Earlier this month, IL Governor Pat Quinn signed a new law which mandates shelters to scan pets for chips and examine them for other forms of identification – twice. A newspaper article decided to speak with some members of the shelter community to get their take on the law. They all said their facilities already scanned for chips so the law would not change their protocols. But they wanted to throw in their two cents on another matter:
“A far bigger issue here is the growing problem of abandoned pets,” [Donna] Alexander [director of the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control] said.
Increasingly, she said, financial woes are compelling pet owners to relinquish their cats and dogs. If you must give up a pet, Alexander said, “please bring it to a shelter.”
Sounds good. But the very next sentence in the article refers to Karen Schutt, a board member at Peoples Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in Tinley Park:
Schutt said the number of give-ups at PAWS is much higher than two years ago.
“Unfortunately, now that this excuse is out there, it’s an easy one to use,” she said. “We have no way of proving that someone is really in desperate shape. We just have to take them at their word.”
Right. But if there was some way you could prove or disprove whether a surrendering owner was “in desperate shape”, you wouldn’t do that, would you? Because that would be all kinds of wrong.
Firstly, there is no single definition of “in desperate shape” and rightfully so. Secondly, I would like owners to feel welcome to utilize the services of their municipal shelter before things become “desperate”, if they feel it’s appropriate. And thirdly, so what if an owner is lying about their financial capabilities as a reason for surrendering a pet? You’re still going to take the pet, right? Maybe the owner finds it easier to say “the economy” rather than explain his health problems and lack of insurance. Or maybe the owner is worried you’ll judge him harshly if he explains the real reason for surrender. It sounds like he’d be right about that.
Less judgment, more understanding. Shelters are supposed to be a safe haven for pets when their owners can no longer care for them – regardless of the reason. Is it really necessary to side eye everybody who walks through the front door? Whatever the story, we know the pet is in need of help. Shouldn’t that be our focus?
62 thoughts on “How Desperate Must a Surrendering Owner Be to Escape Judgment?”
Shirley, what do you think of municipal/county shelters that charge a fee for owner surrender? I’ve read about both sides of the issue (using the fee to help pay for increased costs , mostly in places with high unemployment and foreclosure rates vs. using fee soshelters are not “open admission”- for example down the road in Germantown -Mphs’s horsey bedroom community). I’m not trying to be adversarial here (you are sitting down I hope), but this is an issue I’ve read a lot about and I wonder what everyone thinks. I’ll be the first to admit that this bothers me on all counts.
Charging a fee to surrender a pet may discourage people from bringing pets to the shelter but it won’t eliminate the need for people to find safe haven for pets they can no longer care for. So since the need will still be there, but the owner might not want to bring the pet to the shelter, I’m against the practice.
If it were universally implemented and could give some guarantee of the animal’s well-being after surrender, it could be a good thing… unfortunately, I think a lot depends on the person surrendering the animal. People hate to think that they’re having to pay to do something that other people can do for free, which is why I think it would need to be universally implemented. Some would probably resent having to pay to get rid of their animal, and would dump it by the side of the road instead. Some may not be able to pay the fee, and the animal would end up by the side of the road again.
Aside from the fee this opens a can of worms in terms of the No Kill movement that advocates an Open Admission shelter is not mean a immediate shelter, with the philosophy of not taking in more animals than they have space for. The recommendation is when there is no space available to ask the person at the counter to wait.
It would appear that this is crucial minutia that needs to be sorted out during these difficult times as all shelters and all philosophies of sheltering are challenged with this dilemma.
Every owner should be treated with compassion and without judgment when surrendering a pet, just as their pet will be treated with compassion upon entering a shelter. It is an accurate statement that many owners simply don’t want to share their life circumstance that brings them to the counter to surrender their beloved pet.
I admire the help desks and advocate for them, but too often they are used as a device to keep animals out of the shelter and leaves the owner feeling shameful instead of helped.
There are open admission no kill shelters. I would like to see more cities and counties get on board.
my shelter asks for a fee for surrenders (strays too). $45 for a dog or cat, $60 for a litter.
but i think the emphasis needs to be that we ASK for the fee. We’re open admission, so we don’t turn people away if they can’t afford the fee. We will certainly ask them for a lesser amount if they can’t afford the full $45, but if they can’t then we send them home with a donation form.
