Since the rescue request regarding the Out of the Box (OOTB) animals has been made public,

Facebook has been flooded with lies and accusations about shelter staff.

As a 7-year shelter volunteer, here’s the truth: No one works in animal welfare for the money.

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Nineteen employees take care of 200 animals. Regulations are dictated by county, state and federal government.

CCAS has a meager budget, which includes animal control. Human resources and risk management have much to do with why only county employees are permitted access to some animals. Alongside medicating, cleaning, intakes, surrenders, forensic exams, surgeries, confiscations, reclaims, quarantines, OREU, adoption events, microchips, vaccinations, adoptions, interactions, data input, fosters, rescues, volunteers, training, meetings, reports, calls, emails, laundry, donations, supplies and billing. They run play groups, walk, play and love on animals in the early mornings before the shelter opens and after it closes.

Because Robert Schweickert believes he can do anything if it *saves* animals, the court was forced to keep the animals in the shelter for months. He’s done that before. He kept them in horrible conditions under the guise of *rescue* because to him a horrible life is better than humane euthanasia.

Because ot public outcry, those unadoptable dogs might have an extended stay. Some of the people screaming about how terrible the shelter is, had knowledge of the horrible conditions the dogs were kept in at OOTB. They didn’t adopt, foster and find rescues. They didn’t contact law enforcement about dogs with illnesses, injuries, malnutrition and filth. They knew many of those animals were unadoptable. They did not protect those animals. To them, a filthy, isolated, life of pain is better than no life at all.

Spend the day at CCAS, and you’ll see how hard everyone works to improve the lives of animals in their care. Due to the court case and behavioral issues, the OOTB dogs weren’t allowed to associate with volunteers, be fostered or adopted. But at least twice daily, they were walked, given enrichment, provided medical care, and physical affection, by those 19 staffers.

Will things improve because disparaging remarks are made about staff? Will things improve because the public sees and shares false and inflammatory comments online? Some will believe the lies because it lets them cast stones at those who protect those abused and abandoned rather than the perpetrators.

What it will do is keep away those who donate, adopt, foster and volunteer.

Lilann Gilbert

Inverness