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A letter from a shelter manager.


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#1 Always amazed!

Posted 01 February 2013 - 02:02 PM

I saw this on a page earlier, just wanted to share it.



A Letter from a Shelter Manager:

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
to that doesn't allow pets and why did you choose that place instead of a pet
friendly home?

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 freak out and put the brakes on
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 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 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 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 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 and it made me


#2 Z-girls rock

Posted 01 February 2013 - 02:16 PM

thanks for posting.

I think a lot of people need to see this.

I cant believe people still get dogs from breeders or pet shops *shudder* these days.
just go to the pound!

#3 Bart.

Posted 01 February 2013 - 02:23 PM

sad.gif  Unfortunately this won't be seen by the people who need to see it.  Thanks for posting it, OP.  

BYB just bring out the stabby in me. mad.gif  My little mutt is the result of an abusive BYB and although she's now eight (we got her when she was 12-months old and she'd already had a litter of puppies) she still exhibits cage behaviour.  

I think pets and breeding should be regulated where only registered, humanely-bred pets can be sold, to people who can prove they will look after the animal.  However, the money and people involved in such an enterprise means this will probably never happen.


#4 emgem

Posted 01 February 2013 - 02:37 PM

As the owner of a pedigree pup, I find these kind of letters really manipulative. I have no intention of breeding, but I find it really disingenous that all breeders are being lumped in together or that I should be made to feel guilty for buying a pedigree pup.

Take a good look at the dogs and cats available as rescue pets, the overwhelming majority of them are mixed breed dogs with only a handful that are recognisably purebred. Most ANKC dog breeders and cat breeders registered with one of the pedigree cat associations are incredibly responsible about who receives their puppies and kittens, or so it would appear. I don't even see huge numbers of oodles, despite what people say about some of the large puppy farms. What you do see a lot of are whoopsy terrier/bull breed/lab/cattle dog/working dog mixes, which suggests that the people primarily responsible for the average pound pup is Joe Average who lives down your street and who fails to adequately desex and contain his dogs.

Lets put the blame where it belongs and guilt people into getting their dogs desexed instead. That way I can get the medium sized fluffy non-shedder of my dreams without being made to feel like a heel everytime I open facebook. Or better yet, lets start a program that funds desexing for those who cannot afford it.

#5 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 01 February 2013 - 02:50 PM

I think you'll find that the Letter is from an American shelter manager.

In this forum, we don't support puppy mills, BYBer, those who think their dog 'should just have one litter' or other irresponsible behaviour that adds to the unwanted pet problem.

We do support ethical registered breeders, however. We have several of them who share their experience with us.

However, there are oodles of oodles  on rescue sites. Pages, and pages of them, and other designer breeds. You're not correct in suggesting that this is not a major source of unwanted animals in this country. They are. They also lead people to think that BYB could be profitable - and that any old mix will do.

Depending on which state you're in, you  might want to lobby your State government in tightening their companion animal legislation, so that people cannot sell undesexed animals to people who are not registered (as in with the canine council or cat fancier association) and microchipped. And severely penalising people who do, with the funds raised from those penalties being passed on to our animal rescue societies and associations.

#6 la di dah

Posted 01 February 2013 - 02:56 PM

I think I've seen that email go around since the mid-90s and to be perfectly honest I think its an American writing and addressing the American homeless pet situation and it is DEAD EASY to get a purebred pedigree homeless dog in the States. Even pretty rare breeds, if you're willing to wait and not go "I need it today" - though if you need a popular breed today, you can be obliged.

My family's had two Akitas and a Bouvier des Flanders through rescue - the Bouvier had a temperment issue due to maltreatment (not mean, but damaged) but the Akitas were only too big, sheddy, and inconvenient - not that Akitas are ever small and non-shedding. My mom had a poodle before I was born - toy poodle, non-shedding. It's easy to get oodles of all sizes, from retriever crosses down to toys.

The 2nd Akita did have rampant kennel cough and nearly died - my mom knew he was sick but she had loved the 1st rescue Akita so much she couldn't walk away. If they wanted a 3rd or 4th (the 2nd Akita has passed away at age 12) I could probably find them one with a few minutes of Googling. If they needed one TODAY I might have to get them a Chow, which is similar temperment but smaller and more popular, but I doubt it would be that long.

That said, here in Oz, I have longingly window-shopped rescue  sites, and I've seen plenty of oodles and poodles, just not puppies.

#7 MrsLexiK

Posted 01 February 2013 - 03:04 PM

QUOTE (emgem @ 01/02/2013, 03:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
As the owner of a pedigree pup, I find these kind of letters really manipulative. I have no intention of breeding, but I find it really disingenous that all breeders are being lumped in together or that I should be made to feel guilty for buying a pedigree pup.


