Letter from a Dog Shelter Manager Who Has To Euthanize Dropped Off Pets
I run a small rescue in upstate NY, Mutt and Lab Rescue, and everything in this letter is 100% true in the southern United States. Please pass it on, and maybe your neighbor will think twice about dumping their dogs off in a shelter. PLEASE - don't buy, adopt! I have gorgeous purebred labs and lab puppies for adoption, they were all pulled from high kill shelters.
Education people, EDUCATION!! Let's pray that 2009 spares more lives than the 11 million killed this year...
"A Letter from a Shelter Manager:
I think our society needs a huge " Wake-up" call.
As a shelter manager, I am going to share a little insight with you all. .a view from the inside if you will.
First off, all of you breeders/sellers should be made to work in the "back" of an animal shelter for just one day.
Maybe if you saw the life drain from a few sad, lost, confused eyes, you would change your mind about breeding and selling to people you don't even know. That puppy you just sold will most likely end up in my shelter when it's not a cute little puppy anymore.
So how would you feel if you knew that there's about a 90% chance that dog will never walk out of the shelter it is going to be dumped at? Purebred or not! About 50% of all of the dogs that are "owner surrenders" or "strays" that come into my shelter are purebred dogs.
The most common excuses I hear are;
"We are moving and we can't take our dog (or cat)." Really? Where are you moving to that doesn't allow pets and why did you choose that place instead of a pet friendly home?
Or they say "The dog got bigger than we thought it would". How big did you think a German Shepherd would get?
"We don't have time for her". Really? I work a 10- 12 hour day and still have time for my 6 dogs!
"She' s tearing up our yard". How about making her a part of your family?
They always tell me: "We just don't want to have to stress about finding a place for her we know she'll get adopted, she's a good dog."
Odds are your pet won't get adopted & how stressful do you think being in a shelter is? Well, let me tell you, your pet has 72 hours to find a new family from the moment you drop it off. Sometimes a little longer if the shelter isn't full and your dog manages to stay completely healthy. If it sniffles, it dies.
Your pet will be confined to a small run/kennel in a room with about 25 other barking or crying animals. It will have to relieve itself where it eats and sleeps.
It will be depressed and it will cry constantly for the family that abandoned it.
If your pet is lucky, I will have enough volunteers in that day to take him/her for a walk. If I don't, your pet won't get any attention besides having a bowl of food slid under the kennel door and the waste sprayed out of its pen with a high-powered hose.
If your dog is big, black or any of the "Bully" breeds (pit bull, rottie, mastiff, etc) it was pretty much dead when you walked it through the front door. Those dogs just don't get adopted.
It doesn't matter how 'sweet' or 'well behaved' they are. If your dog doesn't get adopted within its 72 hours and the shelter is full, it will be destroyed.
If the shelter isn't full and your dog is good enough, and of a desirable enough breed it may get a stay of execution, but not for long.
Most dogs get very kennel protective after about a week and are destroyed for showing aggression. Even the sweetest dogs will turn in this environment.
If your pet makes it over all of those hurdles chances are it will get kennel cough or an upper respiratory infection and will be destroyed because shelters just don't have the funds to pay for even a $100 treatment.
Here's a little euthanasia 101 for those of you that have never witnessed a perfectly healthy, scared animal being "put-down"....
First, your pet will be taken from its kennel on a leash. They always look like they think they are going for a walk - happy, wagging their tails.
Until, they get to "The Room", every one of them freak out and put the brakes on when we get to the door. It must smell like death or they can feel the sad souls that are left in there, it's strange, but it happens with every one of them.
Your dog or cat will be restrained, held down by 1 or 2 vet techs depending on the size and how freaked out they are.
Then a euthanasia tech or a vet will start the process. They will find a vein in the front leg and inject a lethal dose of the "pink stuff".
Hopefully your pet doesn't panic from being restrained and jerk. I've seen the needles tear out of a leg and been covered with the resulting blood and been deafened by the yelps and screams.
They all don't just "go to sleep", sometimes they spasm for a while, gasp for air and defecate on themselves.
When it all ends, your pet's corpse will be stacked like firewood in a large freezer in the back with all of the other animals that were killed waiting to be picked up like garbage.
What happens next? Cremated? Taken to the dump? Rendered into pet food? You'll never know and it probably won't even cross your mind. It was just an animal and you can always buy another one, right?
I hope that those of you that have read this are bawling your eyes out and can't get the pictures out of your head I deal with everyday on the way home from work.
I hate my job, I hate that it exists & I hate that it will always be there unless you people make some changes and realize that the lives you are affecting go much further than the pets you dump at a shelter.
Between 9 and 11 MILLION animals die every year in shelters and only you can stop it. I do my best to save every life I can but rescues are always full, and there are more animals coming in everyday than there are homes.
My point to all of this: DON'T BREED OR BUY WHILE SHELTER PETS DIE!
Hate me if you want to. The truth hurts and reality is what it is.
I just hope I maybe changed one person's mind about breeding their dog, taking their loving pet to a shelter, or buying a dog.
I hope that someone will walk into my shelter and say "I saw this and it made me want to adopt." THAT WOULD MAKE IT WORTH IT!"
114. I know you could do it if you had to. At least I hope you (I) could.
Edited on Sat Jan-17-09 11:56 PM by tbyg52
I'm thinking of forcing myself. It's horrible what some of us put domestic animals through. The least we can do is give them release.
I still remember giving a speech for a class in college about the importance of spaying and neutering. The professor gave me a mediocre grade and told me it was because I had picked a topic nobody cared about.
As Heinlein said, you've got to shoot your own dog.
Edited for inevitable stupid typo.
And edited again for implying that we should be spayed and neutered in college.....
My daughter had a high school teacher who said she'd give her a low grade if she wrote about the Irish potato famine, because there was nothing important to write about. "There was a crop failure. A lot of people died. So what?"
My daughter wrote about it anyway, about how there was plenty of OTHER food grown and raised in the country, but it was all being exported out while Irish people starved, etc. I hope the teacher learned something (but knowing her, I doubt it.) I don't remember what grade my daughter got, but I was proud of her for sticking to her topic.
2. Roughly six million adoptable pets are killed in this country every year for lack of homes.
Keeping animals unaltered, breeding, or buying from a breeder contributes to this massive waste of life. It is unspeakably cruel and callous to breed more animals when so many die for no reason other than lack of homes to take them in.
