Monday, November 29, 2010

Followup on my post about Homeward Bound Pound and Hope for Wildlife

The night I wrote my post about Homeward Bound Pound and Hope for Wildlife someone emailed me to say that the post I wrote, and the post that Janet Young wrote (because I'm not the only one writing about this topic) about the same subject was "right on", and that we'd probably receive a lot of fallout for writing the posts, and that often we speak the words that others are thinking or feeling but can’t express themselves.

I fully realize that when I write stuff on this blog that a lot of people are not going to agree with me, and that people may in fact be angry with me and they'll probably even remember that I once wrote some really awful shit about someone they really admire and therefore - I am just a worthless piece of sad-sack shit who doesn't mean anything in the world - and I am actually okay with that. I take nothing personally. Really, I do not.

I am able to separate out my cyber life from my real life. That's why it confuses me when people get so upset about the stuff that I write - because I am not attacking Hope Swinimer personally - I am concerned with finding out the truth about what's going on at the facility that she owns - Homeward Bound Pound. That's it.

I really don't care a flying fuck about Hope Swinimer personally (the actual personal Hope Swinimer) - as I'm sure she really doesn't care two figs about me. And I'm okay with that. There is nothing personal here. I went to great lengths in my first post to say how great Hope Swinimer the human being is.

I have written about Hope Swinimer and Hope for Wildlife Society in the past on this blog - maybe people coming here for this reason don't know how to follow links or something, so I'll actually physically show you the links - here it is - follow this link - "There are some stainless rescues out there" - so some of the comments coming in, and the level of emotion attached to them - always surprises me.

It doesn't detract though from the fact that - people want to know what's going on behind closed doors at the privately owned and run Municipal Pound here in the HRM - and I still have a few problems, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person who feels this way.

I'm just going to lay it out what my problems are - no candy coating -

#1 - asking for donations - Homeward Bound Pound is a private company - and asking for donations is taking money and services directly out of the mouths of rescues who really DO need those donations and services. Those donations and services being given to Homeward Bound Pound SHOULD be going to actual rescues - and NOT to a privately owned FOR PROFIT company.

#2 - why are they asking for donations? Is it because they bid too low on their contract last year? And if that's the case - that is not the fault of the public who they are now soliciting donations from - that is their own problem, and they should be going back to the city to ask for more money - and that is also very disingenuous of them to have low-balled the city - and VERY awful for the SPCA who actually WOULD HAVE won the contract if Homeward Bound would have put in a bid that was actually realistic. The NS SPCA put in a bid for a contract that they could realistically fulfil - maybe Homeward Bound didn't know what everything would entail - and now 6 months later - they're suffering - so they think they can get through by "saving a penny here and there". Who knows?

#2 As a tax paying person - I want to know what their euthanasia statistics are - and I'm going to talk about that more below after I paste a comment that I received earlier today -

So below is a comment that I got earlier today - I think it's probably from an employee of the pound. Here it is:

"I’ve read this post several times, trying to understand the point you are making and I have to admit I can’t find one. There are things in your posting that just don’t make sense. Why would you watch Hope for Wildlife LOOKING for “nuggets” about the pound? The show isn’t about the pound, it’s about the rehab. I get the feeling you were looking to find something negative on purpose.

Hope does not have “the greatest love for” wildlife that has been attacked by domestic animals. She loves them all equally, regardless of the circumstances in which they are brought in. She has always been an advocate for responsible animal ownership, such as keeping cats indoors where they belong and not letting dogs run free. Seems very much in line with running a pound, don’t you think?

I would like you to provide evidence that Hope has a “mindset that accepts that 70% is okay - and then you move that mindset over to an animal control facility”. When has she ever stated that she believes a 70% live release rate is ok for the pound? And since you mention several times that the statistics on the release/ adoption/ euthanasia rate aren’t readily available, how do you know that there is a high kill rate for the pound? Where is that information?

As far as I can tell, Bill Moore’s answer is pretty straightforward- no, it’s not technically a “no kill” policy because there will be some cases in which an animal is deemed unable to be safely released to a home and in those cases will have to be euthanized. Funny, that’s the same policy as the SPCA, as shown in your newest article. If you were to look at the animals that have been rescued, cared for and adopted- puppies and senior dogs, ferrets, adult cats, seriously maimed and injured animals- you would see how many animals that may not seem “saveable” are being lovingly cared for and NOT just euthanized.

Any “anecdotal” evidence should be considered irrelevant by any logical person- that’s how nasty rumours get started, and we’re not in junior high school anymore. As for no contact between people and animals, you may want to take a visit out there for yourself and see how dedicated the staff is to properly socializing the dogs. They love those animals, and between the staff and the volunteers, the dogs receive several hours of personal interaction a day.

The whole “asking for donations” thing was completely blown out of proportion, most likely by people trying to stir up trouble. Yes, an email was posted to members of the pound’s facebook group inquiring if anyone had an unwanted large carrier. Did you also read the follow up email which apologized for the confusion and explained that HB is a facility that believes in recycling and reusing as a means of saving money for more pressing issues? The $300 that would be required to pay for a brand new carrier (that would be destroyed in no time due to the high number of aggressive dogs they see) could be better spent on vet care for a hit-by-car cat or other needy animal. If you haven’t read this second email, you should.

