I found this a while back on Craigslist. It really spoke to me and hit home. It's made my goal to start out a rescue when I finally have a home large enough to do so, and am safe to do so financially. Anyway, I guess I was just posting this for people to give them something to think about. I know it did for me.
"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 too that doesn't allow pets? 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 freaks out and puts on the brakes 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 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?
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 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 if you want to. The truth hurts and reality is what it is. I just hope I maybe changed one persons 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
After you wipe away the tears from reading the letter above, I BEG that you share it with anyone and everyone you know."
This really was the most important thing I have ever seen posted in the Rants and Raves section of Craigslist.
How sad. I can't imagine having a job like this and the pictures that would forever be in my mind.
This should be posted at every pet store, at every vets office, every breeder, every shelter door. This is why I HATE puppy mills. There should be a law that you have to have a license to breed, it should be checked regularly, and violation should be mandatory jail time. There should only be a certain amount given by the government every year- just enough that we can afford to keep up with inspections. A little harsh, but they are living/breathing/God given lives. How can we treat any life like it is worthless? If we do, then what separates us from deciding a human life isn't worth it. Think about this, most serial killers start as animal abusers/torturers. That should tell you something.
I think all of us should read this Thanks for putting it up
OMG, thats all I can say.
I may be in the minority here, but I think this heavy-handed stuff is counter-productive. Most good breeders take back puppies, most good breeders do rescue. The shelter community makes enemies where there should be allies in some cases.
I watch the local shelter constantly and in all the 4+ years I've had Jack, I have not seen a single Corgi go through its doors. The HUGE majority of dogs in the local shelter are either mutts, or purebreds who are elderly pets that were turned in when someone died or got very sick. Which is a sad situation that has nothing to do with good breeders.
A lot of the dogs who go into shelters were whoopsee dogs from irresponsible owners who did not spay or neuter. They are mutts from long lines of mutts. I do see the occasional beagle. That "don't breed while shelter pets die" is really a very simplistic view of a complex problem. The vast majority of animals euthanized in shelters every year are cats, not dogs. And much of that has to do with the huge feral cat problem.
I hate puppy mills because they are not good for dogs and are not good for owners and are not even good for the operators; it must be dehumanizing.
But good breeders are not a part of the problem. And that "don't breed or buy" nonsense pushes away serious dog owners like myself who should be part of the solution.
I've posted the stats on shelters before and won't do it again, but of the 1.5 to 2 million dogs (out of 76 million owned pets--meaning about 2% of all the dogs in the country) who are euthanized in shelters each year, about 700,000 are pits or pit crosses.
Moreover, in many parts of the country dogs will live for weeks or months at shelters if they are considered adoptable. Many times even on this site when people post a picture of an available dog, by the time someone here calls the dog has already been adopted. There are foster programs from shelters that put dogs in homes instead of cages. Not all shelters are high-kill shelters; some are, especially in the south. The push for spay/neuter has been very successful. We can still do more but I doubt in a society that is based so much on personal freedom we will ever reach a point where no dogs die in shelters, and that would still happen if every single breeder stopped breeding tomorrow because you'd still have people who couldn't keep dogs, who got in over their heads, who have badly behaved dogs that either need serious help or need to be euthanized because they are dangerous.
Sorry for going on so much but I'm tired of this dynamic that puts rescue in direct opposition to breeding/buying.
I appreciate and agree with your perspective, Beth. If anything, responsible breeders and shelters can co-exist and work together harmoniously to help out disadvantaged dogs. You're absolutely right, a responsible breeder should offer to re-home a pup if it must be surrendered for whatever reason. I think a major part of the problem is due to backyard breeders or "whoopsie" litters, as you put it.
Beth, I do agree that the part about the breeders is a bit.. Blegh. The person who wrote this though is probably just really tired of it seeing as here, we do seem to get a lot of purebreds it seems in our shelters.
It's sad, but it happens. Maybe they just meant backyard breeders and didn't specify.
I don't think they just meant backyard breeders. I know some people personally who are heavily involved in rescue, and they can get very--- heavy-handed is all I can say. They are so close to the problem that they don't see the big picture. About 7 million new dogs go into homes each year. About 1.5 million dogs or so die in shelters. Do the math. If we stopped breeding tomorrow, there would not be enough dogs to go around.
In certain corners of the dog world it's gotten to the point that you dare not even mention you are going to a breeder. It's really way too political. I don't mean to give YOU a hard time. It is a sad situation.
Different regions have different problems, but here all the private rescues pull dogs from the south, or less frequently from New York City. The local shelter usually keeps adoptable dogs til they are adopted. Right now we have 17 dogs in the shelter. There are regional pockets of trouble, but throughout much of the country (excluding most of the south) the biggest problem is cats and they are mostly strays/ferals.
Once we were at PetSmart and a woman had a purebred Bernese Mountain Dog. She got it from a kill shelter out-of-state.
A backyard breeder had trouble placing all her pups and took them to a kill shelter. Can you imagine???
I think they all did get adopted but a shelter is a dangerous place for minimally vaccinated pups and they could just as easily have gotten sick and died. THAT just makes my blood boil. If you don't have the means to find homes for the pups and then the facilities to keep any if everything goes wrong, then you shouldn't breed. That I agree with. I know when the economy first crashed, some very good breeders got stuck with pups because they'd have three or four people back out at the last minute on the same litter....
And by the way, the breeder we got our dogs from DOES do rescue (as I believe most everyone in the breed club does at some time or other). She even told me a nice story about a Corgi she brought through rescue (not one she bred) who turned out to be reactive to children because of having lived with a child who had developmental problems and scared it. She found the dog a nice spot on a working farm with no kids for miles, herding sheep.
If that dog had ended up in the local shelter and was that reactive to children, it would have been put down. So perhaps this shelter manager (if indeed she is one and not some one writing from that point of view) should actually talk to some breeders before making such sweeping generalizations. Good breeders actually pull dogs out of shelters like hers so they can stay in foster homes and avoid the stressors she talks about. Good breeders have take-back contracts on all their pups. Good breeders work hard to educate buyers and select buyers carefully so their animals get good homes.
I have pulled three cats off the streets and adopted another from a shelter, but with the life I have and what I want to do with my dogs I will always buy puppies from good breeders. I want a specific dog with a specific personality, raised in a specific way. And I have the best chance of getting that from a breeder.
I don't see people going around talking about all the homeless kids in foster homes out there and lecturing people about not having babies when so many kids need good homes.
Thanks for typing this and previous comments, Beth. I wanted to but didn't know where to start.
I am a "owner, breeder and rescue" of Pembrokes. I have 4 breeding dogs who I breed occasionally and 4 rescues. I have a return policy and have had 1 pup returned and rehomed her to a great home. I get to know my potential puppy owners and am available to them for the life of their dog to awnser/help with any questions or concerns and I check in with them occasionly. My dogs go to their new home with a contract. I know most breeders don't get this involved but that's "me" and I feel like they are going to good homes or they don't go to that home.We seldom see a Corgi in a rescue here.
I just got done writing several county board members in a town about 90 miles from here telling them "why" they should not allow another puppy mill in MN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I haven't heard anymore BUT I do know that there were many humane society people going to the meeting(I had to work). I do adopt all my cats from humane societys or take farms cats and spend plenty of $$$$$ on them. We do have several pit bulls around here BUT our shelters are "no kill" andthese people work VERY hard to find these dogs new homes. I also try to support the shelters by helping with bake sales,donating old collars and leashes and helping at the spay/neuter clinics.
I do what I can. What we need to do is figure out how to get people to spay/neuter their animals.