FL Shelter Receives Visit from TV News Crew, Kills Puppy

A local TV news crew visited the Miami-Dade Animal Services shelter last month to do a report on increased shelter intakes and overcrowding:

From the front of the building where people are handing over their pets, to the back gates where strays are being dragged in, the Miami-Dade Animal Shelter is busting at the seams.

Strays are being dragged in – Where in the world did that verbiage come from?

Since intakes are up and the shelter is overcrowded, the report reviews some numbers:

Last year 37,000 [pets] came into the shelter. Despite record adoptions, just 14,000 left alive.

That’s a 62% kill rate “despite record adoptions“.

On a typical day the shelter adopts out 24 animals. That pales in comparison to the 91 on average that are euthanized seven days a week.

91 pets killed every day of the week.  Figuring an 8 hour day, that’s over 11 pets killed every hour of the workday.  Assuming the shelter might take some holidays off from killing every year, I calculated 91 pets killed per day times 7 days per week equals 637 pets killed per week, times 51 weeks per year equals 32, 487 pets killed per year.

While the numbers are staggering, I was honestly not prepared for the next part of the report:

This four month-old puppy that had been up for adoption for three weeks was put down while CBS4 News visited because no one would adopt it.

Yeah I guess no one will adopt him NOW but golly, doncha think having a frelling TV news crew at the shelter would have been a super opportunity to put a spit-shine on this li’l monkey and a bandanna around his neck and mention that he’s looking for a new best friend?  He probably would have been adopted by the end of the day and perhaps even some other dogs could have benefited from the overflow.  But instead of doing something to help him get adopted while the news crew was there, the shelter chose to kill him.

And in case you didn’t get the point, the shelter operations manager drives it into the dirt:

[Xiomara] Mordcovich said, “People need to realize what happens here, and they need to understand that this is the consequence of what happens in the community out there. This is what we all do to our best friend.”

WE ALL? – No ma’am.  This is not what we all do to our best friend.  Killing pets and blaming the public is what you do.  WE ALL are a humane society and we don’t want pets killed because they’re homeless.  We want them sheltered until new homes can be secured.  That’s why it’s called an animal shelter.  Look it up.

Added:  Video of the news report available at the above link and on John Sibley’s blog as well.

69 thoughts on “FL Shelter Receives Visit from TV News Crew, Kills Puppy

  1. Lecturing people self-righteously while freaking *killing puppies in front of them* is not the way to drum up business.

    I understand the urge to get angry and lash out, I do. It wears you down to see people drop off pet after pet, after pet… but damn. This sort of thing doesn’t help toward anyone’s goals (unless the goal really is just to have a temporary feeling of smug superiority that you punished those damn public).

    1. In fairness, the report didn’t specify that they killed the pup “in front of” the news crew, it said the pup was killed while they were there. Either way, it was a piss-poor excuse for media exposure for their pets that they supposedly want people to adopt. At the end of the report she says something about wanting people to come down and volunteer. Can you imagine volunteering at a place that killed 11 pets an hour?

      1. Sorry, I was getting a bit dramatic. It’s not much better that they did it off camera. “Hey, look at this cute puppy! I’m going to go kill it now and it’s YOUR FAULT STUPID PUBLIC! Oh, and please come by and adopt one of our many other cute puppies! Thanks!”

      2. these people need to be killed and in a most nasty kind of way, there is no reason to treat these animals this way, where is the gov” they give all free to lazy basta–s who are to lazy to work or who come over here illegally yet these little creatures are murdered

  2. At the risk of sounding flippant, reading stories like this often really does make me wonder if we have parallel worlds existing in the same space-time continuum. In what reality does a “shelter” kill a healthy animal while a news crew is present, let alone at any other time? What better time to highlight the fact that the animals make great companions and are simply homeless, due to our poor decision-making? Incredible. Simply incredible. Had the shelter leadership or the media reps highlighted just this one dog, he would have been whisked away to safety in no time and the public would have been clamoring to adopt more just like him.

    I know people surrender animals. Often needlessly. I know some people suck. But I also believe in my own Field of Dreams reality that “if you market them, they will come.” If you engage the public, they will respond. If you issue a challenge to adopt as the right thing to do, many people will react because they want to do something good.

    Miami-Dade strikes again.

  3. Simply epic doing it wrong. What a wasted opportunity to reach out and ask for assistance and instead blame people who might help you if you asked. Nauseating.

  4. this is so sad so tragic..so constant…But I do find hope with YesBiscuit blogs and KC Dog Blog especially lately.

    And I love what Brie writes, “{her own} Field of Dreams reality

    ‘If you engage the public, they will respond'”

    then innocents like this helpless little puppy will live and be loved….

  5. Is it just me, or are recent events just really quite depressing? Between a certain proposed law which shall remain nameless, a certain no kill advocate who shall remain nameless, a certain former dogtown caregiver who shall remain nameless, a couple of sanctuary managers who shall remain nameless and a deceased four month old puppy in Miami, this whole alternative reality thing is wearing me down. I know, “wah, wah, wah, wah.”

  6. Having volunteered at a high-kill shelter, I was forced by their actions to conclude that getting animals adopted was NOT, in fact, their goal. Their goal was to do as little actual work as possible. People and animals were an inconvenience to be punished at every opportunity. Employees seemed to regard such punishing as one of the fringe benefits to which they were entitled. Claiming that they were there for the animals, that they worked hard, and that people were irresponsible allowed them to feel superior while punishing, an added bonus. Calling such places ‘shelters’ is just talk. Adoptions occurred in spite of the staff more than because of them.

    Who would take a job killing dogs and cats all day or overseeing such killing? Think about it. Killers, liars and drama queens.

