Last Monday, a family came to the Charleston Animal Society to part with a loved one, their pet dog Ozzy.
They had made a family decision, and struggled for a year with the same kind of pain that many families struggle with when facing difficult decisions.
Whether it is parting with a beloved pet, giving up a child for adoption, divorcing a spouse, or many other painful decisions made in life, only the family is in the position to make that decision.
This family took care to facilitate the transition of Ozzy to a new home and made an appointment to bring Ozzy to the Animal Society — theirs was not a knee-jerk decision. They completed a profile for Ozzy, providing background information about him in order to make a good match with a new family.
As they were guided through the process, in a non-judgmental manner, it was clear that they wanted Ozzy to have a better home.
The Charleston Animal Society staff, comprised of well-trained adoption counselors, certified SAFER behavior assessors, veterinarians and others, along with dedicated volunteers, gave Ozzy the same level of care that every animal entering its doors receives.
The family also searched the Internet and reached out to a rescue organization through its website. They received an email reply that upset them and many others who save animals every day. The email reply criticized the family and also made false statements about the Charleston Animal Society.
The family called The Post and Courier to complain about the treatment they received from the rescue organization.
The call initiated a series of articles bringing widespread community attention to the family’s decision to part with Ozzy.
Will this public scrutiny cause other families to avoid animal shelters and bona fide rescue organizations?
Will folks simply drop their animals off in rural areas of the county to avoid being ostracized on social media sites and the like? At this point, no one knows.
Over 10,000 animals were brought to Charleston Animal Society last year. Each and every one was treated as an individual animal in its own right, as will Ozzy be treated.
Over 6,500 were saved and not a single healthy animal was put down, but we will not be satisfied until every healthy and every treatable animal is saved. Charleston Animal Society is working continually to save more and more lives each year and has led the turnaround of animals being saved in the Charleston community.
With more foster volunteers and support for medical treatment, the Animal Society can continue saving more and more lives, as it has done for 138 years, serving as one of the nation’s oldest animal organizations.
Ozzy’s family did what the animal welfare world told them to do, that is, if you cannot provide appropriate care for your pet, find a better home for him.
That’s what they did. Who are any of us to judge them for acting in the best interest of Ozzy?
As for Ozzy, he’ll be just fine. Regardless of the media attention, Charleston Animal Society will find Ozzy a home.
Like other heartworm positive dogs available for adoption, the Animal Society will treat Ozzy’s heartworm condition at no cost to his new family, as it does with other heart worm positive dogs.
Every day, animals of all shapes, sizes, ages and breeds at the Animal Society need new homes. Please visit the Charleston Animal Society now.
We don’t judge. We save lives. Joe Elmore is chief executive officer for the Charleston Animal Society.