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Recent Comments

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

@ marye: the Maddie's Fund money went directly to Oakland Animal Services (as a division of OPD). There were city-imposed restrictions that, for many legitimate reasons, couldn't allow the Maddie's adoptathon money to go to FOAS. However, the money does stay exclusively within the OAS operating budget. There are a number of shelter-related expenses that FOAS cannot pay for. Most importantly, while FOAS can pay for surgeries and other vet bills, it cannot buy medical supplies to be used at the shelter -- only OAS itself can have accounts directly with veterinary suppliers for things like vaccines and costly prescription vet medications. The Maddie's adoptathon money will help pay for medications and other important quality-of-life supplies that simply aren't within the city's budget during the current economic climate. If you have further questions about the Maddie's Fund money or the distinctions between FOAS and OAS funds, I encourage you to come down to the shelter and speak to Megan Webb, Martha Cline or a volunteer mentor (maroon t-shirts and aprons).

Posted by emwhist on 07/09/2010 at 3:40 PM

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

@ a2442128: That is an extremely gross exaggeration/untrue version of the situation with that volunteer. A highly public forum definitely isn't the appropriate place to discuss it further.

Posted by emwhist on 07/08/2010 at 5:03 PM

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

Although the author spoke to 2 staff members, I've very sorry he didn't reach out and speak to the many volunteers who are very happy volunteering at OAS and fully support the staff's decisions. This article is a very biased view of reality.

As for the commenter who says no one is disputing the facts of the article, I'll speak up on the circumstances of the dog Marci. She was not euthanized simply because "she'd just been there too long." That is not the truth and the author seems skeptical of Megan's view of Marci's circumstances because she's the shelter's director. As a volunteer, I can attest to the facts of the situation.

Although I take issue with a number of examples and points in the article, Marci is a particularly poor example of "unwarranted" euthanasia. Like Berkeley, OAS has kept dogs at the shelter for over a year before finally finding a home. However, it is a rare dog that can cope with the mental stresses of being in any shelter environment for that amount of time. Marci was as stressed as any dog I've ever seen; there wasn't a viable long-term foster spot available, rescue groups weren't offering her a place and she had received very few adoption inquiries in her many months in the adoption wards. She was exercised daily by staff and volunteers but it would have been cruel to leave her languishing in a kennel with no end in sight.

Mental stress is "pain", perhaps just not as obvious as physical pain. As for euthanized animals who aren't in mental or physical pain, it would be irresponsible to the citizens of Oakland to send potentially dangerous or aggressive animals out into the community. The fact is that there are not enough dog-experienced homes out there who are capable of taking on a dog that requires dedicated training. OAS takes its responsibilities to protecting animals very seriously. However, as a division of the Oakland Police Department, OAS has an obligation to the safety of the people of Oakland as well.

As for the accusations in comments that OAS is no longer reaching out to rescue groups, this is simply not true. We send as many dogs as possible out to rescues, but the majority of rescues turn down animals facing huge vet bills or with temperament issues. This isn't a criticism of rescue groups -- they are trying to help as many animals as possible and therefore most can't afford/justify putting huge amounts of resources (money, space, staff and volunteer hours) towards a few animals.

If people are actually interested in helping the animals, I strongly encourage coming down to the shelter to volunteer. Please don't make final judgements based on the word of a few disgruntled former volunteers and judge for yourself. We have many more happy volunteers who are genuinely interested in bettering the lives of the animals in any way they can. If volunteering in a municipal shelter isn't for you, look into fostering with a rescue group. Rescues can only take in animals from open-door municipal shelters if they have space for them. If you're worried about animals being euthanized for health issues, make a donation to Friends of the Oakland Animal Shelter (OAS-associated non-profit) or another shelter you care about. Vet bills are a reality and many municipal shelters and private rescues can't afford steep medical costs. The reality is that not every injured or sick animal's expenses can be paid for.

Posted by emwhist on 07/08/2010 at 3:04 PM

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