Voice: Critics don't realize how hard Humane Society workers labor

August 04, 2001

Yes, I agree the Imperial Valley Humane Society is not perfect and it will probably not ever be close to perfect. But what I do know is the shelter is all the abandoned animals have.

I was employed at the Humane Society for almost four years. From experience I know the animals are well treated.

As a satisfied employee I will tell you Charlene Marinner is one of the nicest persons one can work with. Charlene goes that extra mile to meet the animal's and employees' needs. The Humane Society may not smell like roses, but the atmosphere is still comforting and it is because Charlene makes it that way.

People who have not physically been at the Humane Society to see all that is done for the animals in the course of a day do not have a decent idea about all the sweating hours the employees and volunteers put in for the place. People make judgments on 15-minute visits and assume they know everything about the way money is handled or pets are cared for. People speak in regard to hearsay, believing all they hear.


The building is old and rundown. One can spend hours cleaning the place to be spic and span just to find it like it hasn't been cleaned in months the next day. The truth is each day the place needs to be cleaned and sterilized top to bottom.

Dirty, pungent-smelling kennels and cages are vigorously scrubbed and cleaned each day by the few employees who are there. Cat and dog vomit is cleaned up, along with cat and dog droppings. There isn't a litter box or kennel that stays clean; there's always a water bowl that is spilled. Litter pans, dogs' bowls, laundry, floors and walls are cleaned as well.

Those are only a few of the many tasks done by a few dedicated people. Still, inexperienced people have the audacity to complain about how things are run at the shelter. Instead of focusing on the numerous and positive deeds Charlene does, one focuses on the few negative things.

Half of the "office cats" that people see are not adoptable cats for various reasons. The other half of the "office cats" were at one time in the cat room with the rest of the cats that are for adoption. They waited for the chance to sneak out of the cat room to go into the office area. After that was managed, being clever and picky animals, they realized they would much rather be out free than back in the room.

Those cats have obtained every opportunity to leave the shelter, but have not. It is not because they are well-fed that they stay but because they are well treated and cared for. The cats trust the employees.

I would like to take all of the animals home with me, but that would be ludicrous. We would enjoy taking our lunch breaks somewhere free of animal hair, away from customers to see what we eat, but that is merely impossible. It is not possible because there is not enough time to spare. One needs to be at attention at all times. That's the work style of an animal lover. One has to work with what is available, even when there isn't enough.

Overall, Charlene and all the generous supporters do all they do for the animals' sake because that is what we're here for. Before you decide to criticize Charlene or the shelter again, consider the battle stands alone because as long as the animals are honestly well maintained, all negative comments are just particles that go with the wind. If you are a truly concerned citizen, try to find ways of how you can be of help.

After all, it is for the animals' sake.


El Centro

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