The not-so cold, hard truth about the open-intake, “kill” animal shelter and its employees

Growing up, a couple of my favorite bedtime movies included Lady and the Tramp and 100 and 1 Dalmatians. What do these two all-time favorites have in common? Well the obvious would be the similarity in main characters, all friendly, talking pooches. But one subtle thing that we may not remember about these films was the integration of the pound, or the animal shelter. There has and continues to be an unrealistic idea drilled into our heads of not only small children, but also our adults, of the animal shelter being dark, mucky, scary places, and the employees as antagonistic “bad-guys“.

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Looking back, when I was a little-girl, I would have never believed that some day I would actually work for these so called “bad-guys“.

I’m going to tell you something that may come as a shock. The shelter employees I have worked with are some of the biggest-hearted people you will ever meet. You have to be, or you would not last one day there. Let me walk you through my typical day at the animal shelter.

I get there, and walk through 4 rows of hundreds of stray dogs to the area where I work, the intake bay. Sometimes, I have to turn my head by certain kennels because I can’t bear to look at a few of my “favorites”. Once I get to the intake bay, I am thrown into the swing of whatever is going on (could be stray dogs on animal control trucks, or owners surrendering their unwanted pets, or public drop offs of litters of puppies). You never stop because the dogs never stop. They pour into the shelter. You can politely ask people to find another way, warn them that their dog may be euthanized, even offer to vaccinate and spay/neuter their dog if they can foster it, and 9/10 times, they will still leave the dog at our shelter. Some days are good, when under 10 dogs come in, but most days are bad, with intake numbers in the 50’s. I vaccinate them, give them the most positive attention I can in the short amount of time I’m with them, then walk them to a kennel, fill their water bowl, and move onto the next dog.

The rest of the staff are doing their normal activities: adoption counsel works on getting dogs out of the shelter into good homes, vet staff takes care of all injured animals and performs countless spay/neuter surgeries, and kennel workers maintain the cleanliness to prevent disease outbreak while also letting dogs out to play. Everyone does what they need to do. Rarely do you see an employee sitting down, and it is a good day when you have enough time to take a lunch break.

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One thing I’ve learned working at the shelter about the minds of many people, is that we tend to blow-up anything negative, and over-look anything positive. You never hear about the great adoption stories, the countless lives saved, or the late nights employees spend at the shelter (sometimes until 9-10 o’clock). We happen to forget about the animals who are reunited with their owners and the vet staff’s caring efforts to maintain the comfort of injured animals.

Instead, employees are called names such as killers. We often speak of them and bash them as if taking in homeless dogs and humane euthanasia are things they enjoy doing. Maybe its just because we have a preconceived notion of what the animal shelter really is, from childhood movies, or other stories told to us. Maybe, we should come spend a day at the animal shelter to see what its really like before morphing into arm-chair activists.

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Recently, after much contemplation and sleepless nights, I’ve made the gut-wrenching decision to get my CAET. This means I will be certified to humanely euthanize companion animals. Why on earth would I do this? Who in their right mind would want to do this? Well, the correct, and obvious answer, is NO ONE. No one wants to euthanize an animal, injured or not. The simple, undeniable truth is that while we are impounding over 400 dogs a month, it has to happen. Watching my coworkers struggle with the euthanasia of these lives on their shoulders is simply unfair. Until the day that people I care about do not have to take on this heavy task of euthanasia, and until the day that our community comes to realize that lives of companion animals are not simply disposable, I will continue to fight.

So yes, it upsets me greatly when I hear someone is quick to bash the animal shelter, especially if they have never set foot in a shelter, calling the employees heartless, uncaring, individuals, when the reality of it is, to be a shelter employee, you have to be strong. You have to have a big heart. And you absolutely have to care.

