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.
This is a very touching and sad story. It provides a reason to support no kill shelters as well as spay and neuter efforts.
For those who don't think that Corgis come through shelters, look at this month's newsletter from the North Shore Animal League-there's an article about a large number of small dogs that came in from mills. The article includes Corgis in the list. There's a picture of a Corgi too.
Both my boys came from the local shelter. In Las Vegas, Lied Animal Shelter has an email notification system where you can sign up and be notified when a particular breed comes in. Both my boys came from Lied. One was a stray. The other (purebred, chipped, neutered and some obedience training) had been left in a backyard when the owners moved away. In Las Vegas. In August.
Petfinder.com lists dogs in shelters & can be checked by breed. If I recall correctly, you can also sign up for email alerts from them too.
There will always be irresponsible people in the world. Legislation can help, but it is only as effective as the respect a person has for the legislation. Murder is a crime, but people still do it.
All anyone of us can do is try our best to be responsible and support no kill shelters as well as spay and neuter efforts. It helps to remember the story of the child rescuing stranded starfish on a beach. When asked by an adult why the child was engaging is a hopeless task of rescuing one at a time when there were hundreds stranded, the child replied: "It mattered to that one." All any one of us can do is matter to those that we can matter to both animal and human.
In the spirit of the season, spread the joy of rescue to others and support the rescue organizations where you live. Maybe then if the spirit of the season lives year-round, it will matter more and more.
First of all, I have seen this letter a few times before, but each time I read it it really just breaks my heart.
I appreciate everyone's comments and perspectives on this issue. There are a lot of strong opinions on the subject, and obviously our own realities color our viewpoints.
Purebred dogs may seem like they are immune from these situations but as with any absolutes, that is not always the case. I do agree that most breeders today are responsible in that they insist that the puppy can always be returned and another suitable home found. I also believe many breeders today have the wherewithal to encourage/mandate spaying and neutering in their contracts.
That being said, although many shelter dogs are mixed-breeds (and mostly pit bulls, to boot), that does not mean that lovers of purebreds need not concern themselves with the issue. We are all dog lovers helping other dog lovers, and the least we can do is to show compassion and raise awareness for the plight of many dogs deserving good homes. There may be exaggerations on both sides (even, I have to admit, probably in that letter) because both sides have their own ideas of what is best. Ultimately, we are all the same people committed to animal companionship, and to show compassion and understanding for a serious problem in the canine world should be everybody's goal.
I work in a shelter. Let me tell you the other side. I have read that essay too many times.
It is not a no-kill shelter. We have the county contract, meaning every animal that is picked up by animal control, or comes through our doors, domestic or wild, is taken in. No-kill shelters pick and choose which animals they accept. Both types have their place, but don't judge the non- no-kills without knowing that distinction.
What happens to these animals that come through our doors? First, health exams. Next, temperament eval. If an animal has the temperament to be a pet, and is healthy or has a treatable illness or condition, then they move on toward becoming adoptable. If they need treatment, they get it, for dental problems, orthopedic issues, ringworm, heartworm, etc. For dogs, there are behavior evaluations to see if they can go to a home with young children, for example, or other dogs. A stray is kept for a week while we search for its owner, regarldless. After that we can spay/neuter, inoculate,treat, and make available. If a cat shows promise, we may let adopters reserve a cat before the week is up, to shorten the cat's time in this unhealthy environment. Adoptable animals stay here until they are adopted, or become unadoptable for health or behavioral reasons.
Yes, animals are euthanized. Some are too sick, too dangerous, or temperamentally unsafe for us to pass off to the public as pets. Some become ill here, and don't recover. Others are saved. Smaller shelters in the state often send their dogs to us when they become overcrowded. Cats that we think are feral are sent to a partner rescue that handles ferals. We work in partnership with several rescues and shelters in the area to try to make sure every adoptable animal is given a chance.
And don't forget the wildlife! We also rehabilitate injured, sick and orphaned animals that are found and brought to us.
As for targeting breeders of pure-bred dogs, most pure-breds are adopted very quickly here, except for the pit bulls, and a few others. Small dogs almost always are adopted thru a pet-search program, so they don't even make it to the adoptable floor, demand is so great. When I see a small pure-breed with health problems, I can usually trace their origin to a pet store, a "friend", Craigslist, etc.
This is how a shelter can be run with support from the community, local governments, other animal welfare organizations, and many, many volunteers. I would caution anyone who is tempted to start their own rescue. It is very easy to get in over your head. Joining an existing rescue organization to foster or otherwise help, or helping to improve your own local shelter is a much better way to go.
Thank you all for allowing me to vent here. Shelters do a lot of good with a bad situation, that situation being too many homeless animals. But we help them. We really do.
Fostering is a WONDEFUL way to help:) Our Tank was fostered and taken to classes before we adopted him and being such a big dog(big for a corgi mix) it was wonderful that the rescue had him go to obedience classes with the foster person. We found out the day we went to pick him(Sage, my grandson and I went to meet him earlier) up that our house was his 4th place in in a year:( The poor rescue woman was sooooooooo sad about this BUT he now has a forever home and is a great addition to our family!
I also have had to euthanize a Corgi who I rescued when he started nipping at people, we knew he was very dog aggressive but when he started with people he was a liability that we could not pass on to others!
Thank you for a more balanced view.
Kill shelters are necessary. Some dogs are not in any condition (behaviorally or perhaps in terms of health) to be adopted.
The biggest number in our shelter is adolescent dogs from protection breeds.
Currently of the 17 in our shelter:
6 are pit bulls
5 others are a protection breed or a cross of one (Akita, German Shepherd, etc).
1 is listed as a blue heeler but looks like a cross to me
1 is a beagle; beagles will roam miles and I think sometimes "lost pets" end up so far from home their owner never reconnects.
1 is listed as a "terrier/scottish deerhound cross" which seems unlikely. Maybe part Airedale. Deerhounds are very rare.
The other 3 are terrier crosses.
There are only 3 small dogs, one is a senior and the other two are either beagles or crosses.
This is a typical representation of what we see at our local shelter.
Point being, if you wanted a nice pet for your family with young children and maybe another dog or a cat, which of the above dogs would likely be suitable for you?
And in response to one of the posters I would gladly have NO dogs in my life if that meant no dog had to go through this.
Nicola, we will never live in a world where no animals or people are mistreated or neglected. That is just not the nature of life. If we all stopped owning dogs tomorrow, what would that accomplish? Tens of millions of happy dogs would never get that chance just so a small percent never suffered? Life is not that way.
I agree with Beth...we can't even keep people from neglecting or abusing people...this is soooo sad whichever whether adults,children or animals:( All we can do is love the ones we have and keep them as safe as possible with plans if something were to happen to us where our loved ones (whether 2 legged or 4 legged would go:)