I live in Illinois and there is a no kill animal shelter in Hinsdale- Hinsdale Humane society- if you drop off your pet and they can't be adopted they call you before they will kill them I know that is crass but I'm telling it like it is. They should all be no-kill If people that dropped them off had a chance, do you think they would take them back before letting them be put down?
Just because they don't euthanize on site, means nothing. The animal sheltering community is bigger than this shelter and that shelter. Any animal that enters the system is our responsibility, as a community. No-kill just means they turn animals away. Animals that die elsewhere. All for a title.
No kill shelter is bullshit. It's no-kill nation or nothing.
53. You again? You are so wrong AGAIN. Pat Lilith, the woman who taught me how to trap feral cats
Edited on Sat Jan-17-09 08:44 AM by cryingshame
runs a shelter in her home.
She takes ANY animal and keep them until they are either adopted out or die of old age or disease.
Okay, she won't accept male roosters.
But other animals like ponies or goats etc., if she can't make room she spends hours of her own time calling her contacts finding a home.
Your obnoxious, extremist posts on animal welfare aren't helpful.
So yes, no kill shelters exist.
And blaming those shelters that don't turn away or kill animals because some do is sick.
It's one thing to promote animal welfare, spaying/neutering, adoption and no-kill policies. It's another thing to label ALL shelters as "kill". You demean the work and mission of those who contribute vastly to a very large problem.
The point is no kill shelters ONLY exists because they limit the number of animals they can take.
This isn't to say they don't do good work but to dream of rainbows and butterflies because no kill shelters exists misses the point.
Eventually no kill shelters GET FULL when they are FULL they turn animals away. Where do those animals go? DING DING DING If you guessed a kill shelter you are right. They die there. It doesn't matter. They still die.
Accept the truth 6 million (some places say as many as 12 million) animals die every year. Just because they don't die in a "no kill shelter" doesn't mean they don't die.
My wife found a stray cat and we lived in an apt that had a 2 animal rule (we had two cats).
No problem right. My wife knew of some "no kill" shelter. She called them - full. Looked up online and called all of them - full. We even tried one that was 50 miles away - full. We kept the cat and luckily she was small and friendly. A friend adopted her but we worried about what to do for the 2 weeks we kept her as "foster parents".
Unless you know of a shelter than can take in 6 million+ animals a year then animals die. They die because of the exact reasons in the OP.
As a former multi year volunteer AND Board of Director member of an open intake shelter that became a limited admission shelter, AND as someone that runs a very successful rescue and is very active in the local spay/neuter initiatives...I think I fucking do.
146. And they take EVERY single animal in that comes to their door, right?
Oh, wait. That's NOT right. They may not kill within their walls, and I'm sure it makes them feel good. Someone else does it. Not their fault.
One of our area "no-kill" shelters does take every single animal in that comes to their door. Sadly, many of them go out the back door to go to animal control. Most folks don't know that. It's better that way, since it might hurt donations.
20. What he's trying to say is this: There are more animals in need of homes than homes to take them.
Until that reality changes a great deal, animals are going to die. We can and should devote more resources to humane long term care of adoptable animals, but the unfortunate reality is that most animals that enter a shelter will not leave alive. "No Kill" shelters don't change that reality, because most of them will only take the most adoptable animals, or close as soon as they can take no more, so the remainder wind up in open intake "kill" shelters and thus still die. The cold equations do not change: if there are (I don't have the numbers here, these are for illustration) 10 million healthy, adoptable animals and 4 million people looking to adopt each year, there are going to be 6 million dead animals. If all the shelters were "no kill" they'd quickly fill up, and those animals would die on the streets or something instead, I fear.
Blaming open intake shelters for that reality isn't fair (though many do deserve some criticism for not doing enough to promote adoption) because the real causes of the problem are failure to alter animals and reluctance to adopt.
We have numerous no-kill shelters here in Maine. They rehab, foster them out, and when there is space, they occasionally take in dogs from out-of-state high kill shelters. Other shelters are almost no kill, putting down only the most dangerous or the sickest.
My own dog was rescued with 25 others, mostly puppies and moms, but a few individuals, from death row in Arkansas. One of the puppies was very sick, but didn't euthanize her, they cared for her.
My cat spent over a year living at another local shelter. She had a terrible medical history while there -- if I'd seen it I would *never* have considered her. But a volunteer gave her to me as a barn cat (on the manager's day off) after the 2 feral cats I'd adopted took off (I still see one of them every so often). I forget her paperwork, so didn't see it until a week later. She's now been here for 3 years and not been sick once -- amazing what getting out of even a nice shelter environment can do!
Occasionally the state shuts down a puppy mill and contracts the larger no-kills to rehab the dogs. They show them on the local news and they get adopted out *fast*.
We took in a *lot* of Katrina dogs; even last year we were still getting strays from NO, just not as many.
70. Look, people, you can post all the anecdotal evidence you want bu that doesn't change the fact
No-kill shelters leave the blood on someone else's hands. PETA (PETA for fuck's sake!) and the ASPCA don't agree that "no-kill" shelters deserve some sort of moral highground because of the problems. Please read: ""I've been to good no-kills, and I've been to bad no-kills," said Jef Hale, the San Antonio shelter's director. "I was at a no-kill in Louisiana and basically what they did is they just put animals in a cage and they just continued to add animals to a cage. ... If we put them in a cage and we don't interact with them, we slowly drive them crazy."
But no-kill shelters that don't warehouse animals fill up quickly and are forced to stop taking in new ones.
"Now what's their alternative?" said Kim Intino, director of animal sheltering for the Humane Society of the United States. The animal likely ends up either in an open-admission facility that does euthanize, or worse, on the streets.
Animal Care Services has traditionally taken in 50,000 dogs and cats and euthanized 95% of them, Hale said. It once used a gas chamber, but switched to the more humane lethal injections about a year and a half ago.
Nationally, about 6 million to 8 million dogs and cats enter animal shelters each year. About half are killed"
When people get foreclosed upon and lose their house they are often in pretty desperate circumstances. At that point, they are just trying to find a place to live for themselves, if the only place they can afford doesn't allow pets it's off to the shelter with the animal. If they can stay with friends or family, but maybe some one in that household is allergic, it's off to the shelter with the pet.
ah, but it's better than what Christine Abrams of Cocoa, Florid-duh did with her dog when her water got turned off and she moved in with a friend who didn't like dogs. She locked the dog in a cage with no food or water and left. It does not have a happy ending.
