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Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Reality Check

We had lunch today with good friend and retired veterinarian, Don Brust, and his child bride, Ina.

Aside from just wanting to enjoy lunch with some good people, the event was also designed to pick Don's brains about my idea for "A Forever Home," where I would become a modern day Don Quixote, assuming I could find me a Sancho Panza.

Don explained the facts of life to me.

I had let my emotions run away with me and needed to hear some realistic, practical facts:
a. Permits. San Diego County has not issued a kennel permit in over 10 years . . . and there's no sign they're about to change their ways. If you have more than five dogs, you have to have a kennel permit.
b. You have to have a facility in place before even applying for a permit. You don't get a permit, based on a proposal, architect's plans, etc.
1. Said facility must have a cement floor, adequate sewage disposal, staff to clean up waste at least once, preferably twice, a day, comply with zoning, have a buffer zone for sound to keep barking from disturbing neighbors.
2. My idea of dogs romping about in a grassy meadow won't work either. To many dropping that would not get cleaned up. Dogs rescued from shelters and humane societies are often abandoned, neglected, or abused. We would not know if they had been vaccinated, if they were carrying parasites or other communicable diseases, they'd have to have a minimum of 10-14 day quarantine . . . even then, you couldn't let them run loose in a grassy field. No way to control them or contain them. Fencing wouldn't work; they can jump fences, so can coyotes. And fleas. And ticks.

Other nightmare stories came from Dawna, a good friend in LA, who told me about a friend of hers who had a horse sanctuary that was successful for a time but after 9/11 when donations dried up she lost everything, home, savings, and eventually the horses. She was stuck with lawsuits, fractured friends in the animal community, and one of her friends got a three year jail sentence.

Your time might be better spent in lecturing/raising funds for birth control for animals. Eric Roberts is working with people on this problem. It cuts out the problem before it exists.

The other thing I meant to say in my post yesterday is the animal rescue world is, literally, dog eat dog. Coming in from nowhere will get you enemies from the get-go. They will hate that you are trying to take money and acclaim from them.

Don't do it.

My two cents.

Instead, put your efforts behind this great cause:

Why not just support the sanctuaries that are already doing this, i.e. Best Friends in Utah and many others?

Writing and your paper is what you know and do well.

Animal rescue is a bottomless pit of un-appreciation, angst, and impossible work with poor results.

It was interesting that both Don and Ina mentioned Best Friends, in Utah, as a possible outlet where I could ship dogs scheduled for euthanasia.

Perhaps I will redirect my efforts to save as many dogs as I can from unnecessary euthanasia by a heavy public relations and marketing campaign to existing animal shelters and humane societies, to allow me to act as intermediary in getting those animals shipped to Best Friends or someplace similar.

We still will work diligently to save dogs . . . just in a bit different manner. We may put together a clever education campaign designed to
both let the animal shelters/humane society know we're here and what our mission is, and to educate the public even more about spaying and neutering.

Not sure what form it will take . . . I want to do something . . . but I recognize my original plan was great . . . just not practical or realistic.

Back to the drawing board.


(And thanks to Don/Ina Brust, Dawna, Bruce Krider, and a whole host of others who have shared their thoughts, insight, and ideas with me).

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