4.11.2011

Letter From A Shelter Worker

The following letter was written by a shelter worker. I really wanted to share this note, because it presents the cold, hard reality for shelter pets in America. Everyone needs to read this... Breeders need to read this. People who support breeders by buying pets need to read this. Anyone who has ever given up their pet needs to read this. The world needs to know the truth...
Wisdom of a Shelter Worker, MUST READ
Benny was killed in a shelter earlier this year
I think our society needs a huge wake-up call. As a shelter manager, I'm going to share a little insight with all of you...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 he or she’s not a cute little puppy anymore. So how would you feel if you knew that there’s a 90 percent chance that this dog will never walk out of the shelter at which he/she will be dumped? Purebred or not! About 50 percent 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?
Or maybe 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 to 12-hour day and still have time for my six dogs!
“She’s tearing up our yard.” How about making her a part of your family inside the house?
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… and how stressful do you think it is for these dogs being in a shelter? Well, let me tell you, your pet has 72 hours to find a new family from the moment you drop him/her off. Sometimes a little longer if the shelter isn’t full and your dog manages to stay completely healthy. If he sniffles, he dies.
Denny was killed in a CA shelter
Your pet will be confined to a small run/kennel in a room with about 25 other barking or crying animals. He will have to relieve himself where he eats and sleeps. He will be depressed and he will cry constantly for the family that abandoned him. 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 his pen with a high-powered hose. If your dog is big, black or any of the “bully” breeds (pit bull, rottie, mastiff, etc.) he was pretty much dead when you walked him 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 his 72 hours and the shelter is full, he will be destroyed. If the shelter isn’t full and your dog is good enough, and of a desirable enough breed, he 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 he 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 his 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 freaks out and puts on the brakes when we get to the door. It must smell like death, or maybe 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 one or two 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 I’ve been covered with the resulting blood and deafened by the yelps and screams. They don’t all 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 this every single day on the way home from work.
I hate my job. I hate that it exists, and 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 that maybe I 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 letter, and it made me want to adopt.” That would make it worth it.

*This letter was written by an unknown shelter worker in the United States. Ashley Owen Hill did not write this letter. Lucky Dog Rescue Blog is sharing this piece for educational purposes.

73 comments:

  1. this is the reality of what happens to unwanted pets.... pet food yes they end up their too...

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  2. AMAZING post! I get sick when I hear a friend say they are looking for a dog, yet never mentions going to a shelter. We love our rescues, but I think they love us more... love & gratitude.

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  3. Thank you for saying what needed to be said,..Here is to hoping it makes at least one person wake up

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  4. shared on my facebook page... i volunteered in a shelter sooo sad.. the pitbulls never left that christmas or new years holiday.... i got to know pitbulls very well and love them,, the humans not hte breed makes them bad....

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  5. just awful....definitely adopting when we get another animal.

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  6. time to get the reality out there and IN THE PUBLIC'S face...no more sugar-coating what happens to animals treated as "disposable" items...how sick are we as humans? LOOK at what we do! Thank you for sharing this, even though you may be preaching to the converted here, passing this along and making it known is SO needed.

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  7. Shelters are packed with Owner Surrenders... People who dumped their pets and alleviated themselves of any guilt by saying, "My dog will get adopted." No... in reality, you just signed your dog's death certificate. What's worse, they will suffer immensely before they are killed... terrified, alone, and waiting for you to return. They will DIE waiting for you to return. We all talk about how heartbreaking this is, but still, every year, millions of people dump their pets at the shelter. And they have no chance of getting out, because breeders continue to bring cute little puppies into the world, and people continue to buy them. It's a vicious cycle... and WE MUST STOP IT. Please don't breed. Please don't buy. Please don't dump your pets to die. ADOPTION & SPAY/NEUTER are the keys to ending this problem.

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  8. I will be printing this out and sending this to the three puppy stores we have in town. 5hanks for this. The truth does need to be herd more now than ever. ANYBODY WANT TO JOIN ME IN SENDING THIS TO PET STORES AND BREEDERS IN YOUR AREA?