4. Every word of that post is true. I've been a volunteer for a dog rescue
for about 9 years, and although I know I and all the volunteers I work with help, but this is a BIG PROBLEM! I can't tell you how many times I've taken in a dog because someone is moving to a non-pet friendly apt, or, moving to a new house with new carpeting and they don't want a dog. I always wonder if they had the option, would they do the same thing with their kids?
I love animals dearly. I've had pets before but now I cannot have a pet until my lifestyle can support being that pet's companion. But reading this letter makes me even sadder to know about all these abandoned animals, left to die. I am thankful for this letter in hopes it will make others think.
so if they can't place your pet they call you and tell you so. If you can't keep them and would let them die then fuck you. I think if they called you and said if you don't come get them we'll have to put them down, I think most people would come get them-no? No Kill Shelters the only way to go!
14. Can I also make a plea that pet owners be realistic @ care and feed?
I have observed/participated in more than a few threads whereby a DU pet owner was excoriated for even THINKING about "abandoning" (cough) a raw meat, or solely organic, or expensive-name-brand-diet pet food, or a diabetes regimine for a 17 year old cat because they were faced with economic hardship.
Gawd forbid they might try to clip their own pet's nails! Or try Purina instead of XYZ Organic!
Nope, pet owners are made to feel guilty if they have to cut corners to make ends meet with their pet. And so some pet owners - many, most - ??! feel as though they should just give up the animal rather than just diminish the level of care. I've seen it right here on DU with insane levels of expectations of other DUers rather than some compassion for difficult economic straits. Hell, even Queen Elizabeth euthanizes any horse she can't use or work since no one can provide her level of care.
For me, I would far far rather see a pet stay with it's owner. And frankly, I believe that shelters can do a lot more to enable this. We, as a pet community, also need to reduce the guilt factor and be more flexible in understanding the owner/pet relationship AND economic circumstances.
You, as a shelter director, could do enormous good by simply talking to these kinds of owners when they bring them in. So what if an owner can't groom a poodle to show quality? Forget that nonsense and just pay for a clip job once or twice/year. Or better yet, show the owner how to do a basic clip themselves. Purina is not Satan's Chow. While free spay/neuter programs are bread and butter issues, free obedience classes would be an equal lifeline. Dogs get big but big doesn't necessarily mean trouble and it would behoove shelters to figure out this message asap. My 15 lb Jack Russell Terriers were as "big" and troublesome as the 95 lb Doberman Pinscheer. It's about management skills and someone (like you) needs to be proactive in the community to assist with this stuff.
I love the work that shelters do. I'm a big fan but often wonder @ the focus on managing the incarcerated populations vs.community outreach programming.
MY point is that owners can and should, without guilt, do what they have to do (within reason) to keep their pet with them. What many perceive as intolerable cost cutting, really isn't. And they shouldn't be made to feel guilty about that. Shelter owners especially should be on the front lines helping here.
As far as your point about animals adapting, well I firmly disagree. I've adopted/purchased numerous animals and can attest to their acclimation. Yes, it takes work but surely you knew that? I run a 40 stall boarding and training operation whereby horses are shipped in/bought/sold/boarded for short terms for training etc. so I know first hand of what I speak (and I own multiple dogs and cats PLUS I've adopted AND fostered my fair share). Animals are far more adaptable than you believe. Yes, animals thrive on consistency but that doesn't mean they can't thrive on the new household's consistency with some patience and love to bridge the transition.
The SPCA of Central Florida has an interesting program called "Pet Food XPress." They work with Social Service agencies to identify low income seniors with dogs or cats and then one a month deliver food for the animals. For the shelter, it's a lot cheaper than having to take in the animal. PLUS, the animal gets to stay in a loving home and the senior (who may have no other companionship) gets to keep his/her pet.
Shelter Managers shouldn't have to provide social services for people, but I wonder if as a community we worked together a little better if we couldn't take better care of our pets.
i am a senior, moving to fort pierce fl in april. at 67 i am going back to school to become licensed as an esthetician. i have 7 cats and am getting into financial difficulty. i may end up with no home at all. my kids want me to come to live with them, but i have to get rid of the cats. i had real difficulty getting across to them the importance of my little babies. they are my reason for getting up each morning and trying to move forward. finally i got through to my kids by telling them that without my cats in my life, i do not want that life. sounds morbid but people do not understand the strong bond between a pet and it's owner. over the last 15years seven cats i had died, in my arms. kidney problems, old age, infection leading to heart problems. the vet bills were astronomical. but i would not give up those relationships, no matter how painful their deaths were. i had 2 cats that were dying but followed me around until i held them, they died peacefully. 2 of them died after running into alcoholic vets. i thought they would get the care they needed, never thought about the vets vices. now i ask questions, for which i know the answers. when they get it wrong. my pet goes to another vet. vets, lawyers and doctors are at the bottom of my, used car salesmen are higher than the vets, doctors, lawyers, at least with used car salesmen you know he is bull shitting and you are on your guard. thanks for the posting about central florida.
A similar thread here on DU has posters defending the practice many shelters have of imposing impossible, perfectionist, and even meaningless rules and obstacles for people trying to adopt pets.
How can they feel so awful about the unadopted dogs getting euthanized, then defend the rescue society that won't give up dogs to people with children, or people who can't get references from their employer on their fitness for a pet adoption?
19. You can find purebred dogs at the pound. I adopted a purebred dog from Animal Control in 2002
Edited on Sat Jan-17-09 12:55 AM by quantessd
An obviously purebred rottweiler who had been (presumably) abandoned and homeless for some time before he was picked up by Clackamas County Animal Control. He definitely seemed depressed, as well as sickly.
He was a very well trained dog. Someone had paid a lot of money for him as a puppy, had trained him, and then probably abandoned him at about age 5 years or so. It's also possible the dog was stolen and had escaped from his captors, but the people at the pound thought, no, he had probably just been abandoned.
He looked like he was starving to death, and it was right around early January, but he regained his health quickly. He got a lot of compliments on his looks, after just a few months of good living.
