This letter to the editor got my attention and obviously really touched a nerve... from the February 20 edition of the Newport News Times:
Animal lover angry over want ad
To the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office/animal shelter: I read your ad for an animal “care” office specialist, for the “care” of cats and dogs. I am very angry that you would combine an office job with the putting down and burying of animals/critters. Most people I know, including myself, don't like the thought of losing a pet or an animal in their lives.
I used to work at a medical billing office for an abortion office. I didn't work in the same building, and as much as I am pro choice, don't want to be a part of the killing of those babies. How can you combine an office job with the clinical job of putting those unwanted/disregarded animals down? I know that a lot of the problems we face today, including meth, and other addictions, cause people to abandon their pets, but that should not be a reason for us to just throw them away. How sad our society has become.
It is very strange to me that you state that a part of the job is inoculation and medication. Not only that, but sanitary quarters and shelter. Why? If you are going to put them down anyway, why do that? I think that if someone comes along and wants to adopt the pet, let them go through the steps to make them healthier. Why spend tax dollars on a pet or animal care if you are going to send it to its demise anyway?
This is a very hard job to do, and I don't know anyone outside of drug-raged people without their right mind who would even think about doing this job. Don't get me wrong, I know someone has to do it, but it has definitely got me thinking.
I wish you the best of luck in your search for the person who is right for this position. I wish it could be me, but, as you can see, I have love for the animals.
Rochelle M. Trudeau
My response was published in the March 4 edition:
It's about compassion for animals
Ms. Trudeau, you stated in your letter (“Animal lover angry over want ad,” Feb. 20 edition) that you “don't know anyone outside of drug-raged people without their right mind who would even think about doing this job.” Well, I am certainly outside of that description. I am a long-time county resident who owns and runs my own business. I serve on the Toledo Chamber Board of Directors and on the Toledo City Council, among other things. I think I am mostly in my right mind, and I have submitted an application for this very position - for many reasons.
The part time position calls for the care and feeding of the animals housed at the animal shelter, inoculations, medications, euthanization and yes, office work. The animal shelter is small enough that I can't imagine there could be the specialization in positions that you allude to. The person who takes this job will have to wear many hats, as I suspect most of the people who work there do.
While I don't like the thought of losing any of my beloved animals either, I have lost plenty of them in the course of my life. It's just part of the deal when you have animals and our life spans are so much longer than theirs. And some of them even had to be euthanized due to complications from old age. It's all about compassion for the animals.
Why would anyone not give the animals the respect they deserve by keeping them healthy, clean, sanitary as possible, fed and loved? It is not their fault that people allow them to breed willy-nilly when it is so simple and not terribly expensive to have them spayed or neutered.
Why spend the money and effort to keep these animals healthy? Well, honestly, who wants to adopt a sick animal? I don't think the shelter's policy is to just “put them down anyway” unless they are sick beyond hope or have proven to be unadoptable.
I am highly aware that this would be a very difficult job for anyone to do - certainly for myself, being the compassionate lover of animals that I've always been. But ultimately, the job is all about that very thing - compassion.
You said, “How sad our society has become.” I agree. Please have your pet spayed or neutered now. Don't add to this already huge problem.
I have gotten a lot of feedback on that letter, all overwhelmingly positive. And I have since found out that I'll be testing for the shelter job on Monday. If I have to euthanize animals because of human stupidity, you can bet I'll become one hell of a crusader on the issue.
We have a real problem in our neighborhood, and it centers around one household which is across the street from me... they have at least a dozen cats and kittens, maybe two dozen, and they just let them breed and breed and breed. It's making me sick and you can bet I'll be doing something about it very soon. I've contacted the landlords and they refuse to do anything at all about their tenants. Don't even get me started on the dumpy appearance of the residence itself. Yikes.
I just got off the phone with another neighbor (who is also a responsible pet owner), and it sounds like the rest of the neighbors are just as disgusted with the situation as I am. In fact, she informed me that last night she watched no less than 8 cats in MY yard, crapping, spraying and breeding. YIKES. There have also been a couple of dogs running loose in the neighborhood.
My poor doggie just goes NUTS when another dog comes trouncing into her yard, and she has the same reaction to the cats yowling and scrapping in the middle of the night. That is not a pleasant way to be awakened at 3 a.m.
I'll be looking into the city ordinances to see what can be done, and I'll be contacting some of the other neighbors in an attempt to get this behavior under some kind of control.
If you know me at all, you know how I feel about animals. I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!!