This is another case where people associated with an animal shelter end up criticising it. It brings to mind an article by Elisa in which she wrote about volunteer gagging contracts and people being banned from speaking out about an animal shelter. Sometimes, to an outsider, it seems like there is a war going on between volunteers and associates of some animal shelters and the management of these shelters.
In this instance, the shelter is in the town of Cicero, Illinois, USA. The shelter’s name is Waggin’ Tail Animal Shelter. The management of the shelter call the people who criticise the shelter “activists” and these activists have filed complaints with the state of Illinois Department of agriculture. All the parties are taking the complaints seriously.
In summary, the complaints are that the shelter is abusing animals. A most serious complaint. In defence, the shelter says that the photographs of animals that have been abused are photographs of the animals at the time they were taken in to the shelter. In other words, any abuse that took place, took place outside the shelter and before the shelter took charge of the animal. Therefore, the complaints and the photographs are highly misleading and damaging to the shelter. That is the defence and the counter argument.
For example, in the photograph above you will see that one the so-called activists is protesting about the alleged inhumane and neglectful practices at this shelter.
The current shelter management are unsure exactly why they’re being so heavily criticised but one possibility is that they support a former director whose policies were widely criticised. I don’t know what happened to him or her but perhaps she was sacked. Perhaps the activists feel that she was unfairly sacked.
From my limited experience of the attitude and mentality of people involved with US shelters (other than management) my belief is that they are of good character. They are normally genuine people and therefore it is likely that they have genuine concerns. That said, the counter argument by the shelter management is very persuasive so I don’t know where the truth lies.
One of the volunteer activists claims that she was a volunteer but she appears not to have disclosed the fact that she was ordered by a court to do community service at the shelter as part of her sentence. If that is true then it would tend to support the argument that at least this particular activist is behaving in a malicious manner.
What appears to be particularly interesting is that some of the protesters (the people who are criticising the shelter) had been misled by other protesters who the shelter management say are lying and presenting false photographs in support of their argument.
In a further interesting twist, the shelter management is taking up some of the ideas that the protesters have with the intention of improving the shelter. This implies that at least part of the criticisms by the protesters are genuine which further implies that the truth probably lies in between the two party’s point of view.
The protester/activists apparently managed to convince Fox News that their complaints were genuine.
Because of the complaints, shelter management invited outside agencies to inspect the shelter and to suggest ways to improve it. In addition, the State of Illinois Department of Agriculture and Cook County have made surprise unannounced visits to Waggin’ Tails and on both occasions they concluded that the accusations were false (so state the shelter management).
It is obviously unfortunate that there is infighting within an environment that requires a high degree of harmony in order to ensure that the rescued animals are treated in the best possible way.