Alabama animals need help
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2000:
As an avid reader of ANIMAL PEOPLE, I truly appreciate the work that your paper does. That is the reason I feel compelled to write to you now.
Our organization, Friends for Animal Welfare of Randolph County, is in desperate need of assistance. Randolph County is rural, filled with chicken farms, good old boys, and elderly retirees. The two counties bordering us are practically the same. None have ever had any type of animal control, shelter, animal laws, or public sympathy for animals.
Our local dog and cat population in 1998 was over 10,000–– half our human population––but only a third of those animals had been vaccinated against rabies.
We have people being attacked by dogs within city limits, strays waiting by business doorways, and the constant dumping of animals, both dead and alive, along roadsides.
Alabama has a law which requires each county or city with a population of 5,000 or more to provide a shelter or contribute their prorated share to the upkeep and running of a shelter, but there is no provision for penalty with this law.
We need help, or we may simply fade away. We have depleted our funds by helping to alter pets and taking strays for veterinary care. We have a promise of land to build on, but must have a commitment from our local officials to proceed.
I personally have met with our local government officials numerous times over the past eight years. I have jumped through every hoop and provided every statistic that they have requested, to no avail. Our only alternative now is to file a civil suit seeking enforcement of the state law. We have finally found an attorney who would do this, but we don’t have the $1,000 we need to get started. Can you help us? Can you possibly run a story about the situation here?
Friends for Animal Welfare
4261 County Road #15
Wadley, AL 36276
The Editor replies:
We believe it is unconscionable that wealthy northern humane societies such as the Animal Rescue League of Boston, with $98 million in reserve, the Massachusetts SPCA ($70 million), and the American SPCA ($23 million) are not helping counterparts in less fortunate regions at least to the extent of guaranteeing mortgages that would enable the introduction of basic humane services.
The deeds, writings, and legacies of the deceased humanitarians who made these organizations wealthy make plain that their humane considerations extended well beyond their own communities, and often included specific concern for the animals and people of the rural South. Many of them endowed the major humane societies founded in the 19th century in the explicit hope and belief that these first big organizations would grow into fulfilling a national humane mission.
Several younger organizations, notably In Defense of Animals, the Animal Protection Institute, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Last Chance for Animals, and the Fund for Animals, are now helping the Trixie Foundation to sue numerous counties in the state of Kentucky and various state officials for failing to enforce a shelter requirement similar to the one in Alabama. Until recently, however, that battle was fought alone by the Trixie Foundation, which is a small rural no-kill shelter run and funded almost entirely by local part-time builder Randy Skaggs.
(The Trixie Foundation is at P.O. Box 1125, Grayson, KY 41143; 606-738-4276; fax 606- 738-4438; <firstname.lastname@example.org>.)</email@example.com>