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When animal-lovers think about over population and euthanasia, we are quick to want to place blame on someone. It hurts, and we are so angry, and we want to hold someone accountable. I understand this, because I am angry too. But I’m telling you, the shelter staff and technicians are not where the blame should be placed. The shelter employees lose enough sleep, trying to cope with the huge amount of stress and weight that our community has forced on our shoulders. The actual sources of animals coming into the shelter are who/what needs to be held accountable, not the staff working to save the animals’ lives. So please, think twice before down-talking the animal shelter.

Come out and help us instead! Volunteer for a day. Foster a dog. Donate.

We are already working so hard to save lives against the counterforce of companion animal overpopulation, we don’t need the added opposition of our community.

Companion Animal Alliance

2680 Progress Rd. Baton Rouge, LA

Open 7 days a week from 10-5!

 www.caabr.org 

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53 thoughts on “The not-so cold, hard truth about the open-intake, “kill” animal shelter and its employees

    • All of our pets are rescues. If I could, I would take on more. My furbabies are very much a part of our family. Thank you for your article. I encourage all I know to go to a shelter to find a companion. Too many are discarded for whatever reasons and we all can help by doing our part.

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I know so well the work you do is priceless! I foster, donate, turn in cans, save can rings – anything that I can to help the local shelters, but I cannot volunteer my time – I’m not brave enough to face the tragedies, the faces, and especially the babies – you are MY Hero’s! Thank you.

  2. Unfortunately, there will always be people who “bash” animal shelters because they ignorant and uneducated as to what really happens there. The rest of us acknowledge the emotional turmoil…and your dedication to our unwanted domestic pets. If those people, who have dropped off a family pet at animal shelter, only stepped back and took a good hard look at themselves at what they are doing to their loyal pet and accept responsibility of them then animal shelters, like yours, wouldn’t be going through having to put down many of them. The whole things is, indeed, very sad.

  3. Thank you for a very important reminder. We’ve adopted several shelter pets, and have always found the staff to be kind, helpful, and committed to the animals in their care.

  4. I’ve volunteered before, actually for most of my middle school and high school career. You are amazing and I am so thankful for all you do!

  5. Having helped as a volunteer and fundraiser for over 20 years in our local Rescue Centre I can confirm that every word said here is true. There aren’t enough words to thank these wonderful people for the things they do, the terrible sights they see, the heartbreak they endure. The big reward is knowing they have made a difference and done the best they could. People somehow seem to think that Rescue Centres have plenty of money but have no idea where that money comes from nor how much is needed to help these poor unfortunate animals. No-one sees the anxiety behind the scenes for how much longer a Rescue organisation can carry on their work nor do they consider all the good work volunteers put in trying to raise some of that money. I recently also realised just how many miles away from help and support some of the rescues are. People who criticise without knowing any of this should truly do as suggested and “Come out and help us instead! Volunteer for a day. Foster a dog. Donate.”

  6. I have the utmost respect and admiration for those who work in an animal shelter. I have a few dogs from a shelter and I’m grateful for those men and women that took such good care of them until they came home with me. So thank you for spending long hours and energy to help an animal that has found itself homeless. And thank you for making a decision to do the hard, impossible thing.

  7. Great read! One suggestion – perhaps say “foster a pet” rather than just a dog? I realize this is a doggy-centric blog, but it never hurts to remind the public that cats are in need, too. Ty.

  8. I really needed to hear this cause a pup with puppy strangles that I cared for was recently euthanize d at the local shelter along with her siblings. It was a mistake but they were dead in less than an hour. A mean neighbor called control and said the owner no longer wanted them. The shelter staff apologized but it was policy cause Suzi still had the hairless face after her mange was cured. My shelter is high kill and I am so bitter…

    • I’m sorry this happened to you. But simply, blame your neighbor. The shelter is also a victim because they were lied to. The reason those puppies were euthanized so quickly is because both diseases are highly contagious. Depending on type, mange is also contagious to humans. The shelter had to protect the other animals in it’s care, as well as its own staff.

      The incident is completely tragic and you have my deepest sympathies.

