Bringing Up from the Comments

Reader Karen has been commenting a lot recently and I haven’t had the opportunity to respond to as many of her comments as I’ve wanted.  I’m bringing this one up since it has a number of issues to be addressed and I think will be of interest to everyone.

Karen wrote:

What a shame to be so closed minded to believe that there is only one way to make change and one answer. We have to agree to disagree.

I keep an open mind and would be very happy to hear there is another set of programs or path that has been proven to end the killing in open admission shelters.  Just because I haven’t heard it yet doesn’t mean my mind is closed to the possibility.  If anyone knows of a way for a community to become no kill that is different from the No Kill Equation, please share.

There are worse things that happen to animals than being humanely euthanized in an Animal Control facility.

There are no fates worse than death.  That’s PETA-speak.  There are horrible things that can potentially happen to homeless animals but so long as they are alive, there is hope of rescue, education, and improvement.  Where there’s life, there’s hope.

you CANNOT turn your back on the legal governmental system in our county and how it is run and how the changes are made. If you don’t realize how it is run – that is a big part of the problem I have read all of Nathan’s books – follow his blogs – and heard him speak. I simply feel that unless voters put their votes where their mouths are then every State and County Government will continue to do what they want to. The proof is in the vote. Emailing and blogging helps some – but it certainly doesn’t get the powers in charge to change. And it certainly doesn’t get the work done either.

I understand how government works.  I support animal advocates lobbying for CAPA in order to force shelters to work with rescues and remove the discretion of shelter directors to kill animals.  If there is another piece of legislation you are referring to, please let me know.

Pose this question to your readership? How many hours a week or dollars a month do you spend at your local Animal Control or in contact with your lawmakers to help care for the animals or advocate for change?

No.  I won’t be doing that.  Firstly, I know my readers.  They have shared stories of volunteering at shelters, fostering animals, donating money and attending public meetings.  Secondly, it’s insulting to imply that people here are only interested in reading a blog and not actually helping shelter pets in any meaningful way.  Thirdly, not everyone chooses to advocate for animals in the ways listed.

Karen is hardly the first person to make this type of comment.  In fact, I’ve heard it more times than I can count.  The bottom line is this:  If I, or any other animal lover, chooses to help shelter pets by doing something that does not involve their local shelter, that is A-OK.

This comes as a shock to some people, especially those who make the “If you’re not volunteering at your local shelter you have no right to speak” type comments, but there are people who love animals and feel compelled to avoid contact with their local pet killing facility.  Every individual has a right to operate in accordance with his/her personal value system.

Speaking only for myself, I can not foster, walk, or bathe an animal who is possibly going into the dumpster tomorrow.  I can not physically be near those pets.  I can not look at their faces, I can not touch them, I can not listen to their vocalizations.  Some might call me weak but I don’t think that.  I am too deeply committed to saving shelter pets’ lives to do something I know would crush my soul and render me non-functional.

For those who can and are volunteering at places that kill animals, I respect your choice and I know that you are doing it because you love pets.  If you are able to advocate for reform while volunteering, more power to you.  All I ask is that you don’t condemn those of us helping in other ways.  There is lots to be done and a place for everyone who wants to help.

69 thoughts on “Bringing Up from the Comments

  1. Awesome entry… I don’t comment but truly do enjoy your blog. I had a hard time on the internet for so long because of how depressing the state of animal rescue/adoption was. Faces you’d love and wanted to see get adopted ended up in the “Gone by not forgotten” section. I feel more empowered and hopeful after reading Yes Biscuit’s and Nathan’s blogs which maks me more active in doing what I can. Thanks

  2. Right on, Shirley!! I used to be able to help out at the typical ‘kill’ shelter, but no longer can, now that I know that No Kill could already be implemented. Knowing that, it is so much more nauseating to see all those who are doomed. And that reaction is the EXACT reason why No Kill shelters get so much more support than ‘kill’ shelters!!! MOST animal lovers do not want to go and adopt one while leaving others there that may die, so they go elsewhere – unless the shelter is No Kill, which invites everyone to help out and not be heartbroken.

    I am perhaps unusual in that I DO feel that there are fates worse than death, but that does not mean I am willing to kill animals because they might actually get a bad or uncomfortable home when the reality is that there are many, many, MANY wonderful homes where they would be happy! So Karen’s extreme belief does not make sense to me – killing the many terrific pets in our shelters is NOT OK!!

  3. This really hits home with me. Particularly this: “Speaking only for myself, I can not foster, walk, or bathe an animal who is possibly going into the dumpster tomorrow. I can not physically be near those pets. I can not look at their faces, I can not touch them, I can not listen to their vocalizations. Some might call me weak but I don’t think that. I am too deeply committed to saving shelter pets’ lives to do something I know would crush my soul and render me non-functional.”

    I personally have been struggling with this and I have no idea where to go from here. I have been trying to volunteer at my local shelter, thinking I could try to move them in the right direction once I can become entrenched, while helping the animals already there in the meantime. I know they are euthanizing animals (allegedly not for space, but I have my doubts, and I know they are euthanizing aggressive/feral cats and animals with some health issues). They try to keep it quiet but I know the first time I find out about it directly, I’m going to explode. I’m not sure working with them directly is the right path to take. This post really makes me think it’s not – and that it is OK. I was beating myself up over it but am glad to at least know I’m not the only one.

    I desperately want to do something to help – really help – I just am at a loss for what, exactly. I am reading Redemption now, and will be following up with all the other No Kill Advocacy materials with the hope that I will see a way. I know there are a million ways to help, I am just struggling to find the way I can personally make the biggest impact while, as you say, not crushing my soul and rendering myself non-functional.

    This is a very long-winded way of saying “thank you” for what you are doing and to let you know that you ARE making a difference.

