Upsetting the Applecart
We, the Humboldt County Pound and Animal Shelter, are embarrassed and saddened by Humboldt County Humane Society’s (HS) Sheryl Tegtmeyer’s Letter to the Editor published in today’s edition of the Humboldt Independent. We’re embarrassed because some of the issues that were discussed at the HS meetings have now been made available for public consumption. We’re saddened because Sheryl misrepresented our words and intentions and while we, the Pound and Shelter, believe in being candid with our supporters we also believe that while we’re working hard behind the scenes to dot the “i’s” and cross the “t’s” that some of our internal business matters should remain just that until we’re ready to share them. We all agreed at the conclusion of the last HS meeting, of which we’re all members, that everyone was on the same page and that while our organizations would not be united under one name at least we could work together to support one another during fundraisers or other such efforts. We also agreed that for the sake of ‘transparency’ that any articles, letters, etc., would highlight the difference between the organizations so as not to confuse the community and potential donors. We, the Pound and Shelter, agreed that in our Humboldt Independent article we would briefly mention that we are not affiliated with the HS for the reasons cited above and decided to simply refer to it as a ‘conflict of interest’ (Sheryl’s words) but it was changed to ‘philosophical differences’ (newspaper’s words). Regardless of the way it was phrased we felt that as long as the community was made aware that we’re two separate entities there would be less confusion thus paving the way for both of us to move forward with our goals. Sheryl’s ‘Letter to the Editor’ changed everything, thus, we’ve spent time away from our normal duties to hopefully address any concerns our most valued supporters might have.
Those of us who volunteer at the Pound were made aware of the Humane Society’s November meeting by Chad who encouraged us to attend because we thought that our mission of:
Safe haven for lost, abandoned, and unwanted dogs and cats.
Educate the community about proper care and treatment of all animals.
Provide lasting relationship between animals and their humans through our adoption program.
aligned with theirs and that perhaps we could work together towards the same goal, helping animals. Unfortunately, while HS President Frank Zigrang (who was the one who reached out to us) was supportive of this goal, we were met by much resistance from the rest of the board. We didn’t attend this meeting to take their money as it was claimed besides we were already informed that the HS wouldn’t donate any funds to the Animal Shelter because they didn’t want to mislead their donors. What was discussed was the state of affairs at the Pound and how we, the Pound volunteers, were struggling to buy basic necessities (i.e., food, litter, bleach, paper towels, etc.) for the cats and dogs. A few board members offered to purchase some supplies. We’re terribly sorry we didn’t itemize the list so that the public was made aware that the HS specifically donated TWO cat kennels, ONE pair of leather gloves (although they were ineffectual), TWO bottles of bleach, EIGHT bags of cat food, EIGHT bags of dog food, SEVERAL cans of wet food, and TEN paper towel rolls. We apologize for this error.
We’re saddened that the HS in all their infinite wisdom accumulated through 17 years as an organization didn’t believe that helping to address the “despicable condition” of the Humboldt COUNTY Pound, not the Humboldt City Pound, beyond donating a few incidentals didn’t qualify as a situation urgent enough to bring them to action. After all the building of the Humboldt County Pound is what’s in the “best interest of the animals and the community.” Furthermore, this would’ve provided their organization with much needed publicity (they don’t have a website or Facebook page and host only one fundraiser per year) and it would’ve offered them a wonderful opportunity to educate the community about the proper care and treatment of animals. Although, the meeting we attended in November 2012 was the first meeting the HS had had in 5 years so perhaps they were focused on other issues.
We’re saddened that Sheryl misrepresented the truth by stating that “we have not seen one animal from them” meaning that allegedly Chad has never brought any Pound animals to the HS for treatment of any kind. Chad brought three cats to Sheryl for shots because the BV Cat Rescue won’t take cats without shots and she refused stating that the HS didn’t have the money to cover the expense. This issue was addressed at the most recent HS meeting (this month) and we were then informed by Sheryl that we could now bring animals to the HS for treatment. Please note that our furry critters do receive veterinary care if needed and we extend our thanks to Dr. Illig for his services.
