Discussion: Does this make you angry?

Someone apparently abandoned a dog on a road in York Co, SC.  The dog had on a collar with the words “I need a home.  Please take care of me.” handwritten on it.  A Good Samaritan picked the dog up and took her to a shelter.  The Good Sam was angered by the writing on the collar.  She is quoted as saying, “Somebody had the gall to write in marker, ‘I need a home, please take care of me.”  I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this.  What was your reaction to reading about the words written on the dog’s collar?


44 thoughts on “Discussion: Does this make you angry?

  1. Abandonment in general angers and frustrates me. In this particular instance, I’m hearing a plea for help.

  2. My first thought is that the York Co, SC is a high kill shelter (which I don’t know – this is an assumption) so the person who couldn’t take care of the dog anymore decided it would be better off on its own and let it loose. But cared enough to write something like that on the collar so someone finding the dog would be moved enough to take him in. It makes me very very sad. But not angry. Do we know what happened to the dog?

  3. I actually felt sadness for both the dog and in all honesty, the owner. Imagine feeling like you have no other choice and your dogs best option is abandonment. The fact that they wrote on the collar shows some sense of caring. Now I don’t know what the shelters are like in that area, but I do know that in many areas, taking an animal to a shelter means instant death. Imagine having so little faith in your local animal shelter that you feel that your pet has a better chance if they were just let go in a neighborhood?

    Remember that we don’t know what drove this person to abandon her/his dog. What if it was a domestic abuse case or what if it was a mental health issue? We cannot know why so we cannot assume it wasn’t the act of a very desperate individual.

  4. I guess it’s better than dumping it off on some farm road WITHOUT making it clear on his collar that he needed a home… sigh.

    1. After more thought, I would rather have 100 dogs abonded this way than one single dog dropped off at MAS…

  5. Obviously the plea for compassion was NOT loud enough for the woman who was “angered” by the note, since she dumped him at a high kill shelter. Abandoning an animal makes me angry, for sure, but that note made me sad.

    1. So the person who abandoned the dog had no duty to find the dog a safe home, but the finder did?

      This isn’t directed at you at all, doodlebugz, more of a general rant, but I think we fail animals as a society beyond our shelters. If we agree that shelters have a duty to be a safe harbor and that no healthy pet should be killed…then what duties do the owners have?

      I do believe that most people love their pets, but I have a very firm belief that love is basically meaningless. There are workers at high kill shelters who love the animals and think they are doing the best thing for them. Love is meaningless, but we treat it as something special and beyond reproach. Whoever abandoned the dog wrote on the collar, so therefor they loved the dog….so? Did that do the dog any good?

      There are cases where the only responsible thing to do is to rehome the animal. There may even be cases where the only responsible thing to do is to put the animal out on the street with a nice note on the collar. I’m guessing those cases are pretty few though.

      In my opinion, that dog got failed at least twice- first by the owner, then by the high-kill shelter that put the dog in danger of death. MAYBE the finder, but she seems more of an innocent bystander to the mess that other people created.

  6. Makes me incredibly sad. My take is that the owner, for whatever reason loved his dog but could no longer care for him (maybe health issues, loss of job, etc). Knowing that the dog would be killed at the shelter (like MAS), the owner felt that at least his dog might have a chance at a new life, by leaving him with the note. I am sad for the dog and the owner. This makes my heart hurt.

  7. Several years ago, I found a cat in a carrier outside a local Petsmart. It had a similar, hand-written message. At first I was really angry, but then I stopped to consider.

    The city where I live (Dallas, Texas) doesn’t offer many options for those who need to surrender an animal. Dallas has a high-kill city shelter, combined with an Animal Services Commission/City Hall full of HSUS butt-kissers.

    Perhaps the person who left the cat was in an impossible situation and had found out that no-kill rescues (like the one I volunteer for) did mobile adoptions at Petsmart. So I eventually decided to give the owner the benefit of the doubt.

    We eventually rehomed the cat, so at least there was a happy ending.

  8. I feel the same way as the above. I am sad the dog was abandoned. However, if I had found the dog and she clearly had written “I need a home” then I wouldn’t waste time posting ads, calling the shelter, etc. I’d know she was homeless and I’d do whatever possible to provide her a home or find her one. I agree that the note on the collar provides a measure of concern on the previous owner. It’s not ideal, but it is much better than many of the alternatives.

  9. I *think* the [good] Samaritan who got angered by the NOTE needs to “check her POOR attitude” at the door, and realize that even though “abandonment” isn’t ideal, at least it wasn’t tied to the fence at the kill shelter. I personally think it shows love and concern that even though the owner couldn’t take care of it’s pet any longer, it was better than “O W N E R * S U R R E N D E R” which is like instant death row of a family pet.