  9. I am so happy to read this. I too work in animal welfare and am astonished at the number of people who “bash” animal welfare workers, when in reality they are the ones doing ALL the heavy lifting. Thank you for putting into words what so many of us have been thinking and feeling for so long.

  10. I loved reading this. I used to work at the Houston Humane Society and we frequently took in dogs by the hundreds. We also euthanized by the hundreds. It’s the sad truth of the life of an animal shelter: there are just not enough homes for the plethora of animals pouring in. I was fortunate, I worked on the adoption side instead of the intake side – the few days I covered for intake it broke my heart. A huge THANK YOU from me to you and all your coworkers for all the love, tears, and kind words you share with these furballs.

  11. I totally agree, the shelter employees are not the one to be angry with, it’s the people who do not take the responsibility of owning a pet as a lifetime commitment, they dispose of them like yesterdays garbage.

  12. I try and pledge as often as I can to help get animals out of gassing shelters. Although I get very angry that gassing shelters still remain, I give the highest credit to the many compassionate people that give their hearts and souls every day to help these animals. You deserve the world for being such a compassionate person. Thank you!!

  13. Great article. Personally, I’ve always thought that shelter workers have to have big hearts to do what they do every day. I blame the ignorant people who drop off their dogs or cats because they’re too big, not what they thought it would be, etc. And people are also very bold and hateful sitting behind their computers. They really have no idea. I’d rather see a dog euthanized humanely that see them hit by cars or attacked by coyotes. Thank you for all you do to help the animals.

  14. That was excellent! I’m a new volunteer at one of our local animal control shelters and it infuriates me when the armchair quarterbacks say it needs to stop. I often offer them to come on down and pitch in. No one ever does. I’ve heard every excuse. May the dog and cat angels watch over you and your good work.

  15. Everyone should spend a day at an animal shelter! Not only would they understand the true nature of shelters and the devoted people who work there, they would understand the causes of homelessness among companion animals. And once people understand the causes, they can work to end them.

  16. Excellent article. As a veteran rescuer we try to explain this to people but it goes on deaf ears. We in DE also have to deal with the **Nathan Winograd Kool-Aid drinkers** that overpopulation is a myth. According them there ARE plenty of homes – not good home, they don’t seem to care if they get a “good”: home or if they exist piled up in crates until they are finally found dead in a shallow grave at some sanctuary! They just want to say they are alive, The No-Kill Movement lead by Winograd has no regard for quality of life.

    Our local NK Leader has bullied two of our SPCA into going “no-kill” & anyone who is really in rescue knows that means limited access. Turn owner surrenders away at the door “Sorry, we’re full” & who believes for a second that once they drive an animal to a shelter they are taking it BACK HOME?? Well only the NK’ers think they can talk people into keeping an animal once they use the term – got to get rid of …..

    Now that we only have one open access shelter in DE that also handles animal control – we only have 3 in this tiny state — guess who still get’s blamed for euthanizing animals. In 2012 this one shelter had 20,000 go thru their doors but ask Nathan’s people & they’ll tell you there are plenty homes for them & shelters are just lazy & it’s easier to kill them. You know what, I just made myself sick to my stomach & tearful that this is the reality of DE & across the country of blaming shelters who end up with the animals that society created but they don’t get blamed?

    • I truly have comments for any of my clients who as re: no-kill shelters…. the common sense answer is that NO shelter can be open access AND no-kill. To truly run a no-kill shelter you must have UNLIMITED space, $$ and assistance…. silly to think it is the answer. It takes a certain strength to help pets who will not be placed…. a quality life does not mean caged forever. I have always supported out local shelters, and they all have a ‘kill’ option. People on the whole are clueless and unaware of the issue. Makes me crazy.

  17. Before I became disabled, I volunteered at our shelter and this article is so very true. I worked along with these amazing people who had to decide who to euthanize and who had adoption potential. The public just leaves puppies and kittens in the WalMart parking lot, starve their pets to the point you cannot imagine how they are still alive, drown them, torture them, and never loses a minute of sleep because of their actions. Thank God for our Shelter personnel, our volunteers, and our fosters.

