Does your local pound kill animals because they want to?

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?

67 thoughts on “Does your local pound kill animals because they want to?

  1. Totally agree with all that is said above. All animals deserve a chance at life, not punishment for being born and either lost, given up or not wanted.

  2. I don’t think you are considering the legal ramifications of a shelter/rescue adopting out a dog that has bitten somebody. If that animal goes on to bite somebody else, “Full disclosure” will not protect you from being sued – and the plaintiff’s attorney’s would make micemeat out of you in court.
    The argument would sound like, “That irresponsible rescue/shelter KNEW this dog would bite and put it into a home anyway.” Very hard to defend that lawsuit. And I doubt that a shelter that adopted out bite dogs could get liability insurance at any price.
    I’m not in favor of killing dogs that nipped somebody, but I don’t think a shelter/rescue can risk its very existence by adopting them either. A third solution is needed for these animals. I’d be interested in a qualified attorney’s opinion on this subject.

    1. I included only pet killing facilities in this post, specifically leaving out all others.

      I’m not a lawyer but I do know that nothing can protect anyone from being sued.

      All dogs may bite. Shelters are in the position of having dogs *reported* to have bitten someone.

    2. Mary, with due respect for your legal expertise, the solution is called “rehab.” And what about the people who are willing to work with dogs with a “history?” Your concerns write them off without a fair trial.

      1. Rehab includes teaching and socializing these animals to the point where they will make good family members. Those animals who are written off as “unadoptable” are the result of our ignorance and unwillingness to work with them. Many rescuers are adept at working with an animal and helping them understand what is acceptable behavior. Not every rehab is going to be complete. Some animals may have to stay in an environment where they are not with other dogs or cats. Working together, we surely can find home on farms and ranches who need good help keeping prairie dogs and other critters off of their property . You can learn a lot more about Rehab at http://www.ShelterRevolution.Org Making these “Adoption Centers” nice clean places to visit , with happy and social animals ready to be good family members, is the answer. to getting millions more homeless babies adopted. Killing is the result of a horribly failed system. It is time to stop and help these animals learn to play well with others, It is being done , just not in any official County shelter. Please take the time to read and share this unique model.

    3. This issue arose recently in my area, when a shelter in a nearby town was pressured into releasing for adoption a dog who was believed to be unsafe. The final agreement was, the dog was adopted out – to rehab at a local training facility, rather than directly.

      Mind you, there was some question about whether the evaluations of the dog were correct, but that’s another issue.

      1. I wouldn’t characterize it as a separate issue. This is part of the problem with pounds that label dogs as biters. They are sometimes going on reports provided by the surrendering owner, which may or may not be accurate. Other times the dog has bitten a shelter staff member or volunteer but as with all cases, circumstances must be considered. The shelter environment is not akin to any environment the dog is ever likely to be in again, if adopted. Behavior there is not a good predictor of future behavior.

      2. Oh yeah, I remember this story now. The shelter told the adopter he’d have to take out a million dollar policy on the dog. I’m glad he was let out alive.

    4. When I agreed to foster a dog for a rescue, it was full of disclaimers about what the rescue knew about the dog. The dog I rescued was deemed, sweet, good with kids, good with dogs. She is good with people thank God but she was NOT good with other dogs over food issues. I have a $250 vet bill for one of my dogs to attest to that. Did the rescue even address the issue? No. The poor dog as pulled from the county shelter was tick ridden, skinny, had explosive diarrhea, and guess what? Pregnant. Good that the county released the dog to the rescue but bad that the rescue has given the bare minimum in support. FYI: 12 pups, one stillborn, 11 healthy at 10 weeks old now. 2 adopted, 5 at a different foster, heath status unknown, and four still here safe with us. By the way: if the rescue did not have us sign a foster agreement for the puppies – who owns the puppies? Appreciate any input.

  3. YOU have hit the nail on the head! Great post!!! Sure hope Memphis Animal Services/ The City of Memphis reads this and makes the necessary changes……oh well, you know the old saying “hope in one hand, poop in the other- see which one fills up faster!”

