Amy Haverstick: Setting the record straight about New Leash on Life

We’d like to thank everyone for the outpouring of support we’ve experienced the last few days and we’d also like to share a few things we’d like the public to know about New Leash on Life, also known as the Humane Association of Wilson County:
Oct 23, 2013
Amy Haverstick

We’d like to thank everyone for the outpouring of support we’ve experienced the last few days and we’d also like to share a few things we’d like the public to know about New Leash on Life, also known as the Humane Association of Wilson County:

We are still the Humane Association of Wilson County, even though we do business as New Leash on Life.  Our mission is still the same, we are here for the animals, yet our focus has expanded, not become further limited as has been suggested.  

We are more than just a shelter for animals waiting on adoption.  We provide medical care for animals that come in to our facility in need.  We have a stand-alone low-cost spay/neuter clinic open to the public that contributes to helping control the animal population in our county and also allows us the ability to spay and neuter all our animals prior to adoption. The spay-neuter clinic provides an invaluable service to this community by allowing some pet owners an affordable option for spay and neuter for pets that might not be fixed otherwise.  As well, we have a mobile spay/neuter clinic that travels to areas providing no-cost services when funding allows.

While we may not perform ‘animal control’ by the county definition, we still perform many aspects that contribute to the overall animal control in the county.  While we do not go out and pick up animals-at-large, as has been pointed out, to my knowledge, we never provided that service to the county.  We only provided the housing and euthanization of the county’s animal control animals.  Once the county had its own facility, we were able to become a no-kill facility and we no longer operate in a ‘euthanize for space’ manner which means that when we take in an animal, dog or cat, we will keep that animal until it is adopted.  That is quite a commitment to make.   We provide vaccinations, spay and neuter, micro-chipping and any additional medical needs that animal may require.  This, in turn, is why our adoption fee is higher than the county’s $25 adoption fee. Depending on length of stay, we may, or most likely may not, recover the costs it takes to house a particular dog or cat through to adoption. The only time euthanization is an option for us is in cases of medical necessity or aggression.  

New Leash on Life takes in owner surrenders. We take in both dogs and cats. It states on our wait list page that you must be a Wilson County resident; this is true, as Wilson County is our first priority. It has been pointed out that it also stated that we receive no government funding and this, while erroneous, in alignment with the pet tax, I can only assume was originally meant as a means to differentiate New Leash from being a private versus government entity.  I did not write it, but I most certainly can correct it and have. Nowhere else is this stated.  

To other questions raised about our wait list form. Our wait list form is simply a place to start when it comes to owner surrenders that we cannot intake immediately. When you are one of the only facilities in the county that will accept a surrendered animal you have to start with basic guidelines. And as with anything in animal welfare, nothing is ever black and white, and that especially holds true when it comes to surrendering animals. 

There are quite a few guidelines listed and out of all of them, I can only say for certain that one and only one holds true every time and that is we do not accept aggressive animals.  That one – it’s self-explanatory, I would think – aggressive animals are not adoptable. We are a pet adoption center. Aggressive won’t work for us.  

The other items listed? Well, all you’d have to do is stop by the adoption center to know that we do take animals that are more than 6 years old – we have a 10 ½-year-old Anatolian shepherd mix looking for a home and a 12-year-old small dog in renal failure hoping for hospice – which should dispels the “we don’t take ill animals” myth too.  As to the fact that we ask for an intake fee on our wait list, I can only say that it doesn’t hurt to ask… Doesn’t mean you receive it…  

We’ve also heard it frequently said that New Leash only accepts “pure-breeds” or “cute and fluffys” and again, I would suggest a simple trip through our adoption center or a visit to our adoptables page of our website and one can see that we have all kinds of mutts and Jeffs. We actually have ones named Mutt and Jeff right now, and don’t really know what they are. Personally, I’m a big fan of the “mutt” as I think there’s no finer friend to be found.  All animals are considered on a case-by-case basis and, like a person, each animal is an individual and each surrender situation is different. Yes, we have a wait list form. Yes, we try to have guidelines. But, when it comes down to it, each situation is considered on its own.  

Last year alone, we took in almost 350 animals from Wilson County residents as either owner surrenders or as strays. For these animals we provided care, shelter, food, medical care, vaccinations, spay and neuter, micro-chipping and adoption. We may still have to refuse quite a lot of animals for surrender but that is due to space limitations, generally.  

We will not euthanize an animal to bring another animal in and we will not over load our shelter and jeopardize the health of our animals either.  In addition, we also provide lost and found services to the public, such as animal control does, providing stray holds, posting and returns and ensuring that the letter of the law is followed regarding rabies vaccinations and proof of ownership.

We think the world of Wilson County Animal Control and respect and work wonderfully in conjunction with them. There are many times that we call upon each other for assistance. They do an outstanding job and should be commended for their work. We are extremely fortunate to live in a county that has the animal control resources that we do.

New Leash on Life is here for the animals. The organization was started more than 30 years ago by some pretty amazing outstanding Wilson County citizens, and they fought hard for the companion animals of this county. While many things have changed over the years, for the better, for the animals of this county, the need for this organization is still great.  

Amy Haverstick is executive director of New Leash on Life and the Humane Association of Wilson County.



Thank you, Amy, for such a wonderfully informative and passionate letter about New Leash on Life and what it does for our community!!!


Well Said!!! This is exactly why we need a larger shelter everyone. To provide more to all of the dogs and cats that they aren't able to take in, they never like to turn any fur baby away but there is only so more room.


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