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Shelter Manager's Thankless Job

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  • Shelter Manager's Thankless Job

    All animal lovers should read this.

    This was posted in the "Best of Craiglist". It was not written by me.
    YOU SHOULD ALL READ IT. Everyone who wants a pet should know exactly what happens if they decide they can't keep their pet anymore. Not all shelters are exactly the same, but this was written by a shelter manager, and I appreciated the post:


    “I am posting this (and it is long) because 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.

    Breeders Need Not Apply

    First off, this is a forum to for adoption and/or rehoming as clearly stated in the rules. All of you breeders/sellers on craigslist should not only be flagged (and I hope the good people on craigslist will continue to do so with blind fury), but you 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.

    No Shortage of Excuses

    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?

    “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 and how stressful do you think being in a shelter is?

    Well, let me tell you.

    Dead Pet Walking

    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.

    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…not for long though. Most 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.

    The Grim Reaper

    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 freaks out and puts on the breaks 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 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 pets 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?

    Liberty, Freedom and Justice for All

    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 do everyday 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 farther 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 or flag 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 thing on craigslist and it made me want adopt."

    That would make it all worth it.

  • #2
    Thats a strong message and a scary one and I thank gods no shelter around here is run like that. The sad thing was the discription of euthing the dog. At 17 years we euthed our girl after she took a stroke do to a brain tumor we never knew she had. They heavily sedated her, then brought her to me and laid her in my lap, explained the gasping and defication to me, before injecting her. It was explained to me that as the animal dies, gasses in the lungs are expelled, but that she feels no pain and is already dead. The same with the releasing of the bowels.

    As Shilo laid in my arms gasping in her death, I bawled and begged her forgiveness. It was my vet who quietly and calmly told me, I had done all I could, that she was feeling no pain and had no reason to apologies. That her long life in such a healthy state was a testimant to our care for our dogs, and that I should be proud that I loved my dogs so much.

    I knew he was right, but nothing perpares you for your dog, laying in your arms gasping as if trying to breath when in actuality she is already gone, its simply muscles relaxing in the dogs body. It still hurt, and it still does.
    The reason dogs are great is they wag their tails, not their tongues.


    • #3
      I have made this a sticky post so it stays on top.
      I think I am also going to feature it on the front page of our forum this week.
      I can add nothing more to it.
      It is too depressing and just makes me weep...
      Thank god for no-kill shelters. They prove it CAN be done. Best Friends has almost completely sucessfully made the state of Utah no-kill .... California is also making tremendous progress with this.


      • #4
        There's only one thing I'd add to that.........


        But I think people would get the hint. At least, I hope.


        • #5
          Shelters in Germany do not put down their dogs if they are not adopted. They remain in the shelter and live out happy lives. Personally, I think there would not be such a problem if it was important for governments, nation-wide, state-wide, and city-wide to put environmental concerns and animal concerns on their priority list and make sure the organizations that help animals get the funding they need. I try and accept the fact people tell me strays "need" to be put down, but when I read things like this, I think otherwise.


          • #6
            Most other countries find it deplorable to kill an animal for lack of a home. They find it deplorable to abandon an animal. Germany is very high in this opinion, friends from there told me it would be almost unheard of for someone to just dump an "unwanted" animal somewhere or abandon it. Many industrialized countries feel the same way. The U.S. is disgusting in this sense...that our animals are possessions and can just be abandoned for ridiculous reasons. The rest of our community should be apalled at this sort of thing but it is just commonly accepted.

            "You can judge a nation, by how they treat their animals".


            • #7
              That's one of my favorite quotes.


              • #8
                its always the excuses that get to me - a lady gave up her dane saying she didnt realise how big he would get!!
                all dalmatian rescue 01255 220 649 (uk)


                • #9
                  And don't forget the excuse of, "she's pregnant and I don't want to deal with puppies."

                  I'd say that's the one that makes me the most angry.

                  Followed, of course, by "I just don't have the money to have her spayed."

                  Yeah, but you can come up with the money for all the extra food she'll eat while pregnant and then all the food her 6, 7, 8 or more puppies will eat until they find homes? Oh yeah......and the money for dewormer?

                  Being polite and having a good attitude is hard when dealing with people who seem to suffer from a lack of common sense.


                  • #10
                    Just Another Dog Lover:

                    Thank you for posting this article.


                    • #11
                      THATS IT lover you hit the nail on the head - through out all this we still have to remain level headed and calm - i couldnt find a nice way of saying sometimes i want to twist their nose off.

                      i very nearly flew for a woman who was boasting about how she had hit her newly adopted staffy x pup (not from me) around the rear end with a garden stick to stop him pooping on her flowers and when that didnt work she poked him up the bum with the stick instead and then a few days later she had the cheek to ask me for a gsd!!

                      yeah right!! anyway she wasnt taking anything from me no matter how much i said the time wasnt right for another dog and her pup needed some more training first so i gave her the addy for a guy who is big in gsds and who would have definatly put her straight.
                      all dalmatian rescue 01255 220 649 (uk)


                      • #12
                        Education is the only way forward, I hope the people who should be reading this subject ARE! At the moment my rehomed terrier is chewing my furniture, my rehomed lurcher is asleep beside me, smelling BADLY of fox, I need new carpet because animals get SO excited but who cares?? I could not work with animals because I know my limitations but I respect and love everyone who works in rehoming any animal.


                        • #13
                          milly that is so sweet
                          all dalmatian rescue 01255 220 649 (uk)


                          • #14
                            Milly: You are so right about education being the key. Years ago, I worked for a small company where everyone worked in the same room. The owner
                            asked me one day what I thought was the solution to the problem of so many dogs being abandoned and needing homes. I said "education is the key". He
                            seemed so surprised by my answer... I was surprised by his surprise.


                            • #15
                              interesting article
                              much appreciated!
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