A Tale of Two Cities
(with apologies to Charles Dickens)
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….. it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”
Our Pethealth Post this week reflects upon our very own PetPoint Tale of Two Cities each of which experienced its own winter of despair followed by a spring of hope.
Durham Region Humane Society
During the early hours of the morning on December 17th 2008 a major fire broke out at the premises of the Durham Region Humane Society. Burning out of control for several hours the shelter buildings were destroyed with a tragic loss of 160 animals including small animals, 96 cats and 3 dogs. Only 2 cats and 10 dogs survived the fire.
In addition to the devastating loss of life, the Humane Society lost all documentation that had been gathered for cruelty cases that were under investigation. In some cases trial dates had been set but the fire destroyed all the evidence letting perpetrators of animal cruelty go unpunished – it was indeed a sad day for animal welfare.
True to the spirit of the animal welfare community the staff of the Durham Region Humane Society have picked themselves up and are back at the task of providing care for animals in need in the Durham Region. Working out of portable trailers they have taken the decision to start fresh with the help of PetPoint to ensure that should the unthinkable happen again their records will be safely stored offsite.
Galveston Island Humane Society
The story of our second city was reported in our Pethealth Post issued Friday September 19th, 2009 – IKE – the Aftermath.
Unlike the Durham Region Humane Society the Galveston Island Humane Society had the benefit of an early warning about the impending disaster. As the strength of the hurricane increased, staff at the Humane Society were able to take the precautionary measure of moving their animals to alternative facilities, many of which were able to use the PetPoint transfer module to ease the transfer of animals throughout Texas. Those precautionary measures turned out to be lifesaving as the Galveston Island Humane Society facilities were totally destroyed by Hurricane IKE, but no lives were lost.
Temporarily housed in an old dilapidated Police Department building, staff and volunteers picked up, housed, fed, identified and photographed more than 1,000 abandoned and lost pets, making every effort to re-unite them with their families via media announcements and a web site for the reunification of pets. With the cooperation and support of the Houston SPCA, and using the reunification web site which was specially created by PetPoint (in temporary partnership with Pets911.com), most of the animals were claimed by their families, adopted or placed in foster homes.
The shelter continues to operate in its temporary home until a new facility is built. Having had the opportunity to see first hand the unique advantages of the PetPoint animal management system for pre-hurricane transfers and during the post hurricane clean up, the Galveston Island Humane Society has chosen to start again with the daily use of the PetPoint animal management system.