  10. How can you find out the kill rate at a shelter? I am looking at the York County Animal Control site right now and can’t find the statics. But I am looking at a bunch of cat pictures where the cats look happy and they are all posed on a green shamrock themed blanket – except for a few that are on pink heart themed blanket. This looks like a shelter that makes an effort to get the animals homes – they obviously take new pictures every month. It’s not listed as a no kill shelter, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a low -kill shelter.


    Interesting – every single adoptable cat is listed under lost cats too.

      1. thanks – I have been looking around their website and found their friends of york county AC facebook page and this doesn’t seem like a MAS type shelter. You can tell that they do care about the animals – they are doing a lot to save them. I don’t know if they are doing enough, but a lot of the stuff they are doing are right from the pages of the no-kill movement. Good pictures, list every animal, be open more hours. On the friends page they list the animals in danger and ask people to cross post them as many places as possible. It actually reminds me a bit of the PODR facebook page with the trying to network and the cheers when an animal makes it out. So I am wondering if they are on their way to being no-kill. They obviously aren’t there yet – otherwise friends wouldn’t have posted their relief that an animal got out with 2 minutes to spare.

    1. I always got the impression that unless it says ‘no-kill’ in their title then they do kill, its just a matter of how much. Could be wrong though.

  11. I’m not angry at the dog’s former owner. This is not dumping, this is an awkward attempt to do the right thing. If the owner was going to take this approach, IMO it would have been better to leave the dog in a pedestrian area such as in front of a store, because apparently the dog wasn’t tied to anything and thus she could have been hit by a car. But the former owner might well have thought that leaving the dog by the side of a road would ensure that the dog would be seen by a lot of people — in a way this seems like a marketing technique.

    The Good Samaritan believes people should take their dog to a shelter, but as others here point out, that’s a terrible idea if the shelter is not a No Kill shelter.

    Also, it’s entirely possible that the dog’s former owner didn’t know where the shelter was or if it even existed. I’m an educated middle-class pet-owner who reads the news and is interested in animals, and I lived in my community for 15 years before I even realized there was a county shelter nearby. Most people really know very little about shelters. My guess is that the public shelter in that area is not well known.

    Ironically, as angry and judgmental as the Good Samaritan was, in the end, the former owner’s attempt to find help for the dog actually worked.

    1. I agree that it’s possible for people to either not know where the shelter is, or not be able to get the pet there. I don’t know about the area in which this incident occurred, but in my own neighborhood it can be very confusing. The cities of San Leandro, San Lorenzo and Hayward run right into each other within about a 3 mile stretch of road (without reading the signs, it’s impossible to tell when you’ve left one and entered another). However, a San Leandro pet has to go to a shelter in Fremont (20 miles away), a San Lorenzo pet has to go to a shelter in Dublin (15 miles away), and only Hayward pets can go to the shelter in Hayward (the closest shelter to both San Leandro and San Lorenzo). It would not surprise me to find that people abandon their pets on the street if they run into hard times and don’t have transportation to get to a shelter that will actually take their pet.

  12. I’m with the more sad than mad crowd. This is why No Kill helps people and not just animals. Yes, there are people who, for whatever reason, feel they must give up an animal. Wouldn’t it be so much better if the they knew it wouldn’t be killed immediately by the shelter, and took it there instead of dumping it?

    Some would say making it less of a dilemma would make people quicker to dispose of their animals. I disagree. People will still get rid of animals. I think they will be less likely to drive them somewhere and dump them, note or no note, if they were treated kindly and with respect by the staff at their clean and inviting no kill shelter. Also, shelter staff would have a chance to talk to them about why they feel they must give up the animal and maybe find a solution (food pantry, vet assistance, etc.)

  13. True abandonment is when you *dump* (didn’t we vote to cancel that word?!) an animal with no ID, no note, no hidden cameras someplace far away from where you live or work.

    This animal was placed into rescue through the back door.

    Many of us don’t like to take animals to Animal Control.

    One local rescue organization won’t take an animal UNLESS it comes from Animal Control! (Hence, more people who what this group to help their animal, proceed to TAKE THEIR ANIMALS THERE!)

    I rescue what I find, I help those who want to help themselves and their animals.

    There is big business in rescue too…people scout for cute little dogs to *rescue* because they can sell them for big bucks.

    I’m not sure what the answer is, hell, I haven’t really even figured out all the questions!

  14. Anger is so not appropriate. The person at least tried. If you hung out at a shelter you’d know that people rarely “abandon” their animals, they have simply run out of resources to care for them. There is always a river of tears.