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  9. what the hell is wrong with this country!!!!!. should i put my parents down when they get to old to take care of!?? we do live in a country where we have the right to live!!.can anyone answer this!!??? isnt it our right. ? well these animals have the same right!, they have feelings too!. u can see it in the eyes!. & if u dont see this then ur full of sh~T!! i hate people like this that think it's ok to do this to these animals!!. not even giveing them a chance to live is uncalled for!

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  10. I don't know how people can 'surrender' a pet. I have three Chihuahuas that I would give my life for, I don't leave them alone at any time. When I go out it is planned, and my daughter stays with them. I am lucky in a way because I am disabled and can stay home, but even now if I leave my one dog goes into hiterics, the other two become withdrawn. I can't imagine what they would do in a shelter!!! My God, how can anyone do this to these sweet angels! Thank you for posting this.

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  11. my animals are my children!! & i wouldnt have it anyother way!. i wish i counlt own a shelter or a pound!! because this crap wouldnt happen in my shelter or pound!!. i wouldnt even be herd of !!. IT'S NOT RIGHT TO PUT AN ANIMAL DOWN UNLESS IT IT SUFFERING IN A VERY BAD WAY!!,.

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  12. OMG I am crying I have 3 beautiful dogs that are awesome and I would never think of getting rid of them. The last time I moved into an apt. I had to search 500 apt. just keep my dog.. We then broke down and bought a house so we dnt have to deal with the situation again. I am looking into building kennels so that I can have more dogs. I dnt have children so I say why not. I had my pit bull Char die from Lymphoma cancer 3 yrs ago and when she passed in my home I held her tight kissing her bawling like a baby.. This because she was my baby and so part of my Family.. This is just horrible what people can do when everyday I wish I could have my dog back. She died in my home because I refused to have her put down by someone she didnt know.

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  13. this is really depressing it made me cry i couldnt even imagine giving any of my dogs up like that i hope everyone reads this

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  14. I agree whole heartedly. Infact when my Chihuahua died of heart failure and the time was right I started to look for another one. Now a relative found this sight for Chihuahua puppies and wanted to get me one of those. I told him no. I keep looking on the animal shelter and humane society sights. I saw a pure bred Chihuahua I was interested in but she all ready had two applications for her. So I went over to the Humane Society. There I found my sweet Molly a chihuahua mix. I just brought her home thursday 4/7/11. But walking through there all those poor dogs made me wish I could take more than one. But i all ready have two other dogs. Both rescued.

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  15. And what about the animals that are bred ? My parents always get their dogs from a breeder. They need homes too or they will end up with the same fate as shelter pets. Our family got a rescue dog once. It bit my Dad and he needed several stitches. The dog was abused by another dog in his previous owner's house and in the end we learned that her psyche was damaged enough that she could not be trusted around people. We returned her to the breeder, who wanted her back instead of us putting her down, but we made her sign a letter releasing us of all responsibility if she chose to give the dog to another family. ALL animals out there need good homes both those in shelters and those that are bred. They did not ask to be born, just as we were not asked to be born. Now that they are here, we have a responsibility to them.

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  16. Wow you sure know how to pick them. Did you even spend time with the dog first??? When we adopt a pet I sit on the floor and watch them pet them hug them play with them to see their temperament. When you buy from a breeder you trust them to do that for you. Yes a crappy breeder may send a few pups to the shelter but here in BC the SPCA notices and watch you like a hawk after. Do it again and they will harass you to get the Mom altered. Happens to everyone not just breeders. Breeding is supply and demand. No demand then there is no profit in supplying. Simple middle school social studies concept. So don't buy from a breeder and they will go out of business. Spend more than five minutes picking a pet, ask the shelter volunteers they know which ones deserve homes, get a vet opinion. One bad apple doesn't mean the batch is bad. Oh and pay attention to body language it tells you a lot.

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  17. I am guilty... guilty of reading this and others like this one and feeling sick to my stomach, but not doing anything about it!!!! My family has only chosen pets though out our life via adoption! It is the only way to go! I will post this on FB and in an email to my friends! As u made me think, I hope I do the same to someone else. In memory of all the lost lives because of selfish people!

