Article on Animal Shelter Misses Certain Facts

RECEIVED Thu., June 21, 2007

Dear Editor,
    Your article regarding the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter ["Trouble in Puppy Paradise," News, June 15] was more notable for its omissions than for its facts. There are several disputable statements in the article, but I will focus on the story’s main premise that there was no budget for pet food, so the dogs have to "beg" or the cupboards would be "bare." It was irresponsible reporting, at this point, to never call a representative of the shelter or the county to ask one of the basic five W’s of journalism – why? Had you asked this question, you would have been told that the county has an agreement with Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc. to provide "certain Hill’s Science Diet pet food products free of charge to the shelter for the sole purpose of feeding all canines and felines being cared for by the shelter."
   The shelter has been fortunate that a constant supply of pet food has been donated by residents and area businesses, and the shelter has not had the need to order the bags of free food to this point. However, should donations not keep up with demand in the future, the shelter still would have free pet food for all of its dogs and cats.
Connie Watson
Public Information Officer
   [News writer Patricia J. Ruland replies: I did call the shelter to try to speak to the new director but did not reach anyone. The phone rang many times, but no one answered. Also, I e-mailed the commissioners and judge, county attorney's office, and public information officer asking for specifics on the budget. I wanted to see if there was any truth to allegations that no money was budgeted for food. As public information officer, Connie Watson should be aware of this correspondence. As I reported, I received from Watson the 2007 budget, which does not specify line items for food, vaccines, euthanasia, etc. Her own letter confirms the shelter is relying entirely on public donations of food.
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