Letter to the editor – Adrienne Smith

To the editor regarding animal shelter

Dear editor,

I was not going to get involved in this, but I can’t walk away from it. It involves something near and dear to me.

There’s a saying that a person can be judged on their character by how they treat animals. I am very disappointed in the lack of interest that the city has in taking care of its homeless animals. That is the city’s responsibility. It’s a sad state of affairs, when building a new humane animal shelter is more controversial than building a casino.

Over the past three decades, or so, the city has made out like a bandit, off the goodwill of Mar Smith, and the good-hearted people that have volunteered there since. The city has taken advantage of the love that these volunteers have for animals by not funding a lot of the expenses of the shelter.

Now we are at a critical place. The shelter is falling apart, and it’s not fixable. The volunteers at the facility have worked their butts off for nothing, and even paying out of their own pockets in some instances. That shouldn’t be.

As for the two men, slapping these volunteers in the face, with their opinion letters last week [in another publication], not important, indeed! Wayne Taylor and Vern Foje, what will we do when that shelter falls down in a heap? Take the animals to your place? It’s quite evident you two have never been to the shelter, or loved an animal.

It was quite amusing that Wayne Taylor was worried about animals from neighboring counties coming into the shelter. That’s the EXACT same thing Councilman Benitz wanted to do when he suggested shipping the animals off to Boone, putting his responsibility on someone else… letting someone else clean up the mess.

I want to address another issue, mentioned in the editorials. That is the remark about a .22, made by Councilman Benitz. He did say that, I know, because he said it to me. “The best animal control is a .22.” There was no mention of farming or dogs bothering livestock, or anything of the sort. I told him, “You do that, you’ll have every animal advocate in the state of Iowa, breathing down your neck.” Other people have heard that same comment from Benitz also. So Vern Foje, your spin on this issue was wrong.

Now, on to the donated land that the shelter would be on. Come on! It’s donated land, from the GCDC! Evidently the GCDC sees the need there also! There has not been any interest in that land for 30 years! John Milligan pointed that out at a city council meeting!

If we were to build a new facility, people and families would come and volunteer. It becomes a family outing. It’s good for kids to volunteer at shelters. Taking care of animals teaches empathy, responsibility, respect, compassion, and it’s good for the heart and soul. People’s views on animals have changed the last 30 years or so. Pets are part of the family.

In closing, I want to say this is the responsibility of the city. It’s on your shoulder. Let’s show the area that Jefferson is a progressive town that is interested in all aspects, even its homeless animals. Please, let’s give the animals a good temporary home. For the animal’s sake.

Adrienne Smith, Jefferson

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