I joined the Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter in January, 2006. At that time, it was a wonderful place to be, for dogs, cats and volunteers. Everyone was together on the shelter’s mission: to find the best home for each animal. Every new volunteer was well trained by staff and senior volunteers as to daily chores and getting to know the animals. It worked, every animal was well known and well cared for. The main obligation of an animal shelter is to find the best home for animals under its care.
Potential adopters were asked to fill out an application with information regarding landlord permission, information on veterinary care, how many pets in the home, how many children and ages, and two non-related references. This provides answers to re sponsibility and intent.
At some point, the board of directors eliminated the application process and instituted a very informal method of approving adoptions, ignoring important information affecting the shelter animal’s welfare, and increasing returns.
The animals were shuffled in and out, sometimes the same day. Volunteers were receiving memos/edicts that seemed more corporate than humane. No one was allowed to question these practices. Long-time volunteers could not agree with the shelter’s new policies, could not communicate with the board, and felt that public awareness was needed.
I truly hope that things will change for the better. The animals deserve no less.