We don’t get any government funding and 70% of our operating expenses have to come from donations. So we’re not asking for a lot- $45 will pay for one day of care and vaccinations. Average length of stay for an adult cat right now is 9 days (adult dog is 12 days). So we’re just asking that they help us care for their animal and the other animals, so we can continue to offer this service to others in need.
Let me play the devil’s advocate here . . .
Our local hs will ask for a fee for surrendering an animal. They also do a great deal of counseling/providing resources/etc before they will accept an animal. AND if really necessary, they will waive the fee. I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing, but depends on how you handle the fee situation.
This is a municipal facility?
No – it’s a humane society, but open admission. I know that the taxpayer funded aspect puts a different spin on it. Just saying there might be a way to do a fee – if reasonable. Otherwise, I do believe that these “shelters” really do need to be available and actual shelters for those who need them.
i would be willing to accept the ‘counseling’ and other intrusive requirements if i knew for certain the adoptable pets i surrender would be put up for adoption and not killed for lack of space… and i would be happy to pay as much as i could without jeopardizing care for my remaining pets
but i believe it is wrong to use intake limitations or fees just to improve the shelters save rate — for example, i have 5 senior cats that need homes because altho i can feed them they have to live outdoors without vet care (they have been fixed and vaxed for rabies) BUT our ‘open admission’ shelter wont take them because they are too old (hard to adopt) and even if they did i would need to pay $150 each to get them a place there
what happens when i can no longer feed them? what is actually going to happen in the near future is that i am going to put them in crates in my camper and take them with me when i move to a new location – one of my criteria for that new location is that there is a shelter that will take my pets when i can no longer care for them, i dont know where that will be but i cant stay here because my pets have no safety net here
It gets complicated, doesn’t it? Thank you for doing all you can (and more, it sounds like). I sympathize with you and hope things get better for you and yours soon.
OK so you already know that you are going to surrender your animals at some point. So much so you are preparing for it. I guess you expect that shelter to not kill your pets either because they are yours. God, no wonder we 6 million a year with owners like that.
I thought that all shelters charged for drop offs? I didn’t know that there were ones that did not…
hmm – maybe we should conduct an impromptu poll:
Does your local municipal shelter charge a fee for surrendering a pet? Please indicate your home state and if you choose, your city or county as well.
Kershaw Co, SC – No fee to surrender a pet but donation is gratefully accepted. The surrendering party (owner or finder) must be a county resident.
Medina County, Ohio. Drop off fee of $10 for a cat, $12 for a licensed dog, $42 for an unlicensed dog. They also pick up strays.
This is what they say on their (very, very basic) site –
“We are a County operated Animal Shelter. WE ARE SELF SUPPORTING! NO tax dollars are involved. Our department is run strictly on adoption fees, license revenue and donations. We are said to have one of the most efficient and cleanest facilities in the state of Ohio. We are proud of our department and want to keep up our good image and public relations. We are committed to reuniting lost pets with their owners and finding new homes for unwanted pets!!!”
Their placement/return rate for dogs last year was just over 90%. Cats don’t fare nearly so well (and are adopted out “as is”, no vaccs, no s/n certificate), but I don’t have numbers on those. I will say that I’ve gotten three cats from them – two were already s/n (one had Humane Society tattoos on her and came with a vet reference) .
Lexington Humane Society (KY) – no fee for surrendering an animal
FNSB Animal Control, Fairbanks, Alaska. No fee to surrender. Heated drop off cages for after-hour drop offs. (Paperwork requested but not always provided.) There’s talk about limiting it to FNSB residents only, but not very enforceable…I’m a borough resident and I would accept animals from out of area and drop them off if I didn’t have room/time/finances to take care of them myself.
Free euthanasia services: education, counseling and attitude vary according to the person you talk to/deal with, but the euthanasia request form suggests a donation which goes to a non-profit set up to support the shelter part of Animal Control.
Adoption fees are the cost of the spay/neuter on an intact animal (paid to the vet clinic that does the job) or $86 for altered dogs. Not sure, but I think cats are less?
