Letters to the Editor

Critics distract WAIF from work

Last November, a Good Samaritan found an orphaned kitten roughly four weeks old and nearly starved to death. The kitten was taken to WAIF’s Freeland Cat Adoption Center and was then immediately transported for veterinary care. The fluffy grey kitten, named “Wednesday,” was very near death and she was not expected to survive. The first 10 days of her life at WAIF were touch and go, as she was very weak and sick, but against all odds under the expert care of Coupeville shelter staff, she grew strong and healthy. Happily, she celebrated her first Christmas with her forever family.

This is just one of the hundreds of animals that WAIF helps every year. Saving and caring for homeless cats and dogs is our primary focus, but sadly other efforts needlessly distract from our work.

WAIF has quietly been fending off a barrage of personal attacks, inaccurate statements about our policies, innuendo about record keeping, and as Oak Harbor Police Chief Wallace stated, “egregious accusations” for two and one half years now from a small loosely associated group of people. Sadly, the Whidbey News-Times story chose to focus on innuendo lending credibility to people who make accusations and inference, but fail to support what they say with fact.

The real story here is that Whidbey Island, through WAIF’s work, has achieved a wonderful collaboration between local government, animal control, and animal sheltering that saves lives of companion animals. Life saving and extraordinarily high adoption rates are achieved through a partnership between government mandated animal control and our own donor and community supported WAIF. It is sad that a single individual’s desire to see scandal where there is only good work being accomplished results in the questioning of the integrity and effectiveness of an organization supported by thousands of people and of partnerships that benefit animals and tax payers.

Roughly 1,500 animals come through WAIF’s doors every year. Each animal has a file which may include any of a number of documents, including intake records, veterinary records, and adoption paperwork. WAIF keeps accurate statistics regarding intake, redemption, adoption, and euthanasia; these statistics are provided to local governments and are available to anyone who requests them. The need for clarity in the language of our contracts became apparent when WAIF staff — whose time is largely funded by donations — found they were spending an inordinate amount of time pulling files and copying documents from hundreds of animal files. Not only are there concerns about the huge amount of time that was taking away from animal care, there are also adopter privacy concerns. Assertions that WAIF records are disorganized are simply not true. To a non-shelter professional, they can be confusing as animals are transferred among our four adoption facilities, but each and every animal is accurately accounted for.

Thousands of supporters really do help WAIF with action, not with statements intended to harm WAIF. They donate, walk dogs, clean litter boxes, coordinate events, adopt shelter animals, and are working to create a community where no companion animals are unwanted.

Thank you for supporting WAIF and the partnerships within our community.

Kit Maret, president

WAIF Board of Directors

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