(This is addressed to Lori Hoffer in response to her letter that appeared in The Park Record on May 7.)
I have just received a copy of your letter to Summit County Friends of the Animals, Furburbia and the editor of the Park Record.
I would like to start by thanking you and Ori for supporting FOA and No More Homeless Pets in Utah over the years; you have both done a lot for the animals and are very sincere in your conviction to help our endeavors. Although I do not condone Lil’ Lulu’s story in the Park Record, I would like to give a little perspective from the author.
Most of our employees work for very little money; it is a labor of love because they truly care for the animals. Unfortunately, Lulu’s story is about so much more than a family who developed allergies. It is about thousands of animals who end up in real shelters (not Furburbia) every day.
The author of this story spends his time pulling animals not just in Summit and Wasatch county shelters. We (FOA) pull dogs and cats from West Valley, South Salt Lake and other area shelters who are usually in a situation where many animals are being put down due to overcrowding. He looks at hundreds of faces that will probably not live to see another day because they are doomed to be euthanized. It does not make Lulu’s story acceptable, but I do believe most people would be a little tainted if they had to see this on a daily basis.
With the exception of Summit and Wasatch counties, thanks to FOA and other organizations like NMHP, most shelters put down animals that have been brought in by their owners first. They legally have to keep strays longer to give their people a chance to find them. Wonderful, sweet animals with 2 days to find the perfect new home: It rarely happens.
Ninety percent of our animals are shelter animals, strays and animals whose people have simply tired of them. There is nothing more heartbreaking than walking a shelter, looking into the eyes of animals who have been marked for death that day and reading the reason on their cages as to why they ended up there. Most of them are merely victims of a throwaway society, nothing more. They weren’t bad, didn’t bite or urinate on the carpet. Their people simply did not want them anymore.
We will always help out and take in animals in special situations: someone has passed away or is terminally ill, in a financial crisis or yes, has developed allergies. This is not uncommon. It helps when people first try on their own to find good homes for the innocent dog or cats they took the responsibility to care for. We have a very strict adoption policy to make sure people know and accept the responsibility they are taking on before they sign the adoption papers.
I apologize you were offended by Lulu’s story. It was not meant to "shame" anyone. It was an emotional slip from a person who daily witnesses one of the darker sides of our society, a person who truly cares about his commitment to the animals.
I appreciate your bringing this to our attention. We will be more careful from now on.
Becca Gerber, a first-term member of the Park City Council who is seen as bringing a younger person’s perspective to the Marsac Building, will seek reelection this year.