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  18. There are just to many awful owners our there. If your human child started growing and tore up everything, Would you send her/him away? Well, you mine as well, cause that is what you are doing to your animal, when you decide you NO LONGER want the responsibility. I got my sweet Sophie, from the Humane Society here. And the day I got her, she had been given a name after being there almost 2 months. I guess to give her a name before she was to be put down, was appropriate. But, there are so many more in these cold, lonely cages. Spade and Nuture is very important.

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  19. I will be adopting within the next year and it will be a large black "bully" breed the best dog I ever had was a lg bl "bully". They are made into bullies!!! She was a sweetheart.

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  20. I agree you cant say all dogs are bad because you found one... I was realyoung when i got my sasha she's a 12yr old purebreed american pittbull. My boyfriend paid for her. Id never give her up but i know now that theres so many animals being killed everyday cause people want to make money.. Its sad. I have 1 dog i paid for then i have my lil lucky who came from the shelter. When i lose my sasha i will adopt another dog from the shelter. We cant keep letting these innocent lives be tortured and killed.. Sasha would go insane in a shelter how can you throw away a child??? She's like my daughter..

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  21. It truly is horrible, and I would love to volunteer in my local shelter, but it is so heartbreaking to me how humans domesticated these creatures, for all intents and purposes, they are perpetual toddlers until the day they die. They cannot live on their own. they depend on us to care for them. They are not a belonging like a chair or a table. They have feelings. They have thoughts. I volunteer for the Golden Retriever Rescue in my state, and I foster for them also. It is very rewarding to know that I am helping to save lives, but it hurts just as much that I am not able to save them all...

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  22. *tears* i worked in a shelter for a year and every single word of this is true. my best friend of 12 years came from a shelter the day before he was to be killed. he was lying in a cage stacked on other cages and was so sad. lost all hope.whoever had him before didnt even give him the thought to walk through the door when they gave him to the shelter. they dumped him over the fence at night. he has slept pressed agianst me every night for 12 years and i hope many more. now i gotta go get a kleenex...

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  23. Excellent post and it should be required reading for every owner that surrenders their pets. My dog was a shelter dog and is one in a million.

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  24. Gosh thank you for posting such a powerful post. I think every one should read this!

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  25. Incredibly sad. No animal should go through that or abuse EVER!!!!! I'm sad & really pissed off about the freaks that turn their pet out like that at such a place. This world is just not fair to animals & it's heartbreaking....

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  26. This is extremely sad. I however had a different experience with my dog. We live on a small dead end street were the smaller dogs have free run. My dog was at the top of the street and was grabbed by a new neighbor. She was only out for 5 min when we could no longer see her. The neighbor for whatever reason lied when question about her and sent her to the animal shelter were the workers tried to steal her. We both called the shelter and went there to find her. On the second visit WHILE they were adamantly
    saying that she was not there a worker walked out right in front of us holding her. They were straight up going to steal my dog and only kept her there the requisite days by law. So while I see your point about the deaths at a shelter in my personal experience not all shelters follow the same game plan as you do.

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  27. It is so sad and unbelievable just how common it is for ppl to get an animal then for some stupid reason dump it off at a shelter.. They are not just dogs, cats, etc.. They become part of your family.. They will be there to greet you with purrs, wagging tails and kisses when you get home.. They won't judge you, but rather comfort you... To the author, thank you for sharing.. I truly hope this is a wake up call for some people.. I couldn't do your job...

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  28. I read this letter and found out even more things that break my heart. I could never do your job and I am thankful for those that can tough it out to help those animals that can be helped. Thank you! I am going to fight even harder now to help animals. I may never get a law passed that states "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth to any owner convicted of animal abuse" but I will try my hardest to help every animal I can. Thank you for trying to open up the hateful and ignorant eyes of humans!

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  30. I love this post! It made me cry, but I loved how truthful it is. I have three dogs of my own right now and I will NEVER let my babies end up in that situation. My husband and I always say that when we decide to get another dog it will be from the shelter. I love going to the triler full of shelter animals just so I can visit with them, because I know they love to be loved on even if it is only for a few minutes. My next dog will be a shelter dog! I hope people start adopting dogs from the shelter so an innocent life is not taken!

