Greenhill Responds to Protests

EUGENE, Ore. — Wednesday night and Thursday morning, protesters met outside First Avenue Shelter in Eugene, after they say the shelter was going to euthanize two dogs.

Greenhill, which manages First Avenue, has since responded.

Cary Lieberman, Greenhill’s Executive Director, noted in an email that the shelter has a 98-percent live rate, and they only result to euthanasia in extreme circumstances. In this case, the dogs’ behavior complicated their situations.

Greenhill’s now working with another shelter to see if it can take the dogs in question.

Below is Lieberman’s full letter:

A number of people have written with concerns about Lucky Lady and Slim Jim. In order to answer everyone promptly, I’m sending out the same email to everyone. Please forgive me if you receive this email multiple times. Please also know that if you have specific questions about these dogs or represent a rescue group that is interested in taking in these dogs, you should contact the 1st Avenue Shelter directly at 541-844-1777.

As many of you know, Greenhill Humane Society and 1st Avenue Shelter rarely euthanize dogs in our care. Greenhill has a 98% live release rate for dogs and the 1st Avenue Shelter has a 97% live release rate for dogs. Euthanasia is truly the last option that we consider in all situations, and thankfully this option is only necessary in the most dire of circumstances.

This is a difficult situation with Lucky Lady and Slim Jim. We have been working with these two dogs for months and we have staff and volunteers that are very attached to them. They each have very challenging behavior issues. We have been networking these dogs and looking for a suitable rescue placement where these dogs could have a good quality of life, but their behavior in the shelter is declining despite the enrichment and training we’re able to provide.

Last week we decided to do another networking push for them. Early this week we were told that a local trainer that volunteers with us, Cindy Ehlers (of Canine Miracle Rescue) wanted to pull both of these dogs and that volunteers had pooled money to pay to board them at a facility in Salem that we were unfamiliar with. The information we were given is that this boarding facility uses aversive training methods like prong collars. We had a long discussion about it, and our behavior and animal care staff felt that while those methods might be ok for some of the dogs we work with (there are various opinions about that), that these two dogs would not respond well to those methods and would most likely deteriorate even more significantly.

We relayed this concern to Canine Miracle Rescue, and we have decided that we need to speak directly with the people who would be caring for Lucky Lady and Slim Jim to evaluate whether we feel it is an acceptable placement for one or both of these dogs – we can’t make that decision based on secondhand information. Our kennel manager is making those calls. We’ve also received a number of calls today from other rescues (some of which had already been contacted about these dogs and passed on taking them) and we are considering those, as well.

Ultimately, we feel our role is to balance our responsibility to these dogs with our responsibility to the community. These decisions are incredibly difficult on our entire team. We do our best to consider all options and make what we feel is the best decision for each dog.
Cary Lieberman, CAWA
Executive Director
Greenhill Humane Society
(541) 689-1503, ext. 113
Fax (541) 689-5261


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  1. Tiffany says:

    Are any of these protesters willing to step up and adopt these two difficult dogs? If not, they need to step back and stop being part of the problem.

    I’m so tired of seeing people in the rescue world, screaming at ‘someone’ to ‘do something.’ They really need to turn their noise into productive action if they want to create a No Kill Nation.

  2. Susan Smith says:

    Although I think it is fabulous that you dont want to send these dogs to a rescue that may use aversive methods, I feel that if this is a policy you have in place at the shelter, that it should be enforced for every animal that you place. I am not clear as to why all of the sudden you care about what training methods are used for your transfers or adopters. Certainly you have never screened potential adopters or rescues in the past for what type of training methods they use, so I am curious as to why now? And will this be a deciding factor for all future adoptions and transfers as well?

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