Animal Shelter, Animal Farm and the County Board of Supervisors

Dear Editor,
There is a large sign on the wall of the Board of Supervisors
Chamber that reads

NO FOOD OR DRINK.

Last August, as I attended one of the meetings at which the fate
of the San Martin Animal Shelter was to be determined, I watched as
the supervisors and county executives made decisions about our
lives as they were drinking coffee or water from their seats up
above us.
Dear Editor,

There is a large sign on the wall of the Board of Supervisors Chamber that reads “NO FOOD OR DRINK.” Last August, as I attended one of the meetings at which the fate of the San Martin Animal Shelter was to be determined, I watched as the supervisors and county executives made decisions about our lives as they were drinking coffee or water from their seats up above us.

For some reason, I thought of George Orwell’s book, Animal Farm, and the rule, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

I wondered if there might be levels of equality for people and issues on the Board of Supervisors’ agenda, so maybe the sign should read “NO FOOD OR DRINK, EXCEPT FOR US.”

It occurred to me that this mentality could extend south to a small animal shelter in San Martin. For, just as in Orwell’s book, political hierarchies can be found just about anywhere these days where the broad base is made up only of elite cadres approved by higher members of the party.

Supervisor Donald Gage says there are no plans to build the new and larger animal shelter, even though the Animal Needs Assessment Study indicates it is greatly needed.

I wondered why, after spending $100,000 to determine this need, the study has been shelved for almost two years? If the shelter was located near expensive estate homes, would “Czupervisor Gage” find a million dollars to make the shelter suitable for the neighborhood?

I wondered about the “new rules” recently imposed upon the shelter by Director of Animal “Care and Control”, Greg Van Wassenhove, soon after the benevolent manager was disposed of last August. It reminded me of some of the new rules for Animal Farm: “four legs good, two legs better” and “no animal shall kill another animal – without reason.” Maybe the shelter will have a new name, as well: “San Martin Animal Re-education Camp.” Maybe the director also will have a new title: “Minister of Animal Reform.” What is to become of this shelter?

I thought about the shelter volunteer organization, FOSMAS, and a few power-hungry, low-ranking members, who, much like the pigs in Animal Farm, joined forces with the enemy to further their own agendas. Much like the book, looking from one to the other, already it is impossible to say which is which. Who is watching over the animals?

So, as I sat in my seat at the Board Chambers during the three-hour lunch break, I watched as some assistants re-filled the empty water pitchers under the “NO FOOD OR DRINK” sign. I thought about the fate of the shelter with overwhelming sadness. This community must be vigilant, for in San Martin, at the end of an airport runway, a ramshackle animal shelter sits doomed and awaiting its fate, now like many of its occupants.

Evon Dumesnil, Morgan Hill

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