Cash To Be Released to King's Kastle

Julie Seal issues "Open Letter to the Community."


Executive Director Julie Seal announced today she is releasing Cash the dog to the custody of King's Kastle animal care facility.

Seal's decision, made after a week of -- who wanted to adopt Cash -- in effect resolves the issue just in time, Seal said, for "the season of giving."

"In the season of giving, I long to turn my work back to finding homes for the dogs waiting for their second chance and to the cats who would love to have a fire to sit by during the holidays," Seal said in an "Open Letter to the Community," reprinted below.

Keane, contacted just after Seal's announcement at about 4:30 p.m. Monday, said he was thrilled at the news. He also took legal action to block any attempt to euthanize Cash -- even though Seal stated that Cash was not slated to be put down.

and just focusing on the idea that the dog, an 110-pound, 3-year-old male Mastiff/pitbull mix, will now have a chance at rehabiliation.

"I couldn't be happier," Keane said when he heard the news. "I don't care how this deal got done -- just that it got done."

He said he wasn't concerned about his role or whether he would be adopting Cash. He would just allow King's Kastle to work with the dog.

"I'll do whatever they (the shelter and King's Kastle) want," Keane said. "If they want me out of it, I'll be out of it."

Colleen Combs, proprietor of King's Kastle, said Seal called her today and Combs agreed to take  "full custody of Cash" on a pro bono basis, Combs said.

Combs said the shelter would drop off Cash Tuesday, probably at the Windsor branch, but that after evaluation, Cash could be transferred to the Cloverdale facility where Combs'  own dog pack lives at her private residence.

"If this can help the dog and help quell the controversy at the shelter, then I'm happy to do it," Combs said. "We'll take responsibility for Cash over the long term."

She said she would see in the initial evaluation if Cash were a candidate for rehabilitation, and, if so, how long Cash's rehabilitation might be expected to last.

"Since we will be doing this pro bono, if anyone in the community wants to contribute donations of food or money to Cash's long-term care and rehabilitation, it would be gratefully appreciated," Combs said. "It could take six months to a year."

Donations would be accepted at either the Windsor or Cloverdale outlet. For information, contact Combs at either location (Windsor's phone number is 707-838-2785).

Combs said Cash's case is not the first time she has stepped forward to rescue dogs in the community. Last year, King's Kastle took in 25 Golden Retrievers who were confiscated by police from a home in Cloverdale, she said.

"If we put Cash into a long-term rehabilitation program, we will take him in as a member of our pack," she said.

Following is the text of Julie Seal's announcement:

An open letter to Douglas Keane and the Community

 "The Healdsburg Animal Shelter is dedicated to being a safe haven for animals in need. Like people, animals come with their own temperaments, needs and history. For me, as someone who is committed to serving the animals and a community I have come to love, not to proceed with an expressed interest in adoption is never a decision I take lightly, and quite frankly is sometimes heartbreaking from a personal perspective. Still, as a professional I must make hard decisions: I have the fiduciary responsibility to the city of Healdsburg and to the hundreds of donors to take into account the risk an individual dog may pose to other animals their owners and our community as a whole.

"The last few weeks of conflict about the adoption of Cash has drawn focus away from the animals under our care and has left the community questioning the merits and intent of the shelter. This is unacceptable to me. In the season of giving I long to turn my work back to finding homes for the dogs waiting for their second chance and to the cats who would love to have a fire to sit by during the holidays.

"Although I personally am very concerned about the stability of Cash, King’s Kastle is a highly respected organization and is noted for its commitment to rehabilitate the animals in its charge.   I spoke with Colleen Combs, owner of King’s Kastle, this afternoon and Cash will be released to her care and moved to her facility for temperament evaluation and rehabilitation. It is the season of hope and magic; my genuine hope is that one day Cash and Doug are reunited in a safe and loving dog/adopter bond."

