Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Chain of Hope and How the City Can Mess With You

I think that for the majority of us, whether we personally own or like companion animals, we desire that animals be treated humanely, without neglect or cruelty. Sometimes it is a matter of stewardship of investment, and sometimes it is just the right thing to do. Groups of people have come together to help animals, and to help other people help animals. Chain of Hope is just one of those groups. They have felt called to carry out their mission in some of our city's most difficult neighborhoods, rescuing animals from poor conditions, providing reduced cost and free vet services, providing outside shelter for animals and helping poor pet owners feed their pets.
Late last week the organization was paid a visit at its facility at 27th and Tracy by KCMO Animal Control and by KCMO Neighborhood Codes people. The two visits were not happy ones, resulting in 4 citations from Animal Control and a 15 day vacate order from Codes. They provide a perfect example of how a city can harass its citizens in an unhelpful way.

You can't have more than 4 adult animals in a residential home in KCMO; you can have as many young--less than 5 month old--baby animals as you can care for and maintain properly. AC decided that some puppies that Chain of Hope had were over 5 months--meaning that they were over the animal limit. Tickets resulted.

If you want to run a business out of a house in a residential area, you must get the approval of neighbors within a certain radius of the home. Chain of Hope was unable to do this--just one neighbor held out. (Side note: Why? In that neighborhood, you would take a chance on a new neighbor moving into that house? The chances of them being good neighbors is pretty slim. I'd take a bunch of well kept dogs over what could live there. Worse yet, the house could become vacant, which attracts animals far more annoying than dogs. Some of those animals have two feet...) They were maintaining the residential rules of keeping 4 grown animals or less, but Codes was upset because no one was "maintaining residence there." (Side note number two: Thanks stupid Code Enforcement bozo, for saying that on the public airwaves that someone is not in the house 24/7. Now, in order to maintain safety and preserve property, someone will have to be in the house 24/7. Preferably with a Concealed Carry Permit, a side arm and a big ass shot gun.)

It just seems to me that these two city departments went out of their way to be pains in the rear to Chains of Hope. In fact, to me, it served as a perfect model of how City Hall can harass you to death if they get it in their pea-pickin' thick bureaucratic skulls that they want to. I would bet that the City Codes inspector can find something wrong on the property of any this blog's readers if they really wanted to. Makes you wonder also, when people can hoard animals for years and repeatedly, and not get the sort of attention that Chain of Hope has.

Chain of Hope and AC are allies, not enemies--doesn't someone realize this? Both have roles to play to keep KCMO healthy and to assure that animals are treated humanely. This is just a bad scene here, and could have been dealt with in a much more cooperative manner.

One more question: The new group taking over the management of the Animal Shelter--are they going to have any say over how AC works--or are they going to end up fighting against this city department that is supposed to be working with them?

Two news agencies picked up the story:

Chain of Hope's web site with details of the City Hall rally noted below, and links to more details about the encounters with AC and Codes last week.

Rally today for Chain of Hope at City Hall, 12 noon.


Lesa said...

Very good post.

chuck said...

Excellent post.

I'm surprised Mike Vick didn't kick down the door.

KC has sure as hell got a lot more important things to do, then this.

27th and Tracy.


Bob G. said...

Another great post, but sadly you have hit on the reasons why the alrger a city gets, the mor it seems to trip over it's OWN damn feet.
Sad thing is...the neighbrhood loses, the people that ran Chain of Hope lose, and most importanly, the ANIMALS lose.
And THAT is called "progress"?

Yes, they should be working WITH one another and NOT against.

Hope this works out best for everyone (and not just for the city revenue coffers).

Stay safe out there.

The Observer said...

I was trying to see if there were any new updates, but there isn't any new news; city hall and the media are pretty much done for the holidays. It probably won't be until the new year we have any updates. Of course, the 15 day order from Codes covers the holiday period, another reason these city bureaucrats really acted like pricks to Chain of Hope.

Thanks everyone for reading and I will try to keep you up to date.

The Observer

Susan said...

Hi there! I am a volunteer and foster mom for Chain of Hope. We are currently giving our website a major overhaul and thought you might like to know that we included your story on our 'Press' page. Thank you for writing this story and for writing it so well! Here's the current status on our situation: We have applied for a 60 day extension on our eviction so we can gain a little time to figure out our next move. So far, they haven't attempted to give us any more crap. The public outcry against the ridiculous treatment we were subjected to has been enormous and very much appreciated! Don't count us out! We may end up having to move by the time this all shakes out but we are NOT closing our doors or stopping our operations. Thank you ALL so much for your support in this and for speaking out against the people who would like to shut us down and shut us up! If animal control were doing their jobs properly we wouldn't need to be out there fighting this fight.

The Observer said...

Thanks so much for the update! A city the size of Kansas City should do better with the care and control of animals. We all need to work together, AC, the municipal shelter, private shelters, Spay/Neuter, Chain of Hope, etc.
Animal people sometimes are so passionate that they don't play well together. We must stand together to help the animals of ALL Kansas Citians, not just those with money or power.

The Observer