treatise to HSOV board of directors

At the April 7 meeting of the board of directors meeting for HSOV (Humane Society of the Ohio Valley) I’m going to present a treatise. During this morning’s swim I began working through my proposed speech, trying to focus myself.

I’m going to begin this writing-compressing process here on my blog. (Sidebar — an interesting exercise for the creation of a powerful personal statement is to write all your thoughts, in no specific order, then combine similar thoughts into single sentences, eliminate fluff and repetition, and boil the entire thing down to 25-50 words.)

The primary goal of my treatise is to convince the HSOV board that their mission should be to spearhead the spay/neuter drive in our area, without regard for whether or not this activity meshes with the opinions and goals of our local veterinarians and potential adopters.

I’ve considered opening with, “The Humane Society of the Ohio Valley has a mission statement published on the website which includes the statements: to work toward the solution of overpopulation of animals; to promote and share responsibility for the proper care and placement of animals; and to oppose the release of any animal from public and private animal shelters for the purpose of biomedical research or any other purpose inhumane to animals.”

Nowhere in that mission statement is mention made of supporting local veterinarians and ensuring they have sufficient business, or making sure the shelter is the cheapest local source of pets,or enabling the adoption of pets without ascertaining the quality of the home provided by the adopter, or providing brood bitches for puppy mills.

At some point in time the board decided that the shelter needed local vets’ approval more than local vets need HSOV as a good customer. At some point in time the board decided to accommodate the needs of adopters, regarding price and availability, rather than focusing on the needs of shelter dogs and cats. At some point in time the board decided to focus more on fund-raising and adopting out a few animals than on the numbers of dogs and cats being bred by citizens and euthanized in our shelter every week.

I have established as one of my life goals to raise local awareness of the needs of homeless dogs — finding the right dog for interested adopters, assisting with training that dog, ensuring the dog’s health, and keeping that dog happily in the home. I will continue working toward those goals for the dogs living at HSOV, but I need your help.

I need you, as influential members of the board of directors of a humane society, to stand between the animals at the shelter and those who breed them indiscriminately. I need you to stand up to veterinarians who expect personal gain without supporting HSOV’s mission. I need you to listen to HSOV statistics and know the agony felt by members of the shelter staff — animals lovers every one — who must perform euthanasias regularly because of the lack of education about spay/neuter in our community, and the lack of funds to assist adopters with veterinary care. I need you to educate yourselves and your neighbors about the many causes of pet over-population and the benefits of early spay/neuter.

Those of us fighting the spay/neuter battle are engaged in a war. We’re drowning in a tsunami of lovely, yet unwanted, dogs and cats. Our allies are humane societies everywhere, whether they’re rescuing dogs or working on legislation, and veterinarians willing to fit shelter dogs into their schedule, willing to provide prepubescent spay/neuters, willing to make good customers of shelter adopters, and willing to participate in our mission to combat pet over-population.

We want to make allies of the unknowledgeable breeders of dogs and cats in our community, and encourage them to become part of the solution to the pet over-population problem rather than part of the problem.  Lack of knowledge is a pardonable sin.

On the other hand, we have enemies. Our enemies are puppymills, retail and wholesale pet operations, irresponsible breeders of dogs and cats, and veterinarians who refuse to support our mission and provide medical services without extraordinary fees.

When a puppy or kitten is born, our goal is to ensure that puppy or kitten never produces more unwanted pets and that it finds a forever home. This goal diverges from the goal of a veterinarian, whose mission is to make money and pay expenses and employees, and who actually benefits from litters of puppies and kittens.

I’m going to let the above ferment in my brain. If you have comments, suggestions, or impassioned speeches, please forward all to me at marshahouston@hughes.net

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