An article entitled “Dog Fight Erupts in Mansfield” appeared in the Sunday edition of The Sun Chronicle. This letter is not to argue a point of view on the decision to euthanize the dog in question, but to clear up misconceptions about Mansfield Animal Shelter.
Mansfield Animal Shelter is NOT a no-kill shelter. However, because of the efforts of the Humane Officer and the volunteers, its record may be very close to being no-kill, and I have never known an animal to be euthanized because it has been at the shelter too long. (It’s worth mentioning that there is no breed specific discrimination at the shelter. Many pit bulls have come through the shelter and have been adopted into loving homes where they have proved to be wonderful pets.) Nevertheless, Mansfield Animal Shelter is a town-run shelter under the jurisdiction of the Animal Humane Officer, who answers to the Police Chief in his role as Animal Control Officer. It is they who make decisions on euthanizing dogs, not the volunteers. The town’s by-laws give them that authority, and they are not required to consult with Mansfield Shelter Friends. The Animal Humane Officer is the only town employee at the shelter. All other care is provided by volunteers.
Mansfield Shelter Friends (M.S.F.) is a non-profit organization, run by volunteers, and separate from, but supporting, Mansfield Animal Shelter. M.S.F. is funded by generous donations, and by adoption fees. M.S.F. bears the sole responsibility of paying for veterinary care for shelter animals; the town does not cover those expenses. Through generous donations MSF has been able to provide outstanding and extensive veterinary care, often saving animals’ live by paying for surgeries and care far above basic vaccinations. M.S.F. has given financial assistance to pet owners who couldn’t afford vet care, and who would otherwise have to euthanize or surrender their pets. M.S.F. has also paid for trainers to work with dogs who otherwise might have been unadoptable. (MSF paid for a trainer for Rocco.)
Although it is extremely distressing and unfortunate when animals must be euthanized, it remains rare at Mansfield Animal Shelter when one considers the number of animals that pass through the shelter. During my almost ten years as a volunteer, animals have never been put down as a result of overcrowding or because they have been at the shelter too long, although I believe this is common practice at many public shelters.
As a volunteer, I am proud of Mansfield Animal Shelter and the way it has served the animals that pass through the shelter. I hope people will continue to see the overwhelming good that the shelter does for animals, and continue to support it in those efforts.
Volunteer, Mansfield Animal Shelter