  4. Shirley, can you describe where I can find this database you referred to? It’s just before the list of bulleted items: “With the ID in hand, shelters have the opportunity to run the adopter’s name through the animal cruelty database.”

  5. Excellent blog and I could not agree more. Our shelter (UPAWS in MI) used to kill needlessly with a average 60% + kill rate. 6 years ago we made the decision to stop killing and re-look at EVERYTHING we were doing. Best decision we ever made! We quit being so judgmental, so rigid, so unfriendly, We stopped killing and starting thinking outside of the box, read Nathan Winograd’s book Redemption, put into practice the steps in the book…worked hard to improve our horrible reputation with our community. We stopped blaming, making excuses. Now our community loves UPAWS…they want us to save these animals not have us kill them! And they support us! For the second year in a row, UPAWS has been awarded the Outstanding Shelter Award-Michigan’s Best Medium Open Admission Shelter Award. UPAWS has the best save rate in the state of Michigan for its size (1,000-5,000 animals/year) and open-door admission policy!
    Every shelter CAN do this! Read the book “Redemption”, put the principles in place. Just STOP Killing! Think outside of the box!

  6. OK, I agree with several of these, but I don’t understand…..
    you are saying it’s better for a dog to die in a dogfighting ring than to be killed at a shelter?
    There is nothing unreasonable about requiring a background check and/or a home visit. If someone wanting to adopt a pit bull refuses those…then there’s a good reason why.
    While I would love for all shelters to be no-kill, there really are worse things than death.

    1. I would refuse a background check and/or home visit. And there is a good reason why – but it’s not that I’m a dogfighter.

      I don’t want dogs to die ANYWHERE. That is the point.

      I believe the risk is small that dogfighters are going to visit the local shelter, fill out the adoption form and give their ID to adopt dogs. By adopting out Pitbulls to those who want them, we are by no means guaranteeing the dogs will be used for fighting so your question is based upon a false premise. It is not a choice between dogfighting or the shelter dumpster. Further, even *if* the dog did end up in the hands of a dogfighter, at least he’d be alive. If he’s alive, there is hope he could be rescued. If he’s in the dumpster, there is no hope.

      There are no fates worse than death.

      1. I don’t know that I agree with the idea that there are no fates worse than death.

        But death is permanent. There is no going back from that one, no hope of rescue or reward, no second chances.

        Fighting dogs live in horrific circumstances – even those belonging to the wealthy, like Vick. And they often die horribly. But the ones who were saved, the ones who got out, they got their second chance. Yes, they endured things that no living creature should endure, but *they got out*. The dead get no second chances.

        Shelters like MAS require a fence/yard check. But they don’t have enough people to do the checks. They don’t train volunteers to do the checks, they just shrug their shoulders and kill the pit bulls (and the Labs and the shepherds and the Chows and the anything else they’ve apparently randomly decided to call a pit bull) because they can’t adopt them out because they don’t have enough people to do background/fence checks. Was the rule designed to kill dogs? Probably not, but that’s the end result, anyway.

      2. “I don’t know that I agree with the idea that there are no fates worse than death.”

        I can understand the sentiment and I respect that it comes from a good place. I think of “where there’s life, there’s hope” and “there are no fates worse than death” as going hand in hand.

        Of course none of us would *knowingly* give or sell any pet to someone who was going to commit the kind of atrocities that make people say “there are fates worse than death”. The problem arises when people think that by forcing adopters to do X, Y and Z before they get their animal, it will weed out those rare individuals who would actually torture or severely neglect the animal while retaining everyone else. And maybe it will weed out the rare abuser – I don’t know that there is any evidence to say for certain. But to make it a policy that all adopters must do X, Y and Z because the pound is hoping to discourage what I believe to be a mere fraction of a percentage of applicants who are truly evil, they are also discouraging a significant percentage of good adopters. Which means more pets in the dumpster. I can not abide the idea that it is better to kill many pets because of the possibility that one MAY end up in the wrong hands. Believe me, I’d hate it for that one as much as anyone else, *if* the worst case scenario actually came true. But since it’s an unknown, ans since the alternative is death, I think it’s an acceptable risk. Everything in life is risky. We need to look at the situation realistically and decide if the risk is acceptable.