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  31. I have volunteered at a shelter for over three years which has a much different outcome than most in the U.S. We had one lovely pit for over four months before her dream family came to her. In most instances, the euthanasia option is only for those too sick and are suffering or so psycologically damaged as to be a danger. When overcrowding becomes an issue, rescue group and volunteers who will foster step in. That agency is Santa Cruz Animal Services of Santa Cruz California, and I am so proud to be associated with them.

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  32. I have heard that if you get a new family member from shelter the pet will have its shots, neutered and chipped. If I'm not mistaken the adoption fee is 50-75 dollars. If you go buy a breeded dog they are what, 200 and up. Thats not counting shots and the stuff I just mentioned. In my mind, I would rater save an animal and on a side note, lots of money. Plus pure breeds dont have long life spans, in my experience anyway.

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  33. Yep, you got me pegged - shedding tears for dogs, puppies, cats and kittens that had to be destroyed for no good reason! The love of my life, My JRT, Dexter, was a pound puppy. The one before him, Lucas, he too was a pound puppy! Lucas was 17 years old when he was mercifully put to sleep. I could never let any pet of mine suffer! After I do the same for Dexter (Thank God, it isn't time yet); I guarantee I will be at the pound again, after I recover from my loss. How can people dump pets, members of the family, off at a high kill shelter, is beyond me! I could NEVER do that!

    I'm glad someone who knows NEEDED to get this off of their chest. I didn't realize how bad this really was! It opened up my eyes a little wider - like I said, I'll be back to the shelter to get another Pound Puppy! They are so grateful to have a home, and be loved.

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  34. monicastarrwhisnantApril 11, 2011 at 8:50 PM

    Thankyou for this post. I have bought from breeders before but never again. I will be getting my next one from the pound. Thanks again for informing us.

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  35. I have worked at shelters, voluntered, and fostered. People tend to forget that YOU decided to make that dog or cat that you just gave up as a part of your family, they did't. They did as you said, were loyal, and acted as a animal should, what did you expect if they did something wrong, REALLY! When you decide to give your animal up for whatever excuse you have, it doesn't save their life, it doesn't change the fact that you turned your back on them when they were always loyal! PLEASE spay and neuter your pets! It saves lives, more than you will ever realize, to expensive for you, there ate assistance programs, do it to save their lives! I have adopted multiple animals and saved animals from going to pounds. I love my dogs, my cat, and all my other animals, i'm a single parent that is always busy, but I still have time for my babies and I will always go to the shelter for my pets or a rescue agency, they need it! I always tell everyone that is looking for an animal to adopt, there are no differences, except maybe more loyalty and love from your animal, you are their savior!

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  36. I just got a puppy. He's 7 weeks old, and doesn't sleep much, so lately, I haven't slept much either. And he bites like the dickens when he's in a frisky mood. He's part herding dog and part hunting dog. He's going to be a lot of work, because he's the kind of dog who needs a job, but he's smart as a whip and I can already tell will take to learning well.

    I'm exhausted and a little bit chewed up. Puppyhood is the challenging part, but he's worth the trouble.

    He was born in a local shelter and I am fostering him until I can adopt him officially next week. I love the little guy and will take good care of him for the rest of his life. He's sleeping with his head on top of my foot as I type this.

    All my dogs have been shelter dogs, and they've all been worth their weight in gold. I wish everyone thought this way.

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  37. This is 1 of the saddest things happening today. It breaks my heart. I cry every day for these poor animals. I rescue as many as I can and I spread the word hoping alot more people will help but still this goes on. I wish no animals ever had to be put down but I know it happens and I atleast hoped that when they were put to sleep it was a painless procedure... And sadly now I know thats not how it is. And Im so hurt by this. It kills me and stupid people who are irrisponsible are to blame for this. I hope 1 day soon this World changes for the better and all the animals will have a chance to live their lives the way they deserve to. I will always continue to save and rescue animals and I will forever speak for them. May God be with them and Bless them all... Every single day.

