Thursday, December 8, 2011

REAL FACTS vs. MEDIA FACTS

Many of you may be aware of the recent story about the BAG KITTENS that went viral this past week! If you missed the story just click here! It has been a whirlwind for the past week, with RVAS flooded with emails and telephone calls from well wishers and tender hearted people thanking us for our work! We were humbled by the outpour and we made sure through the chaos that we "paid it forward" to other rescues as Skipper and Tipper's story happens everyday across this country in rescues and shelters.

Local Station WHO TV was searching for a "feel good" story. And we just happened to have one on our website. The "Bag Kittens" story is one that is heartwrenching and heartwarming, with the media focusing on the hero, Reagan, a yellow lab who despite her desire to rip everything to shreds, chose to gently carry a feed bag from the highway to her owner's home, saving two 3 week old kittens lives! It may sound unbelievable, and we must admit we had a lot of questions up front.

But after researching the facts, we discovered that it really was possible. So we told the story. After all, a DOG's discovery, a woman's persistence and a rescue's determination, brought us all together and two little lives were saved because of it. That's pretty cool...or at least from our point of view it was!

But with all good things that happen in this world, there are always those who have to find the negative in something. Well here it is...we knew it would come!

Today on the Animal Rescue League's Facebook Page a poster commented about information printed in one of the many online news media articles. Read the Facebook Page below.

The Poster wants the ARL to set the record straight. They are obviously upset at someone for what they perceive as false information. Or is it? Well, we'd be happy to help set the record straight. After all it is our story.

Here are the facts:
  • The original article on our website states: "...pleas for help were unanswered or ignored by several local animal rescue organizations."  It does NOT say or state how many shelters/rescues or the geographical location. Perhaps something to remember is that a woman was sitting at her day job on little or no sleep after spending the evening up all night frantically trying to save two little lives. And she was worried about them, because she knew they would starve to death if she didn't get them immediate help. And the gruesome site she saw when she reached into that bag the night prior, was still etched in her mind. Perhaps she was a bit frustrated because there wasn't immediate help for her. Can you blame her? We sure can't...especially when lives are hanging in the balance. In fact, we applaud her diligence and persistence to find someone who would help her.
  • Second, Can an organization that takes in over 18,000+ animals a year really remember every call? We doubt that the ARL can honestly remember if they did or did not offer to help this woman some form of assistance, that's assuming that they were one of the places she called.  But that doesn't really matter. They weren't mentioned by name or geographical location.
  • Third: It's very hard to believe that the ARL was "not aware" of this story that swept the internet on CNN, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, HUFFINGTON POST, LIFE WITH DOGS, and numerous other local papers and such, especially after it went viral. Most of know that the ARL is usually the prime focus of the media. So is this perhaps a disgruntled supporter looking for something negative because someone else received media attention? We have to admit we love the ARL's response of: " Interesting....hopefully the reporter just got the facts wrong vs. being told that incorrect statement. Thanks for passing it along!" Are we in third grade here? I mean really, thanks for planting THAT seed ARL facebook guru!
  • Fourth: If you compare all the articles, there seems to be an error in every one of them. For example, Reagan, is a "female" not a male. That she is an indoor dog in Des Moines, Iowa, when her location isn't anywhere near that. And our favorite is the one local online paper that led their story with "Raccoon Valley, Iowa" as the location! We were thrilled with that one...having our own town!
Despite the points mentioned above, perhaps the most disheartening of them all is that someone felt the need to "jump to the defense" of the ARL based on something they read, taking it as gospel,  rather than going to the source of the article and checking the facts. Had they just gone to our website, and read the original article, they undoubtedly would have had their concerns addressed immediately and would have never posted some accusatory comment drawing attention away from the story's content, about 5 kittens victimized by a horrendous act of cruelty and turning the focus on the ARL's credibility as an animal welfare organization.

And had the ARL not banned RVAS from commenting on their wall back in August 2010 when we asked one (yes, just ONE) question about how many cats were captured, destroyed and distributed during the Story City Hoarding Case, we wouldn't have had to take yet another 30 minutes of our day blogging a response to set the record straight to someone who, it appears, would rather create problems, rather than be part of the solutions!

When people ask, why organizations don't just work together? Because sometimes, people just get in the way. In the meantime, it is important to note that the ARL and RVAS recently worked together in saving a cat's life...well...at least they called us...And for that, we are grateful!

10 comments:

  1. It's amazing how many people keep up the "he said, she said" game after high school. It is almost like they just want to start pitting rescue groups against each other instead of getting their facts straight first. The important thing is that the Reagan's owner and RVAS had the compassion not to turn down two little guys who needed help. The story is not about the ARL, it's about Skipper and Tipper and the people who went above and beyond to save them. I don't understand why the "poster" is trying to make it about the ARL - they get enough money and media attention as it is.