  18. Well written. What angers me, too, is all the publicity to support “no-kill” shelters. First of all, the public needs to know there is no such thing as a 100% never euthanize an animal facility. Maybe it’s “low-kill”, or “almost never kill”, or pick only the highly adoptable animals and transfer out the rest so we don’t have to kill”. And if they are “no-kill”, then shouldn’t we be advocating donations to open admission shelters that can’t pick and choose what they take and who’s animals may truly be in danger of euthanasia without our help?

  19. As the manager of one of these shelters, I thank you! Every dog or cat that comes into the shelter I manage is important to me…for some of them, the only kindness they have ever known has been at the shelter. We work in a rural area and provide shelter services for 2 counties and 6 small towns.,…we have a small staff and limited hours that we can actually work “on the clock” and get paid. I answer my personal cell (a number known by rescue groups in at least 4 states) at all hours of the day and night. I have managed to put together an amazing group of people…. photographers, transporters, crossposters and sponsors for adoption fees & medical needs that work alongside me ..everyone works tirelessly to network the animals in my care so that they can be adopted or placed in no kill rescues. Some of the dogs from my shelter are now trained seeing eye dogs, companion animals to war veterans, service dogs that help hearing impaired individuals and some are simply well loved pets.

    We rejoice at every life saved and feel sorrow for those we are unable to save – every life matters. The simple truth is that until the public takes responsibility for their pets (and more people spay and neuter) there will continue to be a need for animal shelters.

    Shelter employees are not the bad guys….we are the people who love the animals someone else has discarded.

  20. I worked at our local, no-kill humane society as a volunteer, then as a paid worker for about three years. I loved my job but quickly became aware that the employees there were quick to bash our county animal control because of the facility itself, the care, or lack of it, given to the animals and the attitude of the employees. Meanwhile, at the no-kill h.s. there were a number of cats that had been there for 3 years or more and a couple of dogs that had been there about that long also. When the facility was filled to capacity we had to turn people away that wanted to surrender their pets and many of them would get very upset because they didn’t want to take them to ‘that other place that kills animals’. My time at the humane society came to an end and I decided to volunteer at the animal control. What a revelation! It’s true that the facility is outdated and really needs to be upgraded in many ways. BUT, the community keeps voting down an additional 10 cent per 1000 dollar property value increase on property taxes to fully fund the animal shelter. So, who’s to blame there? The employees at animal control seem to really care about all the animals, and the ‘heartless’ woman that has to do the euthanizations absolutely bawls her eyes out every time she has to do that job. It eats at her heart and grieves her enormously. She loves all the animals and has adopted ones that no one else would take but she’s at her limit and can’t take in any more. A lot of the kennel cleaning is done by people having to do community service or they are on work programs through the jail or juvenile detention but EVERY one of those workers (that I have observed) is good to the dogs and does a thorough job of cleaning. The ones that I have talked to have taken on this particular work out program simply because they love dogs. Something that has been a real eye opener is the amount of adoptions that animal control does. There is a Friends of the Shelter volunteer group that does many, MANY outreach adoption events and as a result, ALL the cats and kittens that come to the shelter that aren’t feral or don’t have terminal diseases, get adopted. EVERY SINGLE ONE!! Many dogs and most, if not all puppies get adopted too because of going to the public for adoption events.
    There is always going to be room for improvement, but before people, including those involved with no-kill shelters or rescues, start bashing the open intake, ‘kill’ facilities, they should come and visit, look around, ask what they can do to help. After all, these are community sponsored facilities, and the collective community and individuals within it have the obligation and the privilege to make them the best places possible for our temporarily homeless animals to be while they wait to go home.

  21. I do not blame the shelters, i would not want your job…. I blame to heartless/irresponsible owners. I wish there was a way to fine all these owners and make them pay for what they are doing to these animals.