      3. An example of a freak who abused and killed dogs was just tried recently in MI. He didn’t get them from a shelter, but from breeders who obviously didn’t care too much about where their dogs went. They shipped to him from all over the country. No background check, but then again, he wasn’t caught until after he’d killed, I think, more than a dozen dogs. So what does this say? Not much about background checks, but also not much about just handing an animal over to someone you haven’t gotten to know in the least bit, except to find out if his check clears.

        I do think that an interview process, and better attempts at trying to fit the potential adopter to the pet that fits the needs of the household, is the least, and the most that can be, and should be done. Just because someone in the family thinks it’s cute to get that fluffy puppy doesn’t mean it should go home without finding out if everyone at home wants it to be there. So while I agree with doing almost anything to find the pet a home, I don’t think making people wait to make sure the decision is the right one for everyone involved is asking too much. I’ve seen many instances where one parent wants to surprise a kid, or a daughter wants to get her widowed mom something to help get over Dad’s death” and the family or mom (or whomever the pet has to live with) is not on board. That pet isn’t able to wave a magic wand and fix the situation, so those trying to adopt him out need to try to do just a little bit more than hand him over to the first person who says, “Here’s my charge card.”

    2. Dogfighters raise their own dogs, and the bait dogs can be gotten anywhere – dogs for sale questions unasked in MANY places, street corners, newspaper and craigs list. Yeah, why would they give ID at a shelter?

  7. totally agree.. but not sure about the animal cruelty database?.. does every place have one?

  8. I just happened upon this video –

    and it upset me so much because of the justifications for killing the beautiful, easy to handle pets. And of course, blaming to public. “If only they could see how these pets are killed they might adopt.” I was especially nauseated by the adorable gray/white cat that ends up in the trash. But they had no choice, right?! Fuckers!!

  9. It is my firm opinion, and some privy info, as well, that ” animal shelters” all kill for a reason other than no homes available for animals to go to. Most certainly that is the excuse when these Killing Pounds do not give it their full effort to find good homes, and I feel this is the case in our local animal shelter. Any great vet will tell you to your face, coldly, “we do not kill healthy animals, you want that done, go to PACC (Pima Animal Control Center)”. I heard this first hand when I was grieving at the evidence that one of my beloved dogs was ill with something not diagnosed earlier, but discovered by a vet specialty center & was needing to deal with the actual need to euthanize her as she was not going to make it due to cancer spreading through her entire body & she would die in pain if I did not make this decision. It was very difficult since I love animals like children & this little female was no different as any others that have been in my life.

    Any Killing shelter has inadequate vets working for them who are not even versed in the difference between diseases affecting any canine or feline, but seems especially directed to misdiagnose any pitbull breed whether purebred or mix, no matter the demeanor of the animal or not, so it can justify euthanizing those animals. The propaganda falsely related to the public about bully breeds is unfair & misquoted for it is not a dog that is vicious but its owner who made a dog fear so became defensive to survive thus, unless rehabbed, which ALL, not just select ones, can be, they will be murdered by animal controls relentlessly. Bully Breeds were favored family oriented dogs in the early 20th to mid-20th century when the Lassie/collie era took over in the early 1950s. Bullies are intelligent, would easily be rehabbed from any old tendancies taught by cruel people, and such dogs are faithful, loyal, loving critters.

    It is time to tell the truth & time to shut down and ban all killer shelters, period. Instead of wasting the million dollars spent to renovate and expand such a shelter, as they did locally here in AZ. (And it still contains ordors plus run over any hope for all rescues to have a say in who must be saved plus this PACC only gives rescues a limited time for animals selected to find a home or the animal is destroyed if no home found in such time; NEED TO PREVENT PACC FROM SAYING WHAT ANIMALS LIVE AND DIE AND INTERFERRING IN RESCUES CONTROL AS IT SHOULD BE, NOT PACC’S), funds would have been better spent to cast out killing & make room for only No-Kill Sanctuaries where any animal could live out its “NATURAL Lives” unharmed or threated if they could not be adopted out to someone who passed inspection of their homes, inclusive of subsequent inspections if deemed needed, plus have only 3 qualified vet diagnosis of no vet affiliated with any shelter to administer euthaization only under a terminal medical condition.

