Eric Yollick, The Golden Hammer
Lebensraum is absolutely unacceptable for the Montgomery County Animal Shelter (MCAS) in 2018. Precinct 3 Montgomery County Commissioner James Noack, who is overseeing the Shelter right now, Jordan Gentry, D.V.M, the head veterinarian, all employees of MCAS, and the entire community of Montgomery County, Texas, should step in immediately to make sure that doesn’t happen. We don’t need a return to the days of “Boss” Hayden.
What is “Lebensraum”? It’s a German phrase which means “living space” and came to embody the term suggesting (1) that the German nation needed to expand its territorial empire in order to make more room for the German population and (2) that the indigenous populations of Eastern Europe needed to go away by death, enslavement, or deportation. Adolf Hitler proudly spoke of “lebensraum” as a central tenet of the Nazi Party.
Tragically, it means the same thing when we’re discussing an animal shelter. During the “Boss” Hayden era when the anti-animal, anti-citizen veterinarian ran roughshod over MCAS and the animal-caring community, MCAS regularly killed to make space in the facility. Hayden abjectly failed to take any action to increase adoptions or to market MCAS’s animals out the front door of the Shelter.
Then came the dramatic improvements at MCAS when Charles Jackson arrived as the new Director in December, 2016. Jackson is a marketing genius. In addition to improving conditions inside of the Animal Shelter, Jackson aggressively led a campaign to market adoptable animals out the front door into permanent loving homes. The horrible era of “lebensraum” came to an end.
Or did it?
Today, The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, received more than two dozen tips, complaints, telephone messages, and calls for help, because MCAS is apparently considering a new draft “euthanasia policy” which would dictate that, when MCAS reached a population of 450 dogs, the next dog that came into the Shelter would force the death of the dog which had been there the longest. Similarly, under the new policy, as the tipsters explained, dogs would not remain in the Shelter for longer than 30 days.
This newspaper asked some questions and individuals running the Shelter confirmed that such terminology is within the new draft “euthanasia policy.”
There is no question that, with a current population in the range of 750 animals, MCAS is not a very humane place. Is the solution really “lebensraum” however?
Such language should be nowhere near the vicinity of the policies of the Montgomery County Animal Shelter. If a population crisis occurs at the Shelter, the answer is not “killing for space.” The answer is “hyper-aggressive marketing for space.” Let’s see Noack’s face on public service announcements hugging Fido. Let’s see Noack shown with Fido at his home as his family welcomes the newest member of the family. Let’s see Noack and Fido running around the Precinct 3 office in that public service announcement.
There is no question that Commissioner Noack and his team from Precinct 3 have instituted some physical improvements at the Shelter in the last few weeks. Nevertheless, the Charles Jackson-style marketing of animals still has not begun to occur. Noack should institute aggressive marketing of the adoptable animals. He should deploy some of the resources earmarked for physical improvements, which are easy to do, instead to the permanent establishment of marketing programs.
What a wonderful way for Noack to get his name out to the entire community of Montgomery County (or even surrounding areas such as the other communities within the 8th Congressional District)! Noack and his County taxpayer-paid team – PR guy Andy Dubois, PR guy Evan Besong, PR guy Cody Grimes – should go to every civic organization, political group, charitable entity, and neighborhood and tell them about the great animals awaiting permanent homes. The Noack Team should pave the way for an end to the “Boss” Hayden era of animal care.
Ask and you shall receive; seek and you shall find; knock and the door shall open to you. That’s how true “no kill” animal shelters work. If there’s anyone who can get that done, it’s James Noack.