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Sanctuary challenge

May 27, 2013
Morning Journal News

Editor:

I have been working in the area of animal welfare, specifically dog rescue for over a decade. Anyone who knows me will say I speak my mind, especially if it involves the lives of animals.

I have worked at, volunteered and visited many animal shelters throughout Ohio. I have been involved in the seizing of dogs from hoarding and puppy mills. I have fostered hundreds of dogs. I know the time and effort it takes to care for a dog properly. There are actual studies and standard explaining how many minutes per animal it takes for proper care.

I live near an animal "sanctuary" at the corner of Depot Road and Route 45 that houses well over 100 animals according to a widely used animal rescue database (petfinder.com). I pass by the facility at least once daily. With over 100 pets in their care, I do not see activity that would be necessary to properly care for this many animals. I know for a fact that the dogs are kept in indoor kennels with several dogs to a kennel and outside in all weather conditions as well. They have to ask for help to remove snow that falls into the kennels from the roof of nearby buildings. Another fact, the public is not permitted entry into all of the areas where these animals are kept. Unacceptable especially when it is operated by public donations.

The first advice given to anyone looking for a dog is "view the physical conditions" they are currently living in. This "sanctuary" uses a variety of "reasons" (excuses) as to why they don't live by this widely held standard. Yet, a local funding charity recently rewarded them for their unacceptable behavior by giving them a large donation. When I contacted them inquiring if they had been permitted access to the "inside" of the facility before granting the donation, I was told that a tour of the "outside" had been granted.

It's this type of ignorance that receives top billing on the evening news when someone eventually finds a way inside to see what really goes on behind those always closed doors.

I am in no way suggesting that this "sanctuary" be shut down. There is a need for more reputable safe havens for homeless animals. However, we should ask ourselves why this particular facility does not have the same "open door" policy as other rescues/pounds/humane societies/sanctuaries which allow public viewing of the living conditions (without prior notice) of their animals? Why does the public continue to financially (and otherwise) support a "sanctuary" that won't allow them to enter? Why does no one question just where these (over 100) animals are on a 100 degree day? Why does someone have to look at pictures instead of walking through the facility viewing all of the animals in person? It would beg the question, what could they be hiding?

My challenge? Allow the general public to enter the facility during posted hours to prove me wrong.

Rose Ann Hack

Salem

 
 

 

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