What does it mean when a rescue is asked to sign an Animal Welfare Agreement between their rescue and an animal shelter they “pull” (save cats and dogs) from? This question has come up since Greenville County Animal Care Services (GCACS) in Upstate South Carolina has asked the organizations who rescue from their facility to sign a Humane Discourse and Conduct in Animal Welfare Agreement.
The screenshot leaves the print too small to read clearly for this article, but the content of the agreement is listed below.
“We the individuals and organizations in conjunction with Greenville County Animal Care reject and condemn verbal abuse, threats, harassment, and other acts of violence directed against animal welfare personnel and volunteers. As rescue partners, we call on every animal welfare group to join us in actively promoting compassion and respect, not just for animals, but for those people who work tirelessly on their behalf. By signing this agreement, we the individuals and organization will not engage in attacks on fellow individuals, organizations or agencies in any manner as they do not further the cause of animal welfare. We, along with Animal Care and its approved rescue group partners, when discussing differences of policy or opinion, agree to do so in a manner that is neither denigrating nor abusive. Different groups can have (and voice) differences of opinion but need to display those differences in a respectful way.”
The Greenville shelter (not to be confused with the Greenville Humane Society) has often been the subject of controversy. In other words, they do good things and they do bad things. Those who follow their pet rescue page on Facebook, as well as the volunteers who promote the animals (and do an excellent job of it), know you can be both “for” and “against” the shelter at the same time.
What concerns me, and the cause for this article is those in rescue who have taken the time to consult an attorney have been told NOT to sign this agreement. It really raises some red flags on the part of the shelter.
For one, I know rescues see a lot of what goes on behind the scenes at a shelter. Any shelter. If abuse or neglect or if policies are being broken, this new Animal Welfare Agreement would prohibit the rescue from reporting it.
Shelter Director Shelley Simmons says we all have to work together for the welfare of the dogs and cats at their facility. But how is it helping when rescues are being told they shouldn’t sign the agreement? I also wonder whether this would prohibit rescues who save sick or injured animals from posting photos on their wall, as in a way that would be negative publicity for the shelter.
Is this contract even legal? Wouldn’t it be easier to not do anything wrong that rescues would feel the need to report on? This new contract isn’t saving lives. I fear it will costs them.Has anyone had any issues with Greenville lately? Please feel free to sound off in the comment section of this article (Facebook comment section is faster, as comments from Facebook don’t have to be approved before being posted).
Has anyone had any issues with Greenville lately? Please feel free to sound off in the comment section of this article (Facebook comment section is faster, as comments from Facebook don’t have to be approved before being posted).