    1. Your points are spot on and they beg the questions: how is it that this type of conduct is not criminal by its very nature? How is it that this not cruelty and neglect, financed by tax dollars and donations?

      I know I’m on my stump in a room full of people who share my same opinions (for the most part) but unless and until John and Jane Q. Public come to understand a few fundamentals, the insanity will continue. 1) Spending big bucks on a breeder animal does not mean a higher quality “product”; 2) shelter animals aren’t broken; they’re homeless; 3) just becuase shelter animals are killed doesn’t mean it was warranted, deserved or even necessary; 4) most people doing the killing could care less and lose zero sleep over it (whether that is the result of some cognitive disorder or not is up for discussion); and 5) YOU have the power to stop this. You. The public. Animal loving Americans who drive hybrids and recycle and think that Asian cultures which eat dogs and cats are abhorant. We can all stop it by doing the right thing and by refusing to have our tax dollars and donations used to perpetuate the needless killing.

    2. We live in a world where people do not treasure human life so do you really expect people to treasure any other living creature answer NOPE

      1. We live in a world where there are people who DO treasure life and other living creatures. There’s more than just apathy and misery in the world, even if some shelters seem to have forgotten that.

  7. Lesson of this news broadcast:

    1) Don’t come here. You will be depressed and there’s definitely something wrong with the animals we have.

    2) Abandon your pet in the street — anything but give him to the Death House.

  8. Wow, it’s just, I mean, come on?! I’m so over this blaming the public thing it hurts. This is a deeply depressing story. How anyone can kill these animals knowing little to no effort was made to give them a real chance is beyond me. What could be if they just had a little more time…

  9. I don’t know if I can put a link here (likely not) so here’s my parting shot for this thread. Takes 4 minutes. Go to Paws4Change.com, click on the Principles page and watch “I Am.” Good tune (thanks Fisher). Great critters.

  10. Yes Brie events are quite depressing and this little puppy just makes it more so…

    National scene with Oreo’s law defeated and the resulting fights are depressing…they reflect what goes on at a local level in my area and what I suspect is everywhere…bleak days…sorry to say.

    But I will check out Paws4change.com – thanks.

  11. Oh My Gosh!! Spay and Neuter, spay and neuter. I can’t stress it enough. It is cheaper to spay and neuter than to euthenize. It cost me $70.00 dollars to have one of my babies euthenized……less than that for spay and neuter!! It would be great if the money they spent on losing one, could be spent on saving one!!

    1. It is heartbreaking to look at the numbers of pets in shelters across the country.The truth of the matter is that most shelters can not physically or fianancially care for the dogs/cats that are surrenderd each year. Education is the only way to reduce the numbers of pets in shelters. Spay and neuter ( maybe some people as well). Most people are in denial about what happens when they drop off Muffy at the shelter. I wish all shelters were forced to publish the eu #’s, maybe people would face reality,instead of thinking they did the right thing by dropping off their pet when it became an inconvenience for them.

      1. Or, maybe, scary prospect for many shelters, the public would rise up and demand change.

        A SHELTER very much OUGHT to be a safe place to bring a pet that for ANY reason you can no longer keep. And there are No Kill open admission shelters all over the country–north, south, east, and west. In rural communities, urban communities, suburban communities. In rich, poor, and middle class communities.

        More in some parts of the country than others, of course, and Florida is not a leading light in this respect. And no, this isn’t primarily the fault of the general public in Florida, where people are no better, but also no worse, on average, than anywhere else in the country.

        The primary responsibility for how shelters are run lies with the people running the shelters.

        The man who called our rescue group to ask us to rehome his Rottweiler, two rat terriers, and a cat didn’t call us because the pets “became an inconvenience.” He did it because he’s an older man whose health declined dramatically, to the point he has to move into assisted living–he can no longer care for himself. His four pets, all older also, are sweet animals who have been beautifully cared for until now, and are now in foster care (but one of the rat terriers has been adopted! Yay!)

        And cases like his happen every day all over the country–and people like you work hard to make sure that giving up their pets, already a terribly hard decision, is harder still.

  12. I think it would be a great idea if CBS4 would dedicate two minutes of news time to display a dog which needs rescue a day…That would probably save another 365 dogs a year, not to mention the ones that might get adopted as a result of someone going to the shelter to adopt the one being displayed that day…Not a brilliant concept, but instead of putting down the shelter and making things worse whereas the public is so horrified to enter such a place a death, there should be more emphasis on lets go to the shelter and adopt. We all know the numbers. This is nothing new. I am not shocked by the stats. I am shocked however, how CBS4 and other media makes such an effort in swaying people from going to MDAS…At the end of the day…the losers are the dogs (the puppy included.)Let’s work on the solution, not focus on the problem…

  13. What an awful, cold-hearted individual the woman who runs this shelter is. There are so many alternatives to this sort of behavior.
    Capture-spay/neuter-release programs help to bring the feral populations under control, for instance. How about putting out a request for foster families so as to open up space in the shelter? Get local veterinarians involved and offer low-cost spay and neuters to the public as well as spaying/neutering any unaltered animal that is brought in. Ask the public for donations of money and food.
    It doesn’t need to be like this.

  14. Very depressing. Maybe animal control facilities should have salaries based on reducing the kill rate percentange, sort of like a business. It might make some of those govt/county animal facilities start to do more to increase adoptions versus just sit on their butts all day.

  15. This is so disgusting..that poor pup deserved a chance! I So agree w/ everyone saying why didnt the news team step in and promote the poor lil guy, he’d have been adopted before the day was over! How damn sad it is that ppl don’t get a clue, and have more heart for these poor animals! :( When is our society as a whole going to wake up, and put and end to this?