    PACC also makes its own laws devious of those in Arizona Statutes which should be the only law to go by, not PACC. Or PACC inteprets such laws differently to their advantage to destroy animals. Furthermore, animal controls sell the carcasses of animals to vet colleges for class studies as well as to labs for running tests, may even sell live animals on “their own death rows, to labs as well for funding… The animals in such places are not treated well and live on cold, often wet due to hosing the concrete cages of urine and defecation, cement floors of small narrow kennels housing 2 to 4 or 5 dogs each. None of these facilities make any effort to give comfort to such animals, how could they, the folks are usually brought in from the local jail to do community work for the crime they committed… Too often in AZ, especially Pima County & Pinal County, killing shelters euthanize before the alloted times and such lethal injections are not being carried out by state qualified veterinarians as State Law demands and is documented, but these poor animals are being killed by illiterate shelter workers with no idea of what they are doing, and should not be legally performing. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, Arizona needs to be pro-life and made into a No-Kill Animal State, period.

    Also the time of the old west is long gone, but we also must prevent the slaughter of and transporting of horses to different states and countries for slaughter. Stop the Cattle men in their rich greedy tracks in backing the killing of Mustangs and all so-called unwanted horses, perios. Plus, if a horse needs to be put down, no one can put one down without legal injections to do so, so that we are not supplying the European tastebuds for horse meat in other countries!!!!

  10. And if we don’t want ex-cons working at the shelter handing the dogs, then why would you want to adopt to ex-cons coming in from off the streets?? Why would you adopt to people that have done time for domestic violence? Why would you adopt to people that are drug dealers?? pimps?? sex offenders?? Even with a criminal background check, we won’t be able to insure that all pit bulls go to good homes but at least some of the slugs are being weeded out. I agree with the shelter’s policy. Donna/Hearts of Gold Pit Rescue, Memphis, Tennessee

    1. Why would I adopt to people who have served time for drugs, etc? BECAUSE THE ALTERNATIVE IS DEATH. There are more reasons but that’s the bottom line, thus the all caps. Drug dealers who are willing to come in and fill out an adoption application and give their ID can save one of the dogs the shelter would otherwise be killing. Yes. Without a doubt, No question.

      As has been well established, people who want a pet are going to get them from somewhere. Maybe if shelters were more welcoming and less judgmental, we could get shelter pets to people who want them. By discouraging and refusing adopters, we are supporting the kinds of alternate pet sources we say we don’t like by handing them a pool of customers. All the while filling up the dumpsters day after day.

    2. Actually, I know someone who was a heroin addict. She did time and went to rehab a few times. Was she a mess? Absolutely. Did she find a mangled pit bull on the streets under a car? Yes. She took the dog to a vet who amputated the dog’s mangled/gangrenous hind leg. I have no idea how she paid for such an operation, since she was living in her car at the time…

      Years later, she’s still a heroin addict. Been to rehab a few more times. Still has and loves that three-legged dog. Every time she has to go “away”, she finds someone to care for her dog – usually another addict. But the dog is alive, well, and happy. Is it an ideal situation? No. Does she care for the dog the way I would care for a dog? No. Is it better for the dog than dying alone under a car with a mangled leg? Yes.

      There are different kinds of criminals. Some are violent and you wouldn’t let them tend a potted plant. Some aren’t.

      1. Thanks for sharing that story. I have to wonder if AC had found that dog instead of the lady, took him to the pound and she came in and asked to adopt, would she have been refused? And would that dog still be alive today?

      2. They probably would have refused her on sight – the facial tattoos can be a bit off-putting…

        And given the fact that this took place in Ohio a few years ago, the chances of an injured pittie surviving the shelter system were nil. This dog is only alive because someone who could barely take care of herself took her in.

        The dog is a total sweetheart, btw. And in this situation, a resilient and easy-going dog is just what was needed and works. I have to wonder how many other resilient and easy-going dogs don’t get that chance because of what they look like?

  11. What about older/elderly animals that might have some medical condition that may be easily treatable like low thyroid! I do not trust the shelter vets either for diagnosis. I do not believe these animals even go up for adoption or rescue at most shelters!

