Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wise County Animal Shelter Riding the Failboat

You know why Chloe got adopted? It's not just because she was full of awesome-sauce. The adopter saw a picture of her and thought, oh my, what a gorgeous animal. It was a nice photo of Chloe and it reminded the adopter of her last dog and old family dog combined.

Photos are vital to any successful adoption program. Unless you're an amazing story-teller, people want visual images to accompany words. People suck at reading. I mean that kindly.

Wise County Animal Control in Decatur, Texas, seems to think they can adopt out more than 25% of their animals by prohibiting photos by the skeery public (including rescues) and only allowing shelter staff to take photos.

Problem is shelter staff aren't taking the time to keep photos updated nor are they actively disseminating those photos to rescue groups to share. Check out their Petfinder's page, it's sad. It's like they have all these great animals locked in an opaque box and they're hoping, really hoping hard, that someone will show an interest. Doesn't work that way, folks.

If there are problems with the types of photos being taken, then sit down with the rescue folk and request they take photos that enhance the dog's personality. Require photos be taken outside or in an open room with good lighting. Encourage photos that showcase the dog's likes, maybe catching a ball, rolling around in the mud, or sitting on someone's lap. But don't just tell rescuers to stop taking photos. All you say with that is you don't give a damn about the animals getting into a home.

Which might be true with Wise County...they don't even keep a running tally of how many animals they take in and adopt. But it sounds like they kill a lot more than they help - the Sgt. estimates about 25% get adopted. Ouch. Not something to be proud of and definitely a good reason to encourage rescues to come in and take photos.

The shelter, like so many others, also "rescues" farm animals. Then sells them at auction to be slaughtered. Sucks to be rescued and then eaten! Imagine if they did that with the dogs and cats. Whoa, uproar central.

What you can do:
Contact Sheriff David Walker and politely ask that he reinstate taking photos and set guidelines to rescuers about the types of photos of animals that should be publicized. Rules about locations of photos is way better than banning photos entirely.

Contact the Commissioners and ask that they allow rescuers to take photos.
Danny White
Kevin Burns 
Harry Lamance 
Terry Ross 

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