We Only Hurt the Ones We Love the Most

When shelter directors say:

We only kill sick, injured, aggressive or feral animals along with orphaned puppies and kittens who are unable to survive on their own.

I think they’re trying to put the best possible spin on the fact that they needlessly kill animals and perhaps even attempting to come across to the public as compassionate on some level.

But what I hear is:

We only kill the animals who need us most.

What kind of “shelter”, “humane society” or “society for the prevention of cruelty” targets the weakest of the population for death?

Healthy, happy pets sell themselves in many ways.  But pets with special needs such as an injury or illness, require extra care.  Feral cats require a commitment to lifesaving in the form of a TNR program.  Dogs with behavioral issues require time, effort and patience in order to rehabilitate them so they can be adopted.  Orphaned puppies and kittens necessitate a foster program so the animals can be lovingly hand raised until old enough for adoption.  Shouldn’t these be the animals we work the hardest to protect since their needs are greater?

Shelter directors could put it another way:

We only save the animals who require the least amount of effort to get adopted.

That’s not sheltering.  That’s laziness and needless pet killing and PR spin.  As I often say, if you can’t own it, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.

Dog on the kill list today at the Tipton Co pound in TN. (via Facebook)

31 thoughts on “We Only Hurt the Ones We Love the Most

  1. This dog would never be seen in my county. The “humane” society and AC seem to like purebred animals. I have argued that if they let a breed rescue pull a dog, then that would make room for another dog. The breed rescues that I have notified, have received “only available for adoption” as a reply from AC. The shelter reports show zero in the animals tranferred category year after year for both facilities, with kill rates above 80% It breaks my heart to think of all the wonderful animals killed because they are a mutt or simply because they are a cat.

  2. This dog will haunt me for the rest of my life. I keep checking the facebook page to see if he has been rescued – not yet, but I keep hoping.

  3. Reblogged this on Today's Leash on Life! and commented:
    I agree. They always try to put a positive spin on the animals they kill. There’s no positive to killing animals that could otherwise live healthy, happy lives. My brother and his wife recently adopted a shepherd mix from her boss who was going to put her down because she wasn’t getting along with the family. The situation was that they had her for 11 years and then they had their first child. That dog was used to being the only one getting the attention in the house and so when a child was brought into the house, she started acting differently. She was perfectly healthy and nothing was wrong with her, other than the fact that she wasn’t the dog they used to have. They were just going to put her down. My brother and his wife couldn’t let that happen so they adopted her and she’s as happy as can be. We need to be willing to give these dogs a second chance, don’t you think??

  4. We totally agree, Shirley.
    We should do our very best to save them all.
    That is what I have been trying to say all along, but I lack your skills. REHAB the animals who need help with their social skills and understanding what is expected of them. This is happening in rescues all over the world, but not in one County “Shelter”. Reform is not the answer. The current system is rotten to the core. New Adoption Centers, designed to appeal to humans and allow these animals to be marketed at their very best while they are happy + healthy.
    Thank you very much !!

  5. This dog was there at noon today, according to the facebook page. Please, if anyone can help him (if he’s still alive) please contact the “shelter” first thing in the morning. He looks like he could use some serious TLC and a family who loves him.

    1. The Tipton Co group posted this an hour ago:

      Helping Tipton County Animal Shelter Animals
      PAWS New England has offered to take this baby but the must have a temporary foster so he can be vetted. He is on the list to be euthanized at any time and this is his last chance to be rescued.

      1. He has a rescue! Please someone step up to help this guy – it’s just for a little while.
        (thanks for the update)

  6. Thank you for this post, I was a volunteer and an employee for my local humane society and this was the reason I had to stop and start supporting other groups. It broke my heart.

  7. http://memphis.craigslist.org/pet/3040117875.html

    I know this isn’t the right place to post this, but I have tried emailing you about animals before who need help (and I understand that you can’t set and post every animal because then that would be all that your blog is), but this cat isn’t with me. She has medical issues and this girl has been trying for awhile to find her cat a new home (she hit tough times and had to move back in at home, but I guess she keeps getting flagged and doesn’t put that in the ad anymore, and her parents are making her get rid of her cat).

    I’m going to send her some links to some rescues, but unfortunately, she seems to be going through EXACTLY what I was going through, all the rescues are full. Which I try and understand, but it is at times like these that makes No Kill seem so freaking hard to ever be possible.

    Posting this here because I know you guys normally pull together and make stuff happen. The countless examples I see on this blog all the time. This cat has medical issues, and this girl is trying her hardest to make sure the cat she loves won’t get put to sleep in a shelter.

    1. Donation to the rescue who takes this cat. If she ends up at a facility, she will be killed, I’d about guarantee it. Please help this girl who loves her cat. (Too bad the parents can’t be persuaded to allow her to keep the cat in her bedroom or something that will allow her to keep her cat with her until things get better.)

      1. In the original craigslist ad, she was keeping the cat in a bedroom, but unfortunately with her medical issue for some reason it makes her extremely dirty when using the litter box, like missing quite often and was ruining the carpet.

      2. Geez – there are ways to work around that – larger litter box, covered box, something plastic under the box, lots of natures miracle to get rid of the smell, different litter, etc. Killing the cat is a decision that cannot be undone.
        I don’t understand that people can kill an animal because of fur or carpet. When I worked at the local humane society, a person surrendered her cat because she had redecorated and the cat’s fur showed up on her new furniture. Or the cat who was surrendered for “scooting” on the carpet. I just don’t get it!!!

      3. And the litter box issue (plus the medical issues) would be a “straight to the kill room” in most municipal facilities.