Franklin County Ohio Dog Shelter – $10 surrender fee
Capital Area Humane Society (Franklin County) – Admission Fees:
Owner Surrender – Dog or Cat $60
Owner Surrender – Litter of Puppies or Kittens
Owner Surrender – Rabbit or Ferret
Owner Surrender – Pocket Pet **
Owner Surrender – Exotic Animal
Stray Animal (from within Franklin County only)***
Stray Animal with a litter (from within Franklin County only)***
Owner Requested Euthanasia
(Includes Care of Remains)
Care of Remains
Redemption by Owner
$65 + $15 per
day of boarding
Benton County, OR. No fee for surrendering a pet or bringing in a stray, provided you live in or found the animal within the county. It’s an ‘open admission’ shelter that has a contract with the city/county to act as the municipal pound, but they only get about 20% of their operating budget from public funds. The rest are donations.
St. Paul, MN
no fees to use municipal shelter- tax dollars already pay for that service
(except a euthanasia request- they will do it 1 time for free for residents of the city. not sure how much a 2nd request would cost)
i think people who dont much care about their pets would rather dump them by the roadside than pay even a small fee or sit still for counseling – in this case the fee is an obstacle for pets who really need shelter
for people who love their pets, surrendering them is traumatic enuf without worrying if they can afford it or what ‘reason for surrender’ is going to be acceptable to the shelter
i would like to see shelters take any pet any time for any reason, and ask for a surrender donation, and provide a feedback form that the surrenderer can take home, fill out, and mail back free
i would argue that people who have the ability/intention of dumping a pet on the road don’t contact a shelter in the first place
Spartanburg,SC- open admission with county contract. Ask for(on paper) , not required , donation to surrender. 78% kill rate.
i mean, lets support our communities pets with fundraising, not by punitive fees to the people who are needing help for their pets — makes no sense
i know there are people who get pets for frivolous reasons and then want to ditch them when theyre not so fun anymore but those pets need protection from those people so lets make it easy for them to turn them in to the shelter
of course, all this presupposes that these shelters use the ‘no-kill equation’ so they actually have the ability to care for these pets
i dont want to tell what city and state because i have nothing good to say about shelters in this area
thanks all for listening, this really hits a nerve with me as you see
Ingham County (Michigan) Animal Control/Shelter – no fee for surrender (open admission)
39% kill rate for dogs; 43% kill rate for cats
If the “shelter” was a good place & didn’t kill the dog/cat before an adoptive home could be found, I’d say bring the “pet” in, if there’s a good reason. But as shelters keep killing so many, why would anyone want to bring their “pet” there, knowing he/she will just be killed? The animal would stand a better chance being turned loose on the street, if they are found by someone like me.
Personally, I could NEVER give any of my kids to a shelter for ANY reason. For whatever reason people use, like a new apartment won’t allow pets: the problem is not the pet, but the apartment. Don’t give up the pet, give up the apartment.
Food cost too much? Give up something like cable or phone service, not the pet.
Wife/husband allergic? Take antihistimines or replace wife/husband, not the pet.
Pet wets on carpets? Training, allow more outside trips or put down towels, but not the pet!
I just could not give up any of my “kids” for any reason. I would work out whatever it would take to keep my family together. They are family. I can’t understand any reason FOR giving a “pet” away, especially to a “shelter” knowing their fate.
Landlords get credit checks on potential renters. Someone who has lost their home to foreclosure is going to have a bad credit report–meaning very limited choice of places to rent. They can’t legally refuse human children, but they can legally refuse pets
“Find another apartment” may not be a realistic option.
And what if they’ve already given up the cable and the phone service and sold the tv? If there’s no money at all, they’ve given up all the “luxuries”, and they can’t even provide food, is it more responsible for them to keep the pets while they starve?
Lis: First off, nobody is saying to starve your animals if you truly cannot afford to feed them.
But I want to put this out there, and you all can flame me to hell and back: isn’t it better, if you find yourself in the position, say, that Lis is talking about above, to take your beloved companion to the vet, and stay with her/him while s/he is humanely euthanized, with your words the last thing in her/his ears? Isn;t that better than a cruel send-off at the hands of people who don’t know, and may not care, how much love was between you?