Purebred or not, well-trained or not, it doesn't matter. For every success story like my dog, there are many more who were "put down" in these same circumstances.
Purebred or not, there are just too many puppies being born, all the time.
22. Sending your pet to a shelter should be as common as leaving your baby at a fire station.
That's my opinion on the matter. If you took responsibility for it, take responsibility. I'm not a hardcore animal rights person, but cats and dogs aren't toys or accessories. I fostered a little "aggressive breed" mixed puppy I found for two months until I could find him a home. It brought insane amounts of stress into my life, but now he is with a wonderful owner who loves him and takes good care of him. The vet wanted to give him the pink juice when he was less than a month old based on his breed (when I found him, his eyes were barely open he was so young.)
Catch and release, don't buy, and don't make a commitment you can't keep.
If you aren't willing to make a lifetime commitment to ANY animal you adopt or bring into this world, then don't do it. Don't perpetuate the problem either by not spaying or neutering your pets.
I have adopted only shelter pets and ferals who would have died had they gone to a shelter. Each are indoor (cats) and each are spayed or neutered. I refuse to perpetuate a market which only results in gross misery such as this.
24. My cats were adopted as adult cats on death row
and both had behavior problems I chose to live with. Both turned out to be damned grateful when it finally dawned on them they'd been rescued and had another person to care for them.
One of them is gone and the other one is 15 1/2. I will probably crack after she goes and try to find another adult (read: no longer a cute little fluffy kitten) cat on death row who doesn't know what it did wrong to its humans.
There is no way I'd go to a breeder and buy a designer animal.
We weren't eligible to adopt because our acre isn't fenced (even though we walk our dog several times a day). Others report being required to submit 3 references, employer references, credit reports, or for being ineligible because of being a long-term recovering alcoholic or for not having an adult to stay home with the dog during the day.
Even prospective owners of indoor CATS have been required to have fenced yards!
Don't blame people for going to a breeder if a shelter won't allow a person to adopt, or makes the hurdles too high.
>Don't blame people for going to a breeder if a shelter won't allow a person to adopt, or makes the hurdles too high.
We got our two Maine Coons from a breeder. They are neutered. We signed a contract. Both cats go back to the breeder if for any reason we can't care for them. We chose this route after we lost our beloved Maine Coon mix, Merlin, in 2001 to fibrosarcoma. We wanted to make SURE we knew something about the health and vaccination record of our pets.
We've previously adopted shelter and rescue cats. We got another shelter cat in 1995 that had extreme behavioral issues. We replaced the floors in three different homes before we finally gave up, and we didn't give up until we'd had several vet opinions, consulted a pet psychic, tried every remedy under the sun...
One of our friends was turned down outright for a shelter dog, despite the fact she is the most conscientious dog owner either of us have ever known. If there is such a thing as another lifetime, I want to come back as one of her beloved pets. She specifically adopts older pets, too. She got the "you do not have a fence" thing, then they threw in the fact they want someone who stays at home all day with the dog.
I volunteer for for my local SPCA and they are pretty strict. We have a problem in this area with medical researchers posing as people who want to adopt. We also have a problem with dogfighters looking for bait. We check out future adoptees very thoroughly. While some of the rules are too strict IMO, I do see the need for some restrictions. We volunteers get attached to our babies and want them to go to good homes.
I also volunteer once in awhile for a couple of other small shelters that are not nearly as strict. They pretty much just want to make sure that the dog's basic needs are going to be met and that they won't be kept in a crate all day while the owners are at work. I myself do not have a fenced in yard and adopted my shih-tzu from a breed specific shelter.
I've heard that our local pound doesn't ask ANY questions at all.
I have a friend that wanted a border collie (or mix) and got turned down by the shelter I work at. She was about to go to a breeder until I connected her with a border collie rescue group in another county where she found her new baby.
I think you are right about the higher fees (in your other post) and also spay/neuter requirements tend to help weed out the people with other intentions. I agree that the requirements are too strict in some shelters and also that baiters/researchers can easily disguise their true purpose. Heck, why do they even bother with shelters at all? Just looking through the want ads, I see MANY free puppy and kitten ads. There are easier ways for them to get their victims.
Yea, I wish the SPCA would loosen up the rules a bit too. Even myself, an animal rescue and shelter volunteer, could not meet some of their requirements. I understand their concerns and will continue volunteering for them though.
The avian rescue I work with gets these complaints all the time. We require a phone screen, a home inspection and at least one avian care class (we're thinking of adding another for large, difficult birds). We'd love to get as many birds adopted as possible, but we always have to make certain that they're going to homes where they'll be properly cared for.
Of course, the bar is much higher for us than for mammal adoption. Some of our birds will live another 60 years and have intellects (and personalities) comparable to a human 4-year-old. For older adopters, we often interview a secondary caregiver who can take over in the event of death or illness.
90. That other thread got too big for me to open on my dialup but I'm also a shelter reject
Since I run a boarding/training operation, and the two shelters that I went into had people working there who recognized me, they knew I was responsible for multiple animals.
I ran into the "must contact every vet that's ever provided care for your animal to get reference checks". Well, we have 9 horses of our own, plus dogs and cats. PLUS we work with multiple OTHER vets for the horses we train/board. We literally have an army of vets that caretake our sporthorses alone: a vet to do chiropractic work, another that does acupuncture. The lameness expert in Waukegan and the breeding expert in Oconomowoc not to mention the field service vets (4 in that practice of whom any one of them has been out in the past 25 years of service) PLUS the vets at the University of Illinois and Wisconsin that do the nuclear scans AND the local equine vet clinic that takes the only decent xrays to get the lameness resolution process started....
Oh, and this isn't even mentioning the vets for the dogs and cats.... Just the horses. My dog and cat vet records are complicated by the fact that I can't lay out a straight line of care: my field service vets do as much work on them as the horses. Routine vaccinations etc. get done at my house by them when they come for the horses. But sometimes, if a dog has an ear infection and it's near the spring heartworm check time, I just get the vaccinations/heartworm check at the small animal clinic. So even though I keep extensive records ensuring they get done, recreating every gap is tricky when each vet would have to verify their records. Nightmare.
