Friday, May 16, 2008

No losers here


Despite the best efforts of Washington Area Humane Society and its supporters, the local shelter was not among the three finalists selected to compete for the $1 million Zootoo.com shelter makeover. Although the humane society finished "in the money" as one of 20 semifinalists, one gets the feeling that our area may have gotten "jobbed" in the competition. Zootoo founder Richard Thompson considered three criteria: online voting, community support and need. The Washington area shelter swamped the competition in online voting, the community went above and beyond with its support of the operation when Thompson visited last month, and it's hard to imagine a shelter that could use the makeover more than ours. But sour grapes aside, the humane society has reaped great benefits just through the publicity created by the competition, and one would hope that even though the contest is over, the support will continue and even grow. It's a great cause.

Another animal-related item:
Just as people don't always agree with the things I write on this blog, I don't always agree with the items that appear on the O-R editorial pages. Case in point: the editorial that very nearly denigrated those who turned out for the funeral of Aulf, the Pittsburgh police dog who was shot to death recently by a gunman who subsequently was fatally shot by human officers. The editorial noted that, in addition to the police officers who attended, some of Aulf's fellow police dogs stood at attention during the funeral, and it mockingly said that "we could not discern from the picture if they had flag pins on their collars." The editorial stated that Aulf was doing only what he was trained to do and didn't understand he was putting his life on the line. That may be the case, but it's also true that Aulf's taking a bullet might have saved the lives of the human officers who were with him, and I certainly don't think it's wrong to honor his memory. And based on the letters to the editor we are seeing, I'm not the only one who thinks that editorial was among the most callous items ever to run in the O-R.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brad, you are so right about the callous editorial about Aulf, the police dog. I think it's wonderful that they showed such love and respect tfor an animal, and by doing so might teach others that animals are to be treated with care. The funeral coverage was a wonderful counterpoint to all very sickening animal cruelty stories that occur in this area every day.

As for ZooToo - I feel totally ripped off and am sure others do too. I plan to write a letter to the founder, asking him why the rules changed in mid-stream and how he could also be so callous as to ignore the group who put so much effort into garnering the most EMAIL ADDRESSES for him...I'm sure that was the point of the whole contest - get email addys for spammers. I hope zootoo gets so much bad publicity in the press and on the net that he will realize he has angered many, many people and he would be wise to reconsider his lack of a very generous award to the Washington Humane Society. I think what he did verges on fraud.

May 16, 2008 at 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand how people form emotional attachments to animals -- I do as well. Therefore I have no problem with the outpouring of emotions for Aulf. What I do not understand is why we keep assigning human qualities to animals. I don't think that Aulf thought for a second that he might be shot before he went after the perp. I think Aulf would have gone after the perp even if the perp had been hiding the cure for cancer under his jacket, because that's what Aulf's handler told Aulf to do. I heard one officer say that Aulf "made the ultimate sacrifice." Maybe so, but did he realize it? Even worse is the TV newsies calling Aulf a "canine officer." That's like making garbage men "sanitation engineers." Aulf was a D-O-G. A good D-O-G. But a D-O-G nonetheless.

What if Aulf ahd ripped the legs off a two-year-old? Bad canine officer... BAD!

May 16, 2008 at 4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just because your shelter didn't win doesn't mean anything fraudulent happened. My shelter didn't win the contest either, but the rules didn't change from day one. The top point getter was never guaranteed to win, and just because you didn't take the time to read the rules doesn't mean zootoo is at fault. You are making extremely bold statements with zero proof, and in the process making your shelter look like you aren't really in it for the animals, which is what being on zootoo is really all about. I feel sorry for you if you're too callous to understand that in the end, the press that all of our shelters got as a result of this contest and website is tremendous, even if we didn't win the contest.

Also, didn't WAHS win an extra $5,000 for having brought the most people to the site during the contest? I didn't see any rule that stated that had to be done...so apparently this callous fraudulent man reached into his pocket and gave your shelter an extra $5,000 when he owed you NOTHING.

Stop crying over sour grapes and making a mountain out of nothing, and get back to caring about the animals.

May 19, 2008 at 1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Five thousand dollars seems like a cheap price for more than one million email addresses.

I can't figure out why any company would want to anger those million people who took the time to vote - and then pull a Charlie Brown and yank the prize out from under. Seems like a very stupid way to run a business - and zootoo is nothing but a business that is milking the public's emotional attachment to their pets.

May 20, 2008 at 5:41 PM  

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