Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by Aleron, Jan 18, 2013.
Is there a way to read it if you don't have Kindle anything?
I wish I had an e-reader or something to read it with.
Nathan Winograd usually has some good stuff. Stories like crazedACD's are WAY too common.
In college I didn't have a dog for a while and I decided to go volunteer at the local shelter to get my 'dog fix' as well as to help some needy dogs. I was aware it was a kill shelter, I'd volunteered in high school at one before. It was sad but as I believed necessary. Now, I'm not saying kill shelters are never necessary but my eyes were very opened working at that shelter.
On our first day there I took some training about how the shelter was run and what we were expected to do. They talked a bit about euthanasia and that volunteers never had to deal with that. They took us on a tour around and to the kennels. As we were walking the lady in charge told us that they do not adopt out pit bulls. Period. At the time I had no experience with pit bulls, had just joined some dog forums, and I remember thinking 'that's really awful and sad.' It just didn't seem fair at all to me. But I went to volunteer anyways.
That blanket policy of not adopting out pit bulls killed so many good, adoptable, and WANTED dogs. Just a few examples... 1. A little isabella colored pit bull puppy. Must have been 10 weeks old or less. We had so many people come in and inquire about her. She was beautiful and there was absolutely nothing wrong with her. Nope. Can't adopt her, she's a pit bull. People begged and pleaded. Nope. Many of those people ended up leaving and not adopting at all because of it.
2. I was there one day when a mother pit bull x and three pups came in. Owner surrender. They told the man they don't adopt pit bulls but I guess he didn't care. He seems startled at first but still signed them over and said mamma was a pit bullx. They euthed all 4 dogs. The puppies looked absolutely nothing like pit bulls. They looked mostly pointer and lab. I would bet there was no more than 1/4th pit bull in them judging by mom and pups. But nope... no pit bulls.
3. This one was really hard on me and ended up being the straw that broke the camel's back and ended my volunteering. There was an older pit bull that was a great dog. He was so awesome and I loved him. I wanted to find a way to get him out and into a foster situation. I even had someone willing to take him and sign waivers or whatever they needed. Nope. Not happening.
4. We had people come in specifically wanting pit bulls. None of them were allowed to adopt one. No telling how many could have been adopted but were instead killed.
That's not even getting into the other policies like the shelter refusing to use Petsmart to hold adoption days or even for petsmart to house cats (petsmart had offered). Shelter hours were such that if you worked you were SOL. They were RARELY open. Oh and if you lived in an apartment you could only have a 25 lb or under dog. Didn't matter if the dog was bigger but good for an apartment. Even an older dog. The 25 lb and under group had waiting lists (college town, tons of apartment dwellers). How many of those > 25 lb dogs that were put down would have thrived in the right apartment home? How many people who lived in apartments came in looking for a dog but left after they realized they couldn't get the size of dog they wanted (and their landlord allowed)?
I do believe some shelters are doing great things. I think others are very blinded by arbitrary rules. Or maybe they just don't care beyond disposing of unwanted dogs. When I left there were some major pushes by the student animal rescue group to make changes in the way things were run. I hope they made progress.
I'm not saying it will fix everything and no dogs get euthed. But we can save some dogs by changing the way things are run. I do think it is detrimental to stick our heads in the ground and repeat 'shelters are just doing what they have to' because many are NOT. There are dogs out there in shelters that are killed even though they are adoptable and wanted and that is a travesty.
Laurelin hit the nail on the head (and FWIW I was able to read it on my computer on the Kindle Cloud player after downloading it). The purpose of this book is to bring to light the possibility that some dogs die in shelters because of the shelters. That there are too many people involved in positions of power who don't care if the animals in their shelters live or die. And some who seem to prefer killing them to allowing them to leave the shelter alive. So often we hear that it isn't right to question shelter workers, that they are "doing all they can" and "no one wants to kill animals". But stories like Laurelin's are too common in the shelter world. Shelters don't have to answer to anyone. The groups that could (and really should) be advocating for shelter animals and promoting shelter reform not only aren't doing so but are actively defending and supporting shelters like the the one Laurelin mentioned. While making a lot of money portraying themselves as being something they are not.
