Gurney's Inn
July 04, 2007

Shelter Stories

Jerry (click for larger version)
Readers, there was a mix-up last week, and the black Lab Phoebe whom several people called about was captioned "Jerry." This guy that you see with the great face is Jerry, just over being a pup. He's a cream colored "police dog," as we used to call them. About 65 pounds and very playful.

Jerry came from the Mayor's Alliance for New York City Animals. He was going to be euthanized for space reasons, but his guardian angel led him to RSVP. Jerry is now being boarded by RSVP at Riverhead Hospital. Please come see Jerry and call 728-3524. Jerry's uncomplicated, but needs training. A great happy guy. He should know how near he was to euthanasia, which should be an absolute last resort. Don't shelters try to rehabilitate anymore? Some are killing machines.

Sad to say, I don't see the Riverhead Shelter with its staff of four helping strays. I'm told it's difficult to even find out the fate of many of their dogs. Remember Sweetie? The poor dog that was sent upstate because of "politics" – a turf war between the volunteers and the staff at the shelter, who should be helping these poor animals get adopted, not calling them "dangerous dogs" and killing them.

Killing is easy. I've heard too many stories. The most recent? A Pit named Junior who's been at their shelter since late May. No, he never bit anyone, (unless he's driven to it by the isolation he's forced to endure now. I worry about him). His sin was digging his way out of his pen and nipping a dog that was unleashed that came on to his property, as I've been told. (The shelter staff tells me nothing, so it's hard to verify.) The case is in court. The young man, John Gallo, who's owned Junior since he was a pup, wants his pet back. Will muzzle him. Put cement around the pen so he can't get out again. Junior poses no risk to humans.

Neither did Sweetie, who was not given an opportunity to be seen by a certified behaviorist that RSVP offered to provide. I feel terrible about that dog, and Junior. This incarceration is not in the public interest. Why can't the shelter staff work with the volunteers? Supervisor Phil Cardinale wants to make it happen, I've been told. And so it goes.

Some good news. I got an English Bull – in trouble – adopted by Debbie the Groomer, an RSVP volunteer. And two feral cats are in better shape now because people called for help. ARF helped out on one cat – Operation Cat. The other cat had two good Samaritans that got her spayed, her leg infection treated, and now she will live in a "feral cat condo." That's a new one for me. These women went the mile for this cat and took some grief along the way from an animal activist who got impatient with their lack of knowledge. She's a saint, does wonderful work, but has a short fuse. The story, however, had a happy ending. That's what important.

The rest of the gang is still at Riverhead Hospital: Merri, Phoebe, King, Bugsy and Jerry. Prince and Tiger still don't know they'll be homeless soon, but RSVP will help them. Tigger, the Lab, and Kisses, the junkyard dog saved by the Humane Society, are being fostered for now. Too many dogs in trouble. Please remember them. Why are you not calling about these dogs? You're all they have. Don't forget them.

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