Where there is life, there is hope. I can’t think of any circumstance where an owner (in the position described by Lis) would have to choose between paying a vet to kill the pet or surrendering the pet to a shelter to be killed. Unless the pet was medically hopeless and suffering, surrendering the pet to the shelter – even a kill shelter – at least gives the pet a hope for adoption and continued life. I believe the pet would want that chance, no matter how slim.
Shirley: If MAS was your only shelter, would you still feel the same? If your animal was anywhere from 7+ would you still feel the same? How far would you travel to find a “guaranteed” shelter? And how would you verify their assertions?
Where there is life, there is hope. I think this answers all your questions.
I’ve been poo-poo’d because I AM willing to give up my pets! (I have more than a dozen foster dogs and I offer a lifetime take-back guarantee, which has been used/appreciated repeatedly.) But I’ve helped foster/place HUNDREDS of animals in the last five years, and some think that is a negative.
“Killing in Kindness” as Morgana suggests might be emotionally easier than relinquishing a pet to a shelter, but I don’t think it’s easier/better/nicer for the animal. Do we kill our grandmother where there is no longer any room for her in our lives?! No, we stress out, freak out, bust hump and move mountains to figure out what else might work. Society helps by providing choices. Nothing is perfect. Grandma dies eventually (we all will) but my experience has been that the lessons learned in this heart-wrenching process are priceless and ultimately life-affirming.
How about we all work harder to help people help themselves as they learn to help their pets?!
I think I have been a bit misunderstood here – the killing with kindness remark got me, as I know it is straight out of Redemption, and I absolutely agree. However, since I deal with and live with the Elderly, Behaviourally, Medically and Emotionally challenged segment of our pet population, I know that they wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell in any shelter. If I could not rehome them myself, I would rather say goodbye in a private setting. Yes, it would KILL me too, but are you telling me that a 14 year old lab mix with incontinence is going to have a better chance at adoption in a kill shelter OR a better existence in a stinky kennel run that is cold, damp, and friendless in a no-kill situation, until the day she dies? Is THAT not killing with kindness in its own way? I agree where there is life there is hope, but for the ones I live with and save, I would not do that to them after they have lived a life of extreme comfort here. Why would I WANT to do that to them? I am sorry, I should have been clearer, probably was thinking it in my head and thought it came out in my post.
I hear you Morgana, and I’m sorry if my comment hurt you. I know you have a HUGE heart and a soft spot for the old and unwanted. (So do I.) I understand what you are saying, and I actually agree with you!
But go back to the post about the green water and the barrel houses and dogs on chains. Many people would rather kill an animal than allow someone like me to have them!
Would all my unwanted foster dogs be better off dead?! I don’t think so.
As the legal owner of your pets, you have the right and the duty to make these important decisions for your animals.
As a government entity, MAS does too. The difference in these decisions is stark.
I actually had a veterinarian offer to euthanize for free any dog I brought in from a specific kennel in our community. HSUS helped with an *Intervention* at this kennel and a group of volunteers spayed and neutered more than 300 animals. Some were euthanized. A couple at MY request! I honestly felt that death was the kindest and best option for these poor creatures. But it was WAY beyond green water or matted fur.
I know we all have our limits. I hit mine that day. But I sure learned a lot about myself, about HSUS, and about the underbelly of this industry we call Animal Rescue.
We do not live in a perfect world. But I still stick with my theory that generally speaking, life is better than death.
CAPA and Oreo’s Law and all those sorts of rules are trying to break the chokehold that Animal Control, beaurocracies and government (including HSUS, PeTA and the like) have on life and death decisions for these millions of animals.
I think if you really put yourself into the scenario that we’ve been discussing, you, me and Shirley would likely be on the same page.
First: would you ever find yourself with a bunch of creatures you couldn’t take care of with no home, no money, no food? I think you’ve proven the answer is no. Could somebody else find themselves in that position? I think the answer is yes. Should THEY kill their dog because of this?!?! That is their choice. And Animal Control (at least here) says “Sure, bring em in, we’ll help!”
