51 and Counting

March 10th, 1969 a historical verdict was decided in the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.  Yesterday something happened that made me come up with my own verdict for March 10th, 2011 and that is…

Guilty.  Kansas City is guilty.  This includes and is not limited to: county and city officials, Dr. Steckelberg, past and present Halfway Home staff and volunteers and the citizens of Kansas City.  Why does it take a year and one VERY brave person to start a process of change when we all saw the wrong doings?  If things were so terrible, why did it take this long for us to do something?  Did you notice the dates on some of the documents and complaints?  These aren’t “isolated” events.

Today, The Pitch revised the PDF document and changed it from 11 pages to 82 pages so it contains what I assume is all of the documentation received in regards to this case.  You can find the documents here http://media.pitch.com/6074175.0.PDF .  It’s not light reading but it’s something that you must read if you think you can voice opinions on the matter.  Yes, a change is finally happening but why does it take that many complaints and a final straw to break the camel’s back?  Shouldn’t someone have been watching over that camel before it stumbled and finally toppled over?

While I do not agree with how Halfway Home was operated, I can and will not place the blame on any single person.  Dr. Steckelberg made huge and terrible mistakes on how HWH was operated but do you think one person can screw up that hugely all on their own?  No.  You want to talk about ethics?  You want to call Steck our on “ethics” violations?  What about moral code that we all should answer to?  Are we overlooking that?

You know what you don’t see on the list of exhibits and emails on that 82 page document?  You don’t see my name.  Me, Darath Smith, who was what I would consider to be a pretty active volunteer.  I wasn’t always visible to the eye but I was around behind the scenes, doing all I could to help.  Coordinating, rescuing, adopting, begging and pleading along with countless other volunteers that most of you wouldn’t even recognize if they were standing there in your face.  I know because it happened to me a million times.  Do you have any idea how many people, how many volunteers were out there for Halfway Home?  Do you know how many of us spent sleepless nights worrying over a “Critical List” which isn’t a damn “Critical List”, it’s a “You are F**KED” list?  Do you stop and think about how many of us experienced relationship problems because we would spend an entire dinner on our cell phone or skip nights out because we were trying to not let pets lose their lives?  Volunteers would spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars on saving just one dog.  That is how much dedication and love went into every single dog there.  We consoled the dying, we made those last walks, we shed those tears.  We, the volunteers… the now banned.

A monkey could take over Halfway Home or whatever in the hell it will be called now.  It’s won’t change with one person.  It will take all of us to make sure that Kansas City’s animals are cared for in the proper manner.  It will take KC’s media giving us segments showing animals in need.  We shouldn’t have to scream to be heard over the Top Story of a tornado in Oklahoma.  We shouldn’t have to wave our arms to flag down our media and notify them of problems that aren’t being resolved.  Don’t they have investigative reporters for that?  We shouldn’t have to flag down staff at the shelter and continuously remind them of a dog that is laying in a pool of blood in their cage.  Do you think one vet can handle the needs of hundreds of animals a day?  As a resident of Kansas City, shouldn’t you know what happens with your tax dollars and donations?

So, in closing for today I want to say a “thank you” and give a pat on the back to those STAFF and VOLUNTEERS and every day people that have done right.  We all make mistakes and the reason we do is so that we can learn from them.  Not everyone involved in this is bad, maybe no one really is.  Who really knows?  We can all do good things and we all have the capability of making an impact, a LASTING and GOOD impact in those lives around us.  For those staff that were made to resign or have lost their jobs for using their voice, I salute you soldier.  You’ve made us proud and you’ve fought the good fight.

To Halfway Home Pet Adoptions and Dr. Steckelberg:  Let the volunteers back in.  We shouldn’t have to fill out new applications and wait for what could be an eternity for a call back.  Some of us have been there even longer than you, so shouldn’t we have seniority or something like that?

To Kansas City’s City Council:  Enforce the rights of the volunteers.  Show us the courtesy that we have so faithfully shown Halfway Home’s current and past residents.  Let us back in.

To Kansas City:  Hear our pleas, listen to us for we will no longer be bound and gagged.  Contact the city council and let them know you have our back.  We’ve had yours and we’ve cleaned up your messes.  You can reach members via email at:

Deletta Dean: deletta_dean@kcmo.org
David Park: david_park@kcmo.org
Cindy Circo: cindy_circo@kcmo.org
Troy Shulte: acting city manager manager@kcmo.org
Mayor Mark Funkhouser: mark_funkhouser@kcmo.org

Help us, help those with no voices.  Some of us made promises to lonely, little creatures that we would be there to stroke their fur and hold their paw.  Some of us want to keep those promises while we have a chance.  Time is never on our side.


Posted on March 10, 2011, in Posts. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I encourage you all to continue checking out the “Animal Rescue” section of my website that shows Halfway Home’s current Urgent animals. I appreciate all of you that have been looking them over and checking out the Petfinders!

  2. i love the way you are thinking! one person can not do it all… i do not ‘support’ any one side in this argument…. i am 100% on the side of the animals & always will be. i just hope that all the fighting & blaming can be over with & we can all start to re-build TOGETHER!
    by the way… i LOVE your blog 🙂

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