Hope for Wildlife has never “killed an entire room of raccoons”. Hope would never use that as a method of decontamination. Even in the midst of the outbreak last summer, no animals were put down that weren’t suffering. You also need to realize that in the midst of the raccoon outbreak, there were raccoons that were coming in already sick, ones that died before even making it to the farm or just shortly after so unless you stood there checking off every animal, there’s no way to keep a perfectly accurate count of how many died. On days when you’re rapidly losing animals in such a horrible way, it can become very overwhelming. Anyone who can keep their head enough to keep tally of all the death would have to be pretty heartless.
Every life is worth while, and is treated as such by Hope and all her staff at the pound and the rehab. If you had stopped to talk to anyone of these fabulous and caring people, you would never have said that “they” are willing to kill."

Okay, no I was not looking for negative things by watching the television show - I was looking for an attitude. How the animals were treated, and because I'm a bit weird that way - I was also looking for infection control type stuff - but as well, I heard that season 2 has some scenes shot at Homeward Bound - and since I only got my new tv a week ago, I don't know at what point the show is currently airing - so at any moment - the show could pop into the pound as far as I know - I have no idea.

Running a pound has nothing to do with espousing responsible pet ownership - you are contracted to shelter animals brought in by HRM's Animal Control department. You can lecture the people who are responsible enough to come in, pay their fines and pick up their animals, and you can put people who want to adopt unredeemed animals up for adoption through a rigorous screening process - but other than that - there's not too much you can do for responsible pet ownership I don't think - other than of course becoming an open admission facility, and ALSO becoming no-kill - but I won't get into that here, that's another post.

Hope saying that 70% is okay - I actually don't have that information - (although she DOES say on the tv show that 70% IS the amount of animals that she's able to save at Hope for Wildlife - that is a FACT) and if you do work at Homeward Bound like I think you do - I would LOVE for you to send me some information that you probably have access to - my email address is - I'm going to try to get information both through my Municipal Councillor and through a FOI request - but it'd be a lot easier if it came from the source. Although looking through my emails tonight - someone emailed me just before Hope got the contract that she was talking on the radio that she was hoping to get a SIXTY percent live release rate - but once again - that's how rumours get started.

I also don't get about this "volunteers" thing - with Homeward Bound being a for-profit business - how does a for-profit business get volunteers? Does Walmart have volunteers? Where do these volunteers come from? Who is willing to be an unpaid volunteer at a for-profit business?

I'm a 16 year old girl - and I go to work 3 days a week at Sobeys - volunteering for free! Does anyone see the logic in that? Am I crazy in not seeing the logic in that? I DO NOT get that? Homeward Bound has got something going there that no other pound in THE WORLD has got going!

So I think I've just about beat this thing into the ground - but I'd like to make a couple more points and direct you to a few more posts - because I'm really into flagellation.

One is a blog down in the States called "Yes Biscuit" and it's an animal rightsey type blog and she's got a post right now called "How Did we Get Here" - and it SO timely it's unnerving, it's definitely a must-read.

Second is the fact that there is nowhere in the HRM - and nowhere in Nova Scotia - where you can take your pet, and be assured that they will accept them if you want to dump them or give them up - and that is unacceptable.

I had previously had high hopes for Homeward Bound Pound - but since April my expectations have pretty much been completed shot right to shit.

Sometimes, if there's room and you give them money - the Provincial shelter of the NS SPCA in Dartmouth will accept surrenders - but it depeneds on the day and circumstances.

As part of the contract with the Municipality - Homeward Bound should be an open admission facility. They should be accepting any and all animals brought to them. And they don't. And that is wrong. AND they should be no kill - which doesn't mean that they don't kill (of course) - it just means that they have policies and protocols in place so that any treatable and saveable animals - are saved.

And as a tax paying HRM resident - I think that I should have that. And I should have access to the reasons why I don't have that service offered. It is almost 2011 - the time has come to ask for it - the problem is that it demands a lot of work from Municipal staff and the company contracted to provide it. That's the sticky part.

So that's it. Take that cud and chew on it.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:47 AM

    First,an absolute,all shelters city run "pounds" or registered charities should have to publish their stats. It should be a requirement in order to obtain charity status an must be subject to audit just like the money given to them. It seems strange to me that charities have to disclose what they have done with your money but not with the your animals. Any rules applied to animal charities should also apply to municipal pounds.
    While I think "No Kill" is possible it is much harder to achieve then the movement would like you to believe.
    To achieve it 100's of more dogs and 1000's of cats must be sterilized. 1000's more must be spent on behavioural rehab for dogs. Yes shelters can and should do better and adopting the no kill equation is the first step.It will take in my opinion from3 to 10year if everyone stays focused.
    I don't think those who claim they have achieved no kill over night are being honest.I have tried but I cannot find out how many(if any) TNR surgeries are performed by these shelters. I can't find any who actually maintain or support feral cat colonies. As for open admission, I don't think any are. They use education to help you keep your animal as away to keep the animals they don't want out. They have 2-3 hour surrender procedures to discourage you or put you on a waiting list.
    Unless more monies are spent on birth control through TNR and L/N cost S/N open admission no kill shelters are and will be a manipulated illusion.
    It is possible but it ain't easy an always bickering moves us backward not forward.