I see in your paper that the Humane Society of Chatham-Savannah is expanding into new facilities and is obviously embarked on a PR promotion (Animal House, by Linda Sickler, Jan. 4).
To hear them tell it, they are full of good will and better intentions to find homes and care for the animals brought to them. Naturally, they expect the citizens to support them by sending in gifts of money.
I receive many envelopes requesting gifts, as Im sure you do. I have a wonderful cat and I therefore have always contributed over the years so that homeless animals might find shelter and compassion.
Im sure you feel the same. My own experience, therefore, could be enlightening.
Recently a tiny, obviously abandoned, beautiful black and white kitten sheltered itself on my porch and demanded attention by every means. This poor thing had apparently lost its way and was in serious need of help.
My own older cat, although of the very same lovely black-and-white-marked, long-legged, aristocratic kind, would have nothing to do with the arrival of this kitten and began to disappear for hours, not wanting to enter the house if this kitten was around.
And around it certainly was.
I called the Humane Society and was told that I could bring the animal to them. I do not have a car, so I called a taxi and picked up the little thing, put it in a basket and we went off.
While the taxi waited, I went inside to an empty waiting room and was met by two glum-faced, bored-looking teenagers, who looked at me as if I were crazy for bringing in any animal and said they had no more room.
They said they were full, although I had been told on the phone to bring the cat in. The number of places they said they maintained for cats was ridiculously small, and obviously hardly relevant to care for a population in a city like this, if in fact what they told me was true.
They then asked if it was my kitten. When I said no, they told me that they did not take strays!
When I asked what kind of animals they did take, they said they would take animals if the owners no longer wanted them, or couldnt keep them any longer.
The difference remains a mystery to me. I got into the taxi and returned with the kitten.
I sent my two friends back there with the kitten the next day. They were told, Yeah, give us the kitten, and along with that they were handed a form to fill out.
At the bottom of the form my friends found a signature line, asking them to agree to the euthanasia of the kitten.
(Conveniently, around the corner is the countys Animal Control, where all strays are put to death.)
My friends asked if the kitten was just going to be put to death and asked whether any effort was going to be made to find a foster home (as the Humane Society so charmingly suggests on its PR letters) for this kitten.
No. Well just put it to sleep, was the reply.
Bored. Ho-hum. Just another stray.
My friends took the little kitten away with them. They released it in an area of homes and some open spaces and wished it well. There, at least, it has a chance. It can fight for itself.
Maybe fate will be kinder than the Humane Society of Chatham-Savannah. And cheaper.
The other day I saw a huge Humane Society van careening around the corner near my home. It was huge and apparently suited for collecting gifts of food and warm bedding, toys, etc., which the kind and generous lovers of animals have donated.
Those who donate should examine the situation. Like many institutions, it probably exists only to benefit those few who work within it.
And maybe being next door to Animal Control is a little too comfortable.
THANKS FOR NEW ORLEANS STORY
Thanks so much for the piece about New Orleans (Resurrection Blues, by Sabrina Manganella Simmons, Jan. 25). The photo on the cover was just beautiful and the article was great.
I hope that in the months to come Connect will follow up on the progress down there. It is such an important story.
Thanks for giving it the attention it deserves and doing it with just the right touch.