The story about delays in work at the Friendswood animal shelter ought to serve as a cautionary tale about the responsibilities of citizenship.
The Friendswood shelter has epoxy floors that should be repaired. It’s not a huge deal, but epoxy floors are easy to clean and disinfect. Holes in the floors can harbor bacteria.
The repairs are routine, but they require that dogs in the shelter be moved while the work is done.
Some people got concerned and speculated that the dogs would be euthanized. The rumors spread quickly through social media.
Actually, the plan was to move the dogs temporarily to the animal shelter in Alvin and bring them back when the floors were done.
When that became apparent, the story making the rounds through social media changed. The animal shelter in Alvin was going to euthanize dogs to make room for the dogs coming from Friendswood.
That story was not true either. The evidence strongly suggests that the public officials responsible for this operation never had any plans to euthanize dogs. They were simply planning to move animals while routine repairs were being made.
The campaign through social media, while lacking in evidence, was strong enough to influence the animal shelter advisory committee, which decided in June to postpone repairs until it could sort out the facts. The committee is schedule to meet Wednesday.
Citizens have a right and an obligation to question what their governments are doing. But in this case, that public concern, as expressed in the social media campaign, misfired badly. The only thing that campaign achieved was to delay repairs at the shelter.