Letter to the Editor
Tonight the Estherville City Council did not pass the rezoning of the property located at 201 South 6th Street. That is what we all know at this point. But there are still questions in my mind. Primarily, why? Why would any community be it rural, metropolitan or suburban vote against a group that is trying to make a difference in the very community that just opposed their efforts?
I know not everyone will look at this issue with the best interest at heart of the animals that the Emmet County Animal Shelter has helped and that is fine. Animals do not matter equally to all people. But from a purely business aspect this was a negative decision for our community in my opinion.
If we are to be living under our new mantra of Earth, Water, Wind, Fire and Community we are sadly ignoring the 'Community' aspect of the council's vote against the rezoning of the former 6th Street Emporium location to be used as the Emmet County Animal Shelter's home.
The shelter's primary focus is on rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing lost, abandon, neglected and unwanted animals but it does much more than that. The ECAS is a non profit organization that our community can take pride in. We are a resource for the community to volunteer at and feel they are making a difference in what matters to them. We are also a source of education. We not only council owners when they are having issues with their own pets but we educate students and adults alike on the humane treatment of animals, the positive effects of spaying and neutering and what it takes to make a lifetime commitment to a pet.
The ECAS is also a source of advertising and revenue for our community. Approximately 50% of our adoptive families come from outside our area or even our state! When those families come to town they buy gas, meals for their family and supplies for their new pet at our local stores. With a physical shelter at the location of 201 South 6th street the potential for even more exposure to our businesses can only be an increased benefit to those business owners.
Some might say, "Is there a need?" I would say that the over 150 animals that we have placed in homes would say that there was indeed! Or how about the over 30 plus volunteers that help with various activities the ECAS carries out? Is there a need for those caring, concerned individuals to volunteer their time and efforts? Or consider the families that were connected with their new forever friend due to the efforts of the shelter's foster families and volunteers? Ask one of them if they feel that there was a need for the ECAS to step in and 'save' their new best friend? I believe they too would agree that there was and still is a need for the shelter to continue their good works.
I know as a group we will all continue as we have been and we will do the best that we can with what we have but what confuses me the most is that I feel like we - myself, the volunteers, the donors and the supports of the Emmet County Animal Shelter are offering a 'gift' to the Community of Estherville and Emmet county and it is being turned down. Our organization has the means to turn an unused deteriorating property in Estherville into something that our community can be proud of! Proud because of the renovations that will take place, proud of the services that will be provided, proud because of the number of community members that will be involved in turning a building that was once a lumber yard into what can be a wonderful resource for generations to come!
I do not ask that you share my passion and love for animals. I do ask that if you are a member of our community and you can see the community benefit of the function and location of the Emmet County Animal Shelter that you will express your views to our city council and administrators.
Director of the Emmet County Animal Shelter