  16. 1. I think Mordcovich needs a new job, stat.

    2. This would also have been a great opportunity to do a public info piece on looking for a shelter pet instead of buying from a pet store or breeder. Educate, educate, educate!

    3. Three weeks sure wasn’t long for this poor pup to be chosen as a pet. Can you imagine if we wrote off foster kids after three weeks? Oh well, no one wanted her, might as well give up.

    4. What we are seeing here is the system we have in place in our country. If it is unacceptable to you, do what you can to change the system: write letters, educate people in your own community, volunteer at shelters, and network with those of us on facebook helping to find forever homes for animals in dismal shelters like Miami’s. It does matter, and we ARE making a difference!! If there is enough outrage, and enough people willing to stand up and say, “ENOUGH!!!”, there WILL eventually be change.

    “The greatness of a society and its moral progress can be judged by the way it treats its animals.”
    ~Mahatma Gandhi.

  17. so you’re saying the guy in charge of the shelter is at fault ? it’s certainly not the publics right ? he put all those ” pets ” in there ? 32000 euthanized and im sure they still went over budget, give them the budget to keep all of them alive and wait for the publice outcry, including YOU, they are animals not pets, get one and make it a pet, homeless people are kicked out of shelters way before 3 weeks, they would be euthanized as well if it were legal, they are shelters, temporary fixes, not homes, wether the next stage is home or death, who knows

    1. Yes. The shelter leadership is at fault. And this is not about homeless people. It’s about homeless animals who are powerless to change their own circumtances and who are, in effect, imprisoned.

  18. This is heartbreaking! I know it happens, but, seriously, give the public a chance to see the animals! Set up adoptathons, races, discount days, anything would help!
    As a mom to two rescues, who are family members, and have been for the last 11 years, I would adopt many more if we could.
    This “shelter” and its workers should be ashamed of themselves!

  19. I work selling pet food in a large eastern city. As I make my rounds, what astonishes me is the proliferation of puppy shops and – a newish development – giant suburban supply stores with a large puppy section. The demand is there – so where are the adoption events? The outreach? It’s not like the dogs in the pound aren’t the exact same dogs as the ones in the store a couple of months later. Where are the mobile units from the shelter? Victims of budget cuts? (Murder is much cheeper). At least my boss doesn’t expect me to go into them.

  20. I work with people who buy animals. They equate the cost with the quality of the product. They buy from breeders. They buy from newspaper ads. They think that becuase the local shelter has a kill rate above 70 percent, the death is warranted. The animals must be damaged or aggressive or sick. They won’t even consider going to the shelter becuase they know what happens there and they don’t want to think about it.

    If the shelter leadership were to make life saving a priority and were to engage the community in doing the right thing, people would respond to that. Dispel the myths. Make it easy to adopt. Make it a point of personal pride and values. Show that the shelter animals are just as good as those produced for profit and that they simply need a second chance.

    I checked with the NKAC recently to see if the 09 stats are in yet. They are not but the estimates are About the same as for 08.

    6 to 8 million animals enter shelters each year

    almost 4 million will be killed even though 3.6 million are savable

    20 million people will adopt in any given year

    of those 20 million, 17 million people have not decided where they’ll go to get that new pet and could be persuaded to adopt or rescue

    So. 3.6 million animals need homes and there are 17 million people looking. That’s not overpopulation. It’s a marketing crisis which is deadly. And I hold shelter leadership accountable for the failure to market those animals by engaging the public in saving them.

    1. This can’t be said enough.

      Just six months ago, a co-worker started looking for a dog. She was leaning toward adoption, but didn’t want to visit a shelter because of a bad experience a few years before. They mostly searched craigslist and the papers as an alternative – and all they wanted was a mutt for a pet! They didn’t want a pure-bred/status symbol.

      Then, they happened to be at a pet store and the local shelter was there doing outreach. They met and adopted a great dog. Never would have happened without that (all volunteer) effort from the shelter.

  21. You guys are going to crucify me, but I feel I must point out a few facts that are so obviously missing here. Miami/Dade is in a budget crisis. They are laying off teachers, firefighters and police offices. Streetlights are being turned off to save electricity. They don’t have the money to run a no-kill facility. That’s reality.

    This shelter, and the others like it all over the country, are not the problem. They are the end result of the problem. The real problem is stupid pet owners who don’t fix their animals. That’s where the anger, and the new laws, needs to be directed. Pets are too easily obtainable and disposable, just another part of our throw away lifestyle.

    The time has come when we, as a society, need to seriously consider banning all animal adoptions and sales until such time as a heavily regulated and highly expensive licensing program can be placed into effect. It may seem harmful and cruel to do this to homeless pets today, but think of the generations of abused and abandoned pets yet to be born that would not have to suffer. Making it expensive to sell an animal, making it expensive to get a license to buy an animal, making it expensive to get rid of that animal, and making it expensive to abuse that animal is the only thing that will stop this cycle of abuse that is occurring.

    Let the tar and feathering begin.

    1. I feel this was very well said. While I disagree with making it expensive to own an animal, I do believe some regulations need to happen.

      I volunteer in a FL shelter and they do not have time to market animals. That is where I and several volunteers come into play. I take pictures and we post them like crazy on CL and Petfinder and bulletin boards all over the county. And you know what – it works! Animals still die daily but we move a lot of animals that would have died if not for people like us.

      Also, the local PetSmart said the county shelter couldn’t do rescue day out front because they were not a non-profit. So to those who say community outreach, sometimes you do not have all of the facts involved. Luckily our other shelter can go to the Petco every other weekend. The thing is that the volunteers are newer and still learning the process, but we are getting somewhere.

