For what it's worth, I believe that everything in this piece is "true." That said, these facts and perspectives are selectively chosen to paint a misleadingly negative portrait of the Goathouse. A couple of adopters are cited in the article whose cats have had health problems, but what about the many people who have not? Hundreds of cats have been adopted from here over the past few years, so how about a few stories from happy adoptive families? In any shelter there will be some cats with health problems, so it's honestly not surprising to me that some problems might have gone unrecognized before adoption, but that doesn't mean it's a widespread issue.
My husband and I have volunteered a couple of times a month at the Goathouse for almost 3 years now, and here's what I've seen: it's a place that's almost entirely volunteer-run and perpetually understaffed, but nonetheless trying to provide the best possible care and environment for the cats. Every single morning, all the food and water bowls are washed, the cages are sanitized, and the floors are mopped with disinfectant. The litterboxes are scooped twice a day and disinfected regularly. All the cats are given high-quality food. Most of the cats are "free range," but the ones in cages are there because they have special medical or dietary needs. When volunteers are doing the morning cleaning in the main building, there is always a vet tech making the rounds of each caged cat, as well as any cats in the "infirmary" building.
In the past 3 years that I've been there, the cat population has increased a lot, but so have the facilities. In 2012, the Goathouse remodeled the "main building" to have 3 "kitten rooms" to house young cats rather than just 1, transforming a large room that was formerly part of Siglinda's pottery studio into more cat space. They fully enclosed an area that used to be a covered porch so now it's another complete room for cats to live in. Moreover, the Goathouse has continually increased its efforts to comply with regulatory and governmental expectations - they received a private grant last year that funded renovations to put in a handicapped-accessible parking space and a sidewalk, as well as a bathroom. Just in the past few months, they installed an alarm system designed to deter people from "dumping" cats in front of the Goathouse gates. This article quoted sources describing conditions at the Goathouse between 2009 and today as if it were all the same, but in fact quite a bit has changed in the past few years.
Honestly, I wish that the Goathouse would keep the population steady rather than continuing to increase, but that's the nature of animal rescue. My hope for the Goathouse is that the improved facilities and greater media and community attention will also be supplemented with more paid staff to help care for the kitties. No place is perfect, but the Goathouse works hard to take care of each individual cat to the best of their abilities. I'm convinced that the cats who live there have a better life than in most other animal shelters. If anyone's read this far in my comment, I'd encourage you to visit the Goathouse yourself (the best visiting hours are 12:00-3:30 on weekends) and form your own opinion.
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Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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