  22. Reblogged this on the crass menagerie and commented:
    Yes. Thank you. As a “kill shelter” volunteer I’ve written about this topic and I try to fight the ugly “dogcatcher” stereotype about people I’ve come to like and respect.

  23. Thank you, well written, and so true. I am a vet (20+ years), and have done some shelter work. It is such a sad state of affairs how our society thinks pets are just disposable, and yet they also bash the people who are giving their all daily and doing this very challenging job. A giant thank you to any and all of you working and/or volunteering at any rescue,
    shelter or pound, kill or no-kill.

  24. We have two shelter pets, a 14 yr old long-haired, female dachshund, Lady, and a three yr old short haired, male tabby, Link. Lady was rescued when she was 7yrs old from a shelter in West Palm, FL and fostered in Cape Coral, FL. We adopted Link in Crossville, TN when he was about 6 months old. They are both wonderful family pets.

  25. I could not do the author’s job; I’m not strong enough. I can’t imagine what kind of strength it would take to do it but I know I don’t have it. I am disgusted when I see all these healthy, wonderful animals being killed but not with the shelter staff. I’m sickened because of the irresponsible people who don’t spay/neuter their pets and allow litter after litter to be born, I’m sickened because of the people who get a pet and grow tired of him/her when they’re no longer a baby and cute. I’m sickened by the people who would rather blame the pet than take responsibility for not training or paying attention to their pets so they dump them off at the shelter and label them a problem pet. I can’t imagine the sorrow of watching these poor animals suffer abandonment and then death because there is no one to rescue them. So I do what I can. I adopt every time. As a matter of fact, my husband and I just adopted a dog from a high kill shelter in the south and a volunteer there is fostering him while he’s vetted and neutered and then he’ll travel to Maine in a transport that brings homeless pets up the East Coast to rescues and adoptive homes. I’m fortunate to live in a state with a high adoption rate and a very low euthanasia rate so we don’t face those tough decisions as often but I adopt locally as well. I have 3 dogs, 1 from a breed specific rescue, 1 from a local shelter and now one from a high kill shelter and a cat that was abandoned in the woods when people moved away. I also foster small animals for a local rescue. I’m not saying all of this to look good, I’m saying this to show people that if you’re disgusted by these poor animals being euthanized for lack of space, don’t just sit there and point the finger at the people to blame. DO SOMETHING TO HELP! It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture but anything. Donate to rescues to help them afford to pull these animals, foster for a rescue so that these animals have somewhere to go while a good home is found, volunteer to set up a site with good pictures of the available animals or help circulate the pictures of these animals on social media, support low cost spay/neuter programs and when you’re looking for a new furry family member, adopt! There’s no difference between several people doing single acts to help and 1 individual doing several acts to help. Every little bit adds up.

  26. I couldn’t have said it any better! I have even been assaulted by people at the shelter and even shopping with a toddler off duty. My reply is this: the shelter is a reflection of our community. Until every person in the community accepts responsibility the shelter can only react to what is presented.

  27. While I’ve seen exceptions to what you presented, I have also seen kill-shelters that treated their animals better than some no-kill ones. I’m near a large municipal kill-shelter which has improved every year, but see some no-kills that worsen over time. About the only real constant in this area, seems to be that each group has their approach and feel they are more “right” than others.

  28. I think education and changing the language is key. When we use words like “Kill” it gives people without a clear understanding that we are careless, heartless, emotionless machete weilding people people ready to decapitate and bludgeon these babies. I am always quick to correct someone and refer to it as “Humanely Euthanize” which in most cases is a peaceful transition. In a perfect world their would be no need for such disscussions.

  29. as an electrician for wake county…i had to work in the animal shelter once in a while. i’d walk the rows of dogs and talk to them…wishing i could take them all home. i did take one…my Cody just passed last year…after 13 great years as my best friend. the people who work in these shelters would be applauded. it’s a heart breaking job…but someone got to do it. my hat goes off to them.

