Group says they save animals from being euthanized
By RAY HUARD - email@example.com North County Times - Californian
Posted: Sunday, October 17, 2010 8:45 pm
Margaret Read, 73, of Oceanside, adopted Spanley from a rescue group called SPOT. The group found a home for Spanley after learning he was going to be euthanized by the San Diego Humane Society.
Ask Margaret Read about her dog, Spanley, and her voice comes alive with joy.
"Delightful," "smart" and "loving" are just a few of the words she uses to describe the labradoodle with the curly black hair who's taken to chasing a pink stuffed pig around her house and going for solo dips in her backyard pool. Labradoodles are a mix of Labrador retrievers and poodles.
"I'm a widow and I have a problem of too much quiet, but this dog makes me laugh." said Read, 75. "He's a wonderful family pet."
Just a few months ago, Read said Spanley was on death row at the San Diego Human Society, scheduled to be euthanized because the society deemed him too aggressive.
Spanley was saved by SPOT (Save Pets One at a Time), a group of former volunteers at the society's Oceanside shelter who say they didn't like what they saw when the San Diego Humane Society in January absorbed what had been the North County Humane Society.
Dogs that would have been put up for adoption by the Humane Society before the merger or given to rescue groups for adoption are being euthanized said Kris Nelson, a SPOT founder.
Humane officials say no healthy, treatable dog is euthanized and that they work with 40 "adoption partners" to find homes for the animals.
"We're absolutely dedicated to saving the lives of every healthy and treatable animal," said Renee Harris, Humane Society executive vice president of animal services.
The society uses criteria developed by a consortium of agencies dealing with animals in San Diego County and as established under state law, Harris said.
Nelson and some other former volunteers dispute how the Humane Society defines a healthy and treatable animal.
They also said that policy changes at the North County shelter since January make it difficult for rescue groups to step in and take animals that aren't up to the Humane Society's standards for adoption, or to even find out which animals are on the list to be euthanized.
In March, Nelson and a handful of other former Humane Society volunteers got together informally and began making almost daily trips to the Humane Society's Oceanside shelter, looking for dogs that might be in danger of being euthanized.
Their plan was to line up the dogs with rescue groups, who would place them in temporary foster homes until they could be adopted.
But Nelson said she and her colleagues were finding so many dogs so quickly that they couldn't find rescue groups fast enough to take care of them, so they started doing it themselves. "It turned out we began saving dogs," Nelson said.
SPOT was born, and this month it became a formal organization, applying for federal nonprofit status so people can make tax deductible donations to the organization.
"You can't have too many people saving animals," said Elaine Godzak, another founder of the group and a former volunteer at the defunct North County Humane Society.
"We're another link in the chain to help support animal welfare efforts in the county," Godzak said.
Since March, SPOT has saved 69 dogs, 60 of which had been scheduled to be euthanized by the Humane Society, said Alisa Trejo, a former volunteer of the year at the North County Humane Society.
On Sunday, Oct. 24, the group will have its first fund-raiser --- a combination plant, rummage and bakery sale --- from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the parking lot of Discount Tire, 2281 El Camino Real in Oceanside.
"The dogs are great," said Trejo, who has four dogs of her own and is fostering a bulldog/boxer mixed breed dog which she said was scheduled to be euthanized because it was deemed too forward with other dogs.
Now that he's out of the shelter, the dog gets along fine with her other pets. Trejo said. "He's awesome. He just hangs out with everybody," Trejo said. "The dogs we've been pulling are pretty much mainstream dogs."
Harris of the Humane Society said she worries that some of the dogs taken by groups like SPOT may not be appropriate for adoption. She said Spanley, who had a different name before Read adopted him, was one.
Spanley was so aggressive that one family that got him through an ad on Craig's List turned him in to the Humane Society, Harris said.
"Based on the known aggression history in the home...we felt that he was a safety risk," Harris said, adding "we still have concerns that the dog is a safety risk."
Behavior Test Unique to SD Humane Society
This article was published in March but we think the content re: SDHS behavior tests is pertinent
Friday, March 05, 2010
San Diego Humane - Merger Raises Questions
The Coast News - Oceanside North County Humane and San Diego Humane merger raises questions and concerns.
The Coast News reports that 45 dogs evaluated and approved for adoption prior to the merger were transferred to the San Diego facility for re-evaluation and 5 of them were euthanized.
Laura Maloney (Senior Vice President of strategic initiatives and communication for the San Diego Humane Society) stated that out of 45 animals from the Oceanside site that were re-evaluated by San Diego Humane, five were euthanized because of concerns for the community. Behavior assessment proved the dogs to be a potential danger to people or a significant danger to animals.
The Coast News also reported that San Diego Humane and North County Humane use the same medical and behavior assessments for animals but comments from a reader stated that the two facilities did not use the same behavior or medical evaluations.
The SAFER test was used at North County Humane
Behavior assessment at San Diego Humane (Gaines Campus) is one of their own design.
Note: Maloney did not elaborate on what the potential danger would be to people or what species of animal (cats?) these dogs might be a significant danger to.
Here's a link to an excellent article about behavior testing in BARK Magazine: