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CARE appears not to live up to its name

Amy Krakow

Dear Editor,

This is a heartbreaking story. Let me tell you about a sweet, friendly, adorable dog who came to a tragic end. A neighbor of mine relinquished ownership of his dog to CARE, where she had been adopted about a year ago. Dinah was returned because she had bitten two people. The circumstances seem questionable. On any given day Dinah could be seen in her yard with very young children. Two neighbors later told me that a few skateboarders had been tormenting Dinah with rocks. All I can imagine is that she must have felt threatened and the need to protect those children. I don’t know if the owner informed the animal control officer or CARE that his dog had been provoked. What I do know is that he told me that none of what had happened was his fault.

Dinah was held in quarantine for over two weeks, deemed unfit for adoption and euthanized by CARE. She wasn’t even two years old. I have been told that CARE had no other recourse. If Dinah had been re-adopted a bit someone again, CARE would be held liable. Unfortunately, and to my disbelief, all of the actions taken by CARE were legal.

I find it rather ironic that I made several attempts to rescue a dog from a “rescue” facility. I spoke with two employees pleading with them that I would be willing to adopt Dinah, and when I was told of the liability problem I told them I would draw up a legal document releasing them from any liability. I asked the CARE employee to please call me back and inform me of Dinah’s fate before any action was taken. In addition the Carbondale animal control officer told me she didn’t want Dinah in Carbondale, but if I were to adopt Dinah it was fine as long as she wasn’t residing in Carbondale. I was willing to find a home for Dinah outside the city limits. This was also relayed to CARE.

On the occasions I spoke or met with these two employees I was told I had no relation to this dog and that they would not release any information to me about her, and furthermore there was nothing I could do. Both employees were cold and dismissive. My neighbor told me she received the same treatment when she called and inquired about Dinah.

Feeling extremely frustrated I went to the facility and asked if I could see Dinah and take her for a walk. The employee was unfriendly and unyielding. She informed me that Dinah was still in quarantine, and when I asked if she seemed depressed her response was that there was no way to determine something like that. I asked her if I could return in a few days to take Dinah for a walk and she proceeded to tell me that she didn’t know if Dinah would be out of quarantine by then. She was reluctant to give me any information about Dinah’s fate, but after repeated attempts of asking how I could help she finally told me that CARE did have a Problems and Solutions committee who would meet and make a decision. Since I was told I could not attend that meeting and that she didn’t know when they would meet, I wrote a letter to the committee requesting that I be allowed to adopt Dinah.

The decision to euthanize Dinah was decided before my letter was ever received, because I subsequently discovered that Dinah had been put down sometime between the afternoon of my visit and the next morning. I don’t know if CARE ever knew the entire story of why Dinah had bitten two people. The bottom line for them was that when a dog is deemed unadoptable it has to be euthanized.

This may have been legal, but was it moral? Why did Dinah have to stay in quarantine as long as she had? She was current on her vaccinations. Colorado law states a dog must be quarantined for at least ten days, but she was held in isolation longer than the amount of time necessary.

Do not be misled. C.A.R.E is not a No Kill facility! When a private facility is soliciting public money for its shelter it needs to be held accountable to the public. CARE has saved numerous animals, and I am grateful to them, and I am even willing to concede that perhaps these two individuals I dealt with were having a difficult time and were uncomfortable with this situation, but they made it more painful for those willing to help.

It is unacceptable to dismiss members of the public so dispassionately who are willing to take action to save an animal’s life. It is unfortunate that a few kind words and a return phone call rather than coldness and indifference couldn’t have prevailed. It is unfortunate that the law is so inflexible that a document couldn’t have been drawn up releasing CARE from liability. Above all it is tragic that a young dog’s life could not be saved.

If you adopt a pet from CARE and decide later that you no longer want your pet due to inappropriate behavior please think twice before relinquishing ownership back to CARE. That animal may not be considered for re-adoption and most likely would be euthanized. Unlike Dinah’s owner, you must take responsibility as a pet owner and realize there are other alternatives. Spend quality time with your dog! Get some help! Take your dog to Obedience School! Speak to a well-educated and compassionate dog trainer because there are alternatives to euthanasia. This tragedy should never have happened.

Amy Krakow

Carbondale


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