But at what point is it no longer practical to try and talk somebody out of killing their own dog? And how do you even START the conversation when so many have already judged this person as irresponsible or a scum-bag, or stupid?
We each must find our own answers.
Love the ones you’re with…have love and compassion for any others you can find. Together we can make the world a better place.
That would be a hard decision. My childhood cat is currently 13, she lost her bestfriend, Meemee, about 5 years ago and since then she has been really off. It messed up her personality, she sat at the food bowl waiting for Meemee to come eat her share. She cried all night if we locked her up at night. She needs attention all the time, if my sister leaves for the weekend she’ll poop on her keyboard. Her food needs to be made just the right way. Wet food mushed up with water to form almost a gravy with exactly 5 kibbles in it. Not done right she wont eat or will use her paws and get it everywhere. Water she will only drink out of the tap while it’s running. If you don’t turn it on often for her she’ll get dehydrated and constipated. She has arthritis. Is grumpy and will claw you if given a chance. If something happened to us and she needed a new home a shelter would put her down, even in a no-kill rescue she would waste away to nothing missing us. Would it be better to put her down or let her miss us in a shelter? She wouldn’t last long even in the most caring shelter enviroment, a foster, even a family member probably wouldn’t be able to pull her thru loosing her family. I raised her since she was 3 weeks old. I saw how heart broken she was loosing Meemee could I live with knowing she was feeling that way again? No. I would live with her in my car before that happened and after that . . . I don’t know maybe saying goodbye at the vets would be the next option. Seems kinder than leaving her to waste away all by herself.
Lynn: Thank you. You see my point? And I do NOT euth for anything except extreme medical suffering, I always wait until they tell me they’ve had enough, which sometimes means going beyond what the ‘average’ person would consider realistic. The ones with attitudes, well, I wouldn’t put them down, and I have the scars to prove it. I let them take their time and work with them. But could they ever go to someone else? Would I be responsible as a person in letting a known biter (who has ceased biting, at least with me) go to a shelter? Life is always better, there is no argument there.
Trouble: You make excellent points as well, and I would live in an old bus if I had to to make things work for these guys, but in the end, we all have to make our own decisions. And one of my first rescues taught me all this! Yes, a dog that I euth’d (in my younger days). Swore I’d never do it again. Never say never. BUT: WSe don’t ever do it without alot of hard thought, and a piece of our own heart breaking off forever.
Thing is with me, I would want to have someone make that decision to “free” me too, if I had complications such as we’re discussing, and I have made provisions for that.
We must all make provisions for our animals too, and I have although how much of it will be respected who knows, in case something happens to us, for we know not the hour nor the day, right?
Shelby Co Tn
Cities of Bartlett and Collierville no fee city residents only
City of Germantown $25 city residents only; does not accept if at capacity
MAS no fee any county resident
There are even some shelters that have “overnight kennels” or “overnight drop-off” which I have mixed feelings about but with the limited hours the shelter is open there should be an alternative for people who need to surrender pets but cannot come when the shelter is open. One shelter near me has staff tending to the dogs 24-7 and when you go to drop off, just ring the doorbell and they will take the dog from you. We did this with a white pomeranian we found when were living in a no-dogs apartment community.
I think more than the money, it is important the treatment people receive any time they go to the shelter is pleasant and respectful. This way they can recommend others to go to the shelter, and they will be more likely to go back to the shelter. If you were treated this way, say when you went to go buy a car at a car dealership would you go back?
I live in a small community in middle-Tennessee with a population of a little over 17,000. Wish I could get you an on-line link to an article in my morning paper. The EMPLOYEES of our local shelter are holding a pancake breakfast on Saturday to raise funds.
This small shelter is designed to house only about 40 dogs, but currently has about 66 (and have had up to 75) They operate with no medical fund.
My favorite quote from the article is this: “We never euthanize to create more space.”
The director goes on to say “It’s about thinking outside the box. One year, we had to buy dog houses and tarps to make shelters for them.”
“Monetary donations to the shelter go for the animals, whether it’s food or medical bills. People can even make donation to a vet we use.”
“This community allows us to purse our goal of a no-kill shelter.”