Agree, (but at present I don't have a pedigree - well his papers say he is but I think the original owner 2 owners back got dupped on that one!) But perhaps I am bitter considering different members of my wonderful family are wonderful breeders who do not deserve to be lumped together.  The interview process they put you through - I think it would be easier to get into the CIA lol.  There are breeds that I wouldn't buy from a shelter (but would consider from a rescue group where the animal has been fostered) where I would prefer the actual breeder and to have the breed as a pub.  I also think this is an American letter as in Australia we have a lot of no kill shelters and I am unsure we would have enough pets in the country to have shelters have 10 million killed each year (but perhaps I am wrong it does happen occasionally)

#8 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 01 February 2013 - 03:09 PM

Not this time MrsLexiK, last known stats put animal deaths around 250,000 - 350,000 in Australia.

I think I read somewhere that the number of euthanised animals dropped last year for the first time.

#9 Freddie'sMum

Posted 01 February 2013 - 03:12 PM

I always thought that buying from a registered breeder (here in Aussie) was much more ethical than buying from a pet shop in a mall.

Please correct me if I am wrong.





#10 againagain

Posted 01 February 2013 - 03:28 PM

Depends on the Breeder Freddies Mum.

There are some mighty dodgy, horrid, mongrel pedigree breeders out there and the process to get them looked in to is not easy at all, even if they breech their code of ethics  mad.gif

#11 MrsLexiK

Posted 01 February 2013 - 03:34 PM

QUOTE (*Spikey* @ 01/02/2013, 04:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Not this time MrsLexiK, last known stats put animal deaths around 250,000 - 350,000 in Australia.

I think I read somewhere that the number of euthanised animals dropped last year for the first time.


Is that old dogs/cats/etc (by loved family members at the end of their life not just old pets dumped in a shelter) and dangerous dogs (shelter or part of a family) as well or just the ones that are dumped/left for dead?

A drop can only be a good thing!

#12 la di dah

Posted 01 February 2013 - 03:41 PM

Not to quibble too much, but considering the strain of a shelter environment and the strigency of some groups' temperment tests and lack of time to retrain, I'm not sure I'd count the shelter euthanasia of dogs with temperment failures seperately.

I also know shelters in the States at least don't always even TRY to rehome some breeds. My family got a staffy because the owner had wanted to dump it at a shelter (a small, amiable, good with cats/kids female english staffy who weighed about 18 kgs) and was told he could leave it but they'd put it down immediately, as they were not attempting to rehome staffies at that time, considered them a resource hog and wanted to concentrate on breeds that were easier to place.

Does that happen here?

#13 BetteBoop

Posted 01 February 2013 - 03:46 PM

Yes, it's pretty depressing. I did work experience at a vet surgery when I was in high school. The vet said she saw the same pet owners every year coming in to destroy the pet they'd bought at Christmas, so I guess even shelters don't see the full impact of our disregard for companion animals.

I think all pet dogs and cats shouldn't be sold intact. Desexing should be mandatory.

QUOTE (seeingstraight @ 01/02/2013, 02:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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 and why did you choose that place instead of a pet
friendly home?


Clearly the USA has a different rental market. This is a valid reason in Australia where tenants are transient the rental market is tight and most lessors won't allow pets.



#14 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 01 February 2013 - 03:46 PM

Is pets PTS through shelters and pounds. So it doesn't include vet based PTS of family pets.

#15 laridae

Posted 01 February 2013 - 03:47 PM

QUOTE (la di dah @ 01/02/2013, 04:41 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Does that happen here?


Not at the Dogs Home where I live - I think they are only put down if they are aggressive.  I know my brother got a nice staffy X from there.

#16 Romeo Void

Posted 01 February 2013 - 03:49 PM

Yup it does.  They pick and choose 'saleable' breeds.  I can understand to a degree, I've seen it with my own eyes...a couple walk in and don't see what they want so head to a BYB or a Petshop.  It's still heartbreaking though.

#17 emgem

Posted 01 February 2013 - 03:51 PM

QUOTE (*Spikey* @ 01/02/2013, 03:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
However, there are oodles of oodles  on rescue sites. Pages, and pages of them, and other designer breeds.


People kept saying that when I was looking for my dog, but I wish someone would show me where. Even today I have looked through 60 pages of dogs on both Pet Rescue and Adoptapet and seen only four poodle mixes. If there had been a youngish adoptable poodle mix available when I was looking for a pup I would very likely have taken it, but the only ones that came up got adopted very quickly because they were relatively rare. I don't support oodle breeders and did not buy one because there was no way for me to reliably tell puppy farmers from other breeders of designer dogs, not because I have an issue with people producing mixed breeds per se. I would never buy from a pet shop either for the same reason.

For what it's worth I agree with you about the mandatory microchipping (though not about the desexing I think it is better to wait until dogs have done most of their growing before they are desexed.) However, I am not sure how much it would help as  I doubt most of the dogs on the sites I mentioned were intentionally bred. (Though I am aware that there are a few pet owners who love their dogs so much they breed their dog just once so the world can have more of them as well as those that do it deliberately for money.) People have these whoopsy litters and sell or give away the dogs very cheaply. If they couldn't use site like Gumtree without a microchip number, you would probably find that a lot more litters were dumped and there were a lot more sold under the counter.