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  38. I just fostered a sr.furbaby on Friday night that had to get off of a transport ASAP that was coming thru my town...'crashing',they said..details unknown, I met the transporter, and took this sweet baby immediately - He was an owner turn-in @ 13 yrs.old!!! Sadly, he didn't make it thru the night, and died in my arms :(
    Previous "owner" doesn't even want his ashes...
    What a POS, imo..
    This sweet 'ole man' died of a broken heart, yet in loving arms....albeit a stranger's..
    Am soo thankful for the 'receiving' rescue's emotional support..
    And, at least he knew genuine love at the very end...
    Dante, you were loved and safe until you were comfortable enough to 'let go'..
    I only knew you for an hour or so, but I loved you like I had been owned by you forever...
    Run free at the bridge, and I'll see you soon...

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for taking the time to show Dante love even if it was only for a short period of time. Hopefully he died feeling somewhat secure and safe in your arms. Continue to do great things because there are unfortunately, so many more "Dante's" waiting for loving people like you.

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  39. This is a bunch of bullshit. People who are willing to dump their dogs when they chew up a shoe (or a couch) should not have to privilege of adopting!!! Your pet should be part of your family, in good times and bad. Even if I had to live in my car, my dogs would be with me. I don't understand this concept of a disposable society... people need to be held accountable for their actions!

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  40. I have worked in animal hospitals and had more than my fair share of helping put down animals. If you have never witnessed one let alone help end this poor beings life, you have no idea what happens. The ones up for adoption are so sweet but they do get kennel crazy after a while. Some of th excuses are unbelievable! The worst was because the dog didn't match her new furniture!!! These are living, breathing FEELING beings, people need to wake up and GROW up!!

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  41. I adopted my dog in Jan from the SPCA of Northern Nevada. He is such an amazing dog, so loving and sweet. He was a stray who was then rescued by the SPCA. They marked him as being aggressive, but I found that it was because he was scared. Animals get labeled all the time. He's young, and those are the ones that are rescued. It's the poor "elderly" dogs, normally the larger breeds, who end up living out the remainder of their years in shelters. The next dog I adopt will be one of these elderly pooches. They need a home just as much as the cute, little, young ones. Thank you for sharing this letter. It disgusts me and angers me that people could even consider treating an animal like this. I have a little white dog follow me home on my walk the other day: male, un-neutered, no collar, and probably no microchip. I did the right thing and turned him into Animal Control, but what'll happen to him now? Will the find his family or will he live out the remainder of his life in the shelter?

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  42. This piece has been going around the Internet for some months -- I think it's the third or fourth time I've seen it. It's a typical bash-the-public piece. The reality is that most Americans spay and neuter their pets, consider them part of the family, and treat them well. We spend almost $50 billion a year on our pets. For the latest statistics on pet ownership, see a recent post at KC Dog Blog --http://btoellner.typepad.com/kcdogblog/2011/04/pet-ownership-growsand-pets-become-a-growing-part-of-our-families.html

    The jaw-dropping horrors that occur at animal shelters are a direct result of the shelters' refusal to implement the common-sense methods of the No Kill Equation: low-cost S/N, feral cat TNR, foster networks, volunteer programs, working with rescues, returning lost pets, comprehensive adoption programs, and so on. Instead, shelters choose to kill animals, then blame the public. When you post things like this, you're just enabling them. Please go to the Info resources at No Kill Nation on Facebook to read about the No Kill movement, which is saving lives at shelters in communities across the country. The No Kill Advocacy Center has resources for activists who are working to reform their shelters and turn them into places of hope: www.nokilladvocacycenter.org

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  43. This breaks my heart. Thank you for posting. I've had my eyes opened (when we adopted our 2nd dog from the NYC ASPCA) and hopefully others will as well. Those pictures...break my heart.

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  44. It is a sad, cruel, disgusting world we live in. Dogs are the wonderful creatures, humans have to wise up and get over their greed for money by breeding!! What is wrong with humans!!!

