Safe Haven leaders say no-kill ideal fuels community support

Dukes: Adoptions will be key in Safe Haven's success
Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary on Shingle Point Road outside Georgetown prides itself on a no-kill philosophy. The shelter aims to be open later this spring. BY RACHEL SWICK MAVITY
March 1, 2012

Citizens to Save Safe Haven continues to criticize operations at Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary, circulating information about problems that arise in no-kill shelters. Group leaders say they are concerned about conditions at Safe Haven, which will be a no-kill shelter.

Lori Beinhauer, a former volunteer and now a Safe Haven critic, posted articles online that had been published in The Gleaner, a Henderson County, Ky. newspaper. The articles detailed problems at a shelter where Safe Haven Executive Director Anne Gryczon worked for one year.

The articles were published in 2005.

Gryczon said she worked at the Kentucky shelter but was not in charge of its operations. While she was director of the Kentucky shelter, it was investigated by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and a local animal board because of reported conditions.

Teresa Chagrin, animal care and control specialist for PETA in Baltimore, was one of the investigators for the Kentucky case. She said no charges were filed. Chagrin said PETA does not promote the no-kill policy because in some cases, it results in animal hoarding.

“Whenever you have a shelter refusing to put down animals, you are going to have crowded conditions and disease outbreaks,” said Chagrin. “Our caseload is full of rescue hoarders and no-kill shelters who believe euthanasia is the worst … even though there is something worse – a world where animals have no clean place, no peace, and it’s so crowded they have to fight for food.”

Beinhauer said the articles from Kentucky raise concerns about crowding, lack of medical treatment and mismanagement - problems Citizens to Save Safe Haven are now raising about Safe Haven.

“My concern is that there were hoarding conditions there [in Kentucky], and I don’t want that to happen here,” Beinhauer said. “We continue to have a lot of concerns about the Safe Haven leadership.”

Gryzcon said she was the rescue coordinator in Kentucky, but she had no authority over what happened to the animals.

Gryzcon  said she believes all animals should live the longest life possible, a philosophy supported by Safe Haven policies. Safe Haven also has proper leadership in place to ensure animals are managed and taken care, she said.

Safe Haven Board of Directors Chairman Hal Dukes said the failure in Kentucky was caused by a lack of support by the board and the community.

"If there was more energy and support, these articles would not exist, but I don't think you can say the fault was with one person either," Dukes said.

No-kill shelters eventually face a dilemma:  If they become full, they must say no to newly abandoned animals or risk over-crowding.

Dukes said the key to animal care and shelters is support, because it is needed to save animals and then to find them new homes.

"The no-kill effort endears us to volunteers and the public, who we depend on for donations," said Dukes. "There is no guarantee this philosophy will work, but right now it's the best philosophy we have. It all depends on community support."

Dukes said when the shelter opens, adoptions will fuel the number of animals saved.

"The key to the whole thing is adoptions. We want it to be a favorable move for the animal," he said. "Even after the adoption, there needs to be follow-up. We plan to have volunteers visit the animals to make sure they are well taken care of in their new homes. That is as important as the adoption itself."


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