Letter to the Editor
I am extremely disappointed that the Estherville City Council did not approve the rezoning of 201 S. 6th Street to allow the Emmet County Animal Shelter to serve as a community resource to not only the residents of Estherville, yet to surrounding communities and states.
Having been involved in animal rescue and sheltering for over two decades, I can attest to the positive influence an animal shelter has in a community. As Executive Director of Animal Haven, now known as the Great Plains SPCA in Merriam, KS, our facility was much more than simply the "pound". In addition to serving as a safe haven for stray, abused, unwanted and neglected animals we were also an adoption center, an educational resource and a volunteer opportunity for hundreds of area youth, seniors and people wanting to enhance the quality of life for both humans and animals alike.
At the January 21st meeting, grievances were voiced about potential noise and smell. These are unfounded issues as those individuals voicing concern have not educated themselves in animal husbandry nor are they aware of shelter operations. Dogs are not left outdoors and are only permitted outdoors for exercise. With the Emmet County Animal Shelter plans, dogs would not be housed at the 210 S. 6th St. location until renovations could be made to protect the dogs and to be conscientious of the very few residences in said neighborhood.
Animal husbandry, the "smell", is also a non issue as devoted volunteers ensure all of the animals are cleaned, fed and waste removed in a timely fashion to protect the well being of the homeless animals.
Two council members voted YES for the rezoning. Three voted NO and two ABSTAINED. The need for an animal shelter exists and the over 100 adoption success stories are testament to our good work in Estherville.
An animal shelter also has a very positive economic impact on a community. I CHOOSE to volunteer at the ECAS, therefore I purchase fuel for my vehicle in Estherville and frequent Estherville retailers while devoting my free time to be the voice of the voiceless...the homeless pets. And when others come to Estherville to adopt a homeless pet or donate their time and talent to the animals, they too will shop Estherville.
An animal shelter is much, much more than a pound. It enhances the quality of life for everyone in a community, both human and animal alike. People unable to care for their pets have a place to turn. People with questions regarding behavioral issues have a resource to HELP them keep their pet as part of their family, as opposed to abandoning them. The positive impact of a shelter is endless.
The animals deserve a safe place to be sheltered and the community deserves a conveniently located center in which to learn, live and donate their resources. Please ask your council person to revisit this issue.