So when I tried to adopt a dog - bzzztt! Ran into the "vet check" requirement. They wanted every single stinking vet listed. And since we seriously compete our horses, and some of the workers actually knew me/us, and knew the level of competition we engage in - I was shit outta luck. Can you imagine having to take all of these vets away from their work just to get a stupid reference for a dog adoption?! And I was flat out told, that if even one of the vets didn't return their call, I would be rejected.
I tried to explain the situation to the screener but both shelters were immovable. I pointed out our website, asked them to contact maybe 2 of my vets instead of all 20 plus... nope. No way.
So we've HAD to turn to a breeder aside from the one rescue dog we got via my sister (who fronted for me - basically she told them she was adopting two dogs, and then she gave me the one I wanted). So yep, the shelter got a big fat lie from us so I could rescue the dog (a JRT which THRIVE as farm dogs but are often turned in for adoption because they typically do NOT thrive as suburban house pets. I hate seeing JRTs in shelters....).
Shameful. And I'll never repeat it (at this point, I know I never will have to repeat it since every one of my vets that I've reiterated this story to, has called me at some point with a dog they want me to adopt so the next dog I get will come directly from one of my vets. But still....)
103. I know. It's crazy. And I love Jack Russells. I understand them.
I've had several and would take more where I KNOW they would do fantastically at my horse farm. It's their "natural" environment.
Yet... no fencing (well acres of HORSE fencing but no fenced "yard"). Substantial and prohibitive vet reference issues. So Jack sits in it's cage at some shelter. I've completely given up trying even though I would happily take a few (yes - a few) of these terriers into my home.
So I get them from breeders at $600/pup and fume when I contemplate the JRTs in cages in just my area alone (and you shelter directors KNOW exactly what I'm talking about in regards to this breed damn you.)
149. One sleeps under the covers and the other sleeps on top of my head like a hat!
(I spoil them too!)
JRTs ARE work which is why they are pretty tricky for the average family. They are so energetic and perceive of themselves as "BIG" so their machismo sometimes is problematic. But I love their quirkiness and when they are in their environment, they are one of the best companions.
28. ""We are moving and we can't take our dog (or cat)." "
that is what i was told was the excuse of the family who gave up morgan. (my guess is that she sheds a lot and they probably didn't like that. well, her devotion, her gentle/cute/wonderful/loving/funny personality, her ability to sing, completely overcomes what i'm assuming the other family viewed as a negative quality. their loss, my gain.)
Now I am stuck here because I refuse to give her up. I rescued her when she was about ten months old, nine years ago. She's getting old and the long trip would be too much of a stress strain what with all of the hyperventilating and such.
I'll probably be hitting the streets with my tin cup and my cat soon. lol
When my dog was a puppy he hated the car, but fortunately now he loves traveling. (I think he's always hoping it will turn into a hiking trip.)
I realize cats are different, though. (I remember reading about a cat that refused to leave its house. Fortunately, the new house owners were open to adopting the cat, when it finally came out of hiding.)
67. If I had to move to take a better job and couldn't take the cat, he would have to go.
I'm sorry but that's reality. My livelihood comes first. I would not like giving him up (and at this point I don't anticipate having to do so since most of my potential jobs are nearby) but some things are more important than my cat. I am not criticizing your decision; that's your choice. It would not be mine.
why would you not be able to take the cat? cats do well traveling, flying. if you moved into an apartment that did not allow cats, do it anyway. if your cat is indoors and not outside, you should have no problem. put cat statues, cat pictures, stuffed cats in the windows. someone outside would not be able to tell the difference. many dwellings will allow a cat.
most of these people do not have the resources to get advise about what to do about the pets. too bad there is not a web network to help advise them. sometimes the grief of leaving the pets clouds their thinking.
from the shelter, and we could not ask for two finer dogs. Our oldest BC (now three) does agility with our oldest daughter. The younger dog is also being trained to do agility, and our younger daughter will be the handler. It is a lot of money, but it is our only hobby.
Dogs should be part of the family. Unless the weather is too cold, I ensure that the dogs get at least an hour a day walk (or jog). In good weather this can get up to two hours per day. The dogs are my personal trainers. The dogs are companions to be my wife during the day. The best thing we did for our older BC was to get the younger one. They act like delightful brother and sister, and sister has her older brother wrapped around her paw.
My daughters go to the shelther frequently to walk the dogs. It is heartbreaking to see so many dogs in the shelter. We cannot afford another dog, but if we could, we probably would have a bunch of herding dogs (all adopted). The local shelter is actually in my will.
If anyone is thinking about getting a dog, please consider looking at the shelter first. Puppies might be cute, but they are destructive and usually don't have an issue getting adopted. The advantage of adopting at a year was I got two dogs far less destructive, calmer, and potty trained. The downside is that I will have a year less with them before they pass away.
The grief when a pet passes is great. I stayed in the room when my Beagle was put down after 13 years of companionship. I would have it no other way. He was suffering terribly, and I probably should have let go sooner. I could not imagine the heartache of putting down a healthy dog.
62. you know what. there are people that ARE moving. and most apartments don't allow pets.
so people who lose their house do to foreclosure and such... are they bad people because they CAN"T keep their pets? now, after we had a fire in which our dog and cats were UNDER THE HOUSE, we went to live in a trailer park. jimmy was a german shepherd, and they only let it slide that he was too big because we had had a fire. there are people who just can't keep the animal.
there were times when we thought of taking jimmy to the shelter. he was stuck on that chain in the trailer park when he was outside. what kind of life is that for a dog!! and when we weren't looking the neighborhood kids would come over and taunt him and throw things at him. I don't know what we would have done had we not gotten back to our own property.
i understand the reason to disbelieve. i understand that there are those who just decide they don't want the animal. but it is not always nefarious. there are people who really do believe they are doing the right thing for the animal. and there are people who are really moving. and places that allow pets aren't that available. especially if someone is moving for financial reasons.
86. That was the reason given for the new cat we got last month
So far, he doesn't seem to have any bad habits that I've been able to see: he's a calm, healthy and friendly older cat Given the number of apartments that won't rent to people with pets around here I can believe this in many cases.