  12. How many animals have you saved from a shelter? What have you done to educate people on owning a pet? How much money have you donated to your local rescue so their volunteers can save pets from kill shelters?

  13. I am not at all opposed to home checks. The trick is what the shelter would consider a pass or a fail for the home check.

    1. 6′ secure fence is what they are checking for. I don’t think there is any requirement beyond that.

  14. I rescue and foster, and believe me- PLEASE believe me, there are fates much much worse than death. I simply cannot BELIEVE that anyone who does rescue and foster like I do would say something like “they are better off with dogfighters than euthanised” there is something VERY flawed with your thinking. I have to guess that you are not in the trenches like my colleuges and me, you have not seens the hundreds of dogs adopted as cute puppies now with mange living their entire lives on the end of a chain- jeez I could go all day with hideous examples. Spay and neuter IS the only way we are gonna get out of this, not freakin free adoptions without checking out the adopter. I say this as a lifelong dog/cat lover that spends all of my extra time and funds on rescue and getting poor folks to spay and neuter their pets. Please I am begging, for the sake of the animals- don’t be so nieve.

    1. Oh Christ. I wish I could go back in time and use this for the title of the post: “freakin free adoptions without checking out the adopter”. It’s awesome.

  15. wow, instead of engaging me you choose to just insult. I guess you’re right, you are so much smarter and well- just plain BETTER than I am. How many fighting dogs HAVE you rehabed? Oh, and do YOU have feral/abused dogs living in your house?

    1. Jupiter, I really hope you look back here – and then look at the next blog post about dogs that were alive, and then claimed to be ‘rescued’ and then they were all dead.
      As for being naive, only a naive person thinks that spay/neuter will solve all the problems and make shelters magically unnecessary. We need shelters to do a better job in making the lives of animals important enough to the community by example, and THEN we can work on explaining the benefits of s/n (without resorting to hyperbole, which most s/n fanatics can’t do) so that more people (NOT everyone, but more of them) are interested in finding out when and how they might get that done. And it needs to sink in that some people have perfectly good reasons to not s/n right away, if at all, and stop demonizing them. Some animals have qualities that we really want to keep.

    2. Earth to jupiter: If the current L.E.S.* model of animal sheltering was successful and helpful, then problems should have been solved by now. (*Legislation, Education, Sterilization)

      L.E.S. will never lead to no-kill communities.
      (“Can You Neuter Your Way Out of Killing? The short answer is no.

      A terrific guest blog post by Ryan Clinton, a member of a group who fought to reform things in his city: “In Austin, the City Council passed a law making it illegal for the shelter to kill savable animals when there are empty cages. It mandated a foster care program and offsite adoptions. And it required the shelter to reach a 90% save rate. The impact was immediate.”

      “…while increasing spay and neuter rates is an important part of saving lives, and community outreach is a fine goal in theory, “LES” has never achieved No Kill success anywhere in the country. In fact, most communities that have achieved No Kill success did so even before a comprehensive, high-volume spay/neuter program was in place. Moreover, some programs of this strategy—like mandatory pet-limit laws or mandatory spay/neuter requirements—have actually increased shelter killing by increasing the number of animals surrendered to or seized by animal-control authorities. What works is the proven, cost-effective programs and policies of the No Kill Equation. It represents a future of lifesaving success, not the history of failure resulting from “LES.”

      “Is pet overpopulation a myth? Inside Nathan Winograd’s “Redemption”, by Christie Keith, Special to SF Gate,

  16. Could not agree more, but I include the “no kill” shelters in it too. Too many people who want to adopt are refused by the loons who run the asylum. My wife and I wanted to adopt a cat. went to 1) a local pet adoption at a pet store, (found two kittens and were willing to pay the $200.00 adoption fee) 2) went to a local “no kill” shelter,(found two teen age male cats they “wanted to adopt together”) and 3) went to two local gov. “kill” shelters, ALL of these places refused to adopt a cat to a home with a “doggy door,” (we have an aging Ger.Shorthaired Pointer who gets along well with cats and needed a companion) We were totally frustrated, and found a kitten on Craigslist, who has been now neutered, chipped, vaccinated etc. He gets to go outside, but is in after dark, he gets to be a cat, and chase butterflies, and birds. The LOONS run the shelters, they need to get over themselves and start thinking of the lives of the animals.

