In the wake of last week's story on Lost Hope Cat Kingdom ("200 pets put down after raid," Saturday) it is important to consider how things got this bad.
The conditions at Last Hope were horrifying and tragic, but the greater tragedy is that it has taken this much suffering to shed light on the deplorable state of animal services in Merced. The city should be in charge of animal control. When it fails to provide adequate facilities and care for animals, those animals have nowhere to go but places like the all-too-aptly named Last Hope.
Last Hope is staffed by people who wanted to help, people who do grim work for no pay and little thanks, and who are now facing some truly venomous attacks on social media for the crime of wanting to give more than they had.
I do not wish to minimize the terrible suffering those animals underwent, but placing sole blame on the owners is childish.
I would like to have a frank, open discussion about the possibility of organizing a community wide, volunteer based animal control service.
This problem is not insurmountable, and our reaction to it has been lackluster. Let's deal with this like responsible citizens.