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A Candlelight Vigil Wednesday

Come join those who are the voice of those who have no voice at the candlelight vigil on Wednesday evening.

There will be a candlelight vigil at the Douglas county courthouse beginning at 7 PM on Wednesday March 20, 2013. The purpose of the candlelight vigil is to remember the lives of thirty shelter animals who were killed between February 27th and March 5th and those animals yet to die at our shelter. The purpose of the candlelight vigil is also to draw attention to what is presently happening at our shelter and those who are responsible for it.

Come join with other citizens of Douglas county and the surrounding area. Come join with those who have worked tirelessly to save the lives of our shelter animals in Douglas county over the last eighteen months. Come support those who are speaking up and those who are speaking out about the wrong headed decisions being made at our animal shelter and supported by our county commission.

Through the efforts of a dedicated shelter staff (who are no longer there), through the efforts of dedicated community volunteers (who are no longer allowed to volunteer) and through the numerous animal rescue organizations (who have now withdrawn from supporting our shelter for lack of a cooperative and progresive environment) our animal shelter is in crisis.

In 2012 Douglas county retreated from the archaic policies of failed animal welfare management that had existed for decades. We as a county became the leader in our state and our region in progressive animal welfare management. We achieved this though cooperative and progressive animal welfare management.  Douglas county became the model of successful animal welfare management and our success was something to be be admired and copied by other communities in Georgia and the region.

In 2012 Douglas county, through the efforts of those same dedicated staff who are no longer there, through the efforts of community volunteers who are no longer allowed to participate at our shelter and through the efforts of animal rescue organizations who are now made unwelcome at our shelter, we as a community demonstrated that the methodologies and the application of decades old failed animal control policies are a failure. We as a community proved that these failed policies of decades of wrong headed management cannot be made manageable or successful by simply hiring someone to manage those same wrong headed and failed policies. It takes insightful and progressive leadership to make those changes. Something that is now sadly lacking at our animal shelter.

Success requires a new approach. Success requires a new model. Success requires thinking outside the box and trying new ideas as opposed to clinging to the old and antiquated ideologies of proven failure. Success requires working with your community as opposed to ostracizing them and turning them away and proceeding forth with the wrong headed philosophies of proven failure.

We as a community in Douglas county have demonstrated that it is not necessary to kill healthy shelter animals only to make room for the death of more healthy shelter animals in an endless and pointless cycle of death. Our shelter animals are presently being made ready to die for no other reason than a manager who refuses to work with the community and a manager who refuses to accept proven success over proven failure.

Douglas county has proven that we as a community cannot kill our way out of irresponsible pet ownership or pet over population. It literally take a community working together to accomplish that. As a community in 2012, we were accomplishing that which we were told was not possible. In 2012 we as a community proved that it is possible to find alternatives to government sponsored death and it is possible to manage our shelter progressively and in a manner where the large majority of animals leave the facility alive to become loved companion animals.

During 2012, we as a community demonstrated what was possible. We as a community demonstrated that it was possible and that it is possible to work together to accomplish that which others said could not be done in animal welfare management. We as a community have proven what can be done in a government run animal control facility, only now to be told that it can't be done and that "hard decisions have to be made."

If hard decisions have to be made, then those decisions need to fall at the feet of those responsible for turning their back on proven and demonstrated success. Those responsible for snatching proven accomplishments from the jaws of success, only to be replaced by the proven accomplishments of failure. Those responsible need to be held accountable to the people of Douglas county.

During 2012 our county commissioners were more than happy to accept the praise of the community for the reduced euthanasia rate and the increased adoption rate and the increased rescue rate at our animal shelter. Our county commissioners touted these successes at community meetings, in press articles and to the citizens of Douglas county at every opportunity. Our commissioners continue to bask in the glory of a 16% euthanasia rate and an 82% rate of live animals out the door at our animal shelter in 2012. They continue to point to the successes of 2012 while ignoring the looming disaster of 2013. A disaster of their own making.

The roadmap for success was provided to them by the work of dedicated staff, committed community volunteers and animal rescue organizations who came together in 2012 to make a positive difference. The roadmap to success was handed to them in a 130 page assessent by Lifeline that the citizens of Douglas county paid for. These roadmaps to success are now being ignored.

Those dedicated employees who were part of the success are no longer at our animal shelter. They resigned rather than become part of the march toward death that the new policies of the new manager demanded. The committed volunteers and the successes they provided have been abandoned and they have been told to leave, that they and their efforts are no longer welcome. Sadly the relationships that existed with many animal rescue organizations have now also been damaged. Combined, all of these failures of present management can only lead to continued failure and the deaths of hundreds of Douglas county shelter animals unnecessarily in the coming year.

The citizens of Douglas county deserve better. The citizens of Douglas county deserve professional, caring and progressive leadership at our animal shelter. The citizens of Douglas county deserve to be heard by their elected officials and those elected officials need to stop stone walling the public. Our county commissioners need to be held accountable. Our county commissioners need to be made aware that their basking in the glory of the hard work of others is no longer available. Our county commissioners need to be made aware that they will be held accountable for the failures that they have allowed by their actions and their refusal to act reasonably to the request of the citizens of Douglas county.

Come join those who are the voice of those who have no voice at the candlelight vigil on Wednesday evening. Become part of the effort to return our shelter to common sense and reasoned management. Come join in the effort to send the message that concerned citizens of Douglas county will continue to speak up and speak out against wrong headed leadership, both at our animal shelter and by our board of commissioners.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Janice Goad March 20, 2013 at 03:08 PM
For months now we've been hearing the commissioners and their Chairman blow off the concerns of their constituents by saying "Give the guy a chance" or "We want to go in a different direction", echoed by their puppet group, the Animal Control Advisory Board. What we have NOT heard is an ANSWER TO OUR QUESTIONS -- "A chance to do what?" and "What exactly IS that direction?" They rudely ignore the constituents at BOC meetings and the Chairman has become a champion of diversion at his monthly chats. I can't even talk about the ACAB because their "public" meetings have been held where only the people around the table can hear what's being said, but their public statements have been fully supportive of whatever the BOC wants them to say. Press releases talk about people who "can't have their way" (which is to continue to find homes for the homeless) and "misinformation" (healthy adoptable animals are being killed) spread by the people who are expressing their concern. If they're all so proud of this "new direction", why can't they put a name on it? We HAVE to keep asking those questions until they can find an answer. My personal opinion is that they don't really HAVE an answer, our shelter has again become a death camp for our county's homeless animals -- and they don't care!!! They have circled the wagons around their choice, and I guess they're going to ignore their constituents till they've all been scalped at the polls. Meanwhile, our animals are being killed. UGH!!!
Karen Orgeron March 20, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Well said! Labeling an animal that has been available for adoption feral or aggressive doesn't all of a sudden make them either.Falsifying records does not make the killings just. Look at the evidence.
Adrien Chandler July 04, 2013 at 12:52 PM
Oh MAN does this ever sound familiar. We had the chair of the committee that oversees the shelter in Livingston Co. Michigan, tell us the exact same thing - that we cannot have our way. Remind them that THEY work for YOU. YOU are there BOSS because you elected them AND PAY THEIR SALARIES!

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