Protection for Chicken Pluckers but Not for Whistleblowers?

In Featherville, the locals really love their chickens.  In fact, the town funds a chicken sanctuary and hired Mr. John Smith to run the place.  Mr. Smith gets help from some of the townspeople who enjoy volunteering their time to take care of the chickens.  But all is not well.  Someone has been plucking the chickens.

One day, the Featherville Police Chief comes into the sanctuary and tells Mr. Smith privately that he’s conducting an investigation.  Nobody besides the police chief and the sanctuary director know any details but all of the sudden, Mr. Smith comes out and tells the volunteers to leave.  They ask when they can return but Mr. Smith refuses to answer.  They ask if they’ve done something wrong but again, Mr. Smith refuses to answer.

At the next town meeting, people are quite upset over events at the sanctuary.  Several ousted volunteers stand up and tell their neighbors that they’ve personally witnessed Mr. Smith plucking chickens.  They say they never said anything before because they were afraid he’d kick them out and then the chickens wouldn’t have anyone who really cared about them at the sanctuary.  The police chief will say only that there is an investigation underway but won’t say if it’s about the chicken plucking or something else.

Now people are really upset.  They don’t know if the volunteers were banned because perhaps they alerted authorities to the alleged chicken plucking by Mr. Smith.  They don’t even know if the chicken plucking is being investigated at all.  The town turns to Mr. Smith for answers.  Mr. Smith addresses the meeting, “I’ve never heard a thing about any chicken plucking.  The volunteers have been banned.  There’s a secret investigation going on.  Now I’m not saying the volunteers are the chicken pluckers but…” *nudge, nudge* *wink, wink* “I want to assure everyone that I will take these reports of chicken plucking seriously and look into the matter.”

The town funds this sanctuary because the people care about chickens.  They pay Mr. Smith’s salary.  Now volunteers have accused him of chicken plucking and he has banned them.  He promises to investigate the allegations against him.  The police chief may know something about the chicken plucking but isn’t saying.

Seems farcical, doesn’t it?  And yet, similar scenarios play out regularly in real life all over the country with regard to animal shelters and abuse allegations.  The authorities say they can’t comment on the investigation – even to tell the public what the investigation is.  The shelter bans the volunteers who say they have been afraid of this very thing happening so they didn’t speak up about the abuse sooner.  The shelter promises to investigate itself.  Meanwhile, taxpayers are supposed to sit down, shut up and keep paying these people accused of abuse.

In short, the alleged chicken pluckers can not expel the whistleblowers and investigate themselves while holding the chickens and the entire town hostage.  This is outrageous and absurd and taxpayers should demand better.

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11 Comments

  1. Beautiful! Only missing some employees who were fired for trying to stop it and threatened that if they speak out they will be barred from the Chicken Sanctuary Community.

    It even includes “I am in the shelter quite often and have never seen anything like that…” from people in a position to stop it.

    So many places, so many times, this happens again and again. And so many poor Chickens suffer…

    Reply
  2. Kim

     /  November 10, 2010

    Very well written, Shirley. I mean that.

    This should be converted into a fable we can publish on handouts and distribute to the public that supports these shoddy “shelters”.

    Reply
    • Thanks Kim.

      I remember very distinctly a shelter in WA paying for an insert in the paper in support of a proposed MSN bill. It had a cute puppy and a cute kitten on the cover and said “Buster and Tiffany couldn’t wait for the ordinance to pass”. When you opened it there were photos of them being killed and photos of them dead with caption “Now they’re dead”.

      Fail.

      Reply
  3. WELL DONE! Thank you. I’ve known a few plucky people in charge and I wasn’t chicken about calling it as I saw it. I was banned, and told I had a “conflict of interest” and that I hurt the feelings of staff. Whaaahhh. They euthanized at least one dog rather than let me foster it.

    Reply
    • Look Lynn, if you can’t be a cheerleader for the killing that the public FORCES us to do, that hurts everyone’s feelings. You’ll have to go. We need someone more positive.

      Reply
      • I choose to stay…take THAT you blogger you!

        And I choose to still watch and listen, and sometimes I choose to comment too. (Unfortunately, they often choose not to listen…but, well, I’m helping the people and critters I can and that keeps me somewhat sane and happy.)

        So do you, so thanks!

  4. I don’t comment very often, but I wanted to say something today, because 1) I really enjoy this blog and think you are doing a fantastic job, and 2) I’ve seen things like this play out in other venues (dog grooming and boarding, for example) and no matter where it is, treating animals poorly is simply uncalled for. The big difference is that in shelters it results in the dogs being killed rather than “just” hurt.

    Reply
  5. Karen Fishler

     /  November 10, 2010

    Learning about shelter abuse has really changed my view of government. These shelter directors are entrenched bureaucrats, all at the local level (town, city, county) who kill animals with impunity — whether they kill out of indifference, incompetence, ignorance, or cruelty doesn’t matter, the result is the same — and then get away with punishing people in their own communities who complain. They can’t be dislodged, even by those who pay their salaries. I’m just amazed by the lack of accountability.

    Reply
  6. Shirley, this was a fun parable. Like something right out of the bible! :-) While a post like this will probably only reach others in agreement or shelter apologists who obviously won’t speak up, I think this is still very important to publish.

    A note to Karen – this happens all the time across the country not just in government shelters. This is blatant in private shelters with names like humane society and spca.

    Shirley, with your permission, I’d like to invite your readers to read an in-depth post about this same subject. It’s not nearly as much fun, but it does give specific examples of this in large, mainstream shelters – and names people! Here’s the link = http://www.arc-na.org/the-secret-world-of-animal-sheltering

    Again, fine job, YB!

    Reply
    • Karen Fishler

       /  November 10, 2010

      Yes, an equally painful realization that not only tax dollars, but donation dollars fund these killings. Disillusionment with both government and nonprofits.

      Reply

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