Bursting at the seams: Hamilton County animal shelter dangerously overcrowded

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  • Dee Matthews

    The folks who run this shelter–employees, volunteers and board members– are exceptional individuals. But what many don’t realize, is that its upkeep goes well beyond its structural walls, and into the public domain. So many labor under the delusion that one person cannot make a difference. And they are wrong. Making a difference starts with ONE person. Whether it be a small donation, a visit to a depressed animal for 10 minutes, transporting an animal to the vet, or fostering for two weeks, one person makes a difference. Visit their website and find out the variety of ways in which you can help.

  • Larry Verrill

    The above article shows that the employees at the Hamilton County Animal Shelter have
    much love and compassion for animals, but unfortunately it shows they have a lack of the
    realities of working at and operating such a facility when they have a total “No Kill” policy.
    Allowing sick and/or incurably ill animals to roam free in the building or in cages is an
    injustice to themselves and the other well animals. Sick animals and incurably sick animals
    should be euthanized if it is determined by a vet that they can not be cured. Letting them live
    and suffer from their illnesses is inhumane.
    Rebecca says that all medical expenses are paid for by donations and that is wonderful, but
    doesn’t say if or when a vet. checks the animals. It seems to me that as many vets as there must
    be in Hamilton Co. that one or more could donate a day or half day of their time to check and treat
    the animals for free or a very reduced rate. Lord knows they charge their customers enough.
    Of course, as she said, a new facility is definitely needed. If a bank can sponsor the foster
    program, then more banks and some of these multi-million dollar businesses and developers could
    donate enough to purchase land and construct a new facility. Many of these businesses are receiving
    tax abatements and it’s time they gave back a little something to the city/county. Using county funds
    would be a bad idea because then the county would want a say in all policy decisions.

    • Rebecca Stevens

      Larry–I’m glad you posted this because there are many people like you who have a misperception of what it truly means to be a “No Kill” organization. The animal welfare definition is based on something called the Asilomar Accords. Groups like the Maddie’s Fund, who was at the forefront of the no kill movement, helped establish this definition because there are many organizations who claim to be no kill that are not. Following the true definition, HSHC does not euthanize adoptable animals based on space restrictions or arbitrary time limits. But being no kill is much more than that. We don’t euthanize animals with TREATABLE medical conditions or injuries–even the most severe injuries–as long as they can live a good quality of life. We don’t allow animals to suffer from illnesses or injuries without treatment or let those with untreatable conditions who are suffering live in pain. We do humanely euthanize animals when giving them peace is the kindest thing we can do. “NO KILL” doesn’t mean you should allow an animal to suffer when there is no hope for a good life. And as an open-admission facility that handles all of the bite cases for Hamilton County, we are sometimes faced with having to euthanize a dog we believe poses a threat to the community. These are all valid reasons for euthanizing an animal and are acceptable reasons according to the NO KILL definition. Shelters that are euthanizing seniors, diabetics, a blind or deaf animal, or one that is perhaps just frightened in a shelter and needs some time and patience, but are calling themselves “no kill” because they say these animals aren’t “adoptable,” are misleading the community. To achieve what we have with the challenges we face everyday takes a commitment from our staff, board, volunteers and donors that is unwavering. To achieve what we have as an open admission facility that doesn’t close their doors when we’re full or turn away hard to place animals….and who in fact takes in the hit-by-car, abuse and neglect cases of our county to boot…is nothing short of remarkable. We do have a fantastic support system of local veterinarians who offer their services at a discount, and we have a vet from Noah’s Animal Hospital who volunteers her time every week at our shelter. We have some truly amazing volunteers and sponsors. But to your point, we’ve done all we can do with the space we have and other facility challenges. We are the only Humane Society/Shelter servicing the animals and residents of Hamilton County. We believe with all of our hearts that the Hamilton County community will step up and help us turn our dreams of a better life for these animals as they wait for homes into a reality. ~ Rebecca Stevens

      • Larry Verrill

        Thank you Rebecca for your responce. I’m glad to see that some of the items I mentioned have been addressed already.

        • Adam Aasen

          Due to space limitations, I couldn’t print their entire “no-kill” policy but I stated in their article that they only euthanized pets in extreme situations. So it isn’t an absolute. I appreciate your elaboration Rebecca.