Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Commentary

December 24, 2012

Letter to the editor Dec. 26, 2012

To the Editor:

For years animal welfare groups and Hendricks County citizens have appealed to animal control to make changes that would reflect a more humane and progressive approach in dealing with homeless animals. Unfortunately these concerns have fallen not on deaf ears, but worse, apathetic ones. It seems our government officials and animal control leadership are comfortable maintaining the status quo. Consistently adhering to the same policies year after year has consistently produced the same results; nearly two out of three animals that enter our county's shelter do not make it out alive.

The poor performance and failed philosophies of the animal control department have not only resulted in the killing of thousands of dogs and cats, but have cost the taxpayers an enormous amount of money. Animal care can be expensive, however, it is worth noting that in 2011 93 percent of the $421,000 spent by the animal control department paid their own staff salaries and benefits.

If shelter leadership was sincere in their desire to reduce euthanasia, increase adoptions, end animal abuse, and use tax dollars wisely, then why haven't they shown improvement over the past two decades? While government officials and shelter leadership resent the public demands for better performance, they have always had the option of finding solutions themselves. And yet they never have. They feel entitled to continue operating under outdated policies and procedures while ignoring the enormous progress made by other shelters across the state and nation.

Years ago, all the public expected from animal control was to be kept safe from dangerous animals and from the diseases they might carry. Today, the public expects animal control to be compassionate and progressive in their approach to end animal cruelty and reduce euthanasia rates. They expect animal control to work with other animal welfare groups, welcome public input, and stay informed on programs, services, and marketing techniques that the animal sheltering community has proven to be successful in saving lives and enhancing the quality of life for shelter pets.

Instead of having a sense of entitlement to run the shelter in an antiquated manner, they should remember that they are public servants. When the services they provide do not match what the public is looking for, changes need to be made.

Tia Livingston Fox

Plainfield

Indiana Pet Welfare Project, Inc.

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