I’ve lived in the Marshall area for 13 years. I’m a retired navy officer who has lived in many places, and I can tell you that the current animal shelter would be appalling even in a country less developed than the U.S. Most people seem to agree that it should be replaced, but with what?

I did volunteer work at a low kill shelter. It was clean, well-lit and pleasant. While no shelter is anxiety-free for the animals, stress was minimized for them and the staff, and the environment was conducive to adoption. Volunteers did most of the work. Community outreach, classes for adopters and animal behavior assistance were important components. The shelter was not fancy; just a plain facility built to suit the functions of the organization it housed. It wasn’t set up overnight, but this is from 20 years ago, and it wasn’t new then.

It is our own irresponsibility that creates our animal problems. Slaughtering the products of our mistakes punishes the victims. How can anyone of conscience rationalize this? In addition, each adoptable animal destroyed represents a lost opportunity. Instead of recouping some of the cost of operations through adoption fees, there is the added expense of the killing itself. What is the marginal cost of keeping an animal alive after intake? The food consumed?

This country is moving toward a more humane approach to animal control and welfare. Marshall is being asked to fulfill its municipal obligation using methods in keeping with the 21st century.

— Linda Harber, Marshall