Shelter Pet of the Day

Taranis, submitted by reader Michy.

From the webpage for this kitteh:

Hi, my name is Taranis, a boy orange and white kittycat (short coat), about one year old (in April 10). My life in the shelter started out in a somewhat inauspicious way. I found myself in animal control’s trap during a terrible KY thunderstorm on the evening of April 7th. Oh woe is me! I was unceremoniously dumped on the sidewalk besides the SNIP patients the next morning, wet, drenched and forlorn, and pretty banged up from trying to get out of the trap, and hence the name Taranis, the Celtic god of thunder. I also panicked and banged myself up further inside the cage. The first human kindness I experienced in my short life was from the volunteers, who tried to make me comfortable and warm, and who gave me the first square meal I’d had for some time. I am really a very friendly lad, and I’ve recovered from the trauma accompanying my arrival and my awesome face has healed up fine! I’ve put on weight, and I’m fit as a fiddle (two fiddles)! I’m a leader, I’m confident, I’m playful, I’m quirky and kind! This shelter is not conducive to my talents being fully revealed so please get me out and I’ll show you my stuff! I’ve been neutered and had my shots as well, be sure of it! I hope to see you soon! Love, Taranis

213 William Thomason Byway
Leitchfield, KY  42754
This shelter’s kill rate is unknown.

Dirty Jobs

Warning:  Disturbing and graphic descriptions of animal cruelty at the link.

In the course of discussion, many of us like to declare what we wouldn’t do in order to keep our jobs.  Of course, in this global economy, one might have to amend the list.  But I’m pretty sure you’d have to be one sick sonofabitch if this doesn’t make your list:

The SPCA is launching an investigation following a report that a dogsled tour company in Whistler, B.C., ordered the killing of 100 dogs when bookings slumped after the Olympic Games in Vancouver.


[Vancouver radio station CKNW] reports the dogs were either shot or had their throats slashed before being buried in a mass grave.

I’m not going to quote all the gory details but suffice to say these dogs were not shot Old Yeller style but rather suffered greatly at the hands of an unnamed employee who reportedly killed the dogs in April 2010 and later filed for the Canadian equivalent of Workman’s Comp., claiming PTSD.  After reading about how these dogs were cruelly slaughtered, I think *I* may have a claim for PTSD.  As for the guy who committed these heinous acts – he can receive his mental health treatment in prison as far as I’m concerned.

How Can We Save More Pitbulls in NC’s Largest City?

An Examiner article looks at the recent case of 13 Pitbulls that were surrendered by the owner to Charlotte-Mecklenburg AC & C and immediately killed.  The author mentions the popularity of Pitbulls as pets in Charlotte and the lack of options for those rescued:

Sadly, many of the dogs that are rescued do not find their way into homes because most dog-owning homes in the area already have a Pit bull.

Wait, what?  While there certainly are myriad challenges facing rescued Pitbulls in the Charlotte area, to my knowledge, this isn’t one of them.  The main challenge comes from the county policy prohibiting the adoption of Pitbulls from Char-Meck AC & C.  Strays of any breed, including Pitbulls, must be held at the shelter for 3 days which makes it necessary to vaccinate all Pitbulls on intake, even though most will be killed.  Taxpayers spend about $12,000 a year on vaccinations for Pitbulls who end up in the wheelbarrow of the kill room at CMPD-ACC.  In addition, the shelter further devalues the breed in the public’s eyes through oops-killings followed by the promise of a thorough investigation, followed by tumbleweeds and coyote howls.

Then there is the issue of rescue:

A very small percentage of pit bulls are spared whenever there’s room for them with an approved rescue group, which can screen applicants more thoroughly.

But Rhonda Thomas, who runs Project Halo, said it’s not easy.

“I love the breed, but finding a good home for a pit bull has always been a challenge for us,” she said.

That’s the nature of rescue – handling the challenge of finding the right home for your pets, regardless of breed.

She said many people who want to adopt pit bulls aren’t the type who should adopt them.

Oh.  Uh-oh.  My Potential Pisser Ahead light is flashing.

“In the 12 years I’ve been doing this, I’ve placed two.”

Aw, crud.  So I guess the right “type” of Pitbull adopter only comes along once every 6 years or so.  Or maybe it’s just that every dog owner in Charlotte already has a Pitbull.  I can’t keep track.

At any rate, even if advocates convinced the county to change its policy on banning Pitbull adoptions from the shelter, many of the dogs would end up in the wheelbarrow anyway since Char-Meck kills more pets than it saves.  And though I hope the rescue rep quoted above is not typical, I think it is generally true that we need more education and outreach to help “iffy” adopters cross over into “good” adopters.  And as always, less judgment, more understanding.  Most pet owners want to do right by their pets and even if they do things differently than you or I, are still deserving of adopting a pet.  Rescues and shelters who maintain ridiculously high standards simply drive adopters to other sources for pets and sour the possibility of future adoptions.

Since we know the status quo is a fail, let’s think in terms of change.  What changes would have the greatest positive impact on Pitbulls in the Charlotte area?

Shelter Pet of the Day


Sherman is a 4-mos-old mixed breed puppy who is dog social and incredibly people friendly.

