“California animal shelter won’t adopt dogs to Second Amendment supporters, vows to sue people if they lie about their beliefs”. This is one online headline today.
NEWS AND COMMENT: Shelter Hope Pet Shop, Thousand Oaks, California, USA was “created to aid shelter and pet adoptions, promote education and bring awareness to the communities we serve”. And, they are in the news big-time. They are all over the online news media for the simple reason that they have banned the pro-gun lobby from being customers of theirs. To put that another way, they have banned opponents of stricter gun control laws who want to adopt a pet from their organisation. That is quite a dramatic move which is why it has gathered a lot of press coverage.
However, the owner of Shelter Hope Pet Shop, Kim Sill, has a very good reason for her strict and dramatic policy; so strict that she has said that she will sue anyone who has lied about being a supporter of the National Rifle Association (NRA) when adopting from them. In other words, if a citizen of California goes into this shelter and asks to adopt an animal, they have to declare that they are not a member of the pro-gun lobby and they do not oppose stricter gun laws and if they lie Kim says that she will sue them!
The reason is that the shelter is near a bar which was the site of a mass shooting in 2018 where 12 people were murdered. The killer had volunteered previously at Shelter Hope Pet Shop. That is the connection between this policy and the rescue.
Kim Sill announced her policy after the shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas. She said in a newsletter: “We believe that if we can make our voices heard on how we feel, we can make an impact. We do not support those who believe that the Second Amendment gives them the right to buy assault weapons. If your beliefs are not in line with ours, we will not adopt a pet to you.”
She added: “If you believe that it is our responsibility to protect ourselves in public places and arm ourselves with a gun – do not come to us to adopt a dog. We have a choice of who we work with. Shelter Hope chooses to work with only like-minded humans.”
She admits that she has received threats since introducing the policy when asking a question on gun control included in the adoption papers issued by her shelter.
Further, she has declared that if anyone who has adopted a companion animal from her organisation opposes stricter gun laws then they should return the animal that they adopted from the shelter.
Brave indeed and I for one love it. The difficulty is in finding out if people lie about their gun proclivities.
Below are some more pages on cat shelters.