Hey Jerks – A Little Help Here?

The Memphis Dog Rescue Examiner wants to alert us that the Tipton Co Animal Shelter in TN is overflowing with pets and help from the public is desperately needed to save lives.  Good opener.  And then – WHAM – we get pelted with a barrage of frown:

This shelter has to euthanize at least twice a week due to lack of space and daily intake of additional dogs.

Not “has to”.  Chooses to.  Don’t excuse the needless killing of healthy/treatable pets.  It tends to put a damper on sales.

If puppy mills could be stopped from existing, if spay/neuter laws were enacted and enforced, if people cared a little bit more to properly take care of their pets, maybe there wouldn’t be so many little lives in these shelters waiting for help.

Mandatory spay-neuter laws increase killing in shelters.  They do not decrease killing.  They never have.  Anywhere.  Ever.

Which supposedly uncaring people are you trying to shame here?  People who brought pets to the shelter?  Those are the caring ones, the ones who don’t want their abandoned pets roaming the streets or something worse.  They brought their pets to the shelter in hopes of leaving them in safe hands until a new home could be found.  They are our neighbors, friends, co-workers and family members.  They are people in need of education or maybe a hand-up to help them keep their pets and get them neutered.  They are all of us.  And most importantly, they are the people reading your article – at first wondering how they can help, but ultimately feeling ashamed and hopeless because you paint them as uncaring and the shelter is just going to kill the pets anyway.

It’s a shame that these pleas even have to be made.

Come again?  If you don’t reach out to the public, how will people know there is a need for help?  You want to move a product – in this case, shelter pets – you need to advertise.  This article could have been one such advertisement.  But instead it’s a setback for all the pets languishing in this shelter because of the potential donors, adopters and foster homes it alienated.

Instead of taking up a whole page of the internet, why don’t you just save some space?  Maybe this:

The Tipton Co Animal Shelter is beyond capacity and kills pets at least twice a week to make room for more so you uncaring people can keep dumping your pets.  It’s appalling that we even have to ask but can you drag your irresponsible selves down here and adopt some pets before we kill some more?

Then you can fill up the rest of the page with photos of adoptable pets, clever blurbs about each of them, reminding people about extended hours at the shelter, reduced adoption fees and stuff like that.

Or just keep on with the finger-wagging.  How’s that been working out so far?

16 thoughts on “Hey Jerks – A Little Help Here?

  1. I love this – you’ve hit the nail on the head! Imagine a retailer clucking it’s corporate tongue at all the irresponsible shoppers in town and blaming them for the bad economy – all the while refusing to advertise to let people know they’re open for business or having a sale?

    It’s like the dumbest people in the country run these shelters. What’s the word, DUH?

    Another good post. Keep up the fine work YB!

  2. Come in and buy our excess, tainted merchandise that you are responsible for or we’ll just burn it all.

    I can’t believe how many professional shelter directors fall back on the spay/neuter thing when there is so much evidence that mandatory s/n brings more dogs to the shelter.

  3. Just once, I’d love to read or hear something like this from the director of a kill shelter. Somewhere, anywhere:

    “We have to stop killing animals just because that’s what’s always been done in the past. We were wrong. We know that now. We are becoming a no kill facility and we’ll stop killing animals on Monday. Come and help us be part of change in the community. During our change to no kill, all animals can be adopted out free of charge. Your new companion will be spayed or neutered at your choice from a list of local clinics and we’ll include a free microchip. Free classes will be provided at the library once a month to help you learn about your new furry friend and to help you resolve any behavioral issues you may encounter. We’ll be open seven days a week for the next month, ten hours a day, in order to clear the building. If you’d like to volunteer some time to help us place animals quickly, just come by between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. any day of the week. We’ll be glad to have any help you can give. This is a new day in the ________ community. We all love animals so let’s show it – together.”

    1. The only thing I would change is “We’ll stop killing pets on Monday” to “We’ve already stopped killing pets”. Beyond that, it’s perfect.
      btw, I WANT one of those free pets that comes with a free neuter and free microchip and free classes at the library. Maybe even two!

  4. Beautifully said, Shirley.

    Until shelters change their attitude, how do they expect the public to change THEIRS?

    You affect change around you by living the change you want to affect. And as long as you keep passing the buck, doling out the guilt, insulting your customer and regurgitating NON-facts, things are not going to change.

    What’s that definition of insanity again? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?

    The issue that most of these places have boils down to funding. The public doesn’t realize how much AC costs, and no matter how much you tell them, they think it’s too much. City council wants to get re-elected, not pass budget improvements for city shelters in order to reduce the necessary AC budget in the future.

    And you know what? Insulting the people is not the way to start. INFORMING the people of the true reality of the situation and explaining the need for increases in short term funding to set up things like spay/neuter clinics (which, when done properly, are self-sustaining), public education that should start in the schools, extra staff for cleaning and environment improvements along with on location adopt-a-thons. THIS is how to enact change.

