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IN RESPONSE TOM. Nielsen Hobbs’ article “Dog Days” (The District Line, 10/20), I would like to point out both how well the D.C. Animal Shelter (DCAS) does its job and how poorly conceived are the plans

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> I have firsthand experience with DCAS and its monumental task of retrieving from Washington’s mean streets the abandoned, neglected, and injured animals found there. The staff members are professional and caring and work for a pittance. Anyone who’s seen other shelters (or even kennels, for that matter) comes away from DCAS impressed by the cleanliness and order that prevail under Mary Healey’s directorship. Animals wait for adoption in clean, warm, spacious cages. When space becomes dear, animals who are least likely to be adopted are euthanized

The alternative, both unrealistic and, under the guise of humaneness, unequivocally cruel, is to accept every animal brought to DCAS’s door and warehouse them in filthy conditions where, as conditions degrade, the likelihood of adoption plummets, and that of a wretched life in a crowded cage skyrockets. Citizens should not let people with a cockeyed notion that life, no matter how hideous and neglectful the conditions, is somehow better than a humane, peaceful death, run one of the best shelters in the United States. Until people stop breeding animals for profit or allowing them to breed through neglect, animal overpopulation will make no-kill shelters unrealistic and cruel.

Of course, all of this would be moot if the D.C. government took seriously its charge to govern properly and met its obligations with the existing contractor, Washington Humane Society. Getting cut-rate crackpots to ruin such an exemplary shelter as DCAS is truly animal cruelty.

Dupont Circle