      Sadly though, animals will die every day until people own up to the responsibility of taking in animals. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen dogs dropped off because they got “too big” – what do people expect a lab to be other than big? And the dog is untrainable is my favorite excuse. People don’t see that it reflects back on them that they do not take the time to train.

      The other thing this news story fails to mention is how many of these dogs are pit bulls or dogs incorrectly labeled as pit bulls? Miami Dade has a ban and unless those dogs go out to rescue elsewhere, they can not be adopted out. So they have to die.

      I am saddened that so many people will just jump on the media bandwagon instead of taking the time to go to the shelter and learn, volunteer, foster, call their county commissioners and complain, etc. If you are outraged by this article, DO SOMETHING about it. Because while the numbers may not be as staggering, I bet it is occuring in your local government funded shelter as well!

  22. re: “Miami-Dade is in a budget crisis” and “some shelters don’t have time/money to market animals.”

    Wha? The whole point of this blog post was that this shelter squandered a free marketing opportunity. How did they not have the time/money to at least try?

    And to Zoey: Many of us are “doing something about it”, thank you. It’s not like criticism of bad actors and positive actions like volunteering are mutually exclusive, you know.

  23. Please remember that news/media sources DO and say things to get attention. Just because the news source shoots a pic of a puppy, does not mean it occurred and I am most certain it did not occur in front of them.

    While putting animals down is a sad occurance, it is needed. There is simply not enough room and not enough funds to care for all the animals that come in their doors. They rattled off numbers of how many come in and how many are adopted-the rest are euthanized. They would not be put to sleep if people would adopt them, so, obviously, the homes aren’t there. Even if you ran into being able to have the funds and room to care for ALL the animals that come in, you are going to run into a lot of sicknesses. The more animals you have, the more rapid your diseases you will experience.

    It IS the public’s fault. The PUBLIC is who drops these animals off. The shelters are simply there, taking in other people’s responsibilities.

    As far as us being a humane society, are you out of your mind? Take a good look around you. While I agree there are good people out there, humans, as a species, sucks. We are destroying our own Earth, we hurt, kill and are ruthless to fellow humans, we have no respect for animals, etc. Have you ever read Craigslist and read all the STUPID excuses one gives for having to get rid of their animals?

    I am sorry for my rant. This is something I am really passionate about. I have also worked in a kill shelter but I only lasted for two weeks. It upset me to see the animals put down and it was making me hate society more and more. No, I was not mad at the people who put the animals down, but the people who mindlessly dropped their animals off at a shelter, with no regard or care for the animal they once “loved.”

  24. Tina, it doesn’t matter whether or not the puppy was killed in front of the tv crew. The point of objection is that he was killed at all–INSTEAD OF using the free publicity opportunity to get him and other animals adopted.

    “They rattled off numbers of how many come in and how many are adopted-the rest are euthanized.”

    Not euthanized, Tina. Killed. Intentionally ending the lives of animals with no serious health or behavioral problems is not euthanasia; it’s just killing.

    And yes, they did rattle off the numbers, didn’t they.

    “They would not be put to sleep if people would adopt them, so, obviously, the homes aren’t there.”

    You’re taking it for granted that they are doing everything they can to GET the animals adopted–this despite the fact that they quite casually tossed aside a WONDERFUL “marketing” opportunity that came their way for free. Instead, they chose to use the opportunity to rub the public’s nose in the fact that they kill healthy, adoptable animals. The most charitable interpretation of this is that they are trying to guilt people into adopting–but that’s not going to work. It’s an approach, and an attitude, that drives people away.

    For some odd reason, most people don’t want their primary feeling on adopting a pet to be overwhelming guilt about the ones they had to leave behind.

    “Even if you ran into being able to have the funds and room to care for ALL the animals that come in, you are going to run into a lot of sicknesses. The more animals you have, the more rapid your diseases you will experience.”

    Um. Not if you practice basic, responsible health and hygiene procedures, such as quarantine of new intakes until their health status is determined, prompt treatment of illnesses, and reasonable sanitation practices.

    “It IS the public’s fault. The PUBLIC is who drops these animals off. The shelters are simply there, taking in other people’s responsibilities.”

    What is this shelter doing, BEFORE people reach the crisis point, to help people keep their animals in their homes?

    The shelter nearest me offers low-cost obedience classes and behavioral advice. So does the rescue group I’m involved in–and if you adopt an animal from us, you get to take obedience classes with your dog FREE for the LIFE OF THE DOG. Another shelter has a pet food pantry, so that in these awful economic conditions people can continue to feed their pets.

    We go to schools and libraries to make presentations to both children and adults about animal behavior, animal care, disaster preparedness. We’re raising money to buy and donate pet oxygen masks to the local fire department.

    A group of area shelters and rescue groups including ours hold an adoption day every month on the lawn of a church in the area. Our rescue holds adoption days at a variety of local stores, some of which have only the most tenuous claim to be “pet-related” business, but who have decision-makers who want to HELP. Some of them are local businesses, but some are national chains that probably have a presence in Florida, too.

    Sometimes it takes a little imagination and energy, to reach out and find the help you need. Plus, of course, it helps to approach people WITHOUT hatred inn your heart for the people you’re approaching. Because they CAN tell, Tina, they really can.

    “I am sorry for my rant. This is something I am really passionate about. I have also worked in a kill shelter but I only lasted for two weeks. It upset me to see the animals put down and it was making me hate society more and more.”

    You are traumatized, and not recognizing the fact that potential adopters are put off by the same thing that forced out, AS WELL AS by the anger, hatred, or indifference of too many “shelter” workers.

