More than a dozen current and former volunteers with the County of San Diego Animal Services recently shared some concerns with The San Diego Union-Tribune. Among the volunteers’ complaints are needless killings, poor conditions, and retaliation against volunteers who speak out. The allegations mirror some of those made in lawsuits filed by former vets at the facility.
Former pound volunteer Bonnie Kutch quit after years of service and now volunteers with a different shelter. She says of the county pound:
“They were euthanizing perfectly good dogs to make space for other dogs coming in, and not devoting enough effort to getting the existing dogs adopted,” she said.
Additional problems noted by the group of vols:
Not only are officials too quick to put down pets, volunteers say, they resist practices that could lead to more adoptions, such as opening on Sundays like many shelters do so more animals can be adopted out at a time convenient to the public.
The volunteers say many shelter animals languish in cages for days or even weeks at a time without walks, making them “kennel crazy” and lessening their chance to be adopted.
Vols who asked if they could walk dogs say they were told to wash dishes instead or were kicked out.
Longtime pound director Dawn Danielson killsplained all the things to the Union-Tribune, including claiming that the county has maintained a 0% kill rate for dogs deemed healthy and friendly for the past 6 years. (Never you mind about the 6600 pets killed last year. They were all unhealthy and unfriendly, it says so right here in this note I just typed.) And as for those pesky vols wanting to get dogs out of their cages for walks, this ain’t no doggie day spa:
“It’s nice to get the dogs out, but it’s not required,” Danielson said. “We want them to be able to urinate and defecate in their kennels” because it helps prevent infections.
Right. Ask anyone in the business of trying to prevent infections. They’ll tell you the first thing you want to do is shit on the floor you eat off of. That’s Hygiene 101 right there.
She said her priority with adoptable dogs is to promote “kennel enrichment,” spending quiet time with the animals inside their cages so they learn to be calm when potential adopters arrive.
Quiet time – good one. I imagine the line to sign up for squeezing into cages with unexercised shelter dogs so they can jump on you with their poopy paws while pleading “Let me OUT!” in the most dramatic way they can manage is probably super long. Any vols still have their front teeth?
Anyway, the director isn’t asking for much:
“All we ask of our volunteers is to follow the rules and to work with us and follow our philosophy.”
The philosophy apparently being Suck. And Kill. And also Suck. Who wouldn’t want to get on board with that?
(Thanks Clarice and Teresa for the link.)