    1. The Humane society of York has this on their site:
      “The HSYC Spay/Neuter Program is temporarily suspended due to high demand. We would like to recommend these other low cost spay and neuter resources:”

      If its in high demand shouldn’t it be expanded instead of suspended? If the problem is they don’t have the money for as many people as want it can’t they do an appointment and schedule as many as they can afford each of their spay days? So if they can only do 10 a day then at least 10 get spayed neutered.

  15. Not knowing the story behind the dog’s abandonment, I don’t know.

    It might have been a kid or a young teen, doing their very best for the dog. Or a domestic issue where one person is trying to shield the dog from the other person…

    If the dog was left somewhere very public, in decent weather, well…it’s not ideal, but it may be the best they could do.

  16. That poor dog is so thin and was bred. I feel sorry for the owner who at least wanted someone to take her and give her a home. Perhaps the owner tried to find her a home via Craigslist with no offers. If she was in my area and was friendly I would have taken her home and fed and watered her and then try to find a rescue that could take her. Although I do not know if I have a large enough crate for her to keep her away from my dogs!

    1. This was the story that had me in tears….that the small boy was suffering because of parents divorce but he placed the well being of the puppy ahead of himself. He knew too that the puppy would have a better chance with that man rather than the pound and he gave his birthday money to help secure help for the pup.

      What a blessing that little boy is. He truly loved that little dog.

  17. Doesn’t make me angry either, just sad. I am on the board of our state dog federation’s foundation that is set up to prevent this from happening as much as we can. We are very new, working on things that come our way, raising funds and recruiting resources among our membership. We are a “pet retention” network, with a mission to keep families and pets together. This is just the type of situation that we are hoping to prevent.

    But getting the word out is actually a bigger challenge than organizing the services. We have so many experts amongst our membership, that is the easy part. Letting people know we exist is more difficult. Foreclosures, domestic abuse, illness/rehab/elderly and infirm people, landlord issues, insurance problems, behavior problems, financial issues, the list goes on – things that lead up to this poignant situation. Before people get angry, or all self-righteous and feel the need to scold or punish, take a deep breath and think ‘there but for the grace of God go I’, because it is true, we all get old, can have a change in circumstances, lose our job, or home, get ill . . .

    I appreciate that someone is looking out for this little dog. Our foundation will eventually have a pet food pantry, supplies, equipment for loan or as a gift, transportation to the vet or groomer for an elderly owner, trainers, behaviorists, low cost vet care, boarding short term, insurance companies that we know have no breed limitations, mediators, animal law specialist attorneys, we are very excited about what we CAN do. Getting angry is a waste of energy.


  18. It’s compassionate in one aspect that someone wrote it but in the other hand why did they not try to find a home for it themselves or take it to a shelter? The poor dog could of been killed out on its own too.
    Some people just have no idea do they?

  19. I’m also in the “Sad, not mad” group. The marking at least let people know that the dog was not lost and that efforts to find the owner should instead be directed at finding the dog a new home. I’ve been sad since the early ’50’s when I met my first abandoned dog that was dumped on the road near our home.

    There are a lot of spay/neuter programs available in our area, but the demand is even higher, I think. I took a neighbor to a location where they could only take the first “so many” (I forget how many) – I took her early but there were swarms of cars already there – many new model cars. We didn’t stay because it was obvious there were too many ahead of us, but she did manage to get the dog spayed before having another litter. Lots of people haven’t thought about the cost of vet care for their animals, including spaying, when they get a puppy or even a kitten. Thank goodness the shelters/rescues here all speuter animals before releasing to the new home.

  20. This makes me sad – reminds me of the story of baby Moses. And no one is mad at the mother of Moses. Seems like an act of desperation – and hope that someone will help.

  21. Well I don’t know the reason for the Samaritan’s reaction to the situation.I can only guess that she was angered just by the thought that someone could abandon their companion animal like that with a note like leaving a newborn baby on someone’s front porch. I know it’s a poor comparison, maybe not.I worked in a no-kill shelter and I’ve heard all the sad & horrific stories of people abandoning their pets in apartments or homes only for them to starve almost to death until a “good samaritan” rescues them.Then there’s the unending physical abuse.It’s enough to make one lose hope on humanity.Desperate people will do desperate things, I agree with what ruthrawls says. If I saw the note on the doggie my first thought would be, wow, the person abandoning their companion animal actually had the forethought to write a note, how nice.I just hope that abandoned animal got a second chance.We can only hope.

  22. On the one hand, if it’s a sincere attempt to get the dog out of a bad situation by someone without the means to get her to actual safety – for whatever reasons – then how can I be angry?

    In situations like this, I like to cut people some slack.

    On the other hand, it could also be an insincere attempt to assuage guilt or avoid shame from a person who had the ability to see the dog to safety and knew it was the best thing to do, but chose – for whatever reasons – not to do so. In this case, yes, I think anger is a reasonable response, but I also think it’s useless.