      1. I would foster her myself, unfortunately I’m only 18 and living at home. I sent her the link to this post hopefully she comes here and can give more information.

  8. I’m not on facebook so I can’t post, but this guy’s photo is not up on the page where it’s been. Can anyone find out what’s happened to him? PAWS New England is willing to take him, but he needs a local foster for vetting. I so hope he made it out alive. (There is also a dog who came in with him who looks much the same – but I think he has a foster or adopter.)
    Sending prayers that this guys is out safely.

      1. Thanks – I will check back to see if there’s news (hopefully, good news). It looks like this guy has not known much love or care.

  9. The face of that dog, scars and all, is beautiful. What the heck is wrong with these rescues that they are not pulling more animals, like this, away from death? Rescues, that do not make every effort to change the so-called animal control laws changed to the “convenience” of KILLERS, needs to have their 501c3s revoked cause, in reality, they are allowing animals to die because they do not have the backbone to push killer rules out of existance, because they allow the “shelters” to call the shots who lives and dies. Not the rescues who have no right getting grants to rescue animals if they are failing those animals, and many rescues are & not fighting the KILLER Mentality and Killer System hard enough… Sorry if this cuts a raw edge, but then it was meant to. Not cut a raw edge at me, but me for honestly saying how it is and hoping that will put a hot seat under rescues to do what they set out to do but not by the rules “to save” dictated to by animal controls, but by allowing their rescue leaders conscience to lead away from being under and animal control’s thumbs whereby animal controls say ho lives and dies, what animal they will allow to be saved…


    And this bullpuckie excuse that black dogs are being seen as unadoptable because they are ominous looking is mere propaganda. This poor baby was chosen for death because of its coloring, and perhaps due to the scars on its face… If anyone knows anything about dogs when the fight they would realize this dog was close to loding the fight cause when two dogs clash in a fight, one dog will grasp the other dogs muzzle & then the lower jar to break the jaw making it impossible for the broken jawed dog to defend itself & for the other dog to attack the losing dog’s jugular in its neck to make bleed out and sure death… This poor dog, it is obvious, has possibly black lab and Shepherd mix, may not be good (after being on defensive in a fight, in a home with other dogs, so great as a companion dog to one person especially a single person…

    It would be horrible to come back to another article saying this dog has been killed… What are these “killer shelters” trying to prove? Are they saying we are the beginnings of what will become of human population, especially if you are no longer valuble to society because you are old, you are disabled, you have no family and the government wants you annihilated? Really folks, think about what politicians are doing and think about what I just wrote and that it doesn’t sound illogical in the fouled up political agenda…

    1. This dog has a rescue willing to take him, but they are having trouble finding a foster home for him locally while they have him vetted. The description is that he is very shy. If I was in Tennessee (or close enough) that dog would be in my family by now!

    1. Thanks so much – keeping my fingers crossed that this guy gets out and has a wonderful, long, happy life with people who love him. Appreciate you keeping track of him and letting us know.

  10. Trisha, you are exactly right! And who else used the thinking that the old, infirm, disabled were not perfect, at least in a nationality different than theirs? Nazi Germany. The high-kill rate of the Animal Care & Control in New York City (NYCACC) has led myself and others to call it the Animal Concentration Camp. That’s what it is too. All kill, kill, kill. Animals with broken bones, megacolon just lie in cages, usually not getting care until rescued. Disabled animals are killed, unless rescued. Animals with URI, colds, conjunctivitis killed, not treated, unless rescued. Heinous and disgusting!

  11. If I’m understanding correctly, this girl (not a male, like I thought) has been rescued but her buddy who came in with her also needs a foster ASAP. Looks like this group is working hard to get the animals out of this “shelter”.

    1. The Tipton vols do work hard trying to get animals out alive. They are the ones who got a pregnant Surrey out and into a foster home (which they found) to save her life and the lives of her unborn pups when I said I would take her.

  12. Just thinking about what Brent and his folks have done in KC – how do we get that going in other locations? We need the folks who are really committed to changing things to take over the facilities. How did they do it there? Is there a way to do it in Memphis? (and other places)

    1. db,

      Some day I’m going to write a book about all of this, or at least a series of blog postings — something. It’s not the easiest process in the world and ended up taking us 5 years to really complete the process.

      The first step is to get city officials to realize that if they continue to keep Animal Control and shelter functions in the same budget, and budgets are tight (they always are) they will tend to focus the money on the animal control (safety) side and not on the sheltering side. Meanwhile, having a separate shelter operator (that is functioning as a not-for-profit) can allow for increased fundraising to focus on lifesaving. Once we finally got a few council members on board, we were able to move forward with privatizing the shelter operation.

      The second trick is then being sure the privatize group is not the status quo. I was a little surprised here when some of our large organization did not want to take on the task of the a poorly designed, old, open admission shelter because they were afraid they couldn’t be successful and would lose their donor base. So, our first vendor wasn’t the best option. Better, but not the best.

      Once he was forced out, we put a group together to run it. Many city requirements actually make it harder to be successful but I do understand why these rules are in place. But it’s not an easy process — but I think will be required in many communities.

  13. So this poor pup was rescued? Thank goodness! She/he was breaking my heart! As for this post, I completely agree. This is why I so wish I had the money to open up a shelter and be able to afford the proper meds/training/etc that is required of animals that are, well, less-than-perfect?

  14. She is beautiful! Amazing what a little TLC can do for a girl! Thanks for making my day. Her “before” photo was etched in my brain and I’ve been praying that she was going to have something good happen to her for a change.

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