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  45. When I was at the humane society adopting my dog an older couple was trying to drop off their 10 year old cocker spaniel. The guy at the front desk pretty much turned them away saying the dog would never get adopted. They told the man she was a good dog and he said then keep her or find her a home. At first I thought he was being really rude and mean but I can see how it can get really frustrating dealing with people dropping off pets that you will eventually have to put down. I think he was able to turn them away because they didn't live in the humane society jurisdiction. I hope the couple was able to find a place for their dog.

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  46. heartbreaking insight but sadly, this is the truth.

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  47. Hi Ashley, I am a huge fan of yours and respect and applaud everything you do. I myself volunteer with a few different rescues here in San Diego. I run the No Kill San Diego facebook page. I consider myself alot like you in many ways. I have read every blog post you have written. I promote Pet Pardons for you. I do what I can.

    So it's with mad props to you and I want to say this in the most respectful way. I too have read this letter from a shelter worker. In fact its been going around for about a year. It started from a post on Criag's list is what I am told.

    It's been my experience that rescuers like yourself are so entrenched with seeing the horrible abuse that humans inflict on companion animals that end up in shelters that they cannot or will not see another way even when the facts support it.

    I urge you to educate yourself. Please read "Redemption, The Myth of Pet Overpopulation & The No Kill Revolution in America" by Nathan Winograd. Every shelter in America has the absolute choice not to kill for space purposes. Lets face facts. Euthanasia is not the definition of the term when they are killing to make room for more. And it doesnt have to be this way.

    You stated: no-kill is a great ideal, but for now, we have to deal with the numbers... reduce the number going in through spay/neuter, and increase the number going out through adoption. That is an issue that can only be corrected through the actions of our society.


    I say your slightly midguided because this is something shelters can correct themselves. After all the literal definition of a shelter is to protect or shield from something harmful. We would not have a shelter for lost, abandoned or abused children, only holding them for 72 hours and "euthanizing" them to make room for more later would we?

    YOU mentioned the numbers, well here they are:

    Last years US census shows us there are over 200 million homes in the USA. In the United States, current estimates from a wide range of groups indicate that approximately 4 million dogs and cats are killed in shelters every year right? Of these, given the data on aggression in dogs (based on dog bite extrapolation) and save rates at the best performing shelters in the country from diverse regions and demographics: Better than 90% of all shelter animals are "savable".

    The remainder consists of hopelessly ill or injured animals (the true use of the term euthanasia) or vicious dogs whose prognosis for rehabilitation is poor or grave. That would put the numbers at about 3.6 million animals that are saveable.

    These same demographics tell us that roughly 23 million americans are considering bringing a new dog or cat into their household and that 17 million of those homes have not yet determined where they will get their animal and CAN be influenced to adopt from a shelter. Thats 17 million homes vying for just under 4 million animals!

    Even if the VAST majority of those 17 million (upwards of 80%) got a dog or cat from somewhere other than a shelter and didnt adopt, we could still zero out the killing.

    TO BE CONTINUED NEXT COMMENT......

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  48. PART 2:

    Communities like Washoe County Nevada are doing it. The State of Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the nation. Washoe County regional animal services and the Nevada Humane society combined takes in more than 4 times the per capita rate of animals than Los Angeles, more than 5 times that of San Francisco and nearly 7 times that of New York City and over 2 times the National average. If there was ever a community that people have said there is no way they can reach NO kill, its that community.

    But due to the proven No kill equation, they are saving 92% of animals yearly. They are adopting their way out of killing among other things with proven leadership that first and foremost made a commitment to one thing: stop the killing, stop the killing, stop the killing.

    That's the thing: there is a proven solution and a proven formula. The reasons shelters don't implement it are many, but the main one: It's hard friggin work. And they have always done what they have always done. Its easier to gas animals and take 'em out in body bags than to vaccinate upon intake, provide proper enrichment and rehabilitation, run a widespread volunteer program that fosters, have a trap, neuter release program for feral cats, get the community involved and do offsite adoptions, provide low cost spay/neuter and many other things. A huge volunteer database actually SAVES $$. But Its EASIER to kill them. Why? Because thats always what they have done and its easier. It actually costs them more money to kill them than to release them to rescues and adopt them out.

