This is What Animal Shelters are for

I have no idea why Karen Erby of York Co, SC allowed her puppy to deteriorate to the point where she couldn’t walk or even lift her head. Maybe she really was trying to nurse her back to health as she claimed when surrendering the dog to authorities and maybe somehow, despite the dog’s deathly physical appearance, she actually believed she was making progress. Or maybe she just did not care very much about how long or how terribly the dog suffered. Or maybe it’s some other reason.

Whatever the case, I can understand how someone – not necessarily Ms. Erby, but a dog owner in general – might find herself with a sick dog and no financial means to care for her. If this situation befell me, I would first take the dog to my regular Vet for an evaluation and ask if she’d would be willing to work with me on financial arrangements. Depending on circumstances, I might seek a loan from a family member to help pay for care. But failing all reasonable options, I would not leave a dog in the condition Ms. Erby’s pup was in chained in my yard, pour motor oil on her and hope for the best. (Rubbing motor oil on mange does not cure the condition, despite whatever old wives’ tales you may have heard.)

This is what animal shelters are for. They are a safety net for pets in the community who need help and have no one able to provide for them. It’s tragic that so many people have come to regard shelters, rightly in some cases, as death houses. We need to change the public’s perception of shelters but in order to do that, shelters must stop killing pets. Euthanasia is a kindness – a means to end the suffering of a medically hopeless pet. Animal shelters do offer this service but the overwhelming majority of shelter pets who die in this country are not euthanized – they are killed. Again, I have no way of knowing Ms. Erby’s motivations but it strikes me as plausible that she, or others faced with a sick pet, might consider that a pet is better off in agony on a backyard chain than going to a shelter. This must change.

We are a no kill nation. Join us.

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