If your local pet killing facility claims they “have to” kill pets because there aren’t enough homes for all of them, ask them this: What about the ones who would have homes if the pound didn’t discourage/refuse the adopters – do you “have to” kill them?
Any pet killing facility which requires adopters to do more than fill out a routine adoption form and provide identification is killing pets because they want to, not because they have to. If they didn’t want to kill, they could at least let pets go to people who want them and are willing to provide ID and complete a basic adoption form. With the ID in hand, shelters have the opportunity to run the adopter’s name through the animal cruelty database. This should be done for every animal. Never be afraid to exercise common sense!
But many pounds discourage adopters from even applying or refuse them outright by requiring people to jump through hoops to get the animal they want. Some examples include:
- Adopters wanting to save heartworm positive pets must obtain a letter from their veterinarian stating that the animal will receive heartworm treatment immediately after adoption.
- Adopters wanting to save Pitbulls must submit to a home inspection and/or criminal background check.
- Adopters wanting to take the pet they fell in love with home right away must come back after a designated waiting period.
- Adopters wanting to save a cat who bit someone are refused because the pound kills any animal who bites a person, regardless of circumstances.
- Adopters wanting a “barn cat” are refused because feral cats can not pass the temperament test required for adoption.
These are all real life examples of people who wanted to give a home to a shelter animal but were discouraged or refused by the pound because of these needless obstacles. The pound may say these policies are in place for the protection of the animals and the community but that is untrue. When animals are being killed purportedly because “there aren’t enough homes for all of them”, discouraging and refusing adopters who want to save them is unconscionable. No animal is being protected by being put into a dumpster.
Heartworm positive pets – let them go home. Provide verbal information and take home materials to the adopter about heartworm. Include the recommendation that the adopter take the pet to the veterinarian ASAP for a routine check and assessment of the heartworm condition. Yes, it’s possible the pet may never receive treatment for heartworm, which would be less than ideal. It’s also possible the adopter who provided the vet letter may not follow through with treatment. There are no guarantees in life.
Pitbulls – let them go home. All adopters should be run through the animal cruelty database for the protection of the animals, not just Pitbulls. Yes, it’s possible the dog might be going to a dogfighting ring. It’s also possible the dog might be going to tea parties with a 7 year old and forced to wear pink bonnets. Or the dog might be going to flyball class or to a special rug in the middle of the living room floor. There is no way of guaranteeing anything in life. But by allowing a dog to go home, it can be guaranteed he’s not going into the dumpster at the back of the pound.
Pet love at first sight – let them go home. Shelter pets should be vaccinated, neutered and otherwise ready to leave as soon as someone wants them. People generally visit the shelter when they are ready to take home a new pet – not 3 or 5 or 7 days before.
Pets who bite – let them go home with full disclosure and provided the dog has not been declared dangerous by a judge. Most dog bites are minor and preventable. Cats bites –
piffle! full disclosure.
Feral cats – let them go home. If the person is specifically looking for an outdoor cat for pest control, this is a perfect match. And it gives the shelter an opportunity to put a neutered and vaccinated cat in this job instead of forcing the adopter to find a cat elsewhere who may not be neutered or vaccinated.
There is no excuse for killing healthy/treatable pets while discouraging and refusing adopters. It doesn’t require extra manpower or funding to simply let them leave the pound alive. No kill advocates often hear from kill shelter enablers that “nobody wants to kill animals”. If that is so then why are these same facilities discouraging and refusing people who want to save animals?