this by diana haywood is well said:
"The indy article compared the Goathouse to a non-existent ultimate-ideal unlimited funded animal shelter/rescue operation and said they failed. "
I doubt there is any private rescue that could withstand level of negatively focused scrutiny that was behind this article. I have a feeling Goathouse became a target because of all the good national publicity it had been getting recently, someone felt they should be cut down to size and the Indy obliged.
All groups, despite their best efforts, sometimes adopt out sick animals, for example. Some more than others but no one can be 100% and finding a few people who adopted a sick cat out of hundreds over several years, doesn't mean the shelter doesn't do a good job. All groups that have been around for any length of time have disgruntled former volunteers who think the place is a disaster, because it didn't do what they wanted or go in the direction they wanted, or promote them to a position of influence. One thing that stood out in this article is how much of the stuff they are being attacked for was 2-3 years ago, the other is how many of the sources are unnamed.
Kelli Ferris, who the article acknowledges hasn't been to the Goathouse, is quoted in the article providing expertise on hoarding, but one should consider her documented attitude toward no-kill rescues, for example this quote of hers: "The advent of no-kill sheltering gives someone who is hoarding animals a way to try to gain respectability,” Ferris says. “Instead of being ‘the crazy cat lady,’ someone can position themselves as a shelter with a Web page and nonprofit status.”
(from: http://www.ncsu.edu/bulletin/archive/2009/…). Keep that in mind when evaluating these statements of hers from the Indy article:
Ferris says that whenever a rescue gets their population down, it rebounds.. .well yeah, because rescues are there to help animals and they help as many as they can. Rescues stay full because the need is so great. And then she criticizes rescuers for saying that if they didn't take the animals they would be killed... well yeah, that's definitely true of animals pulled from kill shelters like Siglinda does. Does anyone really doubt animals pulled from kill shelters would be killed if they weren't pulled? The kill shelters themselves say this. Maybe Kelli hasn't seen the emails that county shelters and their volunteers regularly send out to rescues regularly, saying these animals will be killed at such and such a time if not pulled? To use the factual statement that animals not pulled from shelters will be killed to imply someone is a hoarder is disingenous.
As someone who has volunteered with multiple rescue groups over the years I know that one of the biggest problems they have in accomplishing their goals is drama, politics and bickering between passionate people who just can't get along. The Indy has just played into that trap by writing a one-sided hit article based on accusations by unnamed disgruntled former volunteers.
This article insinuates that the fact that Siglinda keeps control of her organization is somehow a bad thing and implicates her as a hoarder which is ridiculous. By keeping control and getting rid of people who gossip and create drama in the background Siglinda is preventing a problem that is endemic to the rescue community... anyone who volunteers in animal rescue knows this fact well whether they admit it or not.
The Goathouse is her vision and runs on her property funded by her artwork, so if it's her way or the highway then the people who agree with her can have a productive and relatively drama-free environment to volunteer in and those who don't can go someplace else to create drama and politics. There are plenty of other groups out there to volunteer for, and quite frankly too many people are in it more for politics and drama than for the animals.
The Indy, which has many staff members who volunteer for animal rescues should have understood that and known better than to fall into the trap of being used by bitter former volunteers to pursue their grievances. Seriously, there isn't a single rescue group out there that could withstand the level of determined and negative scrutiny and attack this article represents. How disappointing to see the Indy participate in this kind of vendetta.
full disclosure: I have never volunteered for or adopted from the Goathouse but have I visited there and never seen anything but a wonderful environment for the cats.
Indy Week • 302 E. Pettigrew St., Suite 300, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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