Your article on the Washington “Humane” Society’s facility on New York Avenue (“Heel Thyself,” 3/26) echoes my own experience with the group. Back in 1994, while attending college at the Catholic University of America, I came across a puppy running loose on the campus. The cute dog was alone and, after a quick hello, continued to follow me. I surmised he was homeless—he had no tags or a collar—and I took him back to my apartment with me. He was very sweet and tended to nibble, because he was obviously teething.
Unfortunately, my apartment lease did not allow pets, and after trying unsuccessfully to get relatives to adopt him, I called the shelter in Maryland. They said they would hold him for two weeks at least. I figured I could find a home for him in that time and so reluctantly turned him over to the Maryland facility.
While looking for an adopter, I thought I’d visit him after a few days. I called the Maryland facility and was informed that he had been transferred to the New York Avenue facility. I visited him there on a couple of occasions, not impressed with the situation and very saddened by the sorry conditions he was in.
Within a week of releasing him to the Humane Society, I had found an adopter. I called the New York Avenue facility to explain that I had found a home for him and that we would be coming to get him. The manager at the time, a woman, informed me that he had been euthanized because he had shown “aggressive” tendencies.
At the time, I was too brokenhearted to do anything. Looking back, I am still incredibly sad over this tragic event—but also angry. First, the Humane Society had assured me that the puppy would be held for two weeks, at least. Second, he was a puppy, too young to have developed “aggressive” tendencies. I had spent some time with him and know firsthand how sweet the dog was.
I think the shelter’s track record and infighting should make it ashamed of itself. It certainly has no place caring for any living being, and I most certainly do challenge the intentions of the people in charge. I think the situation calls for not only oversight, but a change of the organization in charge.
D.C.’s elected officials should take more of a personal interest in such an incredibly important matter, and the New York Avenue facility should not continue under the control of the Washington Humane Society. The group is clearly not an organization that has the animals’ welfare at heart, despite its attempts to make us believe otherwise.