    Here’s the thing: I think there’s a minority of people who will never be reliably responsible about their pets, no matter what we do or say or how angry we get or how many laws we see passed. Some of them, under pressure, may get violent. Some of them will just get resentful and sneaky. And yet others will just shine it on, incapable of understanding why we even think their behavior ought to change.

  23. I feel confused. Obviously the dog needs a home. But why not write something about the dog, or contact the local shelter and arrange to take the dog there? No one knows if the dog has allergies, medical conditions, what age or breed it is. Or whether it is good with children or other pets. Or housetrained. I don’t know about this shelter in particular but I think most will work with people on the surrender fee. Sometimes they will not charge a fee or sometimes they will reduce the fee. I guess a part of me is mad, and a part of me is sad that they did not regard the dog well enough to pass on the important information or ensure his/her safety on the way to the shelter. But, on the other hand, not all shelters are a safe place. And we read all the time about good samaritans rescuing dogs and cats right off the street and maybe that is what the former owner was hoping for with this dog.

  24. I don’t think abandoning on the road is exactly the right way to go. I know they meant well but what if it were hit by a car. There are many RESCUE groups as opposed to shelters to contact. Do an internet search and call all of them, most have people that will foster as well until they can get a home. Much better than the road or a kill shelter.

  25. The note would save me a lot of time – scanning, flyers, posting on website, holding the dog before adopting – the owner didn’t handle it right but, saves the rescuer some time.

  26. Good samaritan? Really? A good samaritan would be sympathetic, surely, not judgemental.

    And what ‘good samaritan’ would ‘rescue’ a dog, and then drop it off at a shelter?

    Maybe they are just doing what HSUS

    1. My Jonas came from a Good Samaritan. She stopped to pick up when she saw him as a half-dead, starving kitten in the middle of the street. Then she brought him to an animal hospital and signed him over knowing there was a very, very good chance he would be euthanized. We very nearly did just that- he was blind and as stated, in absolutely appalling shape.

      The ONLY reason Jonas is still alive is because I opted to take responsibility for him, which included paying his vet bills (we just hit over 21,000 and still going strong). And I would never have had the chance to take on that responsibility and have this amazing, wonderful little bad-ass cat in my life if that young woman hadn’t stopped on that road. She’s my hero for that.

      Good Samaritans aren’t rescuers. They aren’t going to take full responsibility for the animal (or person) they are rescuing. People who take full responsibility are OWNERS. This dog’s owner for whatever reason opted out of the responsibility. The woman who picked up that dog was trying to prevent him from being hit by a car, abused, going hungry, etc…and she most likely took him to an animal shelter because she had no idea what goes on at most animal shelters.

      In my opinion, this woman was the only purely good guy in this scenario. I really honestly don’t understand why people feel she should have done more than the dog’s owner did. Nor do I understand the difference between ‘dumping’ and this, since the only difference I see is that a note was written, which would have made zero difference if the dog was hit by a car.

  27. Sorry, fat fingers … I was going to say, maybe they are just following HSUS lead.

    But I certainly wouldn’t call HSUS ‘good samaritans’.

  28. If so many shelters werent so high-kill then I wouldnt be angry at the woman who found the dog and then took him straight there. On the other hand, I could argue that the person who abandoned the dog in the street couldve tried to find someone who could find a good home for it, like a friend or something. I really dont know what to say on this situation.

  29. TBH, except in cases of outright abuse/neglect, I’ve stopped being angry at people for these sorts of things. Being angry doesn’t solve anything, and it wastes too much energy that I could use toward what can be done to help. We really don’t know the whole story behind so many of these cases. Not saying it is right, morally or legally (in many places abandonment of an animal is illegal), but we really just don’t know what drove the person to make this decision.

    I have a good example of an abandonment case that the rescue shelter I volunteer for dealt with last month. A rottweiler and a corgi were left tied up outside a kmart, along with a cat in a carrier. The rescue shelter took them in, and after they stray hold was up, the corgi was adopted out. We’re still waiting on a good home for the rottweiler and the cat. Some people were angry that these animals were left like they were. But, they were obviously well-cared for and well-fed as they had no illnesses and all three animals are a bit chunky. They are also very nice animals, the cat is very sweet and gets along well with the other cats in the cattery, and the dogs are very good with people, and I saw first hand that the rottweiler is very good with little children. The rottweiler also knows sit, down and give paw, so somebody cared enough to train her (the corgi probably knows these things too, but I didn’t really interact with him much before he was adopted). I dare say somebody loved those animals once, and it was probably heartwrenching for them to leave them by that kmart, hoping a nice shopper would take them home. Maybe it was an elderly person without a car who lived in the neighborhood behind that shopping center. Who knows? I just wish I could tell them that their animals are in safe hands.

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