Support your shelter

Do that Zootoo that we can do so well

For a while there, it looked as if Chico residents were really getting behind the Butte Humane Society’s effort to win a shelter makeover facilitated by the Web business Enough people had logged onto the site that the BHS had placed in the top 20 nationwide, and more than 500 people showed up to show their support of the agency when Zootoo founder Richard Thompson visited it on April 5.

Whatever the contest’s outcome, the publicity surrounding it was good for the shelter. Donations and adoptions were up, as was enthusiasm. And Thompson helped the BHS find $10,000 in grants and gain national publicity via an article in USA Today.

Then, last Friday (April 10), the local daily newspaper published a story, based largely on Associated Press reports, in which two previous contest winners questioned Thompson’s integrity, saying he didn’t follow through on his financial commitments.

Since then, BHS officials report, enthusiasm for their effort has gone from sky-high to zilch. A local radio station withdrew its support. People stopped casting their votes. Donations went way down. And an effort that had been hopeful and had united the community lost its energy and drive.

That’s unfortunate. Humane Society employees and volunteers remain convinced that winning the contest would be of great benefit to the Fair Street shelter. Even if, as Thompson’s critics charge, much of the makeover would come in the form of in-kind donations, not cash, they’re up for it. That’s a lot better than nothing, they say. And certainly the shelter needs all the help it can get. It’s horribly outdated and utterly inadequate for the need.

We urge readers to continue to support the shelter by logging onto and voting for it. Balloting ends Sunday, so do it soon—and often.