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“Rubbing Out Nine Lives” (2/13) never explained the reason animal shelters and the tragedy of euthanasia exist at all. We wish Jake Tapper had taken a great opportunity to tell why spaying and neutering are crucial, why people should think carefully before taking on a pet, and why they should adopt from shelters rather than buying from pet stores and breeders. It’s a shame that the pernicious and misleading contents of his article will probably convince a lot of people that shelters are wretched places and send them packing to the nearest breeder. Thus, overpopulation and the “disposable pet” mentality will continue.

Thirty to 40 newly abandoned animals pour in our doors every day. It is our duty to see that every animal that leaves the shelter will be a cared-for and loved member of someone’s family. There are no shortcuts: Every adopter is home-checked, and every animal is spayed/neutered and vaccinated before leaving our care. Our volunteers, adoptions staff, and managers routinely work weekends, holidays, and late nights, without overtime pay, because the work is never-ending.

Last year a veterinarian from the Humane Society of the United States gave our shelter high marks for the care we take making the animals feel comfortable and the public welcome. Toys, blankets, and beds fill every cage. Tapper could have visited the shelter on his own at any time; instead, he complained that the D.C. government, which owns the building and regulates all media traffic, would not give him a tour.

It’s ironic that WHS was accused of adopting only “grudgingly” in the same paper that features our animals in a full one-third of the “Pets” classified column. Our other pro-adoption efforts include a 24-hour hot line, regular appearances on Channel 9’s Petline 9, adoption tables at area pet stores, and display ads run pro bono through the generosity of area papers, including Washington City Paper. Tapper himself adopted two kittens from WHS in 1996.

Executive Director

Washington Humane Society

Takoma Park