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RE: County animal shelter

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 To the editor: 

I am writing in response to recent allegations against the Campbell County animal shelter Director Betty Crumley.  Many accusations have been made against Mrs. Crumley and many people have behaved badly and in a manner not befitting those of us that simply want to learn the truth.

It would seem that the issues at hand are not so much a question of legality, as morality. Local news stations have confirmed for the public that the shelter does not follow manufacturer’s recommendations for euthanasia. It is recommended that a tranquilizer be administered prior to, and that the IV method, requiring 1cc per 10 pounds be used for termination of an animal’s life whenever possible.  The shelter does not employ the use of tranquilizers, it was reported, and they perform the IP method of euthanasia on animals, but only using the recommended dose for IV method. The recommended dose for IP is 3cc per 10 lbs. This information came from shelter records housed at the mayor’s office. From a medical standpoint, I am not knowledgeable enough to say whether or not this practice cruelly and unnecessarily prolongs an animal’s suffering, but logically, manufacturers have recommended practices and specifications for a reason.

Compassion and sincere, heartfelt concern should be at the core of the decisions made in a shelter. I do not feel that this is the case at the Campbell County shelter. Volunteers haven’t been allowed to interact with the animals, walk them, etc.  I called about a year ago asking to volunteer, and was told by the director that the shelter does not accept volunteers of any kind and animals are not allowed to be put on Petfinder or any other type of public network.  When I asked how anyone would know what animals were available, the response I got was that everybody knows where the shelter is. I spoke with four different shelters about that same time, and when asked what type of donations they would be interested in, three of the four listed things such as; food, old blankets, toys, treats, Clorox, bowls, litter, etc.  The Campbell County director told me she did not want any type of food, bedding, treats or toys, the only things she could use were litter, index cards and bleach.  While none of these responses constitute any type of wrong-doing, nor do I purport such a belief, I did find them not in keeping with those from other, same-type positions.

What I would like is for someone to determine if the practice of only using 1/3 the recommended dose of drugs for euthanasia is cruel and should be stopped. I do want people to be aware that failing to actively seek out adoption or other positive avenues for shelter animals is wrong — ethically, morally and otherwise. I appreciate and understand the role of the county shelter and the fact that euthanasia in our shelters is inevitable. So long as the number coming in exceeds that going out, it is simply a reality. The real issues lie within the community and understanding that spay/neuter is the only answer.  
I do, however, want compassion for the ending of a life; an acknowledgement that loss of any life is substantial and should be viewed as such. I want vindication for the voiceless, the helpless and those looking to their human counterparts to be the stewards we were all called to be. I want people to understand that when we fail to fulfill the responsibility of our role as caretaker for this planet and all that she contains, we chip away at our own humanity and further degrade our own character. The great Mahatma Gandhi is quoted as having said, “I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man.”  
Please, investigate the accusations against and practices of Mrs. Crumley and act according to your findings.  

Kristen Whitaker
Claiborne County