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Dear Editor,

I have followed with interest the story of Echo and have a few thoughts I would like to share. My understanding of this situation is that Echo’s owners were promised that the dog would not be euthanized and they were clear that they would take him back if a suitable home was not found. This portion of the ‘story’ rings true to me. Any pet owner would make the same request when they are relinquishing a beloved pet.

Indeed, I made the same request of the Ark Valley Humane Society when I brought them a mostly feral kitten last summer. I had been working with the kitten outside to get him used to human contact and he was showing himself to be an affectionate boy; but he still had a long way to go with his training. I could not complete his training, which would include having him get used to being indoors, and using a litter box, because I have an indoor cat that would not accept him into the house. So I brought him to the Humane Society.

At that time I too was promised that if he could not make the transition to being an owned pet, that he would not be euthanized, and that I could take him back. I checked back with the Humane Society a week later and was told that he a rough start, but had turned the corner and would be adopted out. At that time I took them for their word.

Now, I’m not sure. The Echo saga has me wondering how good their word is. Was I lied to? Was the kitten actually killed versus adopted out? I will never know, and now this is a burden on my conscience. Perhaps it would have been better for me to have left well enough alone and not intervened in that kitten’s little life.

An organization like the humane society lives and dies by its reputation and demonstrated trustworthiness. Unfortunately, the Echo saga has us all wondering how trustworthy the organization is. If they are not good for their word on issues as important as the life and death of a beloved animal, people will hesitate or refuse to seek their help. That is a shame because on the whole, they are almost certainly a net positive in our community.

If you make a life-and-death promise to a pet owner and don’t keep it, everything else is a moot point. You must honor your word.

Frank Haas

Chaffee County