If the employees at this small, understaffed, underfunded, middle of nowhere shelter can figure out how to do NO-KILL on their OWN. WHY CAN’T MEMPHIS?
Wouldn’t it be GREAT if we could find a way to HELP people and their companions, somehow, to stay together, even if it means a Tent City for people with dog/cats/etc.? And if there was a group, a church group or whatever, that was willing to fill that void? I personally would rather die than give up my loverlies because I had lost my home. But then again, you’ve got to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes…etc. Just dreaming out loud. My original dream for our Sanctuary was to have a place that could accomodate a number of families who’d lost everything, so they and their animals could stay together. They would live in small homes, on Sanctuary land, for no rent, just utilities, and work at the Sanctuary in exchange. See, I dream BIG. Alas, nobody else shared the dream.
It’s a beautiful and worthy dream, Morgana.
I like that dream. I also think there should be “Pet Food Pantry”s”… “Pet Food Kitchens”. Most of us already donate food to feed people, why not get more involved by donating directly to own neighbors in need that are struggling to feed their pets. There are so many elderly folks that live on fixed incomes that depend on their companion pets for company. I realize that doesn’t help the pets with medical needs, but it’s a start. Everyone of us can help just one dog.
I just found a puppy on the side of the road yesterday. I’m calling him “Freeway” I’m using Face Book to advocate for this little baby. I don’t have funds to get him vetted, but atleast he’s not road kill. My friends will rally and he’ll be just fine.
There are some pet food pantries. The Manchester (NH) Animal Shelter has one, and I’m aware of others, as well. There’s at least one human food pantry locally that also has big bags of dog food, as well as pouches or cans of cat food, available. Sadly, while most dogs could be fed for at least a week on the dog food that’s offered, the cat food offered would feed an average cat for about two days. It’s not enough, but it’s a first step. It’s not a pie-in-the-sky fantasy.
I’m in NC and there is a group that has a list of people of little to no means of feeding their pets, well this group goes around once or twice a month and brings food to these people so they can keep their pets.
That is fantastic, God bless them.
I personally don’t think a drop off fee is such a good idea because of the too many people who would rather “dispose” of their pet in cheaper & worst ways. A donation/guilt fee is more appropriate.
Yet I cannot for the life of me even THINK of a reason to separate from any of mine. Who could give up a child? Same thing.
This discussion makes me think of a dog left one night tied outside the NYACC shelter in Manhattan earlier this year. I read about her on Urgent Part 2 (FB). The Urgent commenters blasted the surrenderer — dumper, irresponsible, how dare the owner do such a thing, etc. A shelter volunteer finally came on the thread to say she had been there at the time and seen (and chased) the surrenderer. He was pissing against the wall, drunk, and staggered away, pulling up his pants to escape, when chased. To me it was the ultimate example of why it makes no sense to judge the surrendering party. I mean, this guy was publicly drunk, yet he either knew he couldn’t care for his dog anymore and brought her to where he thought she would be safe (even though that isn’t true at NYACC), OR . . . he found her on the street and, although he was busy being drunk, took the trouble to bring her to the shelter. He should have been thanked, not vilified! (I believe the dog was saved.)
Also, I read recently on No-Kill News (an awesome new blog at http://www.no-killnews.com/) about a program at UPAWS in Michigan called Home 2 Home that helps pet-owners find new homes for their pets (listing them, etc.) without bringing the pets to the shelter. According to the other commenter (besides me) on that item, “Lynchburg, VA also provides support for people who want to try to re-home an animal themselves, and they have been very successful at it. 33% of people who contacted the shelter wanting to surrender a pet re-homed their own pets when the option was explained to them. See http://lynchburghumane.blogspot.com/2011_04_01_archive.html.”
I think these kinds of programs are fabulous and a lot of people who need to rehome their pets would love to have some support and structure in the process — another way shelters can help the community instead of attacking it.
But IMO there always needs to be a place for the drunken surrenderers of the world to bring a dog or a cat . . . without being subjected to a means test or otherwise judged.