    1. This is why I’m really apprehensive about moving in a couple of months. Right now I volunteer with a very small No-Kill cat rescue group in Japan. I take the photos, I help with the database. I do a lot of the updates on our blog and let everyone know what is happening in the lives of the animals we’ve rescued. Our group is small. We only have about 40 cats at the shelter I’m at. But knowing that every animal we take in is guaranteed a loving home or a safe haven until death is wonderful. After that … I really don’t think I could volunteer with a Kill-Shelter.

      However, Kill-Shelters are not the be-all and end-all. There are breed rescues. There are rural transports that pull animals from High-Kill shelters and place them in homes. There are groups like the Greyhound Rescue my family fostered with when I was young. If you like ferals, Alley Cat Allies has branches everywhere!

      There are so many groups connected to shelters where those animals are guaranteed a safe and friendly home that I don’t feel being afraid to deal with a Kill-Shelter is such a big deal.

    2. Jennifer, You are awesome in your kindness and caring. There are so many ways to help that do not involve voluteering at your local shelter. I don’t do that either. I’m fostering a deaf/mostly blind dog from a rescue and am searching for a forever home for this wonderful girl. (She even plays ball!) I also help transport animals who are rescued. One big problem with rescues is that they find animals that are hours or days away from them and need to get them from one place to another. You can help drive a leg or two of a trip for a dog or cat! Also, just talking and educating your neighbors and friends helps. Find animal lovers groups on facebook and you will find a community of like minded people. There will be all sorts of posts in those groups that will give you opportunities. There are as many types of opportunities as there are people who want to help!

      Good luck and you will find your way. Maybe start small until you find what truly calls your heart!

      1. Thank you so much, those are all great ideas. I really appreciate you taking the time to comment!

  4. I think Karen is doing her level best for change, but she may need a new perspective on the problem.

    Many folks think that those of us in other states/areas/countries are “too far away” to understand the real issues that others are facing, but sometimes the “boots on the ground” are just too close to the situation to be able to see things in a new light.

    We can help each other.

  5. I wonder if Karen will respond or will she be too busy polishing her halo. There really only one answer.. stop the killing.
    It always gives me a bit of a shock when I read that death by killing is “better than some things”
    I think of the Alabama 44.. killed by HSUS when they were certainly perfectly fine where they were..and so many more seized and killed when helping would have been better outcome but would not have raised any M-O-N-E-Y for the “factory fundraising”
    I think of pets pulled by PETA who lied and said they would find then “good homes” .. that good home was a dumpster
    I think about the Asilomar Accords where shelter groups decided the euthanasia was “not really killing” to make it all seem ok..
    then I have to stop.. other wise I would go crazy..
    The “holier than thou” does not work for me.. as the famous Pee Wee Herman said
    “I don’t make monkeys, I just train ’em. “

  6. Thanks for this.
    I once was VERY active in the local humane society – time, money (probably more than I could reasonably afford, fostering, etc). The director at the time (hence, some of his employees) was rather callous about the killing. I don’t think he enjoyed it, but I do think he believed that there was no other option.
    The incident that resulted in me walking out of there was with a 7 month old kitten. She was very beautiful, but very shy and would hide under the banks of cages. Apparently when one of the workers tried to drag her out, she attempted to bite. (When you would sit on the floor quietly, she would crawl in your lap.) When I found out that this kitten was being pulled to kill because she was a “biter” I begged, pleaded and did everything I could, to bring her home to foster and socialize her (and often I found homes for my fosters). No deal, they said. I was trying to “undermine” the decisions that the workers made and she was killed.
    That’s the kind of thing that gets to me the most (along with the deplorable treatment and conditions that so many have to deal with while imprisoned) – when there are other options and they are bound and determined to kill anyway. The kitten didn’t need to die at all, but she surely didn’t need to die at that time because I was questioning their authority. They could have given me a chance to socialize her and kill her later (although she never would have gone back there if I’d gotten ahold of her).
    I have gone back to the humane society, in a limited way, because the old director is gone and the new one is a big improvement. They are making things better for the animals, but are now limited admission. But once the animal is placed up for adoption, he/she is cared for until adopted (unless there are serious medical and/or behavior issues). Cats with URI are now isolated and treated. URIs used to be a death sentence and a reason to cull the cats in the cattery. Long timers are fostered out. Folks wanting to surrender animals are counseled first and helped with food, medical, spay/neuter, behavior issues if at all possible. It’s not perfect, but the director is always looking for more ways to get the animals into homes quicker and to keep animals already in homes in their homes. Their goal is 1,000 adoptions this summer!
    With that said, I do rescue because cats and dogs seem to find their way into my world – either as abandoned or strays or ferals. I have rescued numerous cats, kittens, and puppies. I do what I can, donate more than I probably can afford to, and do what I can for the animals that come into my world. I write letters and make phone calls. I write on blogs. I talk to people, trying to educate them or give information about spay/neuter, etc. Just because I don’t work at a shelter or rescue doesn’t mean that I’m not doing what I can.
    Sorry if I’ve gone on and on, but I just felt that the readers of this blog need to understand, as Shirley said, that there’s a place for all of us, no matter what we do. I like to think of animal rescue and welfare as a series of circles. We do what we can in our own little circle of life, and hopefully our circles will begin overlapping with others’ circles and we’ll be able to make an even bigger difference. But it takes all of us, doing what we can. And one of the things is stating that mistreating/neglecting/abusing/killing animals, whether in homes or “shelters” or “rescues” is wrong and has to stop!
    Shirley, if you think this is too wordy or out-of-place, then go ahead and delete it.

  7. “I am too deeply committed to saving shelter pets’ lives to do something I know would crush my soul and render me non-functional.”

    Thank you for that. It is EXACTLY how I feel but have never been able to eloquently express.

  8. Ms. Thistlethwaite, you wrote, “If anyone knows of a way for a community to become no kill that is different from the No Kill Equation, please share.” Okay, we’ll try once again, but you’ve this better way before.

    There is another way, a better way than the No-Kill Equation.

    This way saves virtually all dogs and cats. It doesn’t rely on some insulting arbitrary number like 90%. No kill means exactly that – NO KILL. As rescuers around the country know full well, what shelter people call “untreatable” is normally behavior that is easily corrected. Trained volunteer rehabbers (former rescuers and fosters) working in their homes can save all those lives.

