From Humane Options to Prevent Euthanasia (H.O.P.E.) in Harford County:
H.O.P.E. (Humane Options to Prevent Euthanasia) in Harford County was formed in the spring of 2011. A group of former shelter volunteers and animal advocates saw the need to improve the lot of shelter animals at the Humane Society of Harford County (HSHC) and their approximate fifty percent chance of getting out alive. Not only did H.O.P.E. see the need for improvement at HSHC but proposed a much different set of circumstances for the animals. With this end in mind, H.O.P.E. sought and still seeks to collaborate with HSHC to implement these much needed changes on behalf of the animals.
Our Mission Statement: Humane Options to Prevent “Euthanasia” in Harford County (H.O.P.E. in Harford County) is a collaborative community effort with the mission of developing and maintaining cooperative alliances with the Humane Society of Harford County (“HSHC”) Board of Directors, management, staff, and volunteers to find humane alternatives to control pet “over-population” in Harford County other than euthanasia of healthy and treatable adoptable companion animals. As pet “over-population” is a community and state-wide issue, we resolve to work in cooperation with the HSHC and to partner with the community and other Maryland coalitions to end the practice of euthanasia of healthy and treatable adoptable companion animals at the HSHC. See H.O.P.E.’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/hopeinharfordcounty
To date, many attempts have been made by H.O.P.E. and its members, via letter and e-mail, to contact the Harford County Executive, the County Council President, the County Council Members, the HSHC Executive Board Members, President and Director. Only one request for shelter documents sent to the shelter director received a response. With plans to break ground for a new multi-million dollar Harford County shelter in July 2012, H.O.P.E. seeks immediate implementation and effective use of programs to save animal lives.
H.O.P.E. in Harford County’s Petition:
“Demand Change at the Humane Society of Harford County”
Overview: The Humane Society of Harford County Animal Shelter kills most of the 4500 or more animals they take in each year (about 56% or more using their 2011 newsletter data). The HSHC claims they are a successful business or nonprofit but maintain about a 56% kill rate. We want them to stop killing healthy, treatable and adoptable animals and implement a No Kill shelter with modern, cost effective strategies.
With plans to spend 3.2 million taxpayer dollars for construction of a new shelter, it is time for a bigger, more efficient animal shelter to serve our community. Also this petition demands transparency in the shelter’s operations, revamping the programs and program utilization, reconfiguration of the executive board and improvement of customer service and treatment of animals, volunteers and fosters.
1. As a 501(c)(3) corporation, HSHC is accountable to the public. HSHC needs to make its 990-T forms, financial statements and all annual reports available to the public.
2. HSHC must stop killing animals due to lack of space, age, breed, color or when the arbitrary number of 50 allowable dogs and the corresponding number of cats is exceeded. With the proper use of TNR, foster care and educational programs, rescue groups and volunteers, successful shelters like Tompkins County SPCA in New York, the SPCA in Reno, Nevada, Alleghany Animal Shelter in Maryland and many more have made a commitment to No Kill practices.
3. The HSHC has an undisclosed policy for testing behavior and temperament of each animal to help determine if an animal is adoptable, treatable, or unadoptable. The public has the right to know how these evaluations are conducted and the current Euthanasia Policy and the criteria used for both.
4. HSHC prohibits dogs from going outside for days due to weather conditions and may result in poor dog behavior that can tilt a re-evaluation to a death sentence. HSHC needs to provide daily outdoor time for dogs to maintain optimum health.
5. Harford County population increased more than 25,000 in the last decade and is still growing. The new shelter should accommodate a larger number of animals appropriate to the current and anticipated future increase in the population of the community.
6. The HSHC Executive Board is accountable to this community. Of the current 15 board members, only three have direct experience in physical animal health care. Board members should be people with a passion for animal advocacy and have experience with rescue groups, fosters, No Kill shelters, animal behavior or relevant experience. Volunteers should have an active voice on the board. Information on becoming a board member should be available online and term limits should be imposed.
7. The HSHC must consider input from their adopters, volunteers and supporters to evaluate service/program effectiveness. Concerns from volunteers and complaints from customers are ignored and not dealt with. Volunteers have been advised to volunteer elsewhere if not in agreement with how programs are operated.
To date, over 800 signatures have been collected. Please view our petition:
See H.O.P.E. in Harford County’s YouTube video: