We are all they have. Please help.

I’m curious just how many people have actually been to the holding facility for dogs which serves Goldendale/Klickitat County. It appears many people are willing to support the facility in its present state without having ever stepped foot in it.

As someone who is passionate about the welfare of dogs, I strongly dislike seeing dogs housed for long periods of time in substandard conditions. In the “old days,” stray dogs were picked up, held for a few days for an owner to reclaim them, held for a few more days to a week or two to see if anyone would buy them, and then they were euthanized for lack of an appropriate home. Vicious, overly shy, or otherwise unfit dogs were not offered for sale.

With today’s “no kill” fad—still struggling along despite having been proven to be less than practical or humane—some radical animal rights groups have put pressure on many shelters to hold all animals (appropriate to be placed with the public or not) for periods of time from a week to several years in crowded, loud, smelly, and totally inappropriate inside cages. It is a true nightmare for the animals.

Our local facility is woefully inadequate for long-term holding of any animal. Dogs need fresh air, sunshine, exercise, and the ability to get off their own waste—things they cannot get in the local facility which relies on small pens and sometimes even shipping crates to hold the dogs all day, day after day. There are no outside runs for the animals to go out and relieve themselves—they must defecate where they are forced to live. Almost always there are multiple dogs in each cage which can lead to fighting, breeding, and extra stress.

I feel strongly that our local dogs deserve so much better than this—and I feel strongly that the citizens of Goldendale and Klickitat County would be willing to improve the conditions if they knew how.

There are many agencies which offer grants to small communities for the improvement or development of their local animal holding facility. And it should be remembered that this is the primary use for which these shelters should be used—they are not pet shops. A struggling local shelter should concentrate on improving conditions for local dogs which need to be held in a safe and humane manner while lost or displaced rather than trucking in loads of dogs from out of state for resale.

I would like to suggest that the citizens of Goldendale and Klickitat County form a small group of interested people willing to work together for the betterment of the sheltering situation in the community. These would be folks which have knowledge of grant writing, researching, and public relations. We will need folks with the time and inclination to help in finding grant assistance and in working with local government to make sure improvements will be understood, welcomed, and allowed.

I challenge anyone who thinks things should stay status quo to ask themselves if they would like to see their own dog housed in a pen with several other dogs, unable to defecate away from its living area (with the resulting reek), living on bare concrete, and seeing fresh air and sunshine maybe once a day for a few minutes. I’m going to assume most people would be horrified to have their dogs in these conditions for one day, let along months and even years.

The current folks involved in the shelter are doing the best they can with what they have. I think we can do much, much better. We simply need a few people with the right skills and a true love for dogs to step forward and work for improvement. Will you join me is this effort?

Interested persons, please contact me at: with a brief description of the skills you can bring to the table.