Letters to the Editor

WAIF makes it hard to adopt

WAIF is a great cause to support and the ideals of the organization are flawless. I will continue to support WAIF financially but need to call attention to what I consider cruelty and a gross misunderstanding of how to execute the WAIF ideals:

To operate minimum-kill animal shelters.

To provide the best care possible while actively seeking adoptive homes for the animals in our trust.

To develop programs to benefit needy companion animals.

To educate the community to treat companion animals with greater respect and compassion.

To reduce overpopulation of unwanted animals through spay/neuter programs and education.”

My criticism is based on recent interactions with the Coupeville location only. I found much better cooperation in Oak Harbor, which even proudly boasts the number of successful adoptions on a score board.

Several months ago we tried to adopt a cat that had been captive for over a year in Coupeville. We were told “no, she’s on a special diet for the rest of her life and we don’t want you to adopt her.”

Our second choice was another long-term inmate, but we were told no again. We finally made a third choice, a 5-year-old, morbidly obese dandruff covered cat that had been locked up for 18 months in a 24-inch cage. The staff asked me if we had cats before? “Yes.” Were they allowed to go outside? “Yes for short periods in the daytime but in at night.”

We were told again “no,”’ they don’t want to adopt to people who let their cats outside. I explained “OK, we want to give this animal a home and we will keep it inside if necessary.”

“No,’ again we were not suitable adoptive parents. I respectfully protested and a manager came out saying “no” and began accusing my wife and I of changing our story to manipulate them. It was very insulting! Finally they agreed but not before my having strongly pointed out how creepy the hoarding situation was and how wrong it was to think keeping a cat in a cage for 1 to 2 years was better than letting it go to a good home.

We brought home a wonderful pet. Maybe out of gratitude, she is a perfectly behaved and overly affectionate new family member. Her skin has cleared and she’s down to a thick but healthy weight. I’m so glad we fought to adopt but also sickened by the thought of her of 18 months years of solitude and imprisonment.

We are a responsible, financially blessed couple, experienced pet owners and contributors. I would have ended the story here with a bruised ego if not for continuing to hear the same story of rejection. Every time it’s brought up someone has chimed in to say “yea, they turned me away too.” These were not just strangers but also pet and feed store owners and employees, along with a veterinary doctor who has heard the story too many times and also been rejected.

Declaring the lowest kill rate in the state is an impressive statistic. Typical of statistics however there are always other factors to consider. What about all the animals being euthanized by vets or abandoned far from home because of a months-long month waiting list for drop off? It’s sad but this frequently happens when someone dies, moves to a retirement home, gets married, decides they don’t want pets, gets a transfer, a baby is born, rental restrictions, allergies, immune deficiencies, vet bills, behavioral problems, unwanted births or other reasons.

Please continue to support WAIF, but be aware if improvements that can save more lives. Always question self promoting statistics. Availability for all/more rescues, quality of life and the long term effects of isolation must be re-examined to improve the organizations performance.

Christian Harrett

Greenbank

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