    This way eliminates cages and glassed-in isolation chambers. It replaces the failed animal prison model created long ago when barbaric dog catchers roamed the earth. This way puts an end to dancing around these prisons with band-aid approaches like off-site adoption events. We replace shelters and pounds with true Adoption Centers – not the phoney shelters and pounds masquerading as adoption centers.

    This way introduces a whole new way of effectively marketing used dogs and cats – it’s called social living or communal housing. This way, for the first time, shows how easily adoptable dogs and cats can live together. Those who can’t are not ready for adoption and get sent into rehab until they are ready for adoption.

    This way eliminates “animal control.” Animal Advocates replaces the title dog warden, dog catcher, or animal control officer. This way uses firendly volunteer “courtesy patrols” instead of the dog catcher in his ugly panel van. This way emphasizes rehoming without impounding. This way does not punish people. It leaves that ugly business to the government – it’s what they like to do.

    Ms. Thistlethwaite, you conveniently rule out the possibility or the idea of another way because it does not exist. This is how you manage to deny this better way: “…very happy to hear there is another set of programs or path that has been proven to end the killing in open admission shelters.” Proven to end the killing? It did exist, and it eliminated the killing. But that place is no longer in existence. We are here to reintroduce that way and to replace ALL shelters and pounds. We will redefine what “sheltering” means. What did the no-kill movement do when there weren’t yet any successful examples? You’re now doing that very same thing that shelters have done to your movement: dismiss it because there are no examples. Sounds like PETA or HSUS to me.

    This way is not shelter reform. Instead it is revolutionary: it replaces this failed system. It unites rescuers where the No-Kill Equation just uses them as a dumping ground or overflow for shelters. Austin is a perfect example of what happens to a “no-kill” open-admission pound when the rescuers turn their attention elsewhere for even a moment. That would never happen in this new way because the rescuers form the foundation of this new and better way. They are not just an adjunct service to the almighty shelter!

    Best of all, it is cheaper to build and cheaper to run. It will replace shelters as we know them – eventually.

    This way is called the Adoption Center model. It’s spelled out in detail at Here’s a link to an easy-to-read overview that shows how much better this way will be =

    1. While your model might be working for rescues and sanctuary’s, I doubt it will be working for all the open admission No Kill Shelters. As example, how do you separate the stray intake from the rest of your animals? How do you quarantine animals? What do you do with dogs that are declared vicious and dangerous by the Health Department? How do you quarantine possible rabies cases? How do you bind Animal Control in to your model?
      Also, it seems to me that you are not familiar with the happenings in Austin, TX that lead to the euthanasia of the dogs. Can you please name one municipal open admission animal shelter that is working after your model? I can name 41 open admission animal shelter that have successfully become No Kill shelter.

      1. Spend 30 seconds on our website, Mr. Masloch, and you’ll find every single one of your challenges is thoroughly addressed. And we are intimately familiar with the failings of Austin. Your haughty attitude towards this new way is very reminiscent of how the No-Kill Equation was received just a few years ago when there wasn’t a single shelter in this country that would qualify under the No-Kill Equation. You’ll see, our day will come. Animal control and animal prisons are on their way out. We have a better way…

      2. I looked at your website as you suggested but I was not able to find answers to my questions. Would you be able to post a link here to the answers? Or just simply answer the questions? You say that animal control is on it’s way out. How do you guarantee public safety without animal control? How do you convince a local government and the public to disband the current model of animal control? Like I said, I don’t doubt that your solution is practical for sanctuaries and rescues. I just don’t see a practical implementation of your program for a open admission shelter with animal control. Also I wouldn’t compare the introduction of your model with the introduction of the No Kill Equation. The day the No Kill Equation was introduced there was already a working example at hand (actually more than one).
        If you really would be “intimately” familiar with Austin, you wouldn’t even talking about the “failings” in Austin because you would know that the model itself didn’t fail.

      3. Let me be very clear, Mr/Ms. Shelter Revolution. I really like your ideas and I believe you are on the right track. Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, UT has implemented something similar successfully years ago. Aimee Sadler (which I deeply admire) is running her feet off from the west coast to the east coast and back promoting play groups for dogs in animal shelters.
        Here is your chance to discuss some of the details and answer some of the questions. The issue is, most open admission animal shelter have animal control attached to it that is enforcing local laws and regulations. Not to mention the public safety issues. If you say we do it wrong, how do we do it right?

      4. Mr. Masloch, this is not our blog. We won’t presume to take focus off this blog by addressing your challenges here. But we invite you to come to our Facebook page and pose those same pointed challenges there. Then we will address each one in great detail and show you just how archaic your thinking is.

        And we can even get into great detail as to why the “Austin model” serves as a great warning to the weaknesses of the No-Kill Equation.

        Come on over =

      5. Yeah Peter, your thinking is so archaic that you are saving every healthy/treatable animal in your shelter. Don’t you want to learn about how wrong you are?!

        Oy. If you really didn’t want to hijack the thread Shelter Revolution, you wouldn’t have pitched your usual schtick in the first place.

        Shelter Revolution, please feel free to answer the questions in a comment here. You shared the link, asked readers to look and some did. Now there are questions – the answers to which will interest many following this thread I think. So please use a comment to answer them here where people are following. And then we’ll wrap up the topic.

      6. Mr. Masloch, we have a response ready for you now. We will post it in separate segments as you posed your challenges. They are long as you made many challenges. They appear down below this thread.

    2. Haha, OK I get it now. Went to the website. You’re trying to promote a new business concept by trashing every other concept. Give me some stats. To me the key is the turn over. How many dogs or cats will you adopt out each month? Your business model is built on sand, sorry. You have all the dogs in a group, or a pack, that’s cool. What about the dogs that need quarantine, the dogs that need socialization? How do I as a potential adopter know that the dogs are protected from disease, being in such a large pack? Do you only accept healthy, social dogs? What about the high risk dogs? And how much is your insurance liability when you let strangers wander among a pack of dogs? Bleh.

