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Inadequate planning to house animals at the new Bartholomew County Humane Society


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November 15, 2014

Bartholomew County Humane Society Board of Directors,

As an avid animal advocate, I have become greatly concerned with the upcoming move to your new shelter due to the lack of planned space for the present number of cats. The urgent issue at hand is that your current facility has 100-200 cats to care for on an average day, yet the floor plan and recent newspaper article on your new shelter show that your new facility will hold approximately only 44 cats! After speaking with the BCHS staff and some of the board members, there is obvious inadequate planning to include all the cats in your care. When you have been questioned about this issue previously, your responses were inconsistent or evasive. This is why I feel obligated to ask you again publicly: What will happen to the cats who will not fit into the new shelter plan after your transition?

  Many community members are becoming more concerned about the lack of honesty, professionalism, and management at BCHS. Those points and the uncertainty about the new shelter also played a substantial role in my decision to resign recently after almost 8 years of dedication as your Feline Program Manager. Your community needs to know how this vital issue is going to be addressed if they continue to support you. I personally refuse to donate to any shelter that starts by ending the lives of healthy, adoptable animals who cannot speak for themselves. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, I believe the community has a right to know what is really happening with the animals at BCHS. We need you to ensure us with action, instead of just words, that the most important thing at BCHS is the life and welfare of every animal!

  Our community is willing to offer the assistance needed to do whatever it takes to prevent unnecessary euthanasias. If you can embrace our offer to help and give us the tools, together we can create a humane long-term solution. To implement a stricter euthanasia plan because the number of cats you currently have won't "fit" into the new shelter and the old building won’t be saved for overflow would be inhumane. Will experienced animal welfare advocates and staff who know the cats’ individually be the ones responsible for additional euthanasias to accommodate the move? This is not just an immediate problem; there must be a strong, permanent solution. For example, if you were to adopt out all the cats prior to moving and with the number of your average cats still coming in, the new shelter would be full before the end of the year. Then what would become of the next cat and many more that follow?

  If the space in the new facility is flexible, what is the maximum number of cats that could be held there in total; 100 more to match the capacity at the old shelter? The solution is not to kill every cat for which there isn't room, but to manage the cat population at the source so they don't enter the shelter system to begin with. I understand the cat overpopulation is a nation-wide problem, but what are you doing about it locally? As an effective plan of action, how will you provide humane education and more low-cost spay/neuter options to the public in order to reduce the number of cats entering the shelter? Perhaps local veterinarians could partner with you and subsidize spay/neuters to the public to help the community’s pet overpopulation. As a 501(c)3 charity, you have the option to apply for grants to help with spay/neuter promotions. There are also affordable services in neighboring communities that would be willing to collaborate with BCHS to provide assistance with spay/neuters on a regular basis. How will you increase your efforts in accurately marketing your adoptable pets to keep a steady flow of animals going into new homes? A Volunteer Coordinator could organize volunteers to consistently maintain your online presence and post pet adoption information, as well as fundraising or adoption events. How will you begin working with local animal groups and re-initiate partnerships with past rescues? So many other shelters have implemented these strategies and shown great success. Working together with allies and animal agencies will broaden your impact and give the animals what they truly deserve: a chance for a better life. 

  We, as a community, care about the wellbeing of the animals at the Humane Society and we want direct, non-evasive answers on what can be done to improve the situation created by the very organization that is supposed to protect them. Exactly what steps will be taken to address this important issue? We want to be able to trust our Humane Society when you say you are “low-kill” and “don’t euthanize for space”. A new building is wonderful, but not if it is at the expense of the animals.

-Ashleigh Fetter Kuhl


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Follow the comments ticker feed Comments (3 posted)

Ashleigh Fetter Kuhl 29/11/2014 21:44:54
Update: They still have not responded to anyone's concerns.
They have now released an email address where concerns can be sent to: bchsbod@gmail.com .
Reply Great Comment I'm sorry, but this is wrong!
H. Bakin 19/12/2014 02:13:45

Thanks for providing the concerning inside information about the BCHS. I’m curious about something else: When you worked there, how did you water the animals? Was it well water or city water? Also, were the sick animals kept away from the healthy animals?
Reply Great Comment I'm sorry, but this is wrong!
J. Brooks 05/05/2015 20:03:07
I know first hand how dishonest and unprofessional the BCHS is. I had to hire an attorney to get them to bury my precious dog "Bailey". The had her for 30 days in there freezer and came up with every excuse why they couldn't bury her. Finally after a call from my attorney and channel 6 news they laid her to rest. That place needs a change in management and new board members! Yeah the claim to care and have compassion for the animals BUT the don't !
All they care about is sitting on there ass & get paid and collect the donations. And have the volunteers do the work and that's a FACT!
Reply Great Comment I'm sorry, but this is wrong!
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