FAAS refuses to adopt animal


I live in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Today while visiting a friend who lives in Alameda who had adopted a cat from Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter (FAAS) two years ago, she suggested we visit the shelter, “just to see.” We arrived shortly after opening at 11:30 a.m. Once inside, we met Cello, an 11-year-old orange, neutered male cat, whose “release date” was that very same day. Perfect!

The volunteer explained Cello was somewhat depressed because of being surrendered. He climbed out of the cage into my arms and commenced to purr and obviously didn’t want to jump down or return to the cage. The very professional and kind female volunteer who was showing cats said we could ask at the front desk whether Cello had any health issues since he was an older cat. The only thing she knew was that he had been given up because his former owner had moved to Belize. 

My friend went to inquire, and was treated extremely rudely by the older man at the front desk. He appeared more interested in being obstructionist than helping a potential adopter. So the female volunteer went to find the medical person on staff, who was authorized to release animals. 
We waited in the main cat area, a depressing interior concrete room with no natural light and a bank of cages. A younger man came in and demanded, “How did you hear about Cello?”

We were obviously taken aback as we’d been shown him as a potential adoptable cat. I sensed my friend and I must have unwittingly walked into some internal power struggle. 

No, we were told, despite today’s date on the cage he couldn’t be adopted today. If I wanted to return Wednesday, that is when he’d be available. No he couldn’t tell us anything about Cello’s medical history. No, he couldn’t tell us why the date on his cage indicated he was available today when the FAAS staff clearly weren’t interested in processing an adoption today. No, we weren’t offered adoption procedures, or other information or help beyond being told I could not adopt the cat I was interested in.

The facility is sterile and institutional, with the omnipresent sound of barking dogs: depressing, although both female volunteers we met seemed interested in helping visitors. Both the older man and the young man appear to have an agenda contrary to FAAS’ mission of adoption. 

I am very sorry to have had this experience, and I’m hoping 11-year-old Cello will eventually find a loving home. I understand FAAS is petitioning the City Council for additional funding. I hope the Council looks critically at an organization whose behavior is so contrary to its stated mission.


Julia Sauer

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