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Home arrow Opinion arrow MY VOICE: Letter skews facts about BMHA


MY VOICE: Letter skews facts about BMHA

This letter is in response to Jane Sabin-Davis’ letter, which appeared in the Jan. 8, 2014, paper. I cannot speak to the issue of a “hostile takeover,” so I will not deal with that issue. I am confused why Sabin-Davis and a handful of others are so adamant that the Blue Mountain Humane Association/Animal Rescue not be a rescue/high save facility. 

Sabin-Davis and her group seem to want to return to a high-kill facility, which is unthinkable to many of the community members of Union County. The BMHA is now a high-save facility, which means that they only euthanize animals that are too ill to save or far too aggressive/dangerous. Sabin-Davis states that when she was the director the BMHA took in all animals. 

True, but they also had a high euthanization rate. I have obtained print-outs for a two-year period ending Dec. 31, 2007, which shows that there were 1,232 animals euthanized. For the period ending Dec. 31, 2011, there was a total of 1,715 animals euthanized. For the period of Jan. 1, 2012, through Jan. 9, 2014, there was a total of 19 animals euthanized. This is the difference between a high-save facility and a regular animal shelter.

As for the statement about taking in “all animals,” the current BMHA facility takes in many kinds of animals such as snakes, rabbits, chickens, goats, horses, ferrets, birds as well as cats and dogs. One aspect that the general public does not understand is that there is limited space and resources to house animals. There is a definite problem in Union County of feral cats; many of them do end up at the shelter facility. However, since the current shelter does not routinely euthanize animals space is limited. 

The BMHA does work with other rescue organizations, and when possible will transfer animals such as cats, and the more difficult to adopt dogs such as the pit bull and pit mix dogs. 

The Oregon Humane Society in Portland takes many of the larger dogs, and the Bully Pit organization in Idaho will take some of the pit/pit mixes. 

Sabin-Davis also states that “for clarity, BMHA does not own the shelter building.” When I went on to the Union County Assessor website and looked up this information it clearly shows BMHA as the owner. If you look up who owns the county courthouse, for example, it shows the owner is Union County. If Union County owns the building, then why is the county not paying for repairs such as the recent broken water pipes, which cost the shelter several thousand dollars? If I rent a house and the water pipes break, the landlord is responsible for the repairs.

According to Sabin-Davis, the BMHA does not sell dog licenses. This statement is not correct. Every week, dog licenses are sold at the BMHA. If anyone would care to check on that you simply need to stop by or call and ask about getting an animal license. The cost is $15 per year and licenses are sold for one, two or three years.

I am currently a part-time employee at the BMHA, but I am also a volunteer and have been for many years, including while Sabin-Davis was the director. There were things that happened during Sabin-Davis’ tenure at the shelter that I did not agree with or approve of, but I was there for the animals. I am concerned that Sabin-Davis, who does not even live in Union County and hasn’t for some time, is trying to fuel some kind of hostile atmosphere in “our” county. 

I believe that she is either misinformed regarding many of the issues she has discussed in her letter, or she has misrepresented those issues. I would like to suggest that any concerned citizen of Union County go to the BMHA and speak with John Brinlee or any staff member.

Donna Brownlee of La Grande is a part-time shelter employee and volunteer and former board member of Blue Mountain Humane Association/Animal Rescue.


My Voice 

My Voice columns should be 500 to 700 words. Submissions should include a portrait-type photograph of the author. Authors also should include their full name, age, occupation and relevant organizational memberships. 

We edit submissions for brevity, grammar, taste and legal reasons. We reject those published elsewhere.

Send columns to La Grande Observer, 1406 Fifth St., La Grande, Ore., 97850, fax them to 541-963-7804 or email them to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it



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