Where there is success, there will be detractors. There will be those who will communicate false information or want to discredit the work of others. We know there will always be differing opinions in this field and other groups from time to time disagree with us. We certainly have opinions as well about a few of the other Humane Societies’ policies and restrictions. We feel a few of them sometimes choose to follow classic old fears, myths and thinking. Recently, some of the actions by a few people in these other groups have made it difficult to ignore our differences.
We strive to be progressive, learn from studies and best practices and by doing the right thing to help the pets. We strive to continue to learn from mistakes and grow and change to meet the needs of this community.
So while we know that others will not always agree with our progressive, life-saving style or policies, we feel it is unfortunate that they choose to try to bring us down through social media, comments on our page or other groups’ pages, in letters and negative campaigns, etc. The way I look at it is this: the community has clearly expressed their opinions, they recognize and support our programs, services and philosophies.
What we find very unfortunate is that the groups that have these negative opinions about us choose to spend any of their time and energy focusing on what they think we do wrong instead of trying these new ideas, gaining more public support or just asking us why we do what we do. This is an industry of very passionate people, so it is not uncommon for organizations that have the community’s support and life saving numbers to be targeted in false comments and negativity. We know this is normal in the field. I saw it in Richmond and in Charlottesville and have heard time and time again about it from almost every successful organization across the country. People react out of fear, but data and best practices show we are doing things right.
Should we feel bad about the number of adoptions we have had? Or our save rate? Or our new Center, the national recognition and all the great things happening here? NO. We shouldn’t and we don’t. We feel excited about what this community is doing to help pets. We are moving forward and saving as many lives as possible in our area.
What I do feel bad about are the countless animals that aren’t being saved because of this old mind set seen time and time again with a few of the humane societies in our area and across the nation.
Yes, we will be adopting out black cats around Halloween, yes we will be adopting out pets as gifts, yes we do encourage people to use craigslist and the internet to rehome pets, yes we will do same day adoptions and low cost adoptions – because not to- would be a detriment to the pets and it would mean going back to old outdated fears based on a few “stories,” not on the bigger picture or on statistical information. And to set the story straight, no we don’t have Keurigs in every office, only one, and it is an old one that an employee donated.
Yes, we will continue to learn and change policies and practices based on what other top organizations are doing to help save more lives. Yes, we will continue to challenge the myths that are so ingrained in the old way of thinking that need to be changed to save more lives. We will always have less restrictive adoption policies, because we have seen they work.
Most importantly, we will continue to believe in people of Lynchburg. We will continue to set policies based on fact, not stereotypes or stories, and on faith not fear. We will work hard, time and time again to “shake it off” and not let other groups detract from the great work our community does every day. We will continue to focus on working with the many “Friends of “ groups and small rescue organizations in the region who may not agree with us but rather spend their time helping not hurting.
If you are concerned about something you are seeing or hearing about, call us. We are happy to listen and perhaps we can have an open dialogue about how we might work together and we will appreciate the chance to explain why we do what we do. Let’s work together to save lives, that is the reason we are all here.