      1. Nicki, you did not go to the website and read. Those challenges are from someone who didn’t bother to read with an open mind. Even our overview page addresses clearly each of those “concerns” of yours.

      2. Yes I did go to the website and yes I did read. Although I was turned off immediately by your blanket condemnations of any concepts other than yours. And if you label my remarks as “concerns” in the little cute quote marks – then you disrespect me. Just a suggestion – build on your merits, not by disparaging others

      3. That indeed is the essence if the problem; it works well for a small limited intake sanctuary but it doesn’t scale. It is telling that the concept has never been applied to an open admission municipal shelter of any size. God knows there are enough desperate shelters out there; I’m sure there’s one somewhere that would hire Thomas as a director and let him implement his theories. Until he takes that step it’s not really responsible to promote this as any sort of solution.

      4. So many rescues seem to pick and choose dogs from the municipal kill shelters. They take mostly young healthy adoptable dogs and puppies, and now and then take a “case” of a sick, old or injured dog and promote that case for donations. The municipal shelters don’t care, they just like to see their numbers reduced when rescues pull dogs, any dogs. Now this is just my conjecture based on experience with my local shelter and a local rescue, if anyone can present accounting records from city/county shelters regarding the health and age categories of dogs pulled by rescues…love to see them.

      5. I can’t really faul a rescue for that, honestly. Every rescue has their specialties; they should be pulling animals they know they can adopt out, whatever their area of expertise and contacts may be. Every animal pulled by a rescue is an animal that lives.

      6. John I understand what you are saying. But what is the definition of “rescue?” When a 501c3 pulls only the most adoptable from a county shelter, dogs or puppies that would likely be adopted anyway, and the charity can adopt them out for twice the rate of the county shelter – is that rescue or culling the herd for the benefit of the rescue and also an easy out for the county shelter?

  9. If Karen really has “read all of Nathan’s books – follow his blogs – and heard him speak” and she is STILL saying things like “We have to agree to disagree” and ” There are worse things that happen to animals than being humanely euthanized (sic) in an Animal Control facility,” then she is either not paying attention or HER mind is the one that is closed. Perhaps she sits through his talks with her fingers in her ears saying “La la la, I can’t hear you” …

  10. Shelter Revolution, your Adoption Center Model, sounds wonderful. Are there any groups planning/working on making one of the Adoption Centers? If not, why not, do you have any ideas on that?

    1. Yes, right now a large county in New Jersey is considering it and a small splinter group in Idaho. Unfortunately, we have been turned away by several groups in the last year. The most notable was Healdsburg Animal Shelter, a very confused old-school shelter group who decided to stick with the old shelter formula. It was a great opportunity but is now lost. They’ve had four executive directors in as many years and 7 of their board members resigned last year – to say they’re floundering is an understatement!

      It’s very difficult to introduce a new way when the old way is so ingrained and has been around for so long. 100 years of addiction to prisons and killing is not going to change quickly. We haven’t yet found the secret to making this paradigm shift happen.

  11. – The bottom line is this: If I, or any other animal lover, chooses to help shelter pets by doing something that does not involve their local shelter, that is A-OK. –

    I couldn’t agree more. Some people don’t have time or the emotional capability (for lack of a better term) to volunteer; some people don’t have money to donate; and some people don’t have the room or patience to foster. Your gift of a voice and your time spent researching and writing is just as much of a gift to these animals as any other. Thank you.

  12. “Current permits will be revoked and these mills will be driven out of the community by villagers with torches and pitch forks!”

    really?/ this is your plan? and “backyard breeders” shall be eliminated by permits for “responsible ” breeders.. who are they? who makes those rules ? you? what happens if there is an accidental litter.. or even a planned mixed breed or pure bred litter? do you fine the people? take their pets and puppies and kittens? jail time? will “responsible breeders” be able to breed mixed breed dogs? what if one of their dogs/cats ends up at your facility?/ fines?/ costs/ jail?? or maybe the “torch and pitchfork” along with complete “shunning” by others.. that was what they did in Puritan times.
    replacing owner with guardian is a terrible idea.. under the law dogs/cats etc are protected by the term owner not to mention our rights as owners. Guardianship intimates that someone else has control of your property.
    Your site looks good on the surface.. Love the “group settings” etc.. but you contradict yourself.. you are all for an elimination of AC.. then say dog fighters must be controlled by ACO’s..
    Quite frankly I see your site as another animal rights site hell bent on eliminating peoples ability to OWN/breed pets that are not supplied by your group…by the institution of “permits and punishment” you take the rights of people in favor of the rights of animals…. not to mention “pitchforks and torches”.
    No Kill does not support this agenda

  13. Way To Go Shirley… and I choose to help by fostering and donating.. I also cannot go to the shelter and look into the eyes of the ones I know I can not help.. it crushes me. I’m getting a new foster Saturday. One Dog… one dog that will not be in a dumpster.

  14. “Speaking only for myself, I can not foster, walk, or bathe an animal who is possibly going into the dumpster tomorrow. I can not physically be near those pets. I can not look at their faces, I can not touch them, I can not listen to their vocalizations. Some might call me weak but I don’t think that. I am too deeply committed to saving shelter pets’ lives to do something I know would crush my soul and render me non-functional.”

    That’s it in a nutshell for me. I’ve felt guilty that “all I’m able to do” is advocate, share, and donate money to local rescues. But I’m doing all I can do and not fall apart. Sometimes, still, the pictures and stories haunt me.

    1. To everyone who has felt guilty for helping in other ways outside of the pound: quit that! This is one of those things, like donating $1, that I don’t get how it ever got a bad rap. Helping is good. Full stop.

  15. Let me say it very clear, Shirley, you and your Blog are crucial to our movement. We all know very well that many so called shelters will kick out volunteers that speak up for the animals. What would we know about MAS without you?
    It is redicilous to call out somebody for “not volunteering at your local shelter”.