I believe that there is something in the act of paying a substantial amount of money for a dog that makes for a more responsible owner and it shows in the types of dogs available through rescue sites. Perhaps, it is just the amount of consideration given to any purchase equivalent to your weekly wage.

#18 kadoodle

Posted 01 February 2013 - 03:52 PM

Hey La Di Dah, you've now given me yet another type of spitz to consider!   biggrin.gif mad.gif  

Our local shelter puts down dogs that would be difficult to re-home (older dogs, bully types, big and black, three-legged and so many kelpie/heeler x that you just want to cry).  But we're rural and have limited finances.

It comes down to chow for dogs or milk formula for puggles I'm afraid  sad.gif

#19 Quack Quack

Posted 01 February 2013 - 03:56 PM

I don't understand people who don't desex.  ANY animal who lives in my home is desexed, always have... always will be.  
I have absolutlely no desire for puppies or kittens and can't work out why anyone who is not a breeder would want that bother either.

I think until stupid humans get it through their thick heads that animals are deserving of love and compassion from the people who brought them into their home, that they aren't disposable like a paper plate or plastic cup... we are always going to have this problem.

#20 PurpleNess

Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:04 PM

QUOTE (Beetlebop @ 01/02/2013, 03:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yes, it's pretty depressing. I did work experience at a vet surgery when I was in high school. The vet said she saw the same pet owners every year coming in to destroy the pet they'd bought at Christmas, so I guess even shelters don't see the full impact of our disregard for companion animals.

I think all pet dogs and cats shouldn't be sold intact. Desexing should be mandatory.



Clearly the USA has a different rental market. This is a valid reason in Australia where tenants are transient the rental market is tight and most lessors won't allow pets.



It is NOT a valid reason, if you rent then perhaps you should rethink getting a pet! I had a Rottie and rented successfully with him in Perth ( massive rental demand) for 7 years! HE was my priority in finding a home, always & I managed to live in some very nice areas too.
Now I'm looking at relocating to Melbourne with 2 cats & again they will be my priority, if the house won't take cats we simply won't apply. THATS what having a pet as a family member is all about. I agree with the rest of your post however.

#21 The Old Feral

Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:11 PM

I bloody hope is just a mock up for FB because a 90% kill rate is disgusting!

#22 kadoodle

Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:27 PM

I found renting with pets less problematic than renting with kids.

#23 la di dah

Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:38 PM

QUOTE (The Old Bag @ 01/02/2013, 05:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I bloody hope is just a mock up for FB because a 90% kill rate is disgusting!


90% kill rate doesn't sound too far off some shelters I've seen back home. It's not completely their fault, either. A lot of them are really, REALLY strapped for finances and honestly not all the animals they get are fit to be rehomed, some would need to be euthanized due to neglect/abuse/congentalready suffered.

kadoodle, Akitas are awesome (but odd) if you want me to tangent off on that PM me! I just am not sure they'd deal well with Aussie heat, I've only ever met one out here.



#24 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:54 PM

I've met quite a few Akitas. They do well in the ACT and the Highland regions because its a dry heat during summer, so never quite as horrible as Sydney or Melbourne.

I like Akitas, they have character. (Do not watch Hachi the movie. Just do not. )

LDD is right, I think our kill rate is lower - much lower in fact, but the RSPCA and other orgs are committed to a zero kill policy, which will only be achieved if the number of dogs/cats being dumped at pounds and shelters is equal to the number of dogs/cats being rehomed.

Our pets had their own references from our various RRAs. Renting with them was never a problem.

Emgem, there are no reliable breeders of any kind of designer dogs. At. All. They're either Puppy Mills, BYB, or idiots. None of these 'people' scrutinise their breeding stock for being suitable candidates, none of them screen for genetic diseases, and all of them are out to profit from gullible people who want to buy a cute, fluffy, allegedly non-shedding [insert characteristic here] puppy. Of course, that's why there are rarely young dogs available, people dump them when they realise they're a dog, therefore they need training and are generally hard work, and they're expensive because they come with a range of disasters that require expensive vet treatment to correct or manage.

In rural areas, the profile is different. The number of working dog crosses rises exponentially. None of whom are of course suitable to actually work stock, and none of whom are trained. But its all done intentionally, aiming to make money - either large or small scale, it doesn't matter. All intentional, and done with an aim to profit rather than to improve the breed or to create working dogs that are better at their jobs. I think you over-estimate the number of 'accidental' litters there are. In my experience, accidents are rare - most people are not careless with their dogs, they simply want to make a profit and see the dog as an easy source of money.

I think they ALL should be fined.

#25 Guest_~Karla~_*

Posted 01 February 2013 - 06:00 PM

I've volunteered in shelters and I've worked as a vet nurse. I've seen things that would break even the hardest-hearted person. I've seen the giant industrial freezers literally overflowing with dead dog corpses.

One vet I worked with had a "reputation" for euthanizing animals for free. I asked him why once, after he and I had euthanized yet another beautiful natured dog. He looked down at me, still sitting on the floor cradling the body of the dog we'd just killed, and simply said "Because we can either do it like this and let them go in peace or they get sent to the pound and die terrified". cry1.gif




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Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.