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  2. What you guys did was an amazing thing! And, yes, stories like this happen everywhere! Sadly, on most days, people don't care. Somehow this whole thing went completely viral and while that is great for you, it will always leave people a little green with envy. Thankfully the ARL stated (publicly anyway) that they *hoped* it was a mistake from the report and not from the source.

    Those of us that know the ARL a little better, know that this was just another way to rally their fans. "Setting the record straight" shouldn't have been a job for the ARL, since they were nowhere called out in said "record". Either way, the dog, the woman, RVAS- you are all heroes in my book and you all deserve this attention!

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  3. Amen to the above comments. And to anyone still left wondering....just go post one difficult question or one cold hard fact on the ARL Facebook page and see how long it takes for that comment to be removed by their admins. I think the "facts" pretty much speak for themselves where that topic is concerned. ~Heather

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  4. In no way are we condemning the media sources that told our story. Deadlines cause mistakes. No lives were lost in the errors that were reported. Why people have to stir up trouble where it doesn't belong is beyond me.

    This is the classic case of a person running their mouth before engaging their brain!

    RVAS staff and volunteers, don't you dare let anyone take this glorious moment from you. It was well earned and long past due!

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  5. As Iowa's professed "Largest" and "best" the real question is why WEREN'T they contacted?

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  6. As near to a miracle I am likely to see in my lifetime happened. And someone feels the need to try to slap a negative slant on it for whatever their reasons are. Journalism, or what is considered journalism has changed so much since I took that class in high school. When I took Journalism 101 in College the rules for reporting were still the same. And now with the vast reach of the internet ANYONE can claim they are a journalist. And now Facebook has made it possible for everyone to be an expert on everything. Whoever has started all this hubub about RVAS's Story sounds like a disgruntled ARL supporter who doesn't really understand how things like this work. Their negative comments really only make the ARL look bad and jealous that another organization did something good and got a little attention for it. This story, Raccoon Valley's story, has by my last check made it around the world including Russia, Portugal, Brazil, Greece, Germany, the UK, Israel, Coatia, Finland and there are more I'm forgetting.

    I will never understand why some must "rain on the parade" of others but I have an umbrella and will not allow one, poor, unhappy individual to dampen my joy in RVAS getting some much deserved attention for the work they accomplish.

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  7. RVAS staff and volunteers. There will always be someone who finds a way to TRY and turn something wonderful into a negative. Don't listen to those individuals. Ever. You know the real story and it is a story well worth the sharing. Saving animals is what you do and saving animals is worth sharing. You do great work and are always willing to work with rescue groups all over our state. Keep it upbeat and positive. That is what it is ALL about! After all it's about lives saved. Keep up the good work RVAS....Thanks for working with us too.

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  8. Carmen...

    We take pride in knowing and working with passionate people who go above and beyond to save a life.

    Your group is one of them. Our lives connected years ago over "one" life...that no one wanted to save.

    You are living proof of all the wonderful and beautiful lives that would otherwise be discarded and disposed of because of cost and convenience.

    We are proud to be partners with you...and know that we will someday, by working together, get the whole world to understand our dreams, and join our efforts!

    As always....thank you for your support!

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  9. Tammy HartwigDecember 09, 2011

    I have to agree with Carmen; it seems to have become far too commonplace for many to look for something negative in nearly any situation. Often when there is none, something is created. Sadly, too many rescues & shelters lose sight of the fact that it's about the animals, not who's the biggest or best...it is NEVER about the organization! It's not a competition, at least it shouldn't be.

    You named no one. It was simply stated that others were contacted. You were the first to act so it's your story. Perhaps another would have acted, maybe even ARL but you just happened to be the first. Kudos to RVAS for taking action, saving lives and, trying to work with others.

    Also...3 cheers to Reagan and her owner! Having spent sleepless nights with orphans (puppies) myself, this woman went WAY above and beyond what most would!

    Thank you for ALL you do for the animal world and for ALWAYS keeping it about the animals!

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  10. As a major player working with rescues, shelters and other non profits in Arizona, I keep track of who plays well with others and who is a prima donna glory hound who doesnt care about animals outside their little realm of fundraising and pr.

    ARL is an a prime example of these klind of rescues. They would rather see the animals killed and other rescues destroyed then risk a kudos or dollar going to anyone else. They are not interested in corrections or setting thing right. Current case in point and I can cite so any others.

    RVAS is seen as a national model leading the way in teacm work and rescue that we are emulating in Arizona. Please keep focusing on the outstanding work that you do, working with others for the long term good of the animals. Just for now, please enjoy the spotlight on your wonderful work and that you so greatly deserve the wonderful praise and media you have recieved!

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