Great comments Karen F – thank you. I fear that one of these zealots who are so hateful of people surrendering pets to shelters is going to get themselves hurt one of these days. Imagine your NYC story with a guy who wasn’t falling down drunk, but rather packing a Glock. I feel sorry for whoever is so self-righteous they feel they must CHASE DOWN someone who ties a dog to a shelter door at night. And I truly hope they never chase down anyone with a shaky trigger finger.
heres a story about a kid having to make a terrible choice about his beloved pet; http://www.king5.com/news/local/Dog-with-note-128051293.html
the last two cats i got were because a lady left her husband due to a bad situation and then in order to hurt her he threatened the cats she left with him; i dont have room for them, theyre staying on a neighbors porch altho the neighbor told me she doesnt want them there for long so they will end up in crates inside my camper if i cant get them adopted on facebook
of course there should be better choices available, someday there will be
I’m glad the kid wasn’t CHASED DOWN by some judgmental lunatic like the NYC story.
In some communities, there are better choices. Ask at the shelters – some of them may foster the pets of those seeking help for domestic abuse. Here’s a link to the Safe Haven Program, which is one such network:
It occurs to me to mention – this is something that a functioning shelter with a healthy fostering network can do for the community that directly benefits people, and especially those with few resources. A lot of people in abusive situations stay – I’ve lost track of the numbers now, but I was shocked when I read of it – because very few refuges will accept pets. Safe havens provide an alternative, help people get out and get safe.
I want to establish a half-way house…where strays, ferals, “death rows” & surrenders can come, stay until room is available at a foster, rescue, or a forever home…Don’t know how and sure don’t know how to fund such an operation. I just know rescues in this area are full to the brim, fosters are full to the brim and dogs just keep coming. I think there should be a caring place to home them, vet them and work really hard to adopt, adopt, adopt….
Upstate New York,Lollypop farm animal shelter. no fee but a donation of forty dollars per pet dropped off is requested. The donation may be waived. You do have to set up an appointment and fill out forms and speak with a counselor.This is an open admission shelter.
Honestly I think people who are caring will try to come up with the fee, those who don’t feel like making an appt. etc will dump the animal but probably would have dumped them anyway.
That’s how I’ve gotten most of my pets, although I have adopted two from this shelter most just turned up on my porch.
It breaks my heart that people have to give up their companions, it shouldn’t have to be this way. There are now food banks for pets and some groups that lend money for vet bills etc. Still, it’s a hard scary time and my heart goes out to people who have to make this choice.
FYI – on Itchmoforums.com one of the members has put together a list, by state, of food pantries and low cost vet care. If anyone you know (or you) needs help, check it out. It’s actually quite extensive.
(Itchmo is one of the first sites as a result of the pet food poisoning in 2006 – 2007. They are good people over there.)
You may need to register with Itchmo, but it’s legit. Many of us signed on during the 2007 recalls to stay up to date as info was coming in at all hours of the day and night.
Thanks, mikken. You can access the information, but not post unless you register.
@ LynnO.. beautifully said. I couldn’t agree with you more.
I’m sure there are all kinds of reasons people drop off their pets — and I’m sure “the economy” is a popular one. I haven’t understood though why more shelters haven’t offered more ways to help pet owners.
Can’t afford dog food? Here’s a bag of dog food.
Emergency medical help? We’ll help you raise the money.
Certainly a bag of dog food is cheaper than brining the animal into the shelter (and so would the next bag of food a month from now). Same with a good shelter and the medical treatment (We once had a shelter that was raising money to help a dog with a broken leg that they got from an owner that was too “irresponsible” to be able to pay for fixing the broken leg — and I thought a) You’re paying for the broken leg, why not just fix it and give the dog back because b) you apparently don’t have the money to do this either?!)
Even if the ecoomy isn’t the real reason, offering this type of assistance can get you to the real reason — which may be the dog chews, or growls at my kid, or whatever that can help you uncover some basic training issues that can help. You won’t solve all owner relinquishments, but I think you can solve a lot by offering to help vs treating people badly.
I am not opposed to the fee for surrendering, though I can appreciate the commenters that feel it should be universal, or consistent one way or the other. It’s an important resource and I am already judging myself for wanting/feeling the need to surrender my cat. Problem is, shelters won’t let me surrender her because she is 11 years old. I am trying to be responsible but I’m not sure what my options are.