What is the role of media when it comes to animal shelters?
We know what that role should be. That role should be to support shelters rather than print stories that drive the public away. We think sensationalizing stories is American in nature. But what does it accomplish when it comes to animal shelters?
Recently a case came to light concerning an open door animal shelter that is being attacked unjustly. Rather than refer to the attackers as activists, which is a positive term, these attackers fall into the realm of terrorists instead. Their bullets are unfounded, false and fabricated accusations.
This particular shelter will be the example of how the media and these terrorists have been responsible for shelter pets having to die for their personal agendas. The Devore shelter is the only shelter owned by the County of San Bernardino, California. The Devore shelter serves an area that has been hard hit by the economy because it was already served a low income community.
In the County, there are 16 different animal control agencies other than San Bernardino County Animal Care and Control, SBACC. The numbers from Devore compare the same or better with these other agencies as well as the neighboring county of Riverside. Devore has been very fortunate over the years in that the Board of Supervisors have seen fit to accommodate the animal control budget, not forcing layoffs of valued animal control officers, not putting the community in jeopardy with losing those officers, and actually have increased the budget for Devore over the years. Economic factors do figure in when it comes to shelters.
Those in low income areas will have more impounds and fewer adoptions and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out. Devore does have over 90 approved rescues pulling animals out, and the key word is approved. Not all "rescues" flying the banner of "No Kill" are what they appear to be. A cat sanctuary in Florida just proved that case last week when over 500 cats were removed after a PETA covert operation was done. These cats were in horrible condition with many having to be euthanized to relieve their suffering. Many were found dead.
This is not an exception either.
Every week there are reports of private shelters, sanctuaries, and rescues being charged with animal cruelty and each one is flying the "No Kill" banner. http://origin.www.peta.org/features/caboodle-cat-ranch.aspx Devore has undergone several investigations based on these unfounded accusations and in each case, the end result supported that these were indeed unfounded. The Grand Jury has investigated more than once and it ended with Devore getting praised. A television reporter came unexpectedly at the request of these terrorists. This reporter ended up remarking that the kennels were warmer than his house and that Devore was one of the cleanest shelters he had ever encountered. An accusation of a dog receiving frostbite prompted this reporter to come to Devore. Devore has heated kennel floors, impossible for a dog to receive frostbite. The accusers have been repeatedly asked to provide proof of their accusations and as of this writing, none has been provided except for pictures taken by the accusers. No vet report of tests done to determine a diagnosis of frostbite. One vet has already said that it was not frostbite and he examined the dog. Now how does the media play into this at this point? An article by a person whose bio shows no experience in the humane community has been picked up by yet another publication, Pet Press. http://technorati.com/business/article/no-oscar-for-devore-in-san1/ Did the author of this piece take the time to research before writing an article that can mean animals dying? Doesn't look like it.
Then to have a publication that can reach the public and the humane community to print it without again researching, is even more disgusting. Spreading false rumors only mean more deaths in Devore or any shelter, something that is not the fault of Devore or those other shelters either. The media has to recognize that what they write can mean either a happy home or a needle for the shelter animals.
No man would place his family in a position to see cruelty, barrels of dead animals, instead he will bypass a shelter and go into the waiting arms of those very ones condemning the shelters. Could there be hidden agendas to these activists condemning Devore? It makes for more donations to have a story behind a pet, especially a bad story. Could there be hidden agendas with these attacks on shelters? Ask the question why aren't these attackers doing more to save lives instead?
The media can make or break a shelter. The media can either help to bring adopters to the shelter or they can push the public away from adopting at a shelter. It is a responsibility that the media needs to take very seriously before printing a story, especially one not researched prior to publication. We all know that sex and violence sells papers. In the case of animal shelters, negativity kills animals.
Research before publication, remember that at the end of the pen and paper, lives are at stake. Be part of the solution instead of making yourselves part of the problem. To learn the truth about Devore please take a moment to read this blog: www.DevoreShelterFriends.blogspot.com