing. In actuality, the entire program has been placed on the shoulders of the Volunteers, while they refuse to accept any responsibility or make any real changes themselves. Animal Control is nonresponsive to questions about procedures and statistics, making transparency impossible and they attempt to censor anything resembling criticism by deleting comments and blocking citizens from their facebook page.

Why did they cancel the volunteer-run Petfinder account? Why will they not put the donated Kuranda beds on the floor for the dogs to use? Why do they let injured animals that are in pain go untreated? Why do they kill animals when they have a rescuer willing to take them? Why do they require their volunteers to accept ALL liability when taking their animals off-site to be adopted? Why did they deny 3 week old kittens the milk substitute that was donated, allowing them instead to eat only adult food, get sick and eventually die? Most disturbingly – why are they not open to listening or at least discussing ideas for a better way – or at the very minimum explaining their way? It seems to me they are more concerned with their public image – not real results. At some point the truth will get out, and the facts speak for themselves.

3 Responses to “The fight for PetFinder continues into National Animal Shelter Reform Week.

  • That is totally bogus. Sounds like somebody is lining their pockets instead of helping pets!

  • Stefani, you said you try to “justify their actions in my head”. I think that’s why I’m staying confused too. Trying to give them(the city/Animal Control) excuses as to why this isn’t being done or that isn’t being done or this is why they’re having to do it this way. I don’t know why I feel the need to legitimize any of ACC’s arguments or routines. Maybe it’s because they have the connection with PAWS and it’s gotten dragged through the mud to some degree in this battle(strange I have to use this word for what we’re all trying to do). Alot of what’s been said about PAWS is just not true, some of what’s been said could be true and I’m just not aware of the facts. Having been with the shelter for almost five years, I can’t help but want to defend them when they are criticized by others(unless it’s a bold move that is not in the best interest of the animals). You probably have seen some of the posts by PAWS supporters who also strongly support ACC. After all, we do work closely with them in pulling dogs and cats for the shelter. I know one thing-we do not get the “cream of the crop” as has been asserted several times by some of the anti-ACC people. I’m one of the first to ask many times “why in the world did they pull THAT dog or THAT cat. They’ll never get them adopted” As a matter of fact, we just took in an OS that was a twelve-year-old lab mix. And, yes, he’s been adopted, but he was far from “highly adoptable”. So what I find to be happening now is there is criticism of ACC, then ACC strikes back with their “side”, then No Kill explains why ACC is wrong and it goes on and on. I will say No Kill usually wins with the final argument(like the most recent Petfinder dilema). One minute it seems to be a perfect marriage and then suddenly there’s divorce court(No Kill and ACC). I know the mayor is not following through in the way she indicated she would and certainly not within the time frame all of us hoped for. The transparency issue bothers me alot. Stats and numbers that ought to be readily available to the public are being kept from the voters for absolutely no reason. If you want to make a truly big impact, then use the real numbers and stand behind them. Don’t hide behind “not enough staff” and “not enough time”. After all you should want the public to know that you HAVE to kill nearly 7000 animals a year if that is the truth. Let us know the reasons why(something other than “space”). They are appearing to tend to “hide” things so we can’t be blamed for not trusting and jumping to conclusions. If ACC was still located back at the old location, I’d understand why they were so limited in what they could do, but this is a brand new multi-million dollar facility and should be one of the most progressive in the tri-state area. Most shelters don’t come close. Plans for the facility were supposed to be carefully thought out prior to its construction(including practical ways of cleaning runs). Do you think there will be any way the city and the No Kill movement can work together for the betterment of the animals or is the relationship too damaged? Is it already “us” against “them” ?

    • We are literally begging them to let us them. The city can and should embrace the No Kill Method, but if they can’t do that and they present a Save A Pet program instead, they should embrace that. The problem is that they aren’t embracing anything but the status-quo, and they get defensive when we start asking questions or suggesting methods that work better to save lives. It’s the No Kill Equation, it’s laid out for them, but the reject it. Instead, they continue to kill. I don’t think the relationship is too damaged, but if we still want things to change, we need to let them know.

      You’re right, not everything we hear is true, but when somebody has a bad experience, they tell people. There happen to be a number of people that have had bad experiences at PAWS but we can’t control what PAWS does, or what people say about them. Sure, a lot of us believed that PAWS could have been the key to creating a No Kill Community, but for whatever reason, that is not on their agenda. And it doesn’t need to be.

      Ultimately, it’s Animal Control that must make changes in order to reduce intake, increase adoptions, and replace killing entirely. We are asking for the city to implement life-saving programs and simply get with the times! These things are currently being done all over the country, but No Kill methods are met with reasons and excuses as to why it can’t happen in Columbus.

      Shutting down the PetFinder account… we all know that their excuses are bogus and it’s just an indication of their unwillingness to let US do what they have not. They just look worse and worse, and we’re tiring of wasting the precious time that these animals don’t have – it’s time to call them out.

      I’m still asking people to contact the Mayor and tell her to reactivate the account until theirs is up and running. I guarantee you that dogs and cats will die today, and although the city may consider it unlikely, there WAS a possibility of them being seen on PetFinder yesterday and adopted this morning. The city’s PetFinder account will take time to set up, and the original account could be getting them exposure RIGHT NOW. Please try to talk some sense into our city leaders, tell them what you think, and ask questions!

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