    The damage done here is that even if they do get a progressive shelter director, anyone who read this article and was offended by it will never lose that taste in their mouth. And the ones who were offended by it were the responsible pet owners (the majority) whose opinions and votes the city council, and therefore the shelter, rely on.

    It goes much deeper than just the animals in the shelter today. This affects animals that find themselves there for many, many years to come.

  5. i really appreciate the paragraph about surrenderers being our neighbors and how they feel they are doing the right thing by bringing their pet in.
    i think too often that point gets lost in a haze of judgement, resentment, and anger.

  6. One more thing this does is makes those who surrender not be nearly as truthful about the cat/dog they’re surrendering – inflicting this guilt definitely harms things in that regard, resulting in a less accurate or fabricated history. They don’t want their cat/dog to be killed, so they paint this picture about the animal as opposed to telling the truth. And we *need* the truth to best work with and for that cat or dog, to know where they came from to find out what is the best home for him or her. We need to work with, not against, the surrendering families to find out as much as possible about that cat or dog to actually help – and articles like that don’t help us in that regard. I would love it more shelters put a positive spin on those questionnaires too (“What do you think is the best exercise regimin for Sparky” as opposed to “How much exercise did you give Sparky”), which will help get the truth about an animal’s history, as opposed to something that comes across in a more judgmental way.

  7. You just keep getting better and better!
    I wonder what would happen,if, instead of charging an adoption fee, shelters just asked for a donation? and the donation could be time, or money. Would be interesting to see the response they got.

    1. They would have to be willing to accept the donations…at my A/C facility they turn down volunteers, fosters, and other “donations” that are not convenient for them. I’ve filled out all the forms (repeatedly) and have been told by management that I am “on the list”…but the phone never rings. Should I spend my days stopping by? (Only to be told, thanks anyway, we don’t need you today…) Or shall I just go out into the community and help my neighbors and the “blamed public” and work to keep animals from ending up there at all!?

  8. I am not sure where to put this, so I will do it here. I was alerted to this site by a friend of mine and she told me to put the info here.

    This whole story started with a sweet little Chihuahua brought into Baldwin Park Shelter. The photo they posted showed a very frightened little dog in a cardboard box with a rope around him neck.

    This little guy needed urgent help. He had an injured leg. People were told on numerous occasions that rescue was lined up…to more or less stop cross posting and he would be saved!

    This is a photo of the little Chi boy that was posted on facebook:


    Yes…you guessed it…they killed this little sweetheart! Even with rescuers ready to get him…they killed him! I had a fit…wrote on Baldwin Park Shelter’s FB page (post has been deleted as hostile)…asking for an explanation as to WHY this boy was killed when rescuers OBVIOUSLY were going to get him. This is what I received from the “lead volunteer” Ric Browde from BPS:


    I of course contacted the people who had been orchestrating this rescue and they are blatantly calling him a liar in the picture thread!

    I am finding Baldwin Park’s dealings with this little boy an absolute travesty! He deserved so much more than being left with an injured leg…to be killed with strangers around him and no love! It is absolutely heartbreaking, when there were many people wanting to help and save this little boy :o(

    1. First, keep in mind that THIS is the same shelter we’re talking about: http://www.examiner.com/pet-rescue-in-los-angeles/shocking-video-of-dog-abuse-at-baldwin-park-shelter

      I don’t have any information to add other than when someone says they *personally* saved 2,000 dogs from a shelter in two years… is totally F.O.S.

      You would have to adopt out 19 dogs a week ON AVERAGE. In this economy?

      The saying goes where there’s smoke there’s fire? Where there’s the odour of bull$hit, there’s usually a giant pile of $hit hidden somewhere.

      For a real inside look into how this shelter works, read the comments underneath the photo in the first link. Skip all the “omg, he looks so scared” and read simply the factual posts. The ones detailing discussions with other rescues co-ordinating the rescue and with the shelter dragging its feet as long as possible while this animal laid there in agonizing pain.

      Here’s what I don’t understand. In most states and provinces, it is LAW that if you are in possession of an animal, you are its OWNER. It is also law that the OWNER must provide ALL necessary medical attention, and failing to do so constitutes cruelty.

      At the very least this little guy should have been receiving pain meds. But to have TWO rescues clamoring over each other to pull this dog and then to have the rescue delayed time and time again BY THE SHELTER until the dog deteriorated – this is criminal.

      1. Kim and All –
        I’m looking into this. Have reached out to some folks involved but no responses yet. It’s still early in CA so it may be awhile before I hear back. Will post if/when I do.

      2. Here’s something interesting – I couldn’t find their kill/save/claim rate anywhere.

        However, when I searched “Baldwin Park” and “save rate” together only ONE document pulled up – the 2009 Best Friends report. Interestingly, I couldn’t find mention of Baldwin, but admittedly I scanned it and may have missed it. It’s in PDF format and a PDF search for “Baldwin” on the document turned up nothing.

        Perhaps something that was there and I missed? Or something that was there and was removed?

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