On Aug. 28, at approximately 10:45 a.m., a lady appeared at the door of the Humane Society with a dog. I (Leslie Renner) opened the door, greeted her, and told her we would not be able to take the dog as we were completely full. She then told me she had found him as a stray and had taken him to the Dog Warden’s office, but the Dog Warden was not in. She was quite uncertain as to what to do with the dog, and having no idea when the Dog Warden would be back, I told her I would take the dog over to his office for her.
I felt it would be totally unfair for me to not offer assistance. It was not hard to see that the dog was black, male, and older. I took him to the Dog Warden for his 72 hour stray hold, and returned to the Humane Society. It was a week later, on Sept. 4, that the Dog Warden put the dog down.
In any scenario, this is very unfortunate but after having a dog for a week the chance that they have an owner looking for them is very low. This dog had no tags, no microchip, no identification, and of course had no way of telling us where he belonged. There was only one person that could have saved this dog, and he should have done so within the first 24 hours. At the very least if this dog had been wearing a tag, he could have gone home.
The owner seems to believe that if he states misinformation often enough and to a large enough audience, it becomes the new truth. The truth does not change, and in this case the truth is the owner never made contact with the Humane Society or the Dog Warden prior to the dog’s euthanasia. Yes, he came in to the Humane Society at 4:45 p.m. on Tuesday Sept. 4, to see if we had his dog, and the employee who took the report asked him why he had waited a week to report his dog as missing. His reply was that the dog was just an old farm dog and he would wander off but always came home. I heard the exchange, asked if he had checked the ditches for an injured dog, and he left.
I read the description that the employee had written down and I was curious to see if it matched the dog I had taken over a week before. Unfortunately the dog was not there and I suspected that he had been put down. This was obviously a matter for the owner to confirm with the Dog Warden. The dog was never impounded by the Humane Society, as it was stated to the lady dropping off the dog, and we did not euthanize the dog.
The owner states that he made numerous contacts with both the Humane Society and the Dog Warden, but does no one find it odd that neither entity had any record of a call from him? The Preble County Dog Warden and the Humane Society of Preble County are two separate entities. We each keep a log of all incoming calls on lost or found dogs. We have a notebook that is almost filled with calls from this year alone, and the Dog Warden has his log sheets from the year. Neither of us ever had any contact from the owner until the dog was already gone.
We are baffled as to why the Humane Society is being held accountable for something in which we had no involvement and no control. No matter the procedural or staffing changes that he refers to, until the day that a person can step up and take responsibility for their own actions, or in this case, inaction, and until a dog owner values their dog enough to equip him with the necessary information needed to get him home, either by proper dog license or microchip, and until dog owners think it might be worth their time and the dog’s life to pick up the phone and make some calls, dogs will continue to suffer and will continue to be euthanized. It is not up to either the Dog Warden or the Humane Society to board a dog until someone decides a week or a month later that they will look for their “valued family pet.”
We posted the true sequence of events on our Facebook page after the owner’s friends started bombarding us with nasty messages. It was stated that we deleted our post because “several of their statements contradicted previous ones.” Nothing could be further from the truth. We took our post down because we knew that it would be nothing more than a forum for those keyboard warriors that do not listen to the truth because there is no fun in the truth. It is more fun for these people to pound away at their keyboard in self-righteous indignation bashing and slandering people and entities and getting some form of adrenaline rush from doing so. Keyboards are nameless and faceless so it gives the warrior a false sense of freedom and security that renders them powerful.
Our procedures do not need to be changed. We are a no-kill shelter, but we are not open-admission. We have limited space and can normally only house approximately 70 dogs. If we accepted every stray, every unwanted dog, every dog with physical or behavorial issues, we would not have room for the dogs that the public deems adoptable. It isn’t what we think is adoptable, it is the public’s opinion.
We currently have a 5-year-old dog here and as sweet as she is, housetrained and loving, three people told us this week that she was too old for them to adopt. People walk into our building and state right up front they do not want to adopt a Pitbull. We do not set the standards for adoptable dogs, the public does. Once we do an intake on a dog and take them in, they are here until they are adopted. That is what a no-kill shelter does.
For people to say they are withdrawing their support, we ask “What will this accomplish?” We are not, nor can we be responsible for every dog in Preble County. An owner bears responsibility for their own dog. We will do our best with the rest, but if people want to misplace blame, the only ones who will suffer are the very dogs they profess they want to help. This is the system we at the Humane Society have been striving to better ever since we moved into our new facility. And it has gotten better. Each year the dogs that the Dog Warden has to put down get fewer, but until owners bear the responsibility for their own pet, the problem will continue to exist.
Board of Directors
Humane Society of Preble County