a Message from the Open Door community

All the people involved with Open Door Animal Sanctuary, whether it be staff, volunteers, partners, or donors, are highly dedicated animal welfare supporters. We wear the badge of “crazy dog and cat people” proudly. We believe we attract the most passionate people to our organization because our mission for the last 44 years has remained constant and our focus on being a no-kill shelter has never waivered. With this passion, comes many disagreements among us regarding how to best serve animals experiencing sometimes horrific abuse and neglect. There are also many differences in opinion about shelter policies regarding how many animals we can save, care for, and re-home. The reality is, we could increase the population of our shelter tenfold in very short order if we had the facilities, staffing, and funds to do so. Sadly we do not. Given this reality, we are left with doing the best job we can for all the dogs and cats that come through our doors.

One of our most vocal detractors is making misleading claims about one such dog, Reba, who was brought to Open Door just before Easter weekend of 2016. She was injured, sick, and had limited mobility as a result of being a stray and possible neglect prior to that. She did not have a microchip nor an identification tag to help us find an owner. In this situation, we are left to decide what the best course of action is and hope an owner will come forward to authorize medical decisions for their pet or at least be with them before they pass away. By law we cannot euthanize an animal without making attempts to find its owner. With Reba, we made these efforts and our kennel staff (including the staff person in question) provided supportive care, observation, and pain management which is what would happen at any veterinarian’s office. No owner came forward for Reba. After several days with no improvement, one of our staff veterinarians made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize her. She was not euthanized because we lacked the funding for her care – care was provided. In fact, we spend thousands and thousands of dollars on outside veterinary care each year.   She was euthanized because her condition could not be improved and she was suffering. The aforementioned staff person attempted to take Reba to her home during this process and possibly seek alternate care thinking this would be helpful in some way. While we understood (albeit disagreed with) her intent, staff are not allowed to take animals off premises without permission, which was not given in this case. The outcome in this case was heartbreaking, and far too common in the rescue world. It is easy to fight amongst ourselves and blame each other. But we need to keep in mind that the blame should rest with irresponsible owners and breeders, and not with those trying to work on a daily basis to take care of as many homeless animals as possible with limited funding and manpower. This is what Open Door does every day and we are proud of the care and services we provide for so many dogs and cats in need. We know there is always room for improvement and we regularly discuss and consider what changes we can make to do better. Our Board and staff are committed to making Open Door the best it can possibly be. If you are reading this, you likely care about helping animals in need as much as we do. We ask you to consider how you might be part of the solution and would welcome you to learn more about and join our lifesaving work. Thank you.