    “No, I was not mad at the people who put the animals down, but the people who mindlessly dropped their animals off at a shelter, with no regard or care for the animal they once “loved.” ”

    In our rescue, some of the animals are strays, some have been surrendered by heartless owners–but at least half are much-loved pets being surrendered because of the owners have developed major health problems that make it impossible for them to continue caring for their pets properly, foreclosure due to extended unemployment in this new Great Depression, or other heartbreaking life changes that leave the owners simply trying to make the best choice for their pets. (Because, no, sorry, living in your car with your pet is not a viable option except under highly unusual circumstances most people can’t achieve.)

    But these are stories you’ll never hear, Tina, not because your local pet surrenderers are Awful People, but because your awful attitude, and the awful attitude of this shelter and its director and staff, prevents people from confiding in you.

  25. So, no kill shelters work huh? Then why have they not taken the place of kill shelters? I will tell you why. Because there are not enough homes for them all.

    A no kill shelter has the luxury of turning animals away when they are at capacity. The shelter does not. They have to take in every animal and a lot of times, they simply do not have the room.

    Again, it is not the shelter’s fault. They have a budget to go by. The politicians YOU, the public pick, are the ones that say what funds go where. I am glad some areas are able to do a lot of different things to get pets adopted, but if the shelter doesn’t have the funds for it, they cannot do it.

    When you people say that shelter workers should do more, it makes me believe you have never volunteered or worked at a county run shelter. All the shelter workers are busy all day with cleaning and caring for the animals, as well as adoptions and
    other things they must do. They are often understaffed and are never sitting on their asses, twittling their thumbs.

    Obviously you have not heard of the excuses people give when they give up their pets. While I am sure there are legit, reasonable reasons out there, that is NOT the majority. Many times I have heard that they were moving and couldn’t find the room for their three pound cat in an apartment. I have also seen people dump off their dogs they have had for years because the dog has cancer and is bleeding all over the place. Just because someone is ignorant, does not make it ok for an animal to suffer.

    Also, what would you do with all theses animals that are kept alive until they are adopted? Keep them in a cage until they cannot take it anymore and become cage aggressive? That is torture in my opinion and death is not the worst thing.

    And why is it up to someone else to take responsibility for other peoples animals? While I am glad there is, so animals do not suffer at the hands of their irresponsible owners, everyone expects something for nothing. People don’t want to pay taxes but they want to complain, when because of lack of funds, police and firemen, shelters, etc. can not provide the services they wish for.

    The whole excuse, I don’t want to help a kill shelter because of what they do, is hog wash. You would be helping the animals, not the shelter or staff.

    1. Tina, Do you find that this math (worked out by Nathan Winograd) is wrong?

      How many dogs and cats enter shelters annually? 8 million. (Some put it as low as 6 million, but I am going to use a “worst case” scenario.)

      Of those how many are savable? 90 percent or just over 7 million.

      Of those how many will be saved? 4 million.

      How many of the savable animals are killed? 3 million.

      How many need to find new homes? If shelters are doing their jobs comprehensively, just over 2 million (3 million on the high end). The remainder should be increased reclaims or in the case of feral cats, TNR’d.

      Other than those who will adopt from a shelter as a matter of course (those saved above), how many people in the U.S. are looking to bring a new dog or cat into their home next year but have not decided where they will get the animal and can be influenced to adopt from a shelter? 17 million. So, 17 million people for 2-3 million dogs and cats.

    2. “All the shelter workers are busy all day with cleaning and caring for the animals, as well as adoptions and other things they must do. They are often understaffed and are never sitting on their asses, twittling their thumbs.”

      Bullshit. I’ve pulled dogs from a variety of municipal shelters, rural county pounds, and other publicly-funded, high-kill facilities.

      In some, the staff are working hard.

      In others, the lazy POS’s are absolutely sitting on their asses on the public dime while animals languish in filthy runs and the front doors remain locked to both potential adopters and owners attempting to find their lost pets.

      Just because a particular kind of work is “hard work” does not mean that everyone who secures that job description is a hard worker.

  26. Unfortunately, you can’t close kill shelters, or convert them, based on maybes. Is there a possibility you could get 17 million to adopt? Of course. Is it also possible that those 17 million would want a purebred puppy from a breeder.

    After all, puppies are the more attractive option, as well as the most popular option. While shelters do get puppies, a lot of those puppies do get adopted, while the adult dogs do not and have a higher risk of being put down.

    Also, to touch basis on the disease issues…there is not enough space to hold every dog or animal that comes in until they are cleared and healthy. We cleaned cages once a day and scrubbed them with a disenfectant called Trifectant which is the best you can get. Problem is, when you have a high population of something in a small area, sicknesses will happen. I now work at the hospital. We have hand washing and sanitizer to reduce the chance, but even here, it still happens, nothing is 100 percent.

    My question to the no kill shelters is, why do you turn animals away? Because you are full. As I said before, kill shelters HAVE to take the animal no matter what. What are they suppose to do when they are full? Turn them away too so the owner let’s the animal loose in the woods?

    1. We don’t need 17 million people to adopt. In fact, there are far too few shelter pets for 17 million people. We only need about 3 million out of the 17 million to adopt from shelters. Do you find the math is wrong? Because to my mind the math debunks the idea that there aren’t enough homes for shelter pets. I can’t come to any other conclusion. Can you?

  27. I didn’t mean to say that the math was wrong per say…

    But how do you KNOW that they can bring in three million more adopters?

    What if they can’t? Hate to be negative Nancy here but I think for the sake of the animals, there has to be a back up plan in case this plan does not work.

    I will ask again since the question seems to be avoided. What happens when an owner brings an animal to a no kill shelter and they are turned away because the no kill shelter is full? Typically, if they really have to get rid of the animal, they then go to the kill shelter. Let’s pretend that the kill shelter no longer exists, what do they do then?