Why anybody wants kittens when they can have an adult is beyond me, she says, taking Mr. Retrograde's 4-month old furball out of her potted plants again.
i also thought this was a good excuse until i was in the humane society adopting another cat. there is a group of people who move around and cannot take their pets. it is military personal, they are moving to another base that prohibits pets or the person is going to iraq. i saw this twice at the shelter. many tears were shed by the kids, but as one mother said to me, her husband was going to iraq, they had no money and had to move to her parents. the grandparents did not want pets. maybe there is a way or organization to help them take the pets. not sure how to do it but the need is there.
42. The economy is rough for pets. Even worse for pets than humans.
I read some posts above which suggested that pet owners who abandon their pets are simply lazy. Has it ever occurred to you that when someone loses their home, their pets do, too? This also applies to homeowners having to downscale to an apartment, etc. Who truly suffers? Pets.
Meet Dexter B. (a.k.a. Notorious D.E.X.), who joined Dot, Snowball and Coco (mine are indoors). Wild Mama Cat dropped him off in our backyard, along with her other babies (she stayed to care for them, underneath my heavy stone fountain). Anyway, Wild Mama Cat, it turns out, wasn't wild after all, and is now my neighbor's wonderful pet, along with her son, Mongo, and her daughter, Gracie.
But Dex is all ours (Dex didn't get the memo about being feral; he's just a laid-back, affectionate, mischievious neutered dude - we rescued him at 3 weeks). Mine are all neutered/spayed, and are completely indoor cats, who enjoy a rather large country home (I'm ashamed to say how large it is).
goes much further than most people. They get an animal and then get rid of it when they realize they cant take care of it. We spend thousands a year on pets. Nothing absurd, just basic care and feeding. Add in vet bills and boarding when you leave town and you have a big number.
Fencing in a small backyard with shadow box fence is several thousand by its self
Some people think that pets are disposable and these people are cruel. My family was heavily involved in our local Humane Society animal shelter for 15 years and everything this poster says is true. The more I am around people the more I love my dogs.
I have a cat. She's very easy to book travel plans around, but if I were to move, moving into a pet friendly place would be non-negotiable to me.
The only reason I would get rid of my cat is if she were to attack any children I may have. And even if that were the case, I would make provisions with friends or family to take care of her. (I don't expect that to be the case or likely, it's just the only way I could ever imagine getting rid of a pet who is absolutely a member of my family.)
Who've done that because they were moving to an apartment where animals weren't allowed. The idea of taking an apartment - of even looking at an apartment where I couldn't keep a pet is incomprehensible to me.
Maybe it's regional - I've never had a problem finding pet-friendly apartments in Chicago. Seems "no-pets" regulations are the exception, not the rule. My building is full of dogs - AFAIK, me and one guy on the first floor are the only cat people. But I guess I don't see my neighbors walking cats around on a leash very often, so I wouldn't know.
(There actually is one dude in my neighborhood who DOES. Big terrier-sized black and white tuxedo cat who seems perfectly comfortable in a harness. Takes all kinds!)
In the Northeast it was extremely rare. In Nashville, you've got a 50/50 chance of 'no pets' and of those, most require a pet deposit of around $350 or so. Of those, it's rare to find a rental where the pet fee is refundable.
109. Well, then I hope you can find a cardboard box
big enough for both you and your pet, because depending on the area you live in, you aren't going to FIND an apartment that allows pets. That's the main reason we don't have a cat, sadly. There's no apartments OR houses for rent that allow pets. And with the financial issues, you're gonna have more people competing for those rental units, and more landlords being even pickier about their requirements because they can. So, if someone HAS TO MOVE out of their home, and they CAN'T find an apartment that allows pets because there AREN'T ANY, I hope you open your spare bedroom to them so they have somewhere to live instead of giving their pet to the shelter. Either that, or I hope you have a fridge box or something that they can borrow. It's pretty damn cold outside!
113. I've been looking for a job for about a year.
I had an interview a few months ago in a small town where there were only four apartments for rent, only two apartments I could afford and none of them would accept pets even with a deposit. I didn't get the job, but if I had, after ten months of being unemployed, I would have had to make serious choices about my pets. I love them to death but if I starve, they starve.
I don't have a dog because I don't have a 9-13 year old who will come home from school and take him to the park, and have a blast teaching him how to 'sit' and 'lay down' and 'stay' and 'heel' and 'roll over' and 'play dead,' on command, the way my brother and I dedicated ourselves to teaching our pet about rewards for good behavior.
For what it's worth, the same people who bring home pets irresponsibly do a whole lot of things irresponsibly. It's just a shame the animals have to suffer for it.
60. I found a dog who was dumped in the road January 29, 2008
I almost brought her to the county pound and I am sure glad I didn't.
My vet told me she had probably never been to a vet or had any of her shots and that alone would have been a death sentence for Missy.
They don't have any way to segregate new arrivals from the other dogs so if they haven't had the protection of the shots she needed she would have most certainly died from sickness. Even though they immunize new arrivals it takes two weeks for the immunizations to fully take effect. She wouldn't have made it.
Missy is now my new dog. She had her stitches removed yesterday from being spayed.
She appears to be one of the best dogs I ever had.
Lab/Australian Shepherd mix.
Sure glad I found her before the coyotes did or she was hit by a car.
And now you've got to think exponentially - how many unwanted puppies have been halted?
I've mostly been a cat person all my life, but gave myself a sweet, sweet 8 year-old chihuahua for Christmas. I know her owners, and she had yet another litter of puppies last October. They decided to give the mother to me since the puppies were cuter I guess. They also let her run loose. One of the kids told me, "You can have her - she's just a street dog." :banghead:
Not any nore, and she's doing okay with my 2 cats - maybe because she's smaller???
153. I once was at a shelter that specialized in these pets
Some years ago I visited the "Road Home" animal shelter in Crossville Tennessee. They specialized in pets from people who couldn't keep their pets for medical reasons or because they were going into public housing.
68. Not education. Strict licensing, neutering, and breeding regulations/laws
and enforcement of same. All dogs/cats licensed. Breeders licensed/inspected. Special, regulated, EXORBITANT fees for un-neutered animals and high fines for un-licensed animals and higher for unlicensed breeding.
License fees even for neutered animals high enough to make people pause before they acquire a pet. If you can't afford a substantial licensing fee, how are you going to afford routine pet care? Let charity help "worthy" owners who may find the fees prohibitive - now THAT's an appropriate function for charity, rather than the food and shelter and medical care for people that should be a right.
