When I visited the Auburn (animal) shelter the first time in 1994, I was shocked at the horrible conditions. Now, almost two decades later, it is still the same depressing “antique.”
It is surprising how receptionists Becky and Barbara are able to remain cheerful, working in such cramped quarters. Barbara’s area is very dark without even a window; the same is true for the office-area. The shelter director’s office (Mike Winters), has a window, but is anything but lavish.
The floors are cracked and in need of repair. Dogs are still locked up in kennels without outdoor runs or exposure to fresh air or sunshine. Only when a volunteer is available and takes these poor creatures for a short stroll, do they get a bit of exercise.
Other animals are kept in even darker cells during “quarantine.”
Some dogs get depressed and withdraw; others start barking out of desperation or loneliness, thereby getting less and less adoptable.
Cats, except for a few, sit listless in small cages in artificial light, in windowless rooms.
An ancient, rundown trailer serves as an office for animal caretakers. The windows leak and towels need to be placed on window sills to soak up water during rain. Panels are peeling off the walls.
Working at an animal shelter is an emotionally taxing job, and dreary surroundings make it even more difficult.
For heaven’s sake, let’s tear down this embarrassing “museum piece” of a shelter and build a new one, which will probably last for the next 100 years. The animals and personnel deserve it!
Mechelle Buhan, Auburn