|Affectionately called "little Peanut" by the family who found her and who wanted to adopt her; this friendly young beagle was killed at Fox Valley Humane Association for what was described as "food guarding" during her behavior assessment|
If you're involved in animal welfare or if you live in the Appleton/Green Bay Area of Wisconsin you've probably seen the brewha about the Fox Valley Humane Association's (FVHA) killing of a friendly, "stray" young beagle that had a family willing to adopt her.
If you need a refresher here are the details. Thank you to Yesbiscuit and the Milwaukee Animal Welfare Examiner for covering this story.
YesBiscuit!: Nobody WANTS to Kill Animals: Fox Valley Humane Edition
Milwaukee Animal Welfare Examiner: Despite Being Wanted by Her Rescuers, FVHA Euthanized Peanut
For additional background, the story was also picked up by the following news agencies:
Appleton Post Crescent (newspaper)
So first off, it should be immediately apparent that this story was BIG news. On a day when most of Wisconsin was focused on Green Bay Packer's quarterback, Aaron Rogers, broken collar bone, four television stations and the local daily paper covered it. And how did the FVHA handle the story? By sticking their fingers in their ears, going la-la-la and ignoring what their donors and supporters are saying. They didn't deny that the killing occurred. They defended it. They made it out to be an isolated "incident". The FVHA director even told me on the phone that she was proud of providing "humane euthanasia" to the people of the Fox Valley. There was nothing humane about killing Peanut. This was not euthanasia. This dog was killed. She was young. She was friendly. She had a home.
The bigger story is that FVHA took in 3614 cats and dogs in 2012 and killed 1957 of them. Yet, on their website they claim to have saved 100% of adoptable cats and dogs in 2012. They are deceiving the public and the taxpayer. (The shelter received over $169,000 in municipal income in 2011). The public should be outraged and they are.
The public wants shelters to be safe havens where they can take lost pets and know that they will be cared for. Not slaughtered. Read through the comments on the news stories and the Facebook pages. People do not want the FVHA to fail. They want their donations and tax dollars used to shelter animals. The public wants shelters to shelter. Not to kill.
In the newspaper this morning I read that U.S. Cellular was getting backlash for poor customer service and billing problems. Here was the statement from U.S. Cellular spokesperson: "We are completely focused on getting this right. We are sorry that customers had experiences that haven't lived up to their needs or expectations."
In stark contrast are the FVHA director's, Liz Dietz's responses yesterday in the news media:
"The Fox Valley Humane Association says it has reviewed its policy, and says it was followed precisely with the animal. It has no plans to change its procedures."
"Calling the attacks on their organization slander and misinformed...."
"The problem with Facebook is that it's very easy for people to voice an opinion but not take responsibility. It's misinformation, not factual and, in fact, slanderous."
So while Dietz, accuses the public of slander and defends the killing; the turmoil continues. Even to the point where I saw a recommendation that they probably need to consider calling in public relations firm to undo the damage that has been done by Dietz.
Business guru, Seth Godin wrote an excellent blog on customer satisfaction a couple of weeks ago. "The complaining customer doesn't want a refund. He wants a connection, an apology and some understanding. He wants to know why you made him feel stupid or ripped off or disrespected, and why it's not going to happen again."
But Dietz, apparently doesn't get it as she digs the FVHA further into a hole by defending her actions. Because killing 1957 animals in one year at a well-funded Wisconsin shelter is indefensible.
I have blogged about FVHA in the past. Here are the links:
The Power to Kill
Ask Your Shelter Director - Part 3
What's in a Name