In the Know December 06, 2011 at 04:08 AM
I am glad Cash Is getting out of that "shelter" and going to "King's Kastle", but it concerns me, too, how long his "rehab" time is going to have to be. This was a family dog that was in the "shelter" since August and now its going to take 6-12 mos. for recovery if it happens at all? The letter from Julie is interesting as she states: "The last few weeks of conflict about the adoption of Cash has drawn focus away from the animals under our care and has left the community questioning the merits and intent of the shelter. This is unacceptable to me. " Well, I can believe that! Now I hope the public has become so aware of what is going on over at HAS that now the remaining board and the ED along with operating structures in place will be scrutinized with a fine tooth comb. Just because Cash is going to be let out for rehab, why does a family dog have to go through rehab if the shelter was taking proper care of him in the first place? Don't drop the ball on Julie and HAS - the battle may have been won for Cash but the war is not over!
Keri Brenner (Editor) December 06, 2011 at 04:24 AM
Hi Zoe: Thanks for your note. Just to answer your concern, I believe that Cash will not be intermingled with the other boarding dogs at King's Kastle as per my conversation with Colleen Combs. During his rehab time, he would become a member of the private pack and not mixed in with the rest of the facility's dog customers, according to what Colleen said today.
Barbara Klein December 06, 2011 at 07:54 AM
Sounds like this dog is going to be a liability. I hope HAS has covered itself from suits arising from this placement and further. As a dog bite victim I can tell you this is giving me a very bad feeling. I have owned dogs all my life but would never keep a dog with this report card. Good luck!
Colleen Combs December 07, 2011 at 01:22 AM
A little about the process of "Rehabilitation". When I assess a dog, I take into consideration the variety of viewpoints people offer from the dogs history. What one person may describe as a "goofy or playful" behavior, another may describe as "aggressive". I will listen to all viewpoints (always conflicting in nature), then spend time with the dog itself. Dog's such as Cash are certainly not considered acceptable for interaction with the regular dogs coming for socialization or boarding. There is no magic number of days, weeks, or months that we can immediately refer to for the length of rehabilitation. Each dog is unique and will require whatever time they require, that is provided the dog is determined to be a candidate for such services. Often, dogs that require services such as rehabilitation, are dogs that have not received the proper kind of exercise, training, leadership, and social skills. That in turns manifests into behaviors such as those described in Cash's situtation. That being said, there are those cases that become apparent that the dog may also exhibit behaviors that are not psychologica, but physiolgical. If the behavior is part of their DNA, a medical condition, or genetic default, I can't change that. That is when the difficult, but "right" decision is made to euthenize the dog for the safety and welfare of all involved. For more information regarding this process... please feel free to contact King's Kastle.
Tim December 07, 2011 at 01:46 AM
I have to disagree since there has been no evidence to suggest that something happened to Cash from one week to the next to suggest that he needed to be held for further evaluation. The shelter should simply have permitted Mr. Keane to adopt Cash, like any other rescued animal. Ms. Seal was not going to let this happen and has placed the whole organization at risk for failure. Seal has not demonstrated the ability to build relationships in the community, nor to effectively fundraise for the new shelter or to effectively communicate the issues of the Shelter to the Board and the public in an effective manner. Since January 2011 when Ms. Seal took her position as director, the many conflicts clearly emanate from a lack of experience in this level of management and responsability.
Lisa Hadley December 07, 2011 at 04:21 AM
Relative to your #3: REAL euthanasia & adoption numbers I would like to have those numbers broken out for Heealdsburg dogs from the great number of County ones. And would like to know what is the % of returns with those Healdsburg dogs involved with the adoption numbers. Flooding the numbers with all the County adopted dogs that were brought in will not tell the real Healdsburg story.
peace December 07, 2011 at 04:35 AM
Combs are the only comments that have made sence since this whole situation came to light. There is a war, really, seriously? HAS is abusing animals, fanatical thinking goodness. Salaries are in public records on line, they are not considered top secret. Unless you are a supervisor or manager, who are you to say who deserves a raise. Cash is in good hands, you would think that would make you happy. Combs, thank you for bringing some common sense, and rationality amongst all this chaos of hatred and seeing what truly is important. Some people can't be happy unless they see others miserable, that's sad.
In the Know December 07, 2011 at 04:37 AM
Colleen, How can you tell the differnce between a dog that exhibits behaviors that are not psychologica, but physiolgical. and if the behavior is part of their DNA, a medical condition, or genetic default? Just wondering...
In the Know December 07, 2011 at 06:04 AM
Indeed, but what about the rest of the HAS shelter animals? I am for the interest of ALL the animals at HAS - not just Cash...Thank god for Mr. Keane & Kings' Kastle for fighting for his rights. I hope there will be more posts/comments on what can/should be done so the ball isn't dropped now that Cash is out of the HAS - please remember that there are other animals that still remain in that "shelter" and they are ALL being subjected to the same treatment as Cash was... For those interested, the Healdsburg Animal Shelter welcomes the public to the monthly board meetings, held on the second Wednesday of every month. Meetings begin at 5:30 PM at the Healdsburg Senior Center, 133 Matheson Street, Healdsburg CA - I believe the date would be 12/14/11. For more info go to: http://www.healdsburgshelter.org/about/board.asp
Tim December 07, 2011 at 07:00 AM
I agree, it's great that Cash is out of the shelter. 2010 statistics published by the Healdsburg Animal Shelter. http://www.healdsburgshelter.org/about/stats.asp
peace1 December 07, 2011 at 03:26 PM
Once people decide to burn at the stake we only see the supposed bad they have done. What about housing the 100's of homeless animals that shelters take in. Yes, of course they get stressed, yes of course they end up spending a long time there. No one said shelters are perfect, no one organization is, but instead of trying to put down shelters, let's help as volunteers do. Who else can prosecute animal abusers, they take in many many maltreated animals an bring them back to health. Better they be in shelters then out in the street with no safety from the elements or no food. We miss all that and are hell bent on winning some fictionary "war". My goodness HAS does not abuse or mistreat their animals, and yes they are not perfect, but they do provide an essential service for the city. The economy has hit shelters in particular hard, most rescues are full, lets see in this holiday season what we can do to help and stop th e badgering, but alas they hateful comments will continue of course.
Tim December 07, 2011 at 05:21 PM
peace1, Thanks for refocusing the discussion to all the good that goes on at the shelters.
In the Know December 07, 2011 at 05:31 PM
The good and the bad... There have been so many outcries from people in the know at HAS that I hope the organization can get their internal problems resolved. I wish the best for everyone over there and I'm very grateful to the volunteers who are a huge asset for HAS and the animals - they truly care as Keane has shown. Bless them all!
peace1 December 07, 2011 at 06:40 PM
Well, that's more like, it's so much better when we focus on positive thinking, and wish the best for people and organizations that are struggling. Cooperative effort goes a long ways and is more beneficial in the long run. Hopefully this is contagious and people can find a peaceful resolution. Happy Holidays!


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