Recently, an article appeared in the Reporter about the past problems at the Liberty Humane Society in Liberty State Park. I want to first say thank you for keeping up with this story for it is near and dear to me and my family.
In August of 2010, my family cat Peanut Butter was brought into the shelter. The circumstances were truly unfortunate and unexpected but a must due to temporary housing displacement. I kept a very open line of communication with the shelter including staff and their volunteers. I spoke with many people. This was only when we were actually able to reach a person on the phone. In early September, I made arrangements with a manager to go with my then 5-year-old son to pick up and bring home Peanut Butter.
My son and I went to the shelter. After nearly an hour of standing there at the front desk without so much as a “Hello” from any of the workers, a young lady who merely introduced herself as a volunteer, asked if she could help me. I simply asked for the manager I’d spoken with, and was told he was walking a dog and was expected to return any minute. About 10 minutes later he appeared. He knew me and I felt as ease for the first time. He went into his office grabbed a few papers and a paper with a picture of my Peanut Butter. Asked me and my son to follow him up the stairs to the arrivals and she’d be there.
I was saddened to see the room and conditions that Peanut Butter had been exposed to, packed and tacked with cages. My son was already calling for her and looking in the cages. He yelled to me that he didn’t see her. The manager brought us to three more parts of the shelter that had housed the cats. I saw horrific conditions, especially in the room with the sick cats. I asked him to just stop for a moment and explain what was going on.
He then brought me and my son into his office. What a mess! He told me that sometimes paperwork got detached. He added that the shelter was under investigation of some sort and people had been fired. Then he said that it was possible that Peanut Butter had been moved to a rescue home or adopted out by mistake.
He took my name and number again and he sent us on our way. My son didn’t even make it across the street before breaking down, asking me, “Why are we leaving our family behind, Mommy?” People saw us crying on the light rail.
After three days with no word, I called. It took me days to reach anyone.
Eventually I got a call back from a Ms. Dawson, who told me that an incident occurred in which an employee had, without proper papers or authorization, put to sleep several cats (I believe she said nine) and a couple of dogs. Ms. Dawson was notably upset. At least someone understood. I had to tell my four children that Peanut Butter would not be coming home.
I think there’s a lot going on behind those doors and it stays there hidden until there’s a tragedy. I only hope the managers there now have half a heart and moral groundings while dealing with the lives of these animals.