    1. Thank you Peter. I am pretty sure I would be more than “kicked out” if I was ever volunteering at a place that was killing pets. While I know I would always be committed to non-violence, I could definitely see myself doing something that would get me arrested in short order – chaining myself to the lock on the kill room door or chaining myself to some poor dog… In other words, I can assure all the kill shelters out there: you don’t want me.

      1. A different Karen here . . . I actually read about a woman who reportedly body-blocked workers to keep them from killing animals in her municipal shelter. In my memory, it was in Portland, Oregon. She had been a thorn in the side of the shelter for years. Unfortunately I failed to bookmark the story and, frustratingly, I can’t find it now, but I’ve never forgotten that image.

  16. Thank you Shirley for the sheltering you provide for critters and for people. It would be awful lonesome without you.

    1. Roger that, and yes, I will call you Surely! Shelter Revolution, I went to your Facebook page but didn’t see any answers. All I saw was what I took to be snotty comments about how nobody knows how to do *it* as well as you do! Local Animal Control here does playgroups. (Or they did, not sure they still do…) There are myriad ways for any/all of us to help and *get there*…what do you have against the no kill equation?! Playgroups are allowed within that structure. And you’re not going to build a loving, caring and active network if you’re bad mouthing everybody but your own little group. Maybe what you need to turn the tides and get your revolution rolling is a little bit more love and understanding?

      1. From this page on the Shelter Revolution site:

        This is a three-step process to create this bold new marketing concept:

        1) Implement the common-sense steps of the *No-Kill Equation*. This basically opens the doors more to the community and invites them in.

        So I guess the NKE doesn’t suck THAT hard. After all, it’s the #1 step!

  17. I also agree that it’s too hard to volunteer time at a local “kill shelter” because it is hard to go back and know that the animal is long gone by then, and not because they were adopted. It’s nice to see others who feel that way here yet still love animals and want to see what’s best for them become a reality.

  18. Karen, the director of the shelter in Clarksville, sees things from her immediate perspective – in that she knows she and her staff work hard to take care of the animals they encounter, and I applaud her and them loudly. It isn’t fair when Trisha lambasts every single shelter and every single ACO as killers, because not every one of them are, so Karen being angry at those who aren’t seeing what she’s seeing is also valid.

    I think it’s that anger that makes those who are trying to help and working in shelters that kill whatever percentage of the animals they take in – who often really have trouble changing that percentage to a smaller one because they are constrained by governmental forces or even boards in a non-profit who do all manner of things to prevent any change – to throw out the lines “You aren’t here helping, so you shouldn’t sit at your computer criticizing.” and “What are you doing at your local shelter instead of sitting at your computer criticizing?” And Karen is perfectly right to point out that city and county governments have control of most shelters and until the people in charge decide, because they are concerned, caring people, or because they are forced to by the voters, to change how those shelters can be run, most things either won’t change, or will change very slowly (like glacial speed), in tiny increments, by directors who risk being fired, but go ahead anyway. The job they do can be no damn fun many days.

    But there is a problem when people who work in shelters try to defend all shelters workers/ACOs by saying that because it’s a difficult job, that “All you crazy animal lovers should spend a day in our shoes” (or words to that effect). It’s like you can’t talk to a cop you know personally and say anything against the behavior, however egregious, of another cop, because the response is always, “You don’t understand how tough the job is – whatever that cop did, it was done so he/she could go home alive.” even if they shot a Chihuahua on its front porch. Every shelter worker/ACO (and cop, and TSA agent, and the list goes on) needs to admit that there are horrible, bad, even evil people who work in shelters and that their behavior is often egregiously wrong – and that they should be fired and even charged with crimes for what they do. Defending them because “It’s a tough job” isn’t the right thing to do. If you’re trying to do the right things to make your shelter live up to the big concept of the word, you won’t tolerate or defend bad acts – at your shelter or any other one.

  19. The reality of shelters that you describe and many others that exist are two different things. Until the Ni Kill Model is accepted by Government Shelters then the kiling will continue. What is so bothersome here is that there is simply no acceptance for anything in progess of change here – only for the arrival of No Kill this instant. As far as people not wanting to go into animal control – I understand that…HOWEVER – to get the animals out and to get them temperament tested, and to participate in the long onsite adoption hours – there have to be volunteers. And frankly – if the passionate folks who want to save them all won’t come – then the battle will take longer. If you’ve been involved in any fight cases – or cruelty so terrible that the animals cannot be saved or lived in a county where animals are dumped on the streets and hit by cars, shot an wounded by citizens, and attacked by coyotes – you would understand what I mean by “there are worse things…” in my commment previously. The phrase NO Kill means just that . Absolutley no killing. That in my book will never be true – because of severe cases and the horrors that humans commit on animals. Since it appears that the consensus is that there is no “bridge fo time” accepted for the process of chage from High Kill to Low Kill then perhaps the plan is for all Animal Control Facilities to simply close and let the animals run and live and die as they will. Of course the model can work. But it simply will not work quickly in Government in most counties. Shelter Directors like myself and others work tirelessly on education of change. In areas where money will not be budgeted for change – then it will not happen UNLESS there are endowments, grants, and donors who will support the needs of change for “No Kill.” Larger facilities, Vetting and medical expense funding, payroll dollars for cleaning and caring for more animals longer…

    1. I know of no reason that every municipal facility in this country could not announce TODAY that they are implementing the programs of the No Kill Equation and that the killing has ended. Until I hear a valid reason why this can’t happen, I will continue to set the bar at demanding an immediate and unequivocal end to the killing of shelter pets.

    2. “The phrase NO Kill means just that . Absolutley no killing. That in my book will never be true – because of severe cases and the horrors that humans commit on animals. ”

      Ah. This is where definitions are important. Killing is not euthanasia. Euthanasia is a good death, release from the sort of suffering you describe. Euthanasia is part of the No Kill Solution.

