Thursday, May 30, 2013

Red Alert Rescue and Graham - Greenhill Ignores a Rescue that wanted to help him

I, with the help of a couple of other ladies, used to run Red Alert Animal Rescue based out of Portland, OR. During the 3 years our group was operating we rescued 5 dogs from Lane Co Animal Control before it was taken over by Greenhill Humane, 2 from Greenhill Humane, and 2 from First Avenue Shelter. All of the 9 dogs are now happy in their forever homes.  These were all dogs that would have been killed without rescue.

This is my story regarding a dog named Graham that was at the First Avenue Shelter:

I first learned about Graham in January of 2013 and shared him to my networking page to help find him a home or foster home. I fell in love with his face and had high hopes for him to find a great home because he sounded like a very lovely dog.  This is a description that I got from the First Avenue Facebook page in early February. I added in the video links when I posted him to my networking page and edited to let people know where he was:

Graham is a 4 year-old Shar-Pei/Staffordshire terrier mix and he's available for adoption at First Avenue Shelter in Eugene, OR. He knows basic obedience and is house trained. He’s friendly with dogs, cats, and kids, although may be overzealous at first meeting. Graham came in as a stray, suffering from a skin condition. He’s on the mend now. But most important, he’s worthy of a Happy Valentine’s Day.

He can either be fostered through the shelter in Eugene, transferred to a rescue group, or ADOPTED!

You can see a video of Graham in a doggie playgroup earlier in his shelter stay here:

And here you can watch his Pet of The Week video from when he was on the news! What a good boy he is!

For more information call the First Ave. Shelter at (541) 844-1777. The shelter address is: 3970 W. 1st Avenue, Eugene, OR”

At some point, I am not sure when exactly, Graham went to a foster home from the shelter.  It is my understanding that the fosters may have been interested in adopting him. However, in early April 2013 I learned that Graham had somehow escaped his foster’s yard and got into a fight with the neighbor’s two dogs.  He was returned to the shelter and I was immediately concerned that he may be killed.
I asked a couple of shelter volunteers what the plan was for Graham and nobody seemed to know.  One person told me that her friend was interested in adopting him, even with his potential for a dangerous dog designation because of the fight. The friend went to the shelter and was not allowed to meet Graham.  When I heard this, I emailed the kennel manager (Kimber at the time) at First Avenue Shelter who I had previously dealt with when rescuing dogs from Greenhill. That email was sent on April 8, 2013. I asked her why the woman was not allowed to meet Graham and for more information about the situation in general.  She responded telling me that he had been returned, but that a plan for him had not yet been discussed.  She also said that she knew nothing of a woman being interested in adopting him and being turned down.   She asked for more details and indicated she would get some answers.  I let her know the woman’s name, gave her her phone number, and told her that the woman would be back at the shelter on a specific day.   I did not receive a response to that email.  The woman went to the shelter on the day specified and was once again not allowed to see Graham.  She reported being able to hear him cry from his kennel.  He was no longer allowed to be taken out by volunteers, only kennel staff. 

I emailed the kennel manager again to find out why she had again been turned away and never received a response.  After that, I posted to the First Ave. Shelter Facebook page asking who I could get to answer questions about Graham.  I was informed by someone not affiliated with the shelter FB page that the kennel manager I was emailing with had been transferred back to GH and was no longer at 1st ave.  The admin for the shelter Facebook page told me to call or visit the shelter for more information.  Being in Portland and working a day job made this request impossible for me. I cannot call while I am at work (I have a full time day job in addition to the rescue work that I do), when the shelter is open, and I am two hours away, so it is not easy for me to just pop in.  I have always communicated with my contacts at these shelters via email. Thankfully a helpful shelter volunteer that cared about Graham told me that she had been discussing him with assistant director, Jaclyn, and that I should email her, which I promptly did.  I emailed her on Monday, April 22, 2013 to tell her that I wanted to help him, but that I needed the specifics about the incident where he escaped.  At the time it was unlikely that my rescue would be able to find a foster home for him, but I knew that I could network him with my rescue contacts. I have participated in saving many dogs that were not transferred directly to my rescue, but that I helped to network with other rescues. Graham was killed on Wednesday, April 24, and I never received a response to my email.  I learned of his death Thursday, April 25, when it was too late. Even the volunteer who had been communicating with the assistant director was unaware that this was Graham’s fate. She learned of his death while she was out of town.  She had been waiting for permission to network him and was told he was being reassessed.  She was devastated to learn of his death, as was I.

He was killed just shy of 3 weeks after my first inquiry about him. Had I got answers then, I could have been working for 3 weeks to find him placement before the date he was killed.  Ignoring a rescuer wanting to help a dog is disgusting, and I am not willing to let his death, or the deaths of other dogs who have died at their hands be in vain.  We must stop this senseless killing and we must stop it now.  Community members have got to stand up for these animals who cannot speak for themselves.  We are their voice and we must be loud and clear. THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.

Kristine Klar

RIP Graham.  You were loved.