With a combined total of more than 50 years of animal advocacy in our community, my wife, Karen, and I have come to know many of you, personally, through either dog grooming, counseling and/or training classes. We value your friendship and are inviting you to join with us in addressing an important issue regarding the management of resource-allocation that has important ramifications for the animals in our community.
Point your browser to www.movetoact.org to learn more of this story and how you can have a voice and contribute to help with this important mission to save from destruction the Humane Society of Indianapolis (HSI) and the13,000+ animals that annually come through its doors. The priority of this matter and the impact of this outcome are significant. It transcends the issue of political posturing or indifference.
HSI is a crossroad for approximately 13,000+ animals/year in our city. The demise of HSI will mean that 13,000+ more animals/year (1083/month, 270/week) will overwhelm an already overburdened rescue system. The result will be higher kill rates and further delay for moving forward to embrace aggressive, proactive animal management initiatives proven to be successful in other cities.
Fortunately, we have seen some positive changes in our own city, but far from enough. Indianapolis Animal Care and Control (IACC) was revitalized with Mayor Peterson's appointment of a new (and talented) administration: Jim Garrard (much to our disappointment Jim has recently been reassigned to another city agency) and Margie Smith-Simmons. The agency also has a wonderfully caring staff led by Dave Wintz. A non-profit foundation has emerged that will assist the agency with (what we hope will be) proactive programs to intervene in the flood of companion animal relinquishment, abandonment and killing. Other caring and positive changes we have seen in our community regarding animal care have been efforts by people like yourselves and/or the organizations you represent and/or support.
During the past several years, we have viewed the landscape of the animal management system in our city with mixed feelings. The Indianapolis Star's series, Destined to Die , http://www.indystar.com/special/destinedtodie by Bill Theobald and Bonnie Harris did a brave service of bringing from behind "closed doors" the unadulterated truth regarding the massive killing of companion animals as the tool for managing animals in our city. However, the numbers have changed little. We are killing companion animals at the rate of 20,000/yr, (1,666/mo, 417/wk, 59/day, 2.4/hr) . A "shelter" is normally considered to be a "safe haven". For animals in Indianapolis, entering a "shelter" means a 30%-40% chance of coming out alive.
Recently we hear from HSI officials the announcement that the agency is at risk of closing by 2005 due to financial difficulties "because of the economy." (This pending closure is reported in the Star (December 14, 2003), www.indystar.com/articles/1/102137-2641-P.html . This same article also makes reference to the past E.D being replaced because of rising euthanasia numbers vs. the personal expenditure issue as reported in earlier Star coverage). Karen and I proceeded to evaluate this budget crisis "because of the economy" claim with findings that were not reported to the public or to the donors by either the HSI officials or the Star newspaper.
The Humane Society of Indianapolis has gone (within a three-year period, 2000-2002) from one of the wealthiest animal non-profit agencies in the country (having assets of $14M) to one that self- proclaims its closure. The previous E.D. used the agency's credit cards and checking accounts for personal purchases and sadly, the HSI board's leadership condoned this behavior. As a result, trust and confidence in the organization has been compromised. Board officials refused to disclose evidence of the alleged repayments (for those expenditures) to reporters during the Star investigation and a supposed audit of their financial records has never been made public. And yet, more money is now being requested by and for the agency: In the Sunday, Dec.19th, 2003 Star editorial http://www.indystar.com/articles/9/103652-7469-021.html "Waiting for a Home and Some Cash." the Star pleas for more money on behalf of HSI.
Karen and I have a strong affection for the survival of the Humane Society of Indianapolis, as probably do you. We have come to appreciate that alone, one or two individuals cannot change its current self-destructive behavior. It requires a community fellowship. With your help, and working collectively, we believe that the Humane Society of Indianapolis, with careful financial management, can survive and contribute as a leading force in promoting a "humane society". We are asking you to join ( www.movetoact.org ) and help salvage this vital community agency, regain the public trust and reorient its direction. Millions of dollars of animal welfare assets are at stake. Wisely used, these remaining resources can accomplish much for the animals of our city.
"Thanks" to many of you who have already responded to our initial sessions. We are well on our way to a successful campaign. To date, donations and in-kind contributions amount to over $25,000. Robin Herman of River Graphics is contributing web site and graphic design services. A.T. Helm Consulting is providing overall strategy. Paul Ponticello, President, is also offering 10% cash donations to anyone using his firms' services as a result of this initiative. He may be reached @ 317.555.4044 or on the web at www.at-helm.com . If you are an organization and would like movetoACT to visit with your group, please contact us.
Now, it is time to act. Act now to help us realize the goal to save this organization and " Rebuild the Trust." and verify that donor dollars are being used with discretion by HSI.
Please visit our web site www.movetoact.org and click on "take action." Become a "supporter" and send a letter to the HSI board president. Also, send a copy of this letter to all your friends via either your e-mail distribution lists or make a hard copy and send it along by "snail mail" and encourage them to join mtA and send a letter. If you are an animal action organization join and support mtA to have your voice heard, otherwise a profound burden is coming our way. We also welcome donations to keep this campaign, and the animals, alive.
The animals, now and tomorrow, "Thank you" in advance for your efforts.
Warren and Karen Estridge Patitz