    Yes there will always be a small percentage of americans that abuse animals and that's horrendous. By small percentage I mean there are about 70 million homes that own dogs alone in the US today. Think about that. 5% of those who mistreat animals is TOO MUCH. But it's a small percentage by comparison. There are evil people out there who abandon, starve, mistreat and discard so therefore there will always be a job for rescuers. Rescuers will always see that side and they go looking for it. Thank God they do. We see the horrors every day. But of pet owners they are the minority. Please take your influence and power and educate yourself about the American shelter system.

    I know your busy and rescue is your love but you could be such a positive force for good, by your voice alone. I consider Redemption is the most important book I have ever read. Period. I implore you to read this book. In fact I challenge you to read this book. Or atleast get your feet wet and read this pdf:
    http://www.nokilladvocacycenter.org/pdf/nokillprimer.pdf
    You have nothing to lose. Find ot for yourself. If it were me and I turned a blind eye to knowing the truth and a way to fix things I would never forgive myself. Please consider this, respectfully. A fan,
    Kellee Kilmer
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/No-Kill-San-Diego/176149375733600#!/pages/No-Kill-San-Diego/176149375733600

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  49. i adopted two pets from a shelter just over a year ago. it felt amazing to bring them to a loving home, but i tell you what the hurt i felt when i relized that i alone couldn't save them all still tears me up inside. i saved two lives that day, but how many were lost. the answer TOO MANY! this NEEDS to end. These are the lives that depend on us to take care of them and love them forever, so many people are letting them down and it is so wrong. They need us!!

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  50. I realize this letter is an older post, I just thought it was important to share. Thank you for your input, Kellee :)

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  51. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  52. I can't figure out how to post can you help? As we speak, one of my 3 rescue dogs is laying in my arms licking mommy's tears.

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  53. Thank you for sharing what needs to be out in public.. and thank you for doing what you do everyday. We wanted to mention that we've initiated House Bill 767 for a National Animal Rescue Day to create awareness and promote animal rescue... We're trying to spread the word about the importance of rescuing and make it a national day... http://www.pawtographs.org/initiatives.htm

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  54. This blog made me so teary - what is wrong with people?!?! I've been fostering a dog for 6 months and can't find a home for her - meanwhile people continue to buy dogs from pet stores or breeders. How can we help make them see some sense?!?! Shelter dogs need homes too!!!!

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  55. Hey guys,

    I just found an awesome site and pledged $20 to a dog rescue/adoption billboard campaign and you should too! I think this affects all of us, so check it out if you haven't already... http://epicstep.com/campaign/156/1-dog-bought-1-shelter-dog-killed/

    This is a cause we can all stand behind, and no actual credit cards are charged unless the funding goal is reached. Thanks for reading. Happy puppy love :-)

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  56. I've worked at animal shelters, and I am currently finishing my first year in veterinary school. And yes, a lot of the people who dump their pets at shelters need to grow a brain. Most of my animals came from shelters or they were strays that I ended up with. However, I don't believe it is fair to judge people who buy a dog from a responsible breeder. I actually have an AKC registered Doberman. I bought him at 14 weeks old from the girl that bought him from the breeder because she was moving into an apartment that specifically didn't allow Dobermans (she didn't know that at the time). The biggest issue is education. People are just ignorant about pet care. Responsible breeders assure that their animals go to responsible homes and that the buyers are well educated in the breed. Many breeders also have a part in their contract that states they will take a dog back if the owner can no longer care for it.

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  57. Judy Wilson, Nanaimo, BCApril 13, 2011 at 10:47 PM

    I have never "bought" a companion animal from a pet store, breeder, etc. Every companion I have ever owned has been adopted from shelters, and one cat was taken in when she was abandoned outside the apartment block where we lived then, after her owners moved. They have all been wonderful, and we have been SO lucky to have them. Every pet owner should have their pet spayed/neutered, and should consider the adoption of their companion to be a lifetime commitment. I can't imagine every having left those wonderful members of our family at a shelter, dumped there, confused, and waiting for death. I also hope that your article, distressing though it certainly is, will get through to at least one person who would consider doing this. And more.

