Original post made
on Feb 16, 2014
It is very easy to feel discouraged about the vast number of issues involving wildlife and pets, and worry about the welfare of animals in so many areas. So, it was a great treat to read your piece on the impressive improvements taking place at the Palo Alto Animal Shelter. Thank you for your involvement and the remarkable work of everyone at PAAS, as well as the involvement of youth in the community and the key use of social media. You sound like a wonderful young woman and I applaud you and wish you all the best in fighting the good fight for the animals.
It is too bad that PAAS has a spotty reputation amongst other animal welfare organizations in the know. Some of their euthanizations of dogs have been questionable, for example. They don't have the volume of animals, nor the demand on its office staff that PHS or HSSV in Milpitas have. Does Palo Alto *really* need a state of the art shelter for its low volume?
I understand that this opinion was written by a young person, but please note that the HSUS has a lousy track record in many regards. They've leaned heavily toward animal rights, not animal welfare, rescue or real advocacy. Its behavior during Hurricane Katrina was pretty bad. And Best Friends? Best Friends is in a whole different category than PAAS. It's not that they can't be an inspiration, but they're unlikely to be the best model.
Since PHS has taken over the wildlife rescue efforts of Palo Alto and will be opening a wildlife area in the South Bay, and HSSV's new shelter made a big splash, maybe Palo Alto should consider teaming up with either, or both of those organizations to be an outpost along the bay. Oh, wait, that'd be hard because PAAS is still stupidly under the umbrella of law enforcement. Historically, most animal shelters run by law enforcement get the short end of the stick, as PAAS does. By & large, the people of PA have spoken - an animal shelter run by the cops is the cheapest way to run it. If PAAS really, really, really wants to change, than who runs it absolutely needs to change.
There have been too many people in Palo Alto historically that either don't care or are against spending big money on an improved shelter - which is another reason that it's run by the cops. I'm glad that so far they have been drowned out by those who care and put their time, money and efforts where it matters, but the changes need to be deep, a whole paradigm shift, if indeed they want to model state of the art animal welfare organizations. After all, those organizations shifted first in their thinking before any architect drew up plans. I recall HSSV at its old location and when their thinking shifted into its current philosophy, and ditto PHS. It's this shift in thinking that is crucial, and saves lives, which is how the evolution to cage-free environments occurs.
VERY thoughtful perspective on this, Hmmm, thank you. You've certainly inspired me to delve more deeply into the situation.
We just became aware of this blog post. There is a group of us pet owners in Palo Alto that are submitting app proposals to the Palo Alto Hackathon. All of our proposals are centered on improving the welfare and adoption of homeless pets at the Palo Alto Animal Services shelter. We would love to make contact with like-minded residents. You do not need to be a programmer or technologist. Proposals are due in two days! Friday Feb 28 at 5pm.
More info about the hackathon at www.hackpaloalto.org and Twitter @hackpaloalto
More about us at www.paloaltohomelessdogs.org
Phone: 650 215-8406