      Killing is taking a healthy, adoptable animal and making it dead. This is not a release from suffering, this is not a good death. This is a waste of life, a lost chance, a hope destroyed.

      Euthanasia is NOT killing and killing is NOT euthanasia.

      1. THANK YOU for clarifying that. I hate hearing about all the animals that are “euthanized” when in reality they are simply KILLED. Let’s tell the truth for a change.

  20. Kate – thanks for your post. I’m not defending all Directors and ACOs. No way. I have worked around too many who don’t give a damn about the animals. And too many who simply want a county paycheck and retirement to even think about pushing for change.
    Everyday that I am on a razor’s edge and could lose my job for pushing so hard. But as you said – do it anyway – and I do. I do get angry and frustrated by generalizations. There are some of us out here who are not evil monsters that have been the norm in Animal Control Facilities in the past 50 years. We are working from the inside. When I came on board at this facility – there had been a sign on county letterhead on the front door for 10 years stating the following dangerous breeds would never be adopted out…8 breeds the Director disliked. All killed immediately upon impound – for 10 years. The sign came down on my day one and it stopped. I am NOT shining my halo here as has been stated. I am making a point – change is possible from within – and making a difference takes time in government. I’ve lived in Austin – I love it there. Educated culture. Thinking citizens. College. Progressive government. Alot to start with when you want to change from a kiling machine to No Kill. Frankly many communities don’t have anything like this for a base.

  21. This is a fantastic post! I have volunteered in numerous shelters, from high-kill to “low kill” to no kill. I presently volunteer for rescues and a couple advocacy groups (and yeah, I think it’s a better use of my time).

    However a couple notes I’d like to add to the conversation regarding the kill shelter aspect, based on my past experience in some of them (while believing in the no kill equation).

    * I was motivated to return out of anger (anger at the people running the places, and the overall situation – both). I was angry and wanted to learn about what their side was, and what they were doing, so I could speak to it elsewhere.

    * I was also motivated because I wanted to give the dogs a chance at getting out. Many volunteers did not want to help with “adoptions” and the dogs were not otherwise seen – I felt it was a good/better use of my time because it gave them a shot. This is not the only way of getting dogs out, but it was one way and one less dog.

    * I feel I was more angry than anything, and this perhaps blocked out the devastated feeling. I had to focus a lot about not thinking about “tomorrow” and just focusing on making today cool for those dogs. Maybe this is a learning style or some other brain mechanism that I know doesn’t work for others. I think we all love animals the same way, but our brains and coping mechanisms differ. I guess what I’d like to say is that it is possible to believe in the no kill equation, and love dogs the same way, and still volunteer in a kill shelter. Or not.

    * You learn something from being in the trenches, even if you leave. You get that first-hand experience about what we’re all fighting for. I think it’s an experience worth having (it gave me deeper understanding and motivation), but *only if it works for you*. And it doesn’t have to last forever.

    * You can help shelters by supporting the rescues that pull from them.

    I agree 100% about helping elsewhere, with other endeavors – it’s just as valuable, if not more so. I came to that realization that my skills could be better utilized elsewhere, perhaps, and part of that is through advocacy, the equation, transport, helping rescues, donating, speaking about these shelters with first hand knowledge, debunking myths, illustrating the great dogs who need homes to co-workers considering breeder dogs, fighting from outside the organization, etc. This was emphasized in a recent no kill meeting I attended where the room was so excited they had a person who could make a website in the room.

    In other words, I agree. :)

  22. I am unable to physically volunteer at my local shelter as much as I am needed. I am a stay-at-home Mom to humans and fur-babies, we only have one vehicle and are on a strict budget, I’m also not able to donate the way I’d like to, but have rescued on my own, and paid for vetting, surgeries, etc, out of my own pocket. Just because I don’t go into the shelter, doesn’t mean I’m not doing MY part. I spend time on Facebook posting and sharing the dogs from my local shelter. They are open admission and claim to be a NO KILL-only euthing the sick and injured but I now know that is not true. I actually pulled away a bit when I found that out, and I was not alone. I hate it when people say things like that, about not physically going into the shelter. I hope animals didn’t die that Karen could’ve helped when she was riding her high horse.

  23. With three dogs rescues and two equine rescues (mustang and donkey) in house, we decided to help out our local shelter (Pinal County Animal Care and Control) by fostering a dog through Helping Orphaned Hounds. Dog turned out to be preggers, but we wanted to stick to our commitment anyway. 11 beautiful puppies and a really bad relationship with the rescue and the shelter later – we adopted the momma dog, and the rescue won’t tell us what happened to any of the puppies since we “blew the whistle” on their failed or non-existent policies. The momma dog was released on a special “new hope” program which I found out about after the fact. HOH violated several of the New Hope policies in their dealings with us as fosters, but the PCACC director stuck by HOH since HOH helps their statistics by pulling dogs for foster. I am completely disillusioned with the whole system. From now on I won’t foster, I will adopt directly and avoid the drama.

  24. The following is our response to Mr. Msloch’s very many challenges and questions. They are split into 4 parts to address them in the order they were posed:

    Response #1:
    1a) “…doubt it will be working for all the open admission No Kill Shelters”
    Mr. Masloch, we do not intend to make this work in “all the open admission shelters” of today. Shelter Revolution is not engaged in shelter reform. We leave that in your capable hands. You keep trying to force change in a system that is flawed from the ground up. We are introducing a whole new model that requires the Adoption Center – all Adoption Centers – to be “open admission.” That is at its core.

    1b) “how do you separate the stray intake from the rest of your animals?”
    Simple and what every shelter in this country should be doing already: the intake and medical areas will be physically separated from the Adoption Center itself. Go to the bottom of the page entitled, “Designing An Adoption Center” (link = of this basic marketing pamphlet and you’ll see these words:

    “A separate intake and medical building is highly recommended. This is to protect adoptable animals against incoming disease and behavior issues.”

    More important than the separation is the quarantine of workers; they must not be allowed to cross from one area to the other without precautions. The overwhelming spread of disease in the confined environment of a shelter, pound or Adoption Center occurs through physical contact, not through airborne fomites or vectors.