  28. Tina, Yes, puppies are an attractive option–although not, in fact, the most attractive option for everyone who wants a new pet. I’ll never have a puppy again, but I plan to have a dog as long as I’m able to care for one.

    I said, and you apparently missed it, that that there are OPEN ADMISSION No Kill Shelters all over the country. That means that no, they don’t have to explain to you why they turn animals away, because they DON’T turn animals away. They take in every animal, and STILL have a live exit rate of 90% or higher.

    Why does this work? Because they do, in fact, scan every stray brought in, to find those microchips that may be there, and then use the info to reunite lost animals with their owners. Because they DO get off their butts and clean kennels and runs, isolate new intakes, isolate and treat sick animals. Because they have attractive hours for both potential adopters and people looking for lost animals to come in and find those new or lost pets. Because they get out there into the community, have off-site adoption events, get their pets on tv, get them featured in the newspaper, do things to make them visible and attractive in the community. Because they offer services and support, such as obedience training, behavioral consultations, a food pantry, lists of pet friendly housing–not everything at every No Kill shelter, but they make an effort to help people keep their pets BEFORE they reach the breaking point.

    They use their volunteers–to walk the dogs, play with the cats, keep the kennels and runs clean, to foster animals, to do things that unpaid volunteers can do, to free up the paid staff to do what they need to do.

    And they get more support, volunteers, donations, AND ADOPTERS, because they don’t radiate hostility and resentment at every person who walks in the door.

  29. Oh, and Tina? Why haven’t No Kill shelters completely replaced the kill shelters? Because of lovely ladies like the director of this shelter that got the tv film crew visit–and killed a puppy to make a point about how AWFUL the general public is, instead of using the opportunity to PROMOTE that puppy and other puppies in the shelter, as great candidates for adoption, with that free tv publicity.

    In short, because so many in the shelter world either so traumatized by years of believing killing pets is the only way, or are just innately vile misanthropes, and they’d rather kill pets to punish the Bad Public, than reach out to the pet-loving public they don’t believe in, or try anything that’s different from The Way We’ve Always Done Things.

  30. So, people don’t open more no kill shelters because county shelters do not like how the public treats its animals?

    If there was an option between someone taking their animal to a non kill shelter vrs. A kill shelter, most people, unless cruel, would take theirs to the kill shelters. In that case, why are all the no kills not accepting animals and the kill shelters are full as well and can only be unfull by euthananizing, then why don’t no kill’s take in more animals? Build more space. If the no kills found three million new adopters, there would be no need for kill shelters.

    The pound is a place for irresponsible people to take their pets when they no longer can or do not want to take care of them. You say this is an animal loving public, but not a whole lot of people are really that great. Ever look at Craigslist? Any given day, there are kittens and puppies on there being given away. Yea. These people love their pets so much and care about animals so much that they don’t fix their animals and bring even more animals into the world.

    My whole point is, there is a lot more worse things than death. While I am sure there are lots more that could be done, it won’t be done because as I said before, there is not enough funding for it. People are losing their homes, police protection as well as firemen. Unfortunately, animals drop by the way side. Again, until people start being responsible and rely on themselves instead of others and the government, there will always be more animals than homes. Again, lots things more worse than death like sitting in a cage for months at a time waiting to be adopted.

    1. I said that there are true No Kill, open admission shelters in every part of the country, more in some parts than others, NOT that every shelter that calls itself “no kill” is open admission.

      As for the idea of people opening up brand-new No Kill shelters to compete in the market for surrendered pets…sorry. The way No Kill shelters come into existence is with an existing shelter and good leadership, outreach, cooperation with other shelters, rescues, community volunteers. Starting a true No Kill shelter isn’t something a plucky individual does all on their own.

      And the goal isn’t to set up COMPETING networks of shelters and rescues; No Kill works by COOPERATION and using all available resources.

      Which is one reason people are (perversely, in your opinion) blaming the shelter that killed this puppy when it had a tv crew there filming, rather than blaming whoever brought in the puppy (or perhaps its pregnant mother.) The shelter had a choice, a choice some would have considered so simple and obvious as not to be a choice: They could have used the presence of the tv crew to PROMOTE the availability of highly adoptable pets, including this innocent puppy, but instead chose to “make a point” about the Bad Public by killing the puppy.

      They could have reached out to the Good Public that loves animals, wants pets, and doesn’t currently know that there are great pets available in shelters. They chose not to; they chose to kill one of those puppies that you say people want instead of adult dogs and therefore won’t go to shelters… You see the problem? The logic failure? The failure to care enough to USE resources that got dropped in their laps?

    2. “Again, until people start being responsible and rely on themselves instead of others and the government, there will always be more animals than homes.”

      You still haven’t offered a remotely rational argument against YesBiscuit’s numbers: Three million homes needed annually for the savable pets currently being killed in shelters, seventeen million homes annually wanting pets who have not yet decided where to acquire one. If you truly believe that out of seventeen million potential adopters there are not three million decent homes available, your hatred and contempt for your own species is too extreme for you to be doing anything that requires compassion and the ability to work with other human beings. Such as, for instance, working in an animal shelter.

      “Again, lots things more worse than death like sitting in a cage for months at a time waiting to be adopted.”

      Tell me that when it’s YOU facing a choice of execution or some months in a cage waiting for a new home.

      And, heck, even our local kill shelter does better than that, with a “cat pavilion” that allows any cat not in need of isolation for medical reasons to climb, scratch on scratching posts, hide, play with toys, or interact with other cats, depending on their moods and preferences at any given moment, while the dogs have plenty of room to move around, are housed one, two, or several to a kennel depending on how well they get on with the other dogs currently in the shelter, get walked several times a day, and have toys to play with and beds to sleep on. No, it’s not like being in a real home, but it’s a whole heck of a lot better than your image of “life in a cage.”