Submitted by reader Marji, who is fostering Sherman.

A New Hope Animal Foundation

Loomis, CA  (Sherman is currently in foster care in Grass Valley, CA.)

(916) 652 4164

Lynn at

Shelter Pets of the Day

Submitted by reader Lynn – a couple dogs from her own rescue. Lynn says her Petfinder listings should be up soon and she will post the link when they are:

Molly is a 10 year old, spayed female Basset Hound.

Buckwheat is a 10 year old, spayed female Alaskan Husky.

Daisy Acres Critter Services
23 mile Chena Hot Springs Road
Two Rivers, Alaska

Who are We Helping?

“His time is up. He’s too young and too beautiful to put down. Somebody please step up and adopt him. His days are numbered.” – from a random posting about a dog in a kill shelter

While I appreciate that posts like these are well-intentioned and aimed at expressing the urgency of getting a pet out of a kill shelter to save his life, I cringe when I read such statements.  Words have power.  And although the intended effect of the message was positive, the power behind these words is negative.

Consider the following:

  • He’s too young and too beautiful to put down.  It’s ok to kill older pets or the ugly ones since most people don’t want those kinds, but we should try to save the young and pretty pets because youth and beauty are valued in our culture.
  • His days are numbered.  He’s a dead dog walking.  It’s his destiny to die in the kill room of a shelter.  By the time you read this and take action, he may already be dead and who wants to set themselves up for that kind of disappointment?  Just pass this one by.  There’s nothing you can do.
  • His time is up.  This pet is worthless.  His value is so low, he’s not even valuable enough to LIVE past an arbitrary date on the calendar.  He’s had his chance to get adopted and nobody wanted him so obviously he’s no good.  Oh well, we can’t save them all.

Are we helping these pets by putting out these kinds of messages?  Are we helping foster a culture of compassion about shelter pets and promote the concept of a no kill nation?  Or are we inadvertently discouraging potential adopters/foster homes/crossposters by using this kind of language?  Are we actually justifying the killing of healthy/treatable pets in shelters when we use terms like these?

Shelter Pet of the Day

Monocle Mike, submitted by Valerie.

SPCA of Tompkins County

1640 Hanshaw Road

Ithaca, NY  14850

(607) 257-1822

This is a no kill shelter.

Weigh In – CA Shelter Wrong? Right? Other?

As you may have noticed, I’m fond of exploring these shades of gray issues.  To wit, an interesting story about a CA woman who took her 9 year old Cocker Spaniel to the vet, felt it was time to euthanize the dog and subsequently dropped the dog off at the local shelter for euthanasia.  The shelter didn’t identify any medical or behavioral problems with the dog and so reached out to an area Cocker rescue.  The rescue took the dog and adopted her out immediately.  The owner found out and was distraught.  Although the article does provide more details than we often see, there is one part concerning the legal aspect of the case that has me confused:

The form [the owner] signed, according to officials with Animal Services, does not state that the department has the final say in determining whether to euthanize a dog.

Animal Services retains some discretion over the fate of animals surrendered, regardless of whether euthanasia was requested.

I’d really like to see the actual form myself but in the absence of that, I guess I’m questioning how the shelter both does and does not have ultimate discretion over disposal of the dog.

We can think about this case from not only a legal perspective but from an ethical one as well.  Should the shelter have offered pet retention counseling to the surrendering owner?  How would you feel if you were in the owner’s shoes now?  How about if you were the shelter manager who saw a dog that seemed highly adoptable slated for euthanasia?

h/t Clarice for sending in this link.

Animal Advocates Working for Shelter Reform in TN

This afternoon, concerned citizens will meet with county officials to discuss allegations of wrongdoing by ACOs at the Cumberland Co Animal Shelter in TN.  Allegations include:

  • ACOs picked up a badly injured dog in need of veterinary care and placed him in a kennel, causing him to suffer without treatment for hours until a shelter volunteer found him.
  • Multiple shootings of dogs running away from ACOs or hiding beneath cars.
  • The shooting of a kenneled dog named Brutus who was slated for adoption.

Then there’s this troubling story from a pet owner:

Pat Wilkins says her dog, “Abby,” was picked up by Cumberland County Animal Control after fireworks scared her away from home.

“I went to the animal control office and left a picture of her,” said Wilkins. “By the time I got home, he called me and said he picked her up, took her to the shelter, but I couldn’t pick her up for three days because they were closed.”

Before Wilkins could pick Abby up, she says the dog escaped, and was found dead along the highway.

Area residents wishing to attend the meeting should go to the Large Courtroom at the Cumberland County Courthouse in Crossville today at 4:30pm.


Shelter Pet of the Day


Not ALL of the good ones are taken - yet.

You may remember Houdini from the post I did on him after he was pulled out of a sewer in Atlanta.  Well he is still playing the field and interviewing candidates for adoption so I suggest you put on your Sunday Best and hurry down to the shelter before he charms his way right out the front door on the arm of some trophy owner.

860 Marietta Blvd. NW
Atlanta, GA 30318
This shelter’s kill rate is 39%.