Until we decide to get serious about regulating pet ownership we accept the 4-6 million (or whatever unconscionable # it is) animals destroyed every year, not to mention puppy mills, dog-fighting, and other gross abuses.
Everything else is just futile moaning and gnashing of teeth over "why don't people do what they SHOULD do???" Because they don't, that's why.
We've had over 100 years of dedicated attempts at education by the Humane Society and others, to what end? Time to take effective action or accept that we treat living creatures the way we do.
Small birds like budgies and cockatiels are often euthanized on intake, unless a rescue has set up an agreement with the shelter. Larger birds are often auctioned off without any consideration given to the qualifications of the highest bidder.
There are plenty of great rescue sites around the country. Here's the one I work with: http://mickaboo.org.
And thank you for all you do on behalf of birds. :toast: I have had several budgies, all of whom were rescues. They are the light of my life.
Have you seen the new book, Of parrots and people: the sometimes funny, always fascinating, and often catastrophic collision of two intelligent species, by Mira Tweti? It's really an eye opener, covering bird smuggling, parrot mills, and the inhumane treatment of birds by big-box pet chains. Made me even more committed to providing a good home to sweet 'keets.
when she was 4. We were always more cat thatd dog kind of family. But since Lilly arrived, not only do we realize we love having a faithful gentle loving dog, but also are committed to always adopting...even if the bar is set high. It didn't even occur to me that the rules may be strict because our family had the lifestuyle that was so condusive to all the requirement of the "No More Homeless pets" people.
99. Obviously, the bar wasn't set too high for you since you already happened
to meet whatever the shelter's requirements were.
But there are probably millions of potential adopters who are turned away arbitrarily every year. For example, why should the owner of an indoor cat be required to have a fence? When I wanted to adopt a dog, why would I have been a better pet owner in my old house that had a fence around a tiny yard, than in my new house with an unfenced acre, and 500 park acres a couple blocks away in which to walk him?
The fence requirement might make sense if you planned on leaving a dog unsupervised in your yard, but I would never do that. My childhood dog could (and did) climb a fence, and a friend's dog loved to tunnel under them. I would never trust a fence to contain a dog.
87. our family dog when i was growing up came from
another family upstate who said the puppy was too undisciplined and growing too big for the toddler children...their loss was 11 years of heaven for me and my parents...at least we saved her from the shelter
People think I rescued them. The fact is, they have rescued me! I cannot imagine life without at least one soft furry creature willing to snuggle at any time. For those of us who don't have children, or maybe to some of you who do, our pets give us a daily dose of humility and humor, as well as keeping us from becoming completely selfish.
I work with a woman who is married with 3 small kids. Her husband is the macheesmo type and they go through dogs about as fast as they go through new vehicles. About one every 3 years. Always a new purebred "tough" breed like a rottweiller or pit bull, always a puppy. The more money spent on the puppy the better for bragging rights. Never trained, never paid attention to, and usually poorly behaved around people FOR THOSE VERY REASONS. After the new puppy loses it's cute, it goes out in the kennel, which is basically a purgatory. Nobody wants to feed or walk the dog because he jumps, licks, scratches, bulldozes and pisses and shits with excitement whenever one of his humans come outside and notice him. All it takes is one incident--- where the dog gets out and digs a hole in the yard, or comes inside and messes the carpet, and the poor thing is taken in the dead of night to the dog shelter, usually tied to a fencepost for the relutant kennel worker who shows up in the morning to the chore of dealing with people's garbage... their unwanted pets. The dogs go ballistic when they hear the car on gravel outside, as they probably do in the middle of the night when my coworkers husband ties up the now inconvenient puppy he wanted so bad last year. I have tried talking to my coworker, but it's like talking to a flat, dull rock. Her sympathy and empathy--- her conscience- doesn't extend to animals.
This topic really pisses me off and I usually get into harsh words with people who defend this type of cycle, and the very ideas of breeders, pet stores and puppy mills. If someone tells me their dog or cat is purebred, I am not impressed. Mutts have less health problems and often better dispositions. But if you think of your pet as an accessory, something that helps define your person or your character to others... then I've got little use for you. Harsh but true. I used to volunteer at the animal shelter here and have held too many perfectly healthy dogs and petted their smiling faces while their tails wagged, as someone else prepared the needle to end the dogs life. Each dog different, each just wanting love and acceptance. I had to stop helping because I began collecting them and bringing them home. I still could not do it, I really understand those that do, but my heart was an open wound during my time volunteering there and I had to go. I really wish there was a program to get kids to work at least one saturday or an afternoon a week at the shelter, cleaning up and walking, grooming dogs and cats. It would teach them about the care and maintenance of a dog and also implant the seed in their brain that there is a CONSTANT supply of unwanted animals that need homes, and pet stores may be fun to go to at the Mall, get to pet some bunnies and watch some cool fish, but the very business of trafficking these animals does more harm than good!
Thanks for your important post and bringing this up when we are all rather distracted with events. I plan on forwarding it to people I know (including my coworker) in hopes that it helps plant seeds elsewhere too.
I grew up in a rural area. We had one dog once from a breeder (friend of a friend of the family, German Shepherd--damn, she was a great dog), and all the rest of the dogs we ever had were rescues. We never even got to a shelter. We never had to, the poor things came up to us. Assholes who think dumping a dog in the woods to fend for itself is less cruel than a shelter.
People who think that must have never been a child having to ride in a car passing by those poor doggies coming up to every car with their sad eyes, hoping it's their person coming back...til they eventually get run over, or starve, or freeze, or get killed by some predator or bigger dog. We couldn't take them all, but we always had a yard full from trying.
And yes, we had 'em all spayed and neutered. IT'S NOT THAT HARD!
108. Time to Out Source our animals !! S. America! Africa!!
Edited on Sat Jan-17-09 09:50 PM by shintao
Maybe the answer is to outsource our animals to other countries. I remember when they killed off a slew of cows here in California to control milk prices. Why not ship the milk cow to Africa? Send our cats & dogs to the jungles in S. America. Geeze, that would be better money spent than running ships to stop killing whales or seals, for a change anyway. If PETA can do some things, maybe this is a possiblity as well. I am sure some river natives would appreciate some cats to kill off mice & rats in their village that spread disease. Or dogs that can kill snakes that invade villages. So we need to think outside the box!!!
work at a local animal shelter. As part of their training, they had a handout which indicated that every family in this country would have to have something like three dogs and four cats (or maybe six dogs and eight cats, I can't recall the exact numbers) at any given time to accommodate the vast numbers of euthanized cats and dogs every year. Not to mention that probably at least as many are simply abandoned by irresponsible owners.
