Shelter needs to reverse rescue policy

by Malcolm Kenton

In an ideal society, every companion animal – cat, dog, rabbit, bird, rodent, reptile and fish – would have a loving home and proper care and there would be no need for such an institution as an animal shelter. In our current society, however, too many companion animals exist due to the irresponsibility and carelessness of humans. Because of this, animal shelters serve the important function of removing companion animals from dangerous and often short lives on the street and providing them with food, water and shelter until they find a new home, or if all else fails, they euthanize the animals. Animal rescue groups, with their armies of dedicated volunteers, are in an ideal position to help shelters by taking those animals the shelter lacks the resources to properly care for. This relationship works to the mutual benefit of both organizations, and of the general public, so long as shelters do not see themselves as competing with rescues. Both institutions play equally vital and complementary roles.

I am angered that the Guilford County Animal Shelter refuses to surrender animals to rescues. Doing so would give the animals a greater chance of being adopted and allow the shelter to use its resources more efficiently. If shelter director Marsha Williams does not immediately reverse this disastrous policy, county residents should contact their county commissioners and urge them to withhold funding for the shelter until it opens its doors to well-qualified rescue groups. How we treat the most defenseless beings says a lot about our social ethics. The animals and people of Guilford County deserve an animal welfare system that gives more homeless creatures a chance at a better life.

The writer is a 20-year-old junior at Guilford College, community activist, and regular volunteer at the Guilford County Animal Shelter.