By Susan Latiolait for Eugene Daily News
No Kill Lane County (NKLC), an animal rights organization dedicated to eliminating unnecessary killings of animals, has taken a stance against the local Greenhill Humane Society.
Recently, NKLC has taken issue with the treatment of animals going through 1st Avenue, an animal shelter that Greenhill has had possession of since July of this year that takes in primarily stray animals. After attempting to obtain records of animals that have gone through this shelter (NKLC was told from Greenhill representatives that this information could only be obtained through the City of Eugene) NKLC requested the information from but was not surprised to find that these records were not available. Now, this animal right’s group is trying to further their attempts at obtaining this information.
“It is likely that we will have to file for a Declaratory Relief with the court in order for Greenhill to supply its records. Greenhill, however, does claim to be transparent, but refuses to share information when requested. If an organization hides its records behind the cloak of being a nonprofit, that is a huge red flag for its donors.” said Tamara Barnes, Founder of NKLC.
Carey Lieberman, Executive Director of Greenhill, recognizes that the 1st avenue shelter is not up to the standards he would like, and since July, has had constant remodeling throughout the shelter and hopes to build a new one in the next few years. However, he states that the proper way to obtain the records on the animals that passed through Greenhill is through the jurisdictions because it is a public information request.
“This group has not showed me that they are interested in the mission that our organization is, which is to care for the animals, reunite them with their owners and finding them new homes,” explained Lieberman. “So we are going to spend time doing those activities, not responding to endless requests that, in our minds, hold no merit.”
Many of the requests that have come to Lieberman recently have involved accounts of mistreated animals. Tasha Roberts has recently joined NKLC in their stance against the humane society after disagreeing with their policies, consequently quitting her job in August of 2011.
In her resignation letter to Greenhill, Roberts outlined specific situations in which animals were being mistreated; one including a man who appeared to be homeless applying to adopt a cat and getting approved. To Roberts, this illustrates Greenhill’s priorities of numbers over proper animal treatment.
“I came in to Greenhill thinking that I would be surrounded by people who are compassionate and truly care for the animals,” said Roberts. “That was not the case. Bottom line: I am leaving Greenhill because the animals themselves are not a top priority. The employees are also not listened to and they are disrespected and unappreciated by upper management.”
However, with around 400 volunteers and 30 staff members, Lieberman does not see how these accounts could be valid and states that their live release rates of animals at both Greenhill and 1st Ave exceeds NKLC’s standards. Lieberman believes that NKLC’s accusations are hindering the goals for their animals.
“We are actually meeting the goals that we all want to see,” said Lieberman. “In large part I think we are doing exactly what [NKLC] wants, which is why I don’t understand why they are so upset. I think we are meeting the standards of humane treatment, ensuring that animals are treated and cared for, and are getting homes.”
However, NKLC is not satisfied. As well as gaining more support amoung Lane County residents, they are receiving personal examples of animals in substandard conditions.
Jill Winans, member of NKLC, explains how animal mistreatment is noticeable in cases of animals waiting to be euthanized.
“The whole mission of No-Kill is to return the use of the word “euthanasia” to its dictionary definition. Killing an animal with a treatable, non-fatal disease such as ringworm is killing. Euthanizing an animal suffering from a non-treatable condition such as cancer or excessive injury is euthanasia,” explained Winans. “This is a process that needs to commence the day the dog is taken in, not something that Greenhill is doing, therefore their “euthanasia” policy concerning dogs that have been put into a kennel without attention or even sometimes food, is questionable.”
Barnes says that NKLC is receiving more examples every day of animals being mistreated in Greenhill’s care. Their ultimate goal is to remove Lieberman and Shelter Medicine Director from their positions at Greenhill. They want to see all animals being treated correctly and marketed to the public for adoption accordingly in order to create a truly transparent and trustworthy animal shelter.
However, over the last four months, Lieberman states that he has responded to most of their requests via phone, email, and in person, and he is finding that they are unhappy no matter what Greenhill does or says. All in all, Lieberman recognizes that some animals come to the shelter in bad conditions, but they do everything to care for and treat each animal. He believes that NKLC is perpetuating the stereotype that animal shelters are a terrible place for animals, but states that this is not the case, and that support is needed in order to provide the best care possible.
“We need support to do this work,” said Lieberman. “And the detrimental aspect of this movement is they are attempting to attack us in a way that harms support, and if they truly care about animals, then they need to understand that supporting the organization that is there to help the animals is crucial.”
To learn more about No-Kill Lane County, make sure to visit http://www.nokilllanecounty.org/
To learn more about Greenhill Human Society and to see their list of adoptable pets, make sure to visit http://www.green-hill.org/