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  58. I love my shelter dog! Thank you for posting this, it made me cry, but it reinforces the reasons for adopting!

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  59. I am giving my dog up tomorrow her name is Coffee she is 2 year old chihuahua mix. Her previous owner hit her since she was a Little puppy and now she is very aggressive towards other animals and people. When I take her to the park with her sister who also came from the same family she will charge and attack people. We bought a muzzle but that makes her even more aggressive! She makes sounds like I never heard before like a demon! is awe full to take her for walks always looking over my shoulder and looking out for the rest of the people and animals around.

    I've had enough! I cant even have fun when I go to the park! Her sister is doing better she was the same way. But now she changed she understood that I was in control and she didn't have to worry about anything but fun.

    Yes I feel bad because she will most likely get killed. But I cant risk a law suit for a dog that doest even give me love in return for all the things I do for her.

    She changed my life for the worse I saw the dark side of having a dog and I pray to God I will never get a dog like that before!

    No one can say I didn't try my best! I gave her all she needed: exercise, food, vet, love and a home! I just give anymore.

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    Replies
    1. Were you expecting sympathy on this page?

      You'd have better luck in the dictionary.

      Delete
  60. Barbara Melton LewisApril 20, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    I have been thinking more and more of getting a shelter dog next time. After reading this article I am more convinced than ever. The thought of these guys being on "death row" and being led to their "death chamber", while resisting, makes me unbelievably upset. The thought of "destroying" an animal, a living breathing animal, who was once somebody's pet really breaks my heart. How can anybody turn their back on "man's best friend" while a man/woman puts them down because nobody wanted them anymore. I read about breeders who cast out their older dogs that they no longer want to breed. It's like throwing out newspapers when you're done with them. What's wrong with people. I say animals don't deserve some of us but they don't have a say; they have to live or die with where they are. They can't drop us off at a people shelter when they're tired of us. The truth is that animals love unconditionally; even those that are abused. They don't know any better. Thank you so much for writing this article, whoever you are. I love animals of all kinds and think we could learn an awful lot from them if they were given a 2nd chance!

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  61. Anonymous on April 20 at 12:51pm, I don't even know how you would have the nerve to come on my blog & announce that you are giving up your dog tomorrow! It doesn't even sound like you've tried anything to remedy this problem! It sickens me to know that you read this letter and YOU ARE STILL DUMPING YOUR DOG AT THE POUND?! How could you?!

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  62. I would never abandon Creamy, my beloved Toy Poodle. The rewarding experience I have when she's hyped when I arrive home, the fruits of dog training, all those are enough reason for me to let her stay even if she isn't as cute as a puppy anymore(but she is still very adorable even now!). When I have plenty of available time in my hands, I might consider adopting a Shelter dog to help you out, even indirectly. I really admire your dedication for these abandon dogs, you make them feel that there's still hope, which is there always is!

    Fun fact though, for all those who left their dogs don't know this in my opinion, Dog owners live longer!

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  63. I know this is an old post, but I work in a shelter and recognize this letter as a mirror of my own feelings a while ago. I am grateful to my shelter manager for educating me about compassion fatigue.

    This letter--and the way this person is feeling, which is how I felt about seven months into my current career as a kennel technician at a high-kill shelter--is an expression of Stage III Compassion Fatigue. I really hope the person who wrote it got the support that they needed from their fellow staff. The turnover rate in kill shelters is so, so high. Most of us quit before we even reach stage three.

    At the end of the day, it helped me to remember why I started working in a shelter in the first place: to make the lives of the animals in my care comfortable and filled with compassion, even if those lives were short-lived.

    Sure, a part of me still wants to euthanize every owner coming in to surrender a pet for their own convenience, but that's just part of "the shelter life." If you work in a shelter, even a high-kill shelter, after you get past the hurt and anger, you will realize that because of your work and dedication, at LEAST one pet knew a loving hand before it passed. You don't have to be religious to understand the power of compassionate care in this world of ours.

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  70. I could have written this word-for-word..thank you for all that you do as a dog rescuer. I truly believe that every single dog that is saved is worth all the pain and agony we feel when we can't save them all.
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