Volunteers, paper misguided about animal shelter

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By Furman Joye

The intent of those wanting to start a no kill animal shelter, and your endorsement of the idea, is admirable but misguided.

As one having been involved with owning, breeding and showing dogs for over 54 years, I have seen this type of activity in many places and in each case it turns into a disaster after a while.

They, and the newspaper, speak of the more than 4,200 animals put to sleep at the shelter in a year. And they, and the newspaper, want these animals kept alive indefinitely, or until someone adopts them.

Well, for everybody’s information, many of these dogs and cats were not adoptable, meaning they had bitten, or shown a tendency to bite people. Would you like to adopt one of those? Many were feral cats with a distinct bad attitude. Want one of those? People with all these good ideas need to adopt at least 10 of these animals.

Let’s do a little math. Of the 4,200, let’s say half or 2,100 are adopted, and 25 percent or 1,050 are not adoptable. This would leave you with 1,050 animals to care for. Next year the same thing. And then the next year is more of the same.

Now what do you do? The money and donations being requested could be used much better for the homeless and poor people. I love dogs but I love people more. Don’t you?

A picnic type shelter may be fine in the spring and fall, but the hot summer and cold winter makes this arrangement impractical. With the number of animals mentioned, you would run out of space very shortly, then the money is gone and the animals are left to live in makeshift shelters in the dirt with limited food. Then the volunteers begin to dwindle and a few are left to provide care for a great number of animals.

To make a long story short: Good idea – bad action. Leave the animal shelter alone. The people there do a good job. We need to think with our heads, not our hearts.

Lancaster County Council needs to adopt an animal control ordinance that includes a leash law, licensing fees, fines for animals running loose and a “vicious dog” section.

License fees and fines would finance the animal control department, thereby easing the burden on the budget, leaving more money for the sheriff to do his job better. Vehicles and substations are needed now.

Furman Joye