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OUR VIEW: Animal Shelter in danger of history repeating itself

Oxford is getting out of the animal shelter business after the third-party organization running the facility failed to meet appropriate standards of care – stop us if you’ve heard that one before. 

For almost a month now, the situation surrounding Mississippi Critterz seems to be getting worse, instead of better. Allegations of animal abuse and neglect, lack of record keeping, incriminating photos and a grassroots effort to make a change have culminated in the City of Oxford deciding to close the animal shelter, at least temporarily. 

While it seems as though the customary procedures for rectifying the situation have been followed, there is a major municipal sticking point in this case.  

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”  

This quote, often misattributed to Albert Einstein, is nonetheless applicable to Oxford’s animal shelter situation. During the last Board of Aldermen meeting, it was announced that a committee would be formed to discuss the next steps for the shelter. 

That committee would consist of: Current city shelter liaison Alderman Janice Antonow; County shelter liaison Supervisor Chad McLarty; two members of the current Mississippi Critterz board of directors (of which there are only three remaining); a veterinarian and a member of the shelter watchdog group. 

While this is a step in the right direction as a whole, it is puzzling that the City of Oxford expects the people who let the shelter fall into disarray to suddenly find a way to rectify the situation.  

Antonow, McLarty, and the Mississippi Critterz board have had enough time to improve shelter conditions and relationships with the community. It would be prudent, given the current climate, to clean house and bring fresh faces and fresh ideas to the table. 

In the meantime, as Antonow alluded to during the shelter board meeting on Monday night, a new board of aldermen will be installed by July – maybe they will be able to find the solution that has so continually evaded the current administration.  

Shelter or no shelter, the real cause for concern remains: the LOU Community will still have homeless and neglected animals, whether anyone is there to rescue them or not. It is easy to criticize, but the time for action is now. Adopt or foster one of the remaining animals housed at the animal shelter. Spay and neuter your pets, donate to organizations like the Tubb Spay and Neuter Project and do your part to make a bad situation better.  

At the end of the day, the animals are what matter.  

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