  30. Thanks for this…

    Can we all stop using the term ‘kill shelter,’ though? I’m not sure who started that (probably Winograd, etc.), but it’s ridiculous…as if killing is the primary function of an open admission shelter. Egads. Every time we use that term, we are allowing the Winograd/’no kill’ zealots to frame the discourse…

  31. Our local shelter has gotten much, much better and is now either working towards or actually made it to “no kill”. That has not always been the case. When we WANTED to adopt a stray cat that a neighbor had taken to the shelter (and who was healthy when taken in – as much as a badly abused, starving stray can be), the shelter staff REFUSED to tell us where the cat was, if it was there, or how we could find out. I will still never know what grace allowed my husband to identify a cat he’d only seen running for cover. By that time, the cat had contracted every disease in the shelter and it cost us a fortune, not to mention a month of quarantine, to get him healthy. I don’t regret a minute of it. But sadly, not all shelters care. But it’s improving, and I’m grateful for that.

  32. I just want to thank you for what you do and offer my perspective: I have never thought of open-intake shelter employees in a negative light. I find it similar to hospice workers. God bless you, because I do not know how you can open your heart up again and again. Thank you.

  33. I run a safe-for-life (I like that term better than no-kill but most folks/donors like the way no-kill sounds) cat shelter in a tiny rural area in the mountains of NC. Our county shelter is about 4 miles up the mountain from us and they are a euthanasia facility. I love my animal control officers so much and I am quick to jump on someone who throws an insult their way. My guys have spent hours picking buckshot out of a dog, shaving down a severely matted cat… They have called and texted me when there was cat in trouble and allowed us to pull cats before their hold time so that no one would have to be euthanized. And they have begged me to pull a cat who was their “favorite” because they didn’t want him/her to die. They volunteer at rabies clinics where our local rescue groups offer folks free spay/neuter and vaccinations. They drive animals to the vet who need more help than they can give them so they don’t immediately have to euthanize. They support the rescue mentality. And there’s only FOUR people to serve a huge, POOR county full of people who just don’t give a damn about animal welfare. Yes, they are forced to euthanize animals who are unwanted and it is terrible. I know it weighs on their souls. But I would much rather have someone who truly cares about their wellbeing do it, someone who would stroke their little furry face and wish them luck crossing the Rainbow Bridge… than somebody, like so many others, who doesn’t care. Love my ACOs. Thank you to all who serve our animal friends.

  34. Where is your shelter located? If you are willing to spay, neuter and vaccinate for free I may be able to help save some. I am starting a 4H group that will focus on rescue/rehab and Pets for Vets. A program to place dogs in approved homes with vets suffering with PTSD. I would also like to see if there is a local jail that would be interested in an inmate training program where non violent criminals have the option of training a shelter dog to be adopted. I am also going to be looking into nursing homes and vet homes that would like to have a resident dog and possible animal assisted bullying programs for schools. Please contact me to talk further! I would love to help! I can also foster puppies and help transport them to no kill shelters to be adopted out!

  35. HOW ABOUT MORE FOSTER PROGRAMS??? HOW ABOUT GETTING SCHOOLS INVOLVED??? HOW ABOUT SAFTEY NET FOR THOSE OF US WHO FALL ON HARD TIMES AND FIND IT HARD TO TAKE CARE OF OUR PETS??? HOW ABOUT EDUCATING PEOPLE ON WHAT IT MEANS TO HAVE A FAMILY PET???? HOW ABOUT MANDATORY SPAY AND NEUTER FOR ALL ANIMALS???? HOW ABOUT A SUSPENDING BREEDING UNTIL THE ISSUE OF HOMELESS PETS HAS CLEARED UP??? NOOOOOOOOO THIS DUMB BITCH WANTS TO EUTHANIZE ANIMALS INSTEAD OF DOING SOMETHING TO PRESERVE THE LIVES THAT ARE ALREADY HERE. I HAVE SAID IT BEFORE AND WILL SAY IT AGAIN…ANYONE WHO CAN LOOK INTO THE EYES OF A HEALTHY ADOPTABLE ANIMAL LOVE IT, TAKE CARE OF IT THEN KILL IT IS NOTHING BUT A MONSTER.