    1c) “How do you quarantine animals?”
    As most of the more progressive shelters of today are doing – through the use of separate areas and steel caging. It must be emphasized here that this function is not part of the adoption process – yet. These animals have not been triaged. Once carefully cleared by the medical team then these animals enter the process flow.

    1d) “What do you do with dogs that are declared vicious and dangerous by the Health Department? ”
    This is a trick question and I don’t appreciate it. You and every animal control agent in this country knows that almost every community has laws governing what can and cannot be done with dogs with these official adjudications. However, I have had incredible success professionally dealing with district judges in my area. They have graciously made exceptions and allowed me to take on some of these challenging cases because they trust my professionalism, my half-century of experience, and my concern for public safety. Right now I have a dog in my care who cannot be adopted out. He must remain with me or be placed with an approved sanctuary.

    1e) “How do you quarantine possible rabies cases?”
    I’m assuming you meant domestic animals, even though in your own Allegany County the vast majority of cases both suspected and verified are in the wildlife sector. In a cursory search the most recent report I could find from your state’s department of health about dogs with verified rabies was a report from 2004. It stated that only one dog in the entire state was found to actually have rabies that year. That dog was in Somerset County. It should also be mentioned that 838 dogs were killed in order to do that testing.

    An important note to make is that rabies strikes fear into the hearts of animal control agents. It is a false flag, however, when dealing with domestic animals. If your concern is for your own safety when dealing with animals on the street, then get the vaccinations. If your employer refuses it can be forced to pay for them as a function of your job. Your state’s health department issued this statement: “Rabies in humans is one hundred percent preventable through prompt appropriate medical care…” As a former wildlife rehabber I am aware of the risks more so than control agents: Wildlife rehabbers deal with the threat of zoonotic diseases day in and day out. Rabies is not a big deal to humans if basic care is taken – get the shots, Mr. Masloch!

    1f) “How do you bind Animal Control in to your model?”
    We do not bind it in, we eliminate the CONTROL aspect and introduce the CARE model. I have 15 years at what you would call “Animal Control.” Not once did I ever have to use a catch pole, tranqulizer dart, or lethal weapon. I got good at using throw nets and squeeze cages, but my primary tool was a simple slip lead like you’d see at a veterinary clinic. Additionally, I was the primary “catcher” for a wildlife rehab group in Minnesota for two years. An example of my style – with 6 armed cops and control agents with guns drawn, I walked down into the basement of a home in Fridley, Minnesota, and gently retrieved a broken down, emaciated mountain lion (cougar). The authorities were going to shoot him through the window. Fear is what this is about, isn’t it?

    If the local government wants to fine and punish people, then our stance is to let them do that. That’s not the job of animal welfare. Our intent, and note this for the record, is to drive municipal pounds out of business. It’s the American Way – we’ll do it better, we’ll do it cheaper, and the community will come to us. Our “courtesy patrols” replace the dog catcher, the ACO of today. Our teams willl be managed by trained “animal advocates,” not control agents with guns. See the difference? I won’t waste more time on this issue. This is a minor facet of the overall shelter operation. It’s mostly important only to ACOs and government bureaucrats. Even the police relegate “dog catcher” calls to the back burner.

    Part 2 of 4 follows…

  25. This is part 2 of 4…

    2) “…it seems to me that you are not familiar with the happenings in Austin, TX that lead to the euthanasia of the dogs.”
    Austin demonstrates clearly the inherent weaknesses in the No-Kill Equation. This situation is a perfect example of what happens when local rescuers turn their attention away from doing the pound’s (aka shelter) job. I foresaw this happening as did a local Austin reporter who wrote extensively last November about the weakness in the approach being used at Austin (link = Shelters, in their zeal to achieve the mystical 90% statistic, are burning out their local rescuers and fosters. As is happening all across America right now, rescuers are selflessly saving shelters by pulling and rehoming vast numbers of shelter animals. Bless them for this selflessness! They do this seflessly at great cost to themselves, working extra jobs, and by going without. In turn they endure substantial grief and roadblocks from shelter directors. All that and then the shelters get credit for the “progress” and the shelters and directors get the rewards both organizationally and personally.

    Dr. Jefferson, as the leader of Austin’s non-shelter rescue community, allowed success to go to her head and turned her attention away for a moment. Austin has no process in place to handle these challenging dogs and cats. The cry is adopt! adopt!, adopt! Shelter Revolution offers a common-sense tried-and-true way to deal with these dogs and cats who should not be adopted out – yet. In turn, Ms. Smith’s operation would get the great benefit of showcasing only dogs and cats truly ready for adoption. Her pound would not be able to satisfy the demand for these animals.

    Part 3 of 4 follows…

  26. This is part 3 of 4…

    3a) “You say that animal control is on it’s way out.”
    Yes, it is. All across the country two things are happening right now that are shaking the foundations of this antiquated effort called animal CONTROL: First, budgets are being slashed. Guess who’s almost always first on the chopping block? Second, people are finally learning of the heavy-handed and brutal tactics of most ACOs and they are not happy. Change will be forced down the throats of animal control people whether they see it coming or not. As the famous line in The Matrix goes, “Hear that, Mr. Anderson? That is the sound of inevitability.”

    3b) “How do you guarantee public safety without animal control?”
    Another false flag from an ACO? You can’t guarantee public safety anymore than we can. The best your effort can do is promise to respond to a concern. And how many complaints are there in almost every community about how nonresponsive are ACOs? At least our response will be friendly and without that badge you’re so proud of. If real “authority” is needed in severe or dangerous situations with people, then we have the intelligence and humility to let the police deal with the issue. That is not the venue for armed ACOs. Want a second opinion? Ask any cop in this country what they think of the law enforcement qualifications of the typical ACO! :-)

    3c) “How do you convince a local government and the public to disband the current model of animal control?”
    We are not going to try. Our efforts are in doing better and in so doing, put animal control facilities out of business. They are dinosaur operations that belong in the history books. There is a better, gentler, and kinder way. Police can handle the uglies as far as we’re concerned. We deal with animals and caring people. We leave animal abusers and neglecters to the legal system. As mentioned above, an animal advocate trained in law enforcement and local laws will handle initial investigations into potential criminal cases. If a case rises to the level of needing law enforcement and legal criminal action, then the animal advocates will turn the case over to the proper authorities for adjudication.