I was also disgusted by the people who'd decide they didn't want to adopt from us because every animal that we adopted out had to be neutered. No exceptions.
I have three cats: one from that shelter, one from my vet, and the third simply showed up on our doorstep two and a half years ago, starving and flea-infested. All are wonderful, sweet cats who seem to understand that they won the adoption lottery.
129. What if the shelters have requirements you can't meet?
I tried, but there were too many arbitrary hurdles (such as a fenced yard). I bought my dog from a breeder who was satisfied with our large yard (an acre) and an active family who would be walking him every day.
139. I don't regard a fenced yard as an abritrary hurdle, myself- ah, think I misunderstood, pls see edit
Edited on Sun Jan-18-09 11:13 AM by tbyg52
We live in an acreage community, and I sure get tired of other people's dogs in my yard and on the road. Not to mention they sometimes get hit by cars on said road.
Oh, do you mean the dog is in the house except when being walked? That never occurred to me because I don't think I could stand it! (The having to walk the dog(s) part, not the having them in the house part.) We have a fenced back yard and a dog door, always have. And enough dogs to keep each other entertained.... ;)
142. Right, my dog is in the house unless we take him outside. And there are four
people in this house who do this, so he gets plenty of walking. (He's out on a hike with my husband right now.)
But he's not large and he doesn't shed, so he's wonderful to have inside. (If it's pouring rain I put him on a tether outside the back door and watch him from the door. If we had a fence I'd still feel that I had to watch him. When I was a child we had a dog that could easily climb a fence.)
Also, none of the yards in our neighborhood have fences. Lots of people have dogs, though, and they walk them, so it's a good way to talk to people.
We had a dog once that discovered he was a fence-climbing genius when a thunderstorm scared him. We saw him at the top of the fence (well, it was just one of those semi-temporary stake-and-wire things, as we were living in Navy housing on Guam, but it was at least four feet - might have been five, it was a long time ago) in a flash of lightning. So we had to go out in the storm and chase him down the street.
We brought him back with us, of course, along with another boonie dog, and the dog and cat we'd taken when we moved there.
The one on Guam is the only fence-climber we've ever had, although we've had several diggers.
The dogs in those videos should never have been left in those kennels, IMHO. We've never had a pet that didn't have the run of the house, except for one that had been fostered for over a year and tore up the house until we got him a crate on our vet's advice. He stayed in that for about a year when we weren't there (security blanket) and then we weaned him off it. He's back to the original spot he chose, except he doesn't tear it up and pee on it anymore....!
125. I have never had a pet that was not a rescue.
Edited on Sat Jan-17-09 11:52 PM by FedUpWithIt All
We just added two new rescues to our family a few weeks ago. I wish people would spay and neuter. I want to scream when people say things like, "I want her to have a litter first".
Our dear Autumn passed over the summer. He was 14 yrs old and had been with us since i found him at the pound when he was 6 weeks. He had ring worm at the time and i was advised to "put him down" as the process of kicking ringworm is quite intensive, especially with other animals and kids around. During treatment he was very trusting and we became quite close. He stayed my baby for the duration of his life. I miss him dearly and cannot imagine if he had not been here to brighten up this planet for 14 years.
After he passed we all needed a little time. A few weeks ago we brought home Monticello and Marmalade. The are 18 weeks and 9 months respectively. It is always hard on animals to be shuffled around and exposed to a long line of new people but they adjusted well. It was noticeable when they finally started to let their guard down and relax. We adore them. They already have made themselves quite at home and are extremely friendly with each other.
126. As the owner of 2 big black mutts, let me emphasize Big Black Dog Syndrome is real
Edited on Sat Jan-17-09 11:57 PM by JoeIsOneOfUs
Not as much so as opposition to pit bull terriers or whatever people think PBTs are, but BBDS is real.
Whenever I get compliments on my beautiful big black dogs, how handsome they are, I make sure to tell people my older boy was nearly dead for being just another big black dog, and my other dog had no other applicants.
Big black dogs look larger and scarier or sadder in shelters. Get them out and people react completely differently. When black labs sit in the #1 AKC breed spot, you end up with a whole lot of black lab mixes dying in shelters.
Also tortoiseshells. Some people think they're ugly, some people think they're crazy and bratty.
This is my shelter kitty. She'd been there for 4 months! When I think about what could have happened if I didn't go to the shelter that day, I want to cry and snuggle her. (And yeah, she might scritch me. She's feisty, so what? I'm bigger than her, I can take it! It's her cattitude and she makes my heart happy.)
131. I think it's because they don't always photograph well, especially under sketchy lighting.
I had a litter of kittens I was fostering to adopt out this summer. Two beautiful tabbies, a sort of patchy white one (who, though I love her, was a bit runty and not real cute) and the sweetest, softest, best behaved little black one. I had tons of inquiries about the first three, but it took me a month to find one person who was interested in the little black kitten.
It turned out that adoption fell through because somebody in the home had allergies and I would up keeping her, because she really is incredibly sweet and well behaved, and my son was so excited when we went to go pick her up and take her back home that I couldn't separate them again.
But had to put more effort into finding her a home than I did the other three combined, because she didn't look so cute in a photo.
134. I adopted a 10 month old black lab mix last month from the pound.
Shardik is now the sweetest bestest pup you could imagine. However, we brought back kennel cough that isn't going away for my yellow lab. I'm going to have to carry her to the vet on Monday if it doesn't go away this weekend.
one of the problems people have is providing medical care for their pets. g.e. offers a program that has saved me from big vet bills. it is called care credit. the vet has to be a member, you can go to the care credit web site and check if your vet belongs. what happens is you are given a card, looks like credit card. based on your financial situation, g.e. gives you a loan for 18 months, or 24 months or 36 months. if you make the minimum payment on time then no interest is charged. you have 18, or 24, 36 months to pay it off without interest.
Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators
Important Notices: By participating on this discussion
board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules
page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the
opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent
the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.