Originally posted as a Greene County Daily World column authored by Kegan Inman.
Let me introduce myself, explain a bit of my history with the Greene County Humane Society and ultimately discuss my hopes for this column going forward.
My name is Kegan and I am the President of the Board of Directors for the Greene County Humane Society. I am a 2008 graduate of Linton Stockton and a 2012 graduate of Indiana University. I have a degree in art management and I work as an operations manager for a Fortune 500 company.
I am not sure when I started volunteering with the humane society but I remember being young enough that my mom had to take me out there. At some point after turning 18, I was asked to join the board of directors. I do not remember the year. I served in different positions on the board throughout the years but on March 2, 2020, I became entrusted with the president position.
It was a crazy time to take the reins, because just four days later on March 6, Indiana had its first case of Covid-19 and 21 days later on March 23, Indiana’s governor announced the first stay-at-home order. It was a scramble for us to quickly figure out how to respond because shelter work obviously could not completely stop because there are animals to be cared for. Luckily shelter employees were deemed as essential workers but it nearly dried up the flow of traffic into the shelter.
Looking back, while this pandemic has been an absolute tragedy for many around the globe, it provided us with a very small sliver of time to really set a new course for the Humane Society. We took the extra time afforded in the lock-down to do lots of remodeling and renovation type projects; really giving the building a fresh appearance.
Also, in an effort to aid animal welfare organizations, groups such as the Bissell Pet Foundation began ramping up their support. It was during this lockdown that a company called Petstablished, which is a pet management system, was offering their software for free to organizations. This system allowed us to digitalize all of our animal management and more quickly get animals listed for adoption, take digital applications and just overall have better records and data. We joined the partner network of the Bissell Pet Foundation to be able to take part in their sponsored adoption events, allowing us to offer adoptions for as low as $25, with Bissell sponsoring the rest of the fee. They announced an event in early July of 2020, just as restrictions were loosening and we decided that this was the perfect point for a relaunch of the shelter.
Fast forward to now, a lot more has changed at the shelter and we continue to change. The shelter has carried a negative stigma for many years. I am not going to say that it was unjustified. After becoming more involved in the day to day operations than I had ever been before, I was disappointed with myself for not being more involved prior.
For the past couple of years, a lot of our work was to improve our processes, rebuild our community trust and just overall get the day to day operations in order.
Looking forward though, I want to guide the organization to a position of being more proactive with animal welfare, reducing the need to be as reactive. One initiative that we just announced was our free pet microchipping clinic.
Last year, we only returned about 20% of stray animals to their owners. My hope is to help get as many animals in the county microchipped as possible, so that we can more quickly reunite them with owners if
lost, ultimately reducing the need for animals to be cared for and adopted out by not just the shelter but also other county rescues.
Other initiatives that we are working on are Trap-Neuter-Return for feral cats, spay and neuter assistance and community education. That comes to the reason that I am writing this. I reached out to the Daily World Editor, Patti, with the idea of starting a column to act a catalyst for community education.
Going forward, I want to touch on topics that can be important for the community to learn more about. This will include both animal-welfare related topics but also animal health in general. I am very big on transparency, especially in media outlets and will try to cite reliable sources whenever possible and hope to reach out to local vets along the way for insights on animal health. I will also often point out things that are my personal opinion because I know that by working with the shelter, I have developed some biases on certain topics.
I am always open to questions or suggestions from the community. You are welcome to reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In closing, I want to quote Bob Barker, the former host of the Price is Right: “This is Bob Barker reminding you to help control the pet population — have your pets spayed or neutered.”