Monday, January 25, 2010

Letter sent to the Hendricks County Humane Society

The Hendricks County Animal Care and Control is not at all related to the Hendricks County Humane Society, yet most people assume that it is. Currently, there is a group of concerned citizens because of the poor job that the facility is doing to adopt out animals and provide basic care. Stay tuned for an update, but please read this letter and consider future involvement (i.e. write letters, make phone calls, attend meetings) to fight for the homeless animals in Hendricks County.

To whom it may concern: As I understand it, Hendricks County Humane Society does not have an adoption facility of its own. Does Hendricks County Animal Control and 'Shelter' house the animals you would normally take?

If this is correct, I am disappointed and furious about the guidelines and staff at this facility. We had visited the old facility a couple of times and were among the many who were thrilled about the new facility and the community effort including extensive effort on the part of your Humane Society to bring this project to reality. Are the staff at this facility hired for the simple reason that they are willing to 'kill' every animal that comes through the door? Maybe they are transfers from the Correction Facility next door.

We have been to the facility a few times recently looking for a companion for our own senior dog. But, until this last time, Tuesday the 20th, I did not realize that there really is NO INTEREST IN ACTUALLY PLACING THESE ANIMALS. Let me share with you my Tuesday visit.

Upon arrival, I asked to see the dogs. No problem, but as before, there is absolutely NO information about the pats at their cages. You have to remember the number of the cage and then ask later. The cages were clean, except for one or two that did have 'new' accidents, but nothing to complain about for sure. I barely made it down the first row, when the Animal Control Officer followed me into the area. Don't know where she went initially, but as I made my way around the corner to the second row, she was right on my butt. When I asked about a couple of the dogs, since she was standing right there, she said I had to remember the cage number and she would pull the card when I got back to her desk. At that point, she got out the house and started hosing the cages I had just passed - now mind you just one of them had a small 'wet' only accident - but she proceeded to hose all the dogs -yes everyone! Not just the floors. She followed along behind me as if to hurry me along as I had no time to even look. I then went around the end back of the aisle so that I could follow behind her and actually look at the animals in the second aisle, and she nearly hosed me! At that point, I gave up ever seeing aisle three where I heard later that there were a couple of loving boxers who had just been surrendered.

As I left the dog room, I thought I may as well say hi to the cats - and no more than the door closed behind me and there she was again. I guess I should mention, I am a 65 year old female, cancer survivor in a pink sweatshirt and jeans - and I think relatively harmless looking. There were piles and piles of kittens, and I expressed concern about the number of pure black kittens and wondered if they would hold them after Halloween. Her response to that was "we can't control who adopts them. We just want them gone."

At that point, I proceeded back to the front counter. Unfortunately the other officer was busy on the phone so as I waited with my questions, the 'hose' lady came up. I had remembered two cage numbers and asked for information on them. I gave her the first number, and before she had even pulled the information card, she started explaining to me that she did not feel that would want to adopt out that animal. She was older and had been abandoned by her owners when they moved away. Because she just laid at the back of her cage and would not respond to any of 'them' they assumed that she would be a risk to adopt out. I don't know what her breed was or age or anything as the officer asked the other number was - that dog, I was told, was also not suitable for adoption. A young, active dog - there was supposed concern about it attacking. Again, no information about the breed or anything, and she closed the drawer.

I then decided to ask more about the process of adoption at this facility. The officer did not hesitate telling me -a surrendered animal, if determined it would be too difficult to place, is euthanized within 24 hours of surrender. Strays are evaluated, but if they have any problems, they are put down within 24 hours or if it is determined that maybe the owners may come looking for them, they are given 3 days. I have to tell you, hearing this I realize that I probably caused a couple dogs to be put down the last time I was there - there was one small dog that came in as a stray and may have been hurt; then there was another large lab mix who was surrendered with a companion. This dog was biting his tail and had chewed some of the hair off. When I told the officer at the front desk that day, they immediately took the cards out of the file and gave them to someone else to "pull them."

When I asked if they housed the animals for the Humane Society of Hendricks County, she clearly said NO - they have no shelter facility and only do referrals.

Sadly, the two boxers had been surrendered by their owner who had lost his job and his home was being foreclosed on. WAS HE TOLD THEY WOULD KILL HIS PET IF HE LEFT THEM THERE FORE MORE THAN A COUPLE OF DAYS? Did anyone suggest a better place to take them so they could have a second chance?

My heart just breaks that so many put themselves out and made sacrifices to build the beautiful facility in Danville, only to find it is nothing more than an execution chamber. The animals seem so arbitrarily put down, and if potential adopters are not allowed to spend time with the animals, petting them, and getting to know them, how can anyone know how they might behave in a loving home?

I don't really expect you to respond, but I just had to get this out. I went to the Avon Harvest Festival where several shelters had animals for adoption, and the horror stories they all had about trying to deal with the Hendrick's County Animal Control and "Shelter" just made me sick. If you want a great example of how it should be done, including lots of volunteers, go visit the Hamilton County Humane Society. The day we went there, there must have been at least one volunteer for every two animals. The place was immaculate. There was extensive information on every cage to help you know ahead of time who you were visiting. Even though we live in Plainfield, I would drive to Noblesville just to volunteer because it was heart warming just to be a visitor. Oh, and they have a FREE spay/neuter program. How can such a great county like Hendricks County allow this kind of representation?

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of their soul remains unawakened."

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