I am writing with reference to your headline article of Wednesday, April 26, entitled: “BeShears Barks Back” It is unfortunate that, instead of addressing the numerous problems surrounding the animal shelter, Mr. BeShears has chosen to try to divert attention away from the real issue by engaging in name-calling, inaccurate statements, and the further maligning of the Humane Society.
Let’s make something perfectly clear: the Humane Society has absolutely nothing to do with the county animal shelter. This is totally within the domain of the county judge-executive. He sets the policies and determines the procedures. He deserves the credit or the blame for the outcome.
It continues to amaze me that Mr. BeShears constantly brings up the issue of “working with the Humane Society” every time the animal shelter is mentioned. He might just as well talk about Kiwanis, Rotary or the Junior Women’s Club – all of which have the same degree of responsibility as the Humane Society with respect to the operation of the animal shelter – absolutely none!
In my open letter to Mr. BeShears in the April 7 edition of the CJ, while responding to the inaccurate remarks about the society which he made at the March 8 candidate gathering at the Senior Center, I asked him to stop referencing the Humane Society in his comments about the sad state of affairs at the shelter. Rather than comply with my request, he chose to bring it up again at the next fiscal court meeting. This was reported on the front page of the CJ on April 12 (”BeShears: There are no problems with shelter”). As a result, I submitted a second letter to the editor, clearly identifying nine specific problems with the animal control program in Pulaski County. Now, Mr. BeShears has again brought up the non-issue of “working with the Humane Society,” as reported on the front page of CJ’s April 26 edition. So, I again feel compelled to respond, lest the community interpret the lack of a response as an indication that there may be some truth in Mr. BeShears’ statements.
I would ordinarily choose to avoid commenting on his “working with the Humane Society” comments, since it has nothing to do with the serious problems at the animal shelter. However, I cannot, in good conscience, ignore several of the county judge’s comments, as they unfairly reflect negatively on our organization and its dedicated volunteers. His accusations of dishonesty and irresponsibility are not only unfounded, but cause one to question his motives for attacking a volunteer organization that is dedicated to the welfare of the animals in the community.
It was reported in the CJ article that “BeShears accused the Humane Society of ‘sitting on the sidelines for a long time’ – choosing to write damaging letters to the Commonwealth Journal instead of becoming involved ... ‘Al I’ve read is what I would call a bunch of lies.’” In my last letter to the editor, I defined nine specific problems with the animal shelter. To date, Mr. BeShears has failed to refute a single one of them. Instead, he chooses to dismiss them as “a bunch of lies,” without identifying a single inaccuracy. I would be happy to engage Mr. BeShears in a public debate on the issue of the animal control program, so that the citizens of Pulaski County could decide for themselves (prior to election day) just what is the truth of the matter.
As for the part about “sitting on the sidelines for a long time” and not “being involved,” we are presented with a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black! The Humane Society is a nonprofit organization, consisting primarily of dedicated volunteers, who give freely of their time, effort and money in order to make life better for the county’s companion animals. As such, the society has no obligation to provide any particular services to the community. It is the county government, under the direction of the county judge-executive, that is responsible for providing animal control services for the community.
The mainstay of an effective, efficient and humane animal control program is an aggressive low-cost spay/neuter program aimed at reducing the pet overpopulation in the community. Successful shelters have had such programs in effect for the past two or three decades. During the 16 years that Mr. BeShears has been at the helm, there have been no countywide spay/neuter programs in effect in Pulaski County. However, during the past couple of years, the Humane Society has taken the initiative in this area with its monthly low-cost clinics, and has altered more than 1,000 pets. And last year, when there were 31 horses and 10 cows found starving and neglected, who took them, found temporary foster homes for them, provided veterinary care for them, and nursed them back to health? It was the Humane Society that took on this daunting task, without any offers of assistance whatsoever from county government or animal control.
And, even though the Humane Society has no building in which to house animals, what organization regularly places attractive pictures of adoptable pets in the newspaper?
The Humane Society is constantly rescuing animals, fostering them, and ultimately adopting them out as healthy, vet-checked pets.
Following a period of inactivity, the Humane Society only became viable again about three or four years ago, and has accomplished quite a bit in a relatively short period of time.
Mr. BeShears has been in charge of animal control in Pulaski County for the better part of two decades, and his record reveals significantly more animals coming into the shelter each year, fewer being adopted, and an animal control program that has a 94 percent kill rate - one of the highest in the country.
So, who has really been “sitting on the sidelines for a long time,” and not “being involved?”
The Humane Society has no responsibilities whatsoever for animal control in Pulaski County. There is no way that the society will be the scapegoat for the county’s disgraceful animal control program.
Mr. BeShears has been accused of using smoke and mirrors during his re-election campaign. In locating the party responsible for this disaster, he will need only the mirror.
William L. Lippert, President
Pulaski County Humane Society
Somerset, KY 42501