The Norman Transcript

June 23, 2013

Norman Animal Welfare needs fixing

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

Where do I start? I’ll be as concise and direct as possible. I speak from more than 12 years experience as a shelter veterinarian and have worked more than nine years part-time at the Norman Animal Welfare Adoption Center.

· The shelter oversight committee and I attended architectural design meetings and were asked what we thought was needed in a new facility, and so we gave our input, wanting the best-quality design for the animals and people who work and volunteer there.

The fact that the facility might cost more than the bond allowed was never really addressed. So we have this great design with state-of-the-art materials that not only maximize disease control but also provide for enhanced environmental well-being and are now short on the money to fund it.

So now it seems that the city is willing to make crucial cuts that will only result in investing more money in repair and labor in the long run.

OK, people. Now is the time to stop, analyze this and fix it before building a money pit. Stop your leaders from approving bids now. It is the time to put it to the people and raise the necessary funds to build the shelter that the animals and citizens of Norman deserve.

Any rich OU alums out there wanting to contribute the difference? I thought this state had some oil money and animal lovers out there. Prove me right and maybe something will be permanently named after you and your kind benevolence. How else can you spend your money to benefit so many others?

· Part of the reason No. 1 is such a mess is because of this problem: Animal Welfare should be its own entity and be run as such. The problems that arise from subjugating Animal Welfare under the police department, neighborhood services or any other department causes a massive conflict of interest.

For instance: Animal Welfare’s budget can be “used” for other purposes deemed of higher priority by people who don’t even work in the facility and who may not have the animals or employees or even citizens interests in mind. People who don’t work in the facility have ultimate authority on the facilities’ design and, more importantly, actual construction. This will lead to alterations (cuts) that cause an increase in contagious diseases, noise pollution and labor costs to control sanitation, etc. Need I say more?

· If the above two problems are fixed, I think this third one will be, too. I have to mention it because I can and am speaking for the animals that cannot. There needs to be a veterinary technician and veterinarian working full time in the shelter. The shelter’s goals of saving and adopting out more animals cannot be realized without the medical and surgical (mainly sterilization) procedures performed by such trained personnel.

Many animals arrive injured, and it would be more cost effective and efficient if they could be treated immediately instead of taken to other facilities. Preventive health care can be improved and expanded, if this were the case. Several years ago, there was a position for a veterinarian and technician, but those positions were eliminated and now should be reinstated.

I think we can all agree that we want what is best for the animals and people who work and volunteer at the shelter. The city wants to build a shelter that they can be proud of and meets the needs of those it provides for. The good citizens of Norman want an animal welfare division that truly has animal welfare as the top priority.

Citizens of Norman, please demand transparency and the wise use of your tax dollars and let us fix Norman Animal Welfare, once and for all.

Thank you all for your consideration and know that the views expressed are strictly my own and I take full responsibility for them based on my own personal observations.