I remember when I was in 4H one of the other girls in the club started volunteering at a local shelter. This happened to be the shelter the "humane agent" works out of. Since she was under 18 and she could only work with the cats but she was an animal lover and was happy to go help anyway she could. However, it didn't last very long. She went into the cat area one day to find one of the workers pulling kittens out of their cages, heartsticking them and dropping them into a box. It was an extremely traumatic experience for her. Fast forward to more recent times, the same shelter "rescued" 90 cats from a local no-kill cat shelter citing overcrowding and illness as being an issue. I had not been to their shelter and know they were in the midst of moving to a larger facility when this happened. At any rate, the cats they showed on the new during the "raid" did not appear to be terribly ill or neglected. A few had seemed to have eye or respiratory infections, which is extremely common in cats in our area that are allowed outdoors (my friend's very well cared for cats get these a couple times a year). But at any rate, 80+ of those 90 cats were killed within a week of being taken into the humane agent's shelter. Before anything legal action was taken and without attempting to work with other groups to find housing for them. It become obvious that they took the cats to kill them
Beyond that, I have known shelter/rescue workers who refused to place dogs people wanted, threatened to or did kill dogs because they were mad at the foster home or the person who found the dog rubbed them the wrong way, would kill dogs because they were bad about having their nails cut and so on and so forth. A big shelter here that has a vet on staff had a policy to kill all puppies with parvo and any HW+ dog. Even though they could easily quarantine and neither of those are particularly expensive for a shelter with a vet on staff to treat. A 4H family fostered a puppy for them that ended up having Parvo. They were told to bring the puppy to the shelter and leave him tied to the fence and the vet would get him when she got in. The same shelter killed a BC mix that a local family found and held on to for more than a month looking for her owner. The family had kids and another dog. They had fallen in love with this dog but their landlord wouldn't nudge on letting them keep her. So they took her to the local shelter on "stray night" to get her vet care started and get her into their program. A shelter worker took her in the back then came out and told them they had to put her to sleep because she "tried to bite" them while they were getting blood. The family was crushed. The dog had shown no aggression at all in their household. This shelter is supposedly "no kill" but their definition of adoptable can be rather narrow. They've gone through a lot of director changes over the years. One director wouldn't accept dogs back and if a dog they adopted out didn't work with the new family they said to try Craigslist or one of the local pounds. The last one regularly took dogs to the county pound. I have no idea what the current director's policies are though. Hopefully more progressive.
And then there is our county pound. The place Emily's Blossom came from. Ten years ago, Blossom would likely not have gotten out of there alive. A lot of dogs didn't. Almost no pit bulls did. Local rescues and other shelters did what they could to get the most adoptable dogs but the pound workers were not always cooperative with their efforts. One rescue worker told me she'd go the end of the day before dogs were scheduled to die in the morning and try to get the dogs who's time was up (owner surrenders at any time and strays after 3 days) and they still wouldn't make it easy for those dogs to be pulled. The shelter was rarely full to capacity at that time and not due to lack of dogs coming in.
The change that has happened just with someone else being in charge is huge. While they are not no-kill, things have dramatically improved. That almost seems like an understatement. Adoptable dogs are not killed within any certain time frame, they gladly work with rescues and other shelters, they have hours that allow working people to come see the dogs. They have volunteers who walk dogs, clean and gets dogs on Petfinder. They have a lot of pit bulls and the pit bulls are available for adoption. Some are there for months. The last time the pound was at capacity, the dog warden went to the media. Not saying "we're going to have to kill dogs now and it's all your fault" but saying they don't want to be faced with the possibility of killing for space and asking people who have been thinking of adding a dog to consider one of the ones at the pound. Or to foster. They asked rescues with room to help them out (regular fees are waived for rescues and the $10 pull fee they do charge is often covered by a local group of volunteers). They ran "specials" on adult dogs, black dogs, etc. Local vet clinics offered even bigger discounts on spay/neuter to bring the adoption fee down. And...they didn't kill any dogs for space. Not because they weren't full with more coming in but because they were willing to try everything else first.
This thread made me reminisce. I looked up the shelter I used to work at and first thing I noticed was the name of the shelter had changed. The website is totally new. I opened the adoptable dogs page and the first dog listed is a pit bull. And it is listed as a pit bull.
They ended the contract with the city and moved to a new facility in 2011.
They still have the stupid 25 lb and under rule. But I guess that's a positive step at least.
The most ridiculous rule I've seen is refusing to adopt to anyone with an intact dog or cat, even if they're adopting the opposite of what they already have.
What does it matter if my dog isn't neutered for you to allow me to adopt a cat that is already fixed? That makes literally none of the sense. None.
That's one of the big issues with the apl in our are. They will not take a lot if dogs in. If they will they put people on a waiting list.i get infuriated talkin to them! Come on dummy, the average person dumping their dog is doing it now, not in eight months when you call the. And are ready to take it.
So dogs get taken to the local pound that is much better than it used to be. Pitties still have to be adopted by rescues though or outside if county. And yes many people do get frustrated and just dump them.
I think our APL is a joke. Anyone who gives them a dime has no clue. They have funded a local dog hoarder here for years we caught dumping dead puppies in my cousins creek and then they are supposed to be the one who investigate it!!!!! We got sheriff out instead. Apl said oh, it's no big deal, puppies died of parvo. Idiots. That's how we almos lost our foster litter and bet that's were I came from. The entire things a joke and they still supply him with food and he has 100 plus dogs and they run amuck breeding and how they get away with it I don't know.