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Question remains about future of animals in OLHS’ care

Dear Editor:

I read with great interest and considerable respect your editorial of Aug. 11 regarding the closing of the OLHS: interest because I’ve adopted three animals from the shelter, two of whom were scheduled to be euthanized (and, yes, I’m sure of this) and respect because the editorial was rational, balanced and fair. However, I take issue with a couple of the observations and comments, which may have been far too optimistic, based on our past experience.

First, a more open and mutually beneficial relationship between the OLHS and the Oxford/Lafayette County community would have been helpful – and I hope will be possible with a new entity. While it may be true that some students have dropped their pets off as they moved, I highly doubt that this was the root of the problem. The capacity problem has always been the low rates of neutering and spaying in the community and the high number of stays. The majority of volunteers at the shelter have been students. And there has always been a wealth of talent at the University that could have been leveraged to develop educational campaigns around the need to neuter animals or outreach regarding the joys of adopting older pets. We have one of the best journalism schools in the country here and outstanding business and marketing professors, some of whom would have been happy to work with the OLHS on internships and class projects. Other communities have leveraged these types of programs effectively. There was no need for the board to become weary of their mission if they had truly understood their mission to be the wise use of resources on behalf of these animals and the community.

Second, like many others, I am concerned about what will happen to the animals currently at the shelter. We know that euthanasia has been used before to control the population there. While I certainly believe the intent is to relocate the animals, I have little confidence that this will be possible for them all. We would appreciate clear, transparent communication about this issue. If we are informed that some are in jeopardy, I think that many in this community will find a way to open their hearts and their homes to them, particularly those animals who are old and may not be considered adoptable. Both of the “unadoptables” I took in are healthy, happy and wonderful. Euthanasia should be considered a last resort, not among the first.

Sincerely,

Patricia Overstreet-Miller

Oxford, Miss.