Springfield College Student and Professor Film Documentary in Utah

Pat Kenney
Managing Editor

 

 

 

Save them all.

It’s as simple as three words can be, but as impactful as a whole speech. Short and to the point.

The Best Friends Animal Society wanted their mission clear and concise so that everyone could understand what they are all about.

“They feel that the only time to euthanize any animal is when its quality of life is so low that it becomes unfair to [the animal] to keep it alive,” stated Springfield College junior Candace Tibbetts.

Four million homeless pets are killed in American shelters each year. The roots of The Best Friends Animal Society stem from their belief and push to have no more animals killed in shelters across the United States.

Since 1984, The Best Friend Animal Society has been housing all types of animals at their no-kill sanctuary, located in Kanab, Utah. As the largest no-kill sanctuary in the country, it has expanded over the years to house nearly 2,000 homeless animals.

Set right in the middle of an area known as Angel Canyon, the Sanctuary provides the animals not only with beauty and fresh air, but with whatever help they may need. From illness to abuse, The Best Friends Animals Society takes in all homeless animals that have seen worse things than most humans.

The Sanctuary gives each animal a peaceful place where they can grow and recover physically, emotionally and psychologically. After all, animals (including us humans) are not invincible.

Split into separate areas, each animal group has its own stomping ground and every animal is up for adoption.

“One of the puppies came and just sat on my lap and it made me just want to take him home,” said Tibbetts.

Tibbetts, along with Springfield College Associate Professor of Communications Jody Santos, recently visited the sanctuary with a specific interest in mind. Santos, who currently makes documentaries for PBS, came up with an idea that she knew the animal loving Tibbetts would be all about.

“Candace told me last year that she wanted to make animal documentaries for a living,” said Santos. “For a student to be able to live her dream and get a chance to do what she wants to do; I just couldn’t not take her.”

“Making documentaries is something I am interested in for the future,” said Tibbetts. “I just love animals and I think it would be so cool to go somewhere weird and exotic to make documentaries on animals.”

Having never done a documentary based on animals before, both Santos and Tibbetts went into their trip excited and intrigued.

“Usually I interview the beneficiaries of the programs,” continued Santos. “In this case, I couldn’t really do that, but we did have the care takers tell the stories of the animals that had been rescued.”

Of the hundreds of dogs to occupy the ‘Dog Town’ part of The Best Friends Animal Society’s Sanctuary, 22 dogs were part of the Michael Vick dog fighting scandal.

In 2007, the NFL turned upside down. Then Atlanta Falcons’ star quarterback, Michael Vick was convicted of unlawful instate dog fighting and served 23 months in prison.

The dogs who could be rehabilitated were given to shelters across the country, including the no-kill Sanctuary in Utah, thus enhancing the national recognition of the Society’s mission.

With their arms wide open and accepting of any animal that comes their way, The Best Friends Animal Society has constantly made it a point that it should not just be their arms that are open.

“They have started a no-kill movement across the country,” stated Santos. “The biggest city to date will be Los Angeles. By 2017, LA will be a no-kill city, which means their shelters will no longer kill animals. Instead they will help find homes and places for every animal.”

With LA set to fall in line, it is only a matter of time before no-kill grows bigger and better. Spreading its love throughout the states, The Best Friends Animal Society has affectively opened our nation’s eyes to the protection of animals.

The documentary is set to be released in March of 2015, with Santos travelling again in November with another student, this time to Los Angeles. The film serves as a reminder to everyone that every animal deserves a chance.

Every animal has rights and we must, in fact, save them all.

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