    1. We do not currently have a cat but we do love cats and hope to have one again someday. It’s the same in our house – we have a doggie door and so there would be no way to stop a cat from using it to go outside. I hope no one would refuse to let me take a cat off the kill table at a pound because of the doggie door.

  17. In regards to heartworm positive dogs, we say that shelters should spay/neuter and vaccinate animals prior to adoption, why not treat sick dogs prior to adoption as well? If I ran a shelter, I wouldn’t feel comfortable adopting a dog to somebody while it was sick. I would definitely be ok with seeing that dog fostered while treatment was provided. The fast-kill method for heartworms is slightly expensive, but the slow-kill method is simple giving the dog heartworm preventative to kill off the larva and waiting for the adults to live out their life-cycle.

    1. Our city-run shelter is considered limited admission and does not kill for space. They do not provide spay/neutering, vaccinating or vet checks, etc. Animals might receive flea and tick treatment. Adopters are advised to take their new pet to their own vet and have them checked out. We don’t have any local low-cost s/n clinics but prices here are reportedly lower than larger cities.

      Discussions are underway on how to improve adoptions and other things so that rescue groups aren’t the ones always getting stuck with sick animals and huge medical costs. Our city has been asked to consider purchasing a minimum quantity of a particular brand of microchips. If they do so, they can offer people adopting animals the chance to sign up with a few weeks of free health insurance. Because the pets have not been vetted, unobvious health problems haven’t been diagnosed and won’t be considered to be preexisting to the insurance company. I believe this plan they’re considering gives coverage up to $600 that can also be applied to heartworm treatment (I’m sure will differ depending on company, etc.). This type of shelter pet insurance has shown to help with pet retention, so people will choose to get their new pet treated an choose not to return a dog just because they test positive for heartworm, for example.

      Current adoption fees from the shelter are fairly low. One suggestion is to raise the fees but offer a significant rebate upon proof of spay/neuter after the adopter has had the pet to their own vet.

  18. I agreed to foster a dog for a rescue. This dog was in a county kill shelter. The rescue claimed the dog was friendly to people, kids, and other dogs. We pulled the dog and brought her home. She was indeed very sweet with people but would attack our other dogs over food and treats. We had moments where we wanted to kick her butt out the door back to the kill shelter, but we stuck with her and after 4 months she’s learned a lot and so have we. We cut her slack because she was sick, tick infested, and come to find out – pregnant.

    Yesbiscuit, I commend you for thinking out of the box and saying that the county shelters should have less control over judging who should be able to adopt. And they should exercise MORE control over what dogs come into their shelter. Well done, and brave thinking.

  19. In a conversation with the director of the county pound, I was told the primary mission was to prevent rabies, and anything after that including the safety and comfort of the dogs in pound, was extra effort. Their budget is extremely limited. I tried to complain to the county supervisors, they referred me back to the pound director. She has no control over funds, she just has to make do the best she can with what the county gives. She’s trying and I give her credit.

  20. Yesbiscuit, thank you for all of this information that I did not know about! I hope all of the shelter pets find a home soon. I think another solution could help as well. They have offered 50 million in research grants and a 25 million prize for whatever scientist can come up with a way to spay neuter cats and dogs without surgery. That should help our homeless pets!

  21. I appreciate knowledgeable, thoughtful, non-inflammatory experts in the field of animal welfare speaking out with truth and fairness.
    Arguments can start out with good intentions and a few facts and then skid over the edge with hyperbole in an attempt to grab a headline. That technique is usually unsuccessful in gaining meaningful support from people who do more for animal welfare than just “Like” sensationalist blogs and comments.
    Some shelters are clearly better than others, but cheapening the argument with terms such as “like to kill animals” negates the entire effect and does a disservice to ALL shelters.