      And, as I said, that’s not even the No Kill shelter.

  31. Once again, just because the media says it, doesn’t mean it is true. Look right now at the oil spill. They talk like it is no big deal but in reality, it is.

    Media do and say things to sensationalize things. The shelter may not even be apart of the whole, puppy put to sleep thing and even if they were, I am sure the puppy was scheduled for euthanasia before the media even went there. It is not like they said, ok, media is here, we are putting the puppy down.

    It was just a statement/photo that showed a puppy that was put down in the time span they were there.

    1. You really don’t get it, do you, Tina.

      I would assume that, yes, in fact, that puppy just happened to be scheduled for killing (not “euthanasia”) during the time that the tv crew was there, and the presence of the tv crew didn’t change anything.

      And that’s the problem. The presence of the tv crew should have been seen as an OPPORTUNITY, and used to get homes for this puppy and pets in the shelter. I believe it was you, forgive me if I am misremembering, that said people don’t want shelter pets because puppies are more attractive as new pets. THIS WAS A PUPPY!

      And the shelter director, who heaps blame on the Bad Public, didn’t care enough to take advantage of the opportunity the tv crew represented, to get that puppy a home rather than the needle.

      That’s shameful and morally indefensible.

  32. Unless the media present was running a live feed (which I doubt) I find it highly doubtful the pup would have been adopted by days end and the media wouldn’t have reported it that day.

    Kill shelters don’t euthanize for the sake of doing it. They euthanize when they run out of room. When they run out of room, they euthanize according to most adoptable and/or who has been there the longest.

    Also, I am happy to hear the shelter near you is so well to do, with big elaborate cages. But the shelter here, has small dog runs (sometimes two to a kennel when they are full) and the cats stay in cages too.

    I do have compassion, I work at a hospital ffs. I just don’t have compassion for people who have no compassion for their own animals and let their pets pay the ultimate price.

    1. “I do have compassion, I work at a hospital ffs. I just don’t have compassion for people who have no compassion for their own animals and let their pets pay the ultimate price.”

      So by all means, let’s punish those people who don’t give a rat’s ass about their former pets by killing those animals.

      That’ll teach ’em!

  33. You are missing the point. It is not about killing animals to get back at them.

    The whole point is, there is not enough shelter space to house all the cats and dogs people bring in.

  34. Ah, Tina.

    It’s you who don’t get it.

    Use foster homes to get as many pets as possible, especially the most sensitive ones, OUT of the shelter and into homes–freeing up space.

    Make the shelter hours reasonable for working people, so that they can get there to find lost pets or adopt new ones.

    Do offsite adoption days, to make the pets more visible and more accessible to potential adopters.

    And above all, dump the hostile attitude towards your own species. Concentrate on getting the message out about the wonderful animals available in shelters, and ditch the counterproductive effort to make everyone feel guilty because other people brought their dogs to the shelter.

    Did you read the post about the HSUS visit to this very shelter in 2004? At least i 2004, they weren’t scanning new intakes for microchips, and they weren’t scanning the condemned pets for chips before they were executed for the crime of being homeless. Which is to say, WHATEVER they say, at least as recently as 2004, they simply did not care whether the pets they were killing had safe homes and loving families who were searching for them. It was easier to just kiLl them and blame the Bad Public for it, instead of DOING THEIR FREAKIN’ JOBS!

  35. Ok, arguing back and forth is not doing anything. I think we are going to have to agree to disagree on the subject.

    However, I do not get your idea that shelter workers are just so bad-and the public who bring them there in the first place are not responsible for what they do.

    I get there ARE legit reasons for bringing an animal in. But for every legit reason, there are ten that do it on a regular basis. They get puppies and when they no longer are cute and cuddly, they get rid of them and go get another puppy. Or the people that don’t know how to take their pet to get fixed and they continually allow their pet to breed and then take the puppies/kittens to the pound. (I had an aunt that did just this. I disagreed with it even at that age (10) but she wouldn’t stop nor did she even care.) Or the people that are moving, but somehow cannot find an apartment that allows a 5 lb. cat or dog. (I personally know they are out there.) Or the people who can’t keep an animal because, surprise surprise, they are having a baby. I know many people who have animals and babies and they coexist peacefully together.

    I get that there are bad shelters out there. But there are good ones too-ones that DO their jobs and try as hard as they can to adopt out the animals or get them fostered. They also scan pets when they come in, in hopes of reuniting pets with their owners. I know the one I worked at, as soon as the dog came in, they were taken into the room, examined, scanned and vaccinated and given Heartguard. I would think instead of saying such mean things about all kill shelters, one would focus more attention on the ones that are bad and try to get them changed. One thing I think that is totally wrong is the use of the gas chamber to kill multiple pets and some shelters still use them.

    Like with everything, there are shelters out there that are bad and don’t do their jobs. But there are good shelters too-that do everything they can to help the animals. I would know. I worked at one.

    1. Tina said: “Ok, arguing back and forth is not doing anything. I think we are going to have to agree to disagree on the subject.”
      I beg to differ, I have found this whole discussion VERY helpful! Thank you Tina, and all you other posters who are trying to explain a mind and soul shift that is apparently very difficult to perceive until it actually happens to you.
      Tina, the difference between kill and no kill is the number of animals that DIE. My definition of a good shelter is one that does not kill! (Read the definition of the word “SHELTER” it doesn’t include death.) If you worked at a “shelter” that killed animals for space, they were NOT doing everything they can. To build a no kill nation we simply must choose to take murder off the table as an answer for a perceived over-population problem. The problem is that we don’t trust each other enough to help each other. Let’s work TOGETHER to help animals. By most of our definitions, murder is not helpful. Can we agree on that?