    • Would you rather it die on the streets, hungry and in pain? That is what would happen if we didn’t have these shelters. At least they give them love, attention, medical care and food. They do their best with the resources they have. They are trying to do everything you said, but they can’t force the general public to help, all they can do is ask.

    • Well, how about no more war or starvation? No more poverty, etc? A local rescue has an outreach program for people in need, and county animal control supports and helps them. A large municipal shelter started retention programs to help people retain their pets. Spay and neuter? Talk to the politicians you elected. Educating people? Much harder than educating dogs, and many just will not change. Instead of throwing out what others should accomplish with a magic wand, pitch in and help instead. Some of your “monsters” are saving many animals.

    • I for one am glad that unhinged people always type in caps so that you can spot them easily. Dollars to doughnuts this one is the armchair type rescuer. Listen here, Destiny- all of those options are in place where I live, INCLUDING mandatory spay/neuter. Unfortunately, you can’t force people to love their pets and we have found mandatory s/n to be pretty unenforceable 😦 The author poured her heart out here, and I can guarantee is more knowledgeable on this subject than you. I have only seen one monster on this thread… besides my little snark monster.

    • There is no easy way to manage the pet population right now. I believe we can be a no kill society. Perhaps not now, but I see that goal as a marathon, not a sprint. A long term goal. Short term goals would be in each community building low cost spay/neuter programs, with vaccines, preferrably mobile to reach rural areas, building a solid network of fosters (look at Angels Among Us in GA, what they accomplish with NO shelter space), networking with other counties not only for adoption events, but for keeping intakes and admissions flexible, and of course, continuing to work with rescue groups for animals at immediate risk.

      I advocate for no kill because it’s what I believe in but I don’t believe people who work in county/municipal shelters are heartless people who don’t care about whether or not animals live. I have volunteered in shelters most of my adult life. I don’t have children so sometimes I think they became a surrogate family. I feel for you folks who must make the really horrible decision about who lives and who dies. It must be gut wrenching.

      I will say in defense of the person whose animals were killed immediately upon entry to the shelter, that I wholeheartedly disagree with that decision. I understand mange is contagious, but it’s not fatal (Of course, I’m saying that with what I recall about mange so if I’m wrong, I apologize). Why not isolate that dog and see if a foster with some enclosed area can take him/her? I just disagree with a decision to put down an adoptable animal as soon as they enter the shelter. I think, that more than anything upsets the public. Any animal entering a shelter not in grave, critical condition, deserves a chance to live. Develop a system for safe care to animals that fall into that category.

      I do believe as social media continues to evolve and people find their way to sites that interest them, we can unite into a group that provides humane and compassionate care to adoptable companion animals without needing to euthanize. There’s already so many rescue groups networking to save animals at highest risk, and the number of people who follow animal pages tells me people care deeply about this matter.

      I thank you for writing what you did. There will be people who won’t read past the fact that you work for a kill shelter and are considering becoming trained for administering euthanasia. I look at it as we both (or, rather, even, all) want the same thing. A society who values and treats our companions well so they’re all safe. I don’t see you or other shelter employees as enemies. Just people stuck between a rock and a hard place.

  36. Pingback: A Word About Animal Shelters | bittersportspills

  37. I think if people are killing animals it should be required it is done out in the open where people can see and film it- not behind closed doors so people can ignore what it really is. I don’t call it euthanasia because that means ‘good death’ and taking a dog’s life as anything but a last resort is not humane. making believe a dog with kennel cough is sick enough to have to kill is despicable as well as killing for temperment failing is a loophole at the NYC ACC that I think is criminal. In Japan when you have a pet you are financially responsible for it for their whole life. Not until you decide you have no time or personal problems

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