On behalf of Second Chance Humane Society, I would like to address some statements in the article that were erroneous or incomplete and thus potentially misleading to your readers. This letter will only address issues relative to SCHS and not other attendees of the meeting.
Reporting the statement that “the shelter is already operating at capacity” without the surrounding context of the statement has led some readers to believe that we can no longer serve as the impound facility for the community. SCHS has informally acted as the impound facility for dogs and cats at large within Ridgway, Ouray and Ouray County for many years, and we have no plans to change this.
Although we regularly operate at capacity this does not prevent us from accepting stray dogs and cats within our shelter or foster care system. It should be understood that many of our shelter pets come from people needing to relinquish ownership of their pets for varying reasons. We accept these pets from owners only to the degree that we have space for stray pets as well. Stray pets are the priority. We also operate a foster care system that serves as supplementary space to prevent having to turn away stray pets.
It is also necessary to elaborate on my reported comment, “A new facility would ideally operate on 20 acres.” SCHS is actively seeking land for a new shelter. The land we purchased several years ago in the Ridgway Industrial Park for this purpose is no longer sufficient in size to match the growth of the communities that we serve. Additionally, in planning our organizational growth we need to consider pertinent and critical matters such as the rising need for services for animals beyond dogs and cats. We are more frequently receiving calls about abandoned horses, neglected livestock and people who can no longer care for all variations of animals.
Although we do not have immediate plans for taking on additional types animals in need, we do feel the relevance of considering this in our planning process and have thus integrated several phases of growth into a ten-plus year plan. Building our new shelter on an acre or two of land will not allow for additional phases of growth. Thus, locating our new shelter on land that offers some acres for Phase 1, while offering potential surrounding acreage for growth into Phases 2 and 3, is our “ideal” goal. This does not mean we cannot and will not build our shelter on lesser acreage at this time.
My reported statement that SCHS “would prefer to be owned outright and not leased from the county” was inaccurately printed and confused two separate issues. What was communicated was that SCHS is open to leasing County land but we are not open to being a government-owned entity. Operating as a private organization allows us to maintain our “no-kill” shelter status, and this is the only non-negotiable aspect of the ownership/lease issue.
In closing it is important to clarify to the community that although Second Chance serves as the impound facility for some animal control needs, we cannot provide external animal control services. Therefore, calls regarding animals at large, etc. should be directed to local law enforcement agencies.
Second Chance is very excited about the forward momentum that occurred in the workshop addressing our community animal control needs and is grateful to be included in this process. We look forward to working with the three government entities in developing a plan that best promotes public safety and the humane treatment of animals in need.
– Kelly Goodin, Executive Director, Second Chance Humane Society