  36. Tina,

    The stupid people who do stupid things are definitely responsible for some (many, most?) of the homeless pets out there.

    BUT, the public is also the ANSWER to the problem of homeless pets. Blaming them, driving them away with a crappy environment, remote shelter with crap hours, and surly workers only adds to the misery.

    Yes, irresponsible people are out there – they always will be. We can’t fix them, we can’t shame them into being better people. What we CAN do is reach out to the good people – make shelters good places in the minds of the community, make animals visible and accessible and adoption easy and desirable.

    Stop seeing the public as the problem, start seeing it as the solution.

  37. Tina–
    killing healthy and treatable pets is intrinsically bad. While some kill shelters are worse than others, the fundamental issue is that killing healthy and treatable pets is simply wrong. That wrong is only compounded by the fact that there is a proven solution to all the killing–its called the No Kill Equation. It has been in use continuously in Tompkins County, NY since mid-2001, and other communities have since adopted it as well. There are still irresponsible people in Tompkins County, they’re just no longer allowed to work at the shelter. The killing stops when the shelter director takes responsibility for stopping it. It continues when he or she abdicates that responsibility.

  38. Your math in this blog is off. You’ve
    overstated the number of euthenizations
    by more than 9,000 per year according to
    my calculations.

    If, as you said, 37,000 pets entered shelter and 14,000 left alive, then 23,000 died there last year.

    Assuming all 23,000 deaths were euthenizations, then
    there were about 442 per week. You claimed there were 91 euthenizations per day seven days a week. That would be 637 per week, which means you’ve overstated the number of euthenizations by about 200 per week.

    If you meant to say 91 per WORK day then you’d be
    more accurate. Either way it is a heck of a lot
    of animals dying.

    You conclude that 32,487 pets are killed per year.
    But if 37,000 pets came in and 14,000 left alive, then only 23,000 died at the shelter. You’ve overstated by about 9,400. Again probably because of the difference between 5 days of euthenizing and 7 days of euthenizing.

    And finally, concerning the pup they put down while the news crew was there, yes it is sad, but they put down over 400 animals per week, every week. Do you REALLY think the community can absorb 400 more animals each week than are currently being adopted? I think you’re in denial when you claim there is no pet overpopulation problem.

    1. Sorry if this was confusing but I used the numbers provided in the story. You are mixing up the numbers they provided for LAST YEAR with the numbers they provided as CURRENT NUMBERS. If you look at the article, you’ll see how I calculated from their numbers. If you think I’m in denial about pet overpopulation – and since you like math – please double check Nathan Winograd’s numbers for me. I can’t find any errors in them whatsoever which leads me to conclude that yes, pet overpopulation is a myth. If you find any errors in his numbers, please share.

  39. How is pet overpopulation a myth???

    Say you are able to get your millions of people to adopt from shelters that are currently needed so that no animal is euthanized that is adoptable….

    that doesn’t change the fact that the numbers aren’t there now.

    If people were to just all the sudden STOP putting down these animals that aren’t getting adopted, what would happen? Shelters would be bursting at the seams, they wouldn’t be able to take anymore in and diseases would be spreading like wildfire.

  40. I don’t know much about no-kill shelters, but I am skeptical of some of the claims made for how successful they are. I’m open to being educated though.

    When comparisons are made between kill shelters and no-kill shelters are we comparing apples to apples?

    Is it common for no-kill shelters to get some of their animals directly from kill shelters? If so, how do they determine which animals they take? If
    the no-kill shelters are taking mostly young, healthy, attractive dogs then that would skew the numbers. Obviously it is easier to adopt out young, healthy, attractive, well socialized dogs than dogs who are old or sick or unattractive or poorly socialized.

    Does this happen much, or am I barking up the wrong tree (pun intended!).

  41. Stratobill,

    You should read Redemption. Nathan Winograd talks about the shelter he took over in NY where they got all sorts of animals adopted – including, old, sickly, and ugly ones.


    It’s about leadership and marketing. We could stop killing animals today, right now. IF we had no-kill communities in place! Shelters would be able to communicate with each other, transport animals to where the demand is, use foster homes, market their animals so the public SEES them and thinks of adoption as the first choice, use rescue groups, etc. etc. But it requires a desire to stop the killing and the leadership to make it work.

    And since part of the no-kill plan is to increase spay/neuter programs and public awareness, the longer it’s in place, the fewer homeless animals there will be. We can’t keep doing what we’re doing – it doesn’t work. It hasn’t worked and it continues to not work. Good, healthy animals are still dying needlessly by the thousands. Time to try something else.

  42. Tompkins county proved that it is possible to be both a No Kill and an open admission shelter at the same time, taking in the ‘cute and cuddlies’ and the elderly, disabled and medically and behaviorally challenged. In ‘Redemption’, Winograd even recounts a story about a nearby kill shelter which wasn’t interested in delivering 30 cats from their facility (their choice) to Tompkins which had room for them due to adoption success, but which sent the Chair of their Board over to complain about how Tompkins’ success made them look bad, and how he ended up sending someone from Tompkins to go get the cats. Tompkins was the first to implement the No Kill Equation, making it a No Kill *community*, which is not to be confused with a No Kill shelter. No kill shelters and rescues do not necessarily follow the NKE, and many limit admissions based on a variety of criteria, but that doesn’t mean they should be criticized for that–they’re taking in animals that would otherwise end up at a taxpayer-funded kill shelter.

    Prior to Tompkins’ landmark success, it was hell:


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