  22. This is Memphis and, yes, dog fighters DO go to the shelter to “adopt” dogs to fight. At least they did before they implemented the background check/house check. I would rather see a dog be PTS than go to that fate. I personally walked two assholes back to “visit” their dog that was in quarantine at the Shelter. I had no doubt they were dog fighters and that dog HATED one of them, which tells me they abused him. If I could have done something to keep that dog from going back to them – even putting him to sleep – I would have made it happen.

    While volunteering at MAS I never had anyone decide they didn’t want a pit because they were going to have to undergo background/yard checks. Not saying it hasn’t happened, but I didn’t experience it.

  23. As much as the term “Likes to kill” upsets me, the fact is there are shelters in small counties all over the SE who sell the corpses to labs and med schools. Some of these “Shelters” do not even open to the public on weekends or evenings. They do not allow a photo of the “shelter pet of the week”. Adoptions are too much trouble. This system encourages more deaths and more excuses now to wait or provide any needed care. This is sickening and yet we allow it to continue. County Commissioners run shelters like their own cash cow, and voters do nothing. I feel like I’m shouting into a hurricane.

    1. Yes, “voters do nothing/” If something upsets you, don’t just blame the shelter. The community/govt. sets the rules. Put the blame where it should be and take ACTION against it.

  24. ‎”There are no fates worse than death.” ….SERIOUSLY?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? I’m sorry, but that statement alone is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. To be tortured daily, viciously, and die a slow agonizing death after years of torture…That most certainly IS a fate worse than death.

    1. Any examples of a dog who was “tortured daily, viciously, and die a slow agonizing death after years of torture”? I’ve reported on many cases of animal abuse but have never heard of any such case. Or even one remotely close to it.

  25. Obviously, if this person doesn’t understand why the above requirements have to be met, they don’t have a clue about the welfair of animals. To think that any home is better than death is so unrealistic. And stupid!

  26. I know 2 foster Moms who have recently come under extreme scrutiny – so much so that one has stopped fostering completely – instead of gratitude she’s been dealt abuse.

    the other is hanging in there like a ten-pound booger – she is the last hope for some animals and it keeps her going…no matter what the inquisition comes up with…

    One of the inquisitors is animal control the other a “rescue group”…twisted power trippers. Makes no sense and the animals are killed for this type of madness.

  27. I worked for the past year at an open-admission county animal shelter. That meant that we were obligated to take any domesticated animal that was either found in or surrendered by someone from the county. Yes, we euthanized adoptable animals. Yes, we had to. We all hated it. Universally.

    And we had a fairly liberal adoptions policy. We checked home ownership in a database or required landlord approval, we checked for animal cruelty records, and we required any children in the home to come in and interact with the animal. For dogs we required any dogs already in the home to come in for a dog-dog introduction. That was it. We were desperate for people to come apply on our animals. We did everything in our power to get those animals out the front door, but sometimes it wasn’t enough.

    During the summer kitten season we got 40+ cats every single day with an average of two cat adoptions a day. Where are they all supposed to go? Even with a solid foster network there are only so many open places. And if we have one kennel available and to dogs – who gets it? The dog with a bite history or the one without it? Who’s more likely to get adopted?

    Even with the adoption applications we got, about half of them fell through, most due to the people never responding to our calls, or sometimes even from not showing up for their scheduled adoption.

    So please, don’t talk about shelters wanting to kill animals. We don’t. That’s why we do it.

    1. Kate,

      Your questions reveal that your power over life and death was wielded recklessly. No shelter must choose between saving one pet or the other. There are a list of key elements/programs that dozens of open admission shelters around the country have put into practice which allow them to accept every pet AND save every healthy/treatable pet. Your shelter could implement these same programs and stop killing animals. Is this something your shelter would be interested in doing?

    1. How can those who advocate for no kill be in an “alternate universe” when no kill is happening in at least 35 communities with open admission shelters around the country? In THIS universe.

  28. Maybe its time to re-think like in physics the concept of universe… its multiverse…universe is the old concept = kill…bring on the new multiverse = no kill.

    As we humans progress in our concept of the stars we should also be able to progress in our concept of animal care.

  29. Great post. I personally think that as long as the person isnt in the animal cruelty database/anything related to dogfighting, then I am okay with it, even with the fence policy, as much as I hate chaining/tethering dogs.

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