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Recent Comments

Re: “Is Oakland Animal Services Killing Too Many Dogs?


I was criticized for talking about personality, about style, but this is where the issues lie. No one is saying that Megan Webb, other managers, volunteers don’t have some of the building blocks to run a good department (I say department because the work of OAC is intended to be far more than the shelter) but they don’t have all the building blocks and they resist and defend against working on getting those blocks that are not their natural strengths and against modifying those traits that work against them.
There is no supervision for Megan, likely there never was, and she is probably not an insightful person who will look at where her deficits are and improve on them. If anything, she is so afraid of this that she has created this whole culture, the “green shirts’ where you can’t pipe up with any (critical) observation or suggestion without being thrown right out, told you are being “negative”, etc. I have witnessed volunteers so afraid to say anything that might get them in trouble that they preface their comments with “ I don’t want to sound negative but …” . Why would they need to say this? Their ideas and thoughts should be welcomed. These partners in rescue – they all know you’re only a partner until you have a disagreement, then you’re out of there. Everyone knows that you have to put a good face on it or the shelter won’t work with you. It may be open access for the animals but not for the public or for rescue groups.
This is a public agency, not a private shelter, so outside people are not only interested but have an actual investment in the quality and quantity of the work performed. This is normal. It can not be prevented. Every city agency is and should be under public scrutiny – audits, management appraisals, etc. There will be criticism, of course, and you – shelter management, volunteers - should welcome it as a chance to look where deficits are and where things can be improved. Not where problems can be denied, hidden better, or blamed on other people. This is your task – to take the nugget of reality in each of these comments and address it.
Some specific comments – If both Martha and Megan are helping with an adoption – I would say that is too much micromanaging and who is looking after the big picture. That worries me, it doesn’t make me feel comfortable about how this agency functions.
Also, if “dawg” thinks OAS is the only game in town and that people commenting here are not working as hard as you to help animals and they should come help at the shelter, that is just ignorance. I work full-time unpaid (on top of my paying job) helping animals effectively in the community. I do not need to come into the shelter to be already doing more than my fair share. And volunteers and perhaps staff possibly forget that the shelter, running the shelter, doing adoptions, etc. is not intended to be the primary focus of OAS. They are intended to be providing Animal Control services to the entire city. That is a very broad focus so perhaps it is normal that they would focus on this little shelter piece and trying to make that better and better and that piece is likely better than it was previously for a small spectrum of animals that come in there – excluding aggressive dogs, feral cats, and all those other animals that fall outside the spectrum of easy work.
I have worked in that shelter and I know that it is emotionally traumatic and damaging. I understand that this is part of the reason for the lies and denying. But concealing the truth does not make it less true and giving every dog a Kong, however laudable, does not make it ok that so many of them are killed there.

Posted by problemshelter on 07/13/2010 at 11:37 AM

Re: “Is Oakland Animal Services Killing Too Many Dogs?

to OAS volunteer
Please stop posting and fighting with BadRap through these postings. You have already passed the limits of your knowledge and expertise.
Saying something over and over again doesn't make it true.
Try being less defensive and just listening/absorbing other ideas and perhaps a new way of looking at things will come to you. Just let it happen. Differences are good. Differences aren't negativity.

Posted by problemshelter on 07/12/2010 at 3:16 PM

Re: “Is Oakland Animal Services Killing Too Many Dogs?

To OAS volunteer
Please stop posting. You have already shared up and past the limit of your knowledge and expertise.
Saying something over and over again doesn't make it true.
Get a(nother) life.
If you weren't so defensive, perhaps a new thought or idea would come into your mind. Let it happen.

Posted by problemshelter on 07/12/2010 at 3:02 PM

Re: “Is Oakland Animal Services Killing Too Many Dogs?

Someone or something needs to push the shelter forward in the areas where there are issues.
In some places, this would be city management under whom the shelter falls. However, as the city (or in this case, OPD) may not have the expertise to supervise this department well, it could fall to an Animal Welfare Commission which SF has, which Berkeley has. In S.F., this is where cutting edge issues are raised and city policies are addressed and this always involves the Animal Control department. I would suggest that this needs to happen in Oakland and sooner rather than later.
Would OAS volunteers agree with this or does even this suggestion feel like a criticism of Megan Webb?

Posted by problemshelter on 07/12/2010 at 11:20 AM

Re: “Is Oakland Animal Services Killing Too Many Dogs?

Feral cats still being killed. Promises made (by Megan) but never fully implemented. All promises, little followthrough. I'm not denying the good intentions but, if you are not able to carry things out, be humble, admit it, ask others for guidance and follow it, don't take credit if you have not done the work.
Since Megan arrived, it has been the culture that you need to be "positive" and you are thrown out if you have questions or criticisms. There is no attempt to harness that energy to make changes. You need to drink the koolaid to stay a volunteer.
I've done rescue in the city for years and despite all the talk about "how things have improved under Megan", my life is still as difficult doing rescue. I still have to work another full-time unpaid job just to keep up with the need. Let's start from the reality and build together instead of one place having to pretend that they are "all that".

Posted by problemshelter on 07/12/2010 at 10:45 AM

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