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An email that I submitted as a letter to the editor

Posted on 15 January, 2011 at 8:44
      Thank you for contacting me in the hope of finding placement for your dog because of your future deployment. I am going to try reaching back to you in the hope to reach the hearts and minds of our military that I so love and respect.  The reason I am doing this is because you obviously love your dog for this is the first time I have had someone trying to re home their pet giving a rescue group a several month time frame in which to do so.  I will continue to post out for your dog in hopes we can find placement, however the bigger issue is one that I am sure you and others on the base perhaps are not aware of, as I and many others were not aware.  My goal is for change and being of the military you can be of great influence by just asking others to email this information to their friends, contacts and perhaps commanders. Perhaps someone on the Base would help us put together a video or plan of action that would bring to light the terrible reality of what is truly going on here in Onslow.  Perhaps this could be my point paper.

     I have had the pleasure of having a dog most of my life and I know the comfort, love and  joy that they bring .  I see the young military people alone, with their friends or families enjoying life with their pets as we all do.  However, the difference that not only makes them great, but can also bring tragedy is that they are military and are often called upon to leave their pets to defend our country.  I was once a part of this military life living mostly in the Middle East many years ago. What I would like to expose to them is another harsh reality here in Onslow that perhaps they are not aware of concerning the pets they must leave behind.

Jacksonville and Onslow County are greatly influenced by the presence of our military bases and the tax ratables that they bring to our community.  But being that they are military, their lives are very transient and that's why the retail businesses prosper and, at our community animal shelter, animals suffer.  At one time, our politicians made an agreement with the military to handle or help control the problem of their pet population.  What do folks think happens to all the pets of this very large community upon deployment or discharge.  Yes, pets are turned into the shelter in every community, but I never realized the extent of this tragedy until I moved to the South and realized the shame of what happens to the animals here because of laws not passed or, if passed, not enforced to prevent such tragedies.
  Here in Onslow we kill close to 5,000 dogs and cats EVERY YEAR at a cost of approximately $700,000.00
. Perhaps there will be more concern when it tops the magical million dollar mark. Not only is this a problem caused by all the animals brought over by the military to the shelter for disposal that in most times ends in the death of the animal, but is also caused by the uneducated or uncaring folks who let their unsprayed and unneutered pets run free reproducing year after year litter after litter resulting in a frightening geometric progression in the number of helpless and innocent animals.
Did you know that an unsprayed female and her mate and all of their offspring, producing 2 litters per year, with 2.8 of the litter surviving, can produce 11,606,077 animals in 9 years?
And God forbid that any of our local hunters contribute by licensing their animals, no that's the responsibility of all the other folks in town who find the hunting dogs in great population in the shelter, tied to a tree or left to die or just plain shot in the head.....`cause that dog don't hunt’.  Do you really think a hunter is going to rescue his dog from the shelter when it is going to cost over $100.00?  Oh yes, and how do we explain to our children why all those dogs are lying dead along the highway or narrowly escape hitting one ourselves.
Yes, the entire county supports their love of the hunt!

     We are fortunate here in Onslow that  we still do not have a gas chambers in which animals are stuffed in to die; however, it has been expressed to me by an official in Animal Control that he wishes he still had this means available to him.  But we still do heart sticking.
     Did you ever see a pregnant dog at the shelter or very young puppies or kittens?  No, because they are a liability, they are killed immediately along with any female dog that goes into heat while being housed there.  If you are wondering why they don’t vaccinate, it is because their stay at the shelter is generally two weeks or less before they are killed if not adopted. The cats and kittens do not share in this time luxury, their stay at the shelter is just a matter of days before being killed.   Why should they incur the expense of vaccinating the animals at the shelter when they are going to be killed during the two week stay they are there.   So therefore the risk of the puppies dying from diseases, one of them being Parvo, is very high because of them not receiving vaccinations. 
     Many in the rescue community work with surrounding county shelters because they do vaccinate their animals and therefore they can hold them longer and actively work with rescues in providing spay/neuter vouchers at little or no cost. There is even an organization in Onslow called Friends of Pender.  Does that seem somewhat strange to you?  Why do people who live in Onslow help the shelter outside our county and not the one in our county?  The reason is some of the reasons previously mentioned.  The other shelters vaccinate and welcome volunteers, have fundraisers, actively work with many rescues and transport services, apply and receive grants because of their efforts and low kill rates.  They are pro active, not reactive in their rescue efforts.
     There are a few great folks at the shelter who try and work with rescues despite the overall attitude of doing the opposite by the management.  This attitude is probably the result of the unending amount of animals brought into the shelter every week and of being reactive and not proactive. How can other shelters that are substantially underfunded with substandard facilities make such a difference in the lives of the animals in their charge?  When they make a call of help out to their community the funds and gifts are overflowing.   At Onslow, even though they are rabies certified vaccinators, no low cost rabies clinics are held.  Plans are far in the future to establish a low cost spay and neuter clinic to have an impact on the population explosion in our county.
     There simply are not enough rescues, fosters or people to adopt these animals.  Contact the Politicians who pass the laws for our community and demand a change!!!!! Enact laws for mandatory spay and neuter at low cost clinic, rabies vaccinations, and licensing and control large volume and back yard breeders.  Ban stores from selling animals from puppy mills that make their profits off the suffering of these animals.  As of Jan. 1, 2011, Illinois pet stores now must disclose information regarding every animal they sell and will no longer be able to hide the fact that they purchase their dogs from puppy mills or large puppy brokers.  Lets us do the same here in NC.

     There are many simple reforms that we are currently presenting to the Director of the Health Department and some of our devoted county commissioners, but we need the support of our community.  After all, you are the folks paying for it - approximately $100.00 per dog for the two week stay, if he's lucky, at a shelter that discourages volunteers.  Why is that?  Because they want the volunteers to scrub out the cages and not take the dogs for a walk.  Besides who could handle every Thursday 25 to 35 dogs being marked for death and killed the following Friday morning. I believe that the cats have a much shorter cage life than the dogs as they are being sold to laboratories.
     Please go to our web site and to the page LETTER FROM A SHELTER MANAGER to get a small understanding of just what is happening here in our very small part of the world.  Standing together we can make a difference for the change that is needed.  Remember you elect the folks who make the laws for our community and are charged with enforcing them.  If you don’t like something, change it!  Every year I read letters such as mine hoping to let our community be aware of these problems, but there is no change.  Will you be the change to make the difference? There is a grass roots meeting on the 18of January at the Auditorium of the Health Department in Jacksonvill612 College Street, Jacksonville, NC 28540e .  Please be there at 6:30pm.
DottyAnn Harding
President & Founder
OCPAW Onslow County Partners for Animal Welfare, Inc
 (Face Book) Onslow County Partners for Animal Welfare


Categories: Current Issues, Onslow Shelter Issues

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