We’re also saddened that Sheryl misrepresented the truth, whether intentionally or not, by stating that the City Manager would be attending the second HS meeting. We apologize to the City Manager for any inconvenience this may have caused him.
We’re saddened that while we strive to make a distinction between the Humboldt County Pound and the Humboldt County Animal Shelter, Sheryl has set us back by muddying the waters. As stated in her Letter to the Editor:
“At the second joint meeting the new group was questioned as to their intentions should their shelter become full. We were assured that it would be no kill and they had alternative plans…Records show they have euthanized cats.”
For the record: the Humboldt County Animal Shelter will be a no kill shelter. Let us repeat that sentence for maximum effect: the Humboldt County Animal Shelter will be a no kill shelter. Sheryl is most certainly aware that there is no shelter since she emphatically stated that, “We don’t need a shelter or adoption facility in Humboldt County.” We’re not certain how at that point in her letter she confused the Pound for the Shelter. As previously stated in our newspaper article, in 2012 “Animal Control Officer Chad Lakin was responsible for the housing and care of approximately 200 cats and dogs.” That’s the Pound. 200 animals came through the Pound last year and many were extremely ill or had sustained life-threatening injuries. In these situations, Chad must categorize the injuries and/or illnesses in order of severity due to the limited number of resources and funds at the Pound. Let us assure our supporters that those cats that were unfortunately beyond saving were euthanized in a humane manner thanks again to Dr. Illig.
We at the Pound and Shelter believe all life is sacred and we mourn those furry critters that couldn’t be saved. And to honor them we focus on making the lives of the critters we do have that much better, which is why we are on a mission to not only build a pound but also a shelter. Yes there are animal shelters in surrounding counties such as Webster and Buena Vista that through contractual (financial) agreements take dogs and cats from our Pound when they have the space and as Sheryl mentioned there is an “abundance of dogs and cats at Almost Home to be adopted” because this shelter is often full. We commend Almost Home (and BV Cat Rescue) for their dedication to their furry critters and appreciate their support while we work towards our goals. We know this isn’t an easy job and are reminded of it every time we clean out a cage or tend to a sick animal but we are rewarded with purrs and playtime with kittens.
Sheryl noted that any money donated to the HS will “stay in Humboldt County” we must admit we’re not sure what this means. Our furry critters don’t understand borders. The money donated to the Pound and to the Shelter will go towards any necessary expenditures, which includes, but is not limited to, food, medical treatments, utilities, administrative costs, etc. Please note that some animals may be brought to us from neighboring counties and if we have the space we will not turn them away because that is what neighbors do, they help each other out.
While we agreed not to address these issues publicly (i.e., responding directly to Sheryl’s letter by submitting our own Letter to the Editor in the Humboldt Independent) we did want to make sure that our supporters know that we are a legitimate organization working towards giving second chances to our furry critters. And we also want to assure our supporters that we are thisclose to achieving our goal of building the Pound this year and have almost completed the 501(c)(3) application package for the Shelter. We cannot stress enough the need to remedy the “despicable condition” of the COUNTY’S pound and we wholeheartedly disagree that Humboldt County doesn’t need a shelter because it’s one of the best ways to regulate the animal population (i.e., spay and neuter) and promote pet adoption.
We, the Pound and Shelter, would like to take this time to acknowledge the furry critters currently in our care and the ones we will most likely attend to in the future as we’ve never lost sight of our mission. And, we would like to take this opportunity to give thanks to the wonderful people of our community and beyond who’ve offered us encouraging words and donations-your support is what keeps us going!
P.S. Yes, some animals picked up by Animal Control are in fact pets. Occasionally an animal runs away or becomes lost so the Pound makes every effort to return these critters to their rightful owners by posting their pictures on our Facebook page and website. This is a free service to the community because we know that many of you cherish your furry critters and consider them a part of the family.