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Contributions being held hostage by demands

BRENDA S. FIELDEN • May 19, 2014 at 10:32 AM

Is anyone else bothered by “Shelter plan expanding to satisfy donors’ demands”? It isn’t every day $250,000 is gifted to a cause, but a gift with strings attached is a challenge, like matching the $250,000 with publicly raised funds. What does “publicly raised” mean? Are there restrictions that apply? I’d be happy to write another check. Will my donation allow me to make demands?With the current plan, 14,000 square feet replaces the old animal shelter. It will provide a clean environment, essential comforts and modern equipment that we have done without for years. Phase 2 expands 3,000-4,000 square feet of kennel space. The Cause for Paws campaign will foot the bill, according to the Jan. 16 issue of the Press. The Cause for Paws brochure states one of its goals is to have a 14-day minimum stay for the animals. Phase 2 also provides room for guest to meet with their adoptive animals. These are two requirements the donor is stipulating, which, by the way, will require about 3,000 square feet.Is it a coincidence that a substantial “pledge toward the shelter’s construction” is contingent upon conditions being met that are already laid out in Phase 2? The whole point of a new shelter is to provide a longer stay for the animals, to better their chances of adoption, to lower the euthanasia rate. This isn’t a new idea.I’m all for the Taj Mahal of shelters, but something seems very disingenuous about this and anonymous or not, it’s time for transparency. Don’t let our shelter be held hostage to what appears to be Phase 2 wrapped in a conditional donation. The best way to know how to serve the needs of our animal shelter is to be at the animal shelter — knowledge that is still sadly lacking.BRENDA S. FIELDENJohnson City

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