    3d) “Like I said, I don’t doubt that your solution is practical for sanctuaries and rescues.”
    What you fail to see, Mr. Masloch, is that shelters are the ONLY sector in animal welfare that doesn’t get this model. Daycare center operators, boarding kennel owners, sanctuaries, independent rescuers have moved on from today’s shelter “prison model” long ago. You try to make open-admission sheltering sound foreboding and mystical. It is not. I challenge any – and I mean ANY – open-admission facility in this country to tell me that reactive dogs cannot be successfully rehabbed after watching this simple video = SEVENTY aggressive dogs all hanging out together and not fighting or quarreling. Your blindness and refusal to accept the possibility this might just work is exactly the defiant attitude the no-kill movement has faced since day one. Now you’re guilty of that closed-minded attitude!

    This is vital: what you and Ms. “usual schtick” Thistlethwaite fail to grasp is that the Adoption Center model clearly separates animals into two groups: The “good” ones are behaved and calm. These are the majority of dogs and cats that come into shelters – BEFORE they get stuck into cages and develop worse problems. They will be at the Adoption Center where people can come sit quietly and enjoy lots of hugs – not sticking a finger through a cage or having to look at pictures because they’re not allowed “in the back” – just like at Mike Fry’s AnimalArk “no-kill” shelter where I live, for example. Those other animals, the “bad” ones? They go into a local network of highly trained former rescuers and fosters. We can train them to REHAB these more severe cases. This is only basic work that prepares the animal for adoption and for training. This work will succeed because it teaches people to work under a time constraint that rescuers and fosters don’t currently practice. That sense of urgency in rehab is missing in today’s system. It’s called turnaround.

    Benefits? In our model we see the entire rescue community now uniting and working together. Also, customers will no longer fear or dread the visit to our facility because they won’t have to see sadness and despair and, in many cases, rampant neglect.

    Part 4 of 4 follows…

  27. Finally, this is part 4 of 4…

    4) “The day the No Kill Equation was introduced there was already a working example at hand (actually more than one)…”
    That is misleading. You apparently have not looked behind the scenes at what Nathan Winograd left Abigail Smith at Tompkins County SPCA. The place was jammed and overflowing with animals and they were heading into a precarious financial situation due to some community changes. He did a fine job and paved the way, but you disrespect the efforts of Ms. Smith and her people in the years after Mr. Winograd left. For the record, there were no other “no-kill shelters” at that time. We assume you are referring to SF SPCA. They did not and still do not technically qualify. Valerie Hayes was quick to correct me in a trivia quiz two years ago about that point. Ask Mr. Sayres what he thought about the No-Kill Equation when he headed up the SF SPCA at that time the NKE was published.

    Finally, Best Friends Animal Society (BFAS) is nothing like our model. They are very selective admission, are in a remote, low-traffic region, and they operate a sanctuary with only a minimal adoption effort. Communal housing to them is sticking 3 little passive dogs in one tiny isolation room in a small rotunda. That ain’t social living by our standards! As for rehab abilities, their lack of knowledge and experience caused a huge uproar two years ago when two of the Vick dogs got out and violently ripped to shreds another dog in their care. That death was a rookie error and showed their lack of knowledge in this specialized arena. They were forthright in their response and so we do not condemn them. We hope they learned a valuable lesson. But do not equate the BFAS model with our advanced and creative model, please.

    Want more? There’s so much more to this. We’ll entertain any legitimate questions from people who care. The only reason we took Ms. Thistlethwaite’s rude insult (again) and addressed each of your concerns is because you do care, Mr. Masloch. As for my identity, I am the founder of this creative and very innovative model. I am reluctant to ever post my name because I was taught early on to let my work speak for itself. Old school maybe, but it’s what I was taught. More importantly, I don’t want people to accept or discard these wonderful ideas simply because they like or don’t like me. You can find my name if it’s really important to you. :-) The end.

    Mr/Ms Shelter Revolution

    1. OK, I said “a comment”. You left like six novels. This is now the official end of your promotional tour of the comment section. I believe I’ve been fair here and now I am asking you to stop commenting on this thread. There will probably be replies to the many assertions you have made here but please do not continue the conversation here. I’ve let you say everything you wanted and I consider now that you have had your say. This request will be made one time only.

    2. I will just make a short comment here because anything else would be a waste of time and space. Your model is deeply flawed and since you can not find any shelter (or community) wanting to implement your model, it is safe to say that I’m not the only one seeing that flaw. Secondly, you need to come down from your high horse because you have nothing to show, absolutely nothing. But yet, you are bashing somebody like Dr. Ellen Jefferson, who has with her work saved thousands of animal lives and then you continue bashing a organisation for the most successful rehabilitation work on dogs that has ever been done in the United States.
      Personally, I have nothing to do with animal control. I just happen to be a little guy that doesn’t shut up and takes a stand for what he believes in and because of this I moved our animal shelter from a 15% life release rate to a 94% life release rate. Is it perfect? No, it is not and it probably never will be. A animal shelter always is work in progress, there always will be something that can be improved, always something that can be added.
      Ok, Shirley, I’m done….

      1. Please point out that flaw for me. We all agree that the current shelter system is terrible and badly broken. No attempt is made to REHAB and very little is done to promote adoptions, except for the rare few that are using a different approach. In Shirley’s post about a week ago titled something like ” We Always Hurt the Ones We Love” , she made an excellent point. Why not save them ALL ? Why settle for some or most – even for 90% when we know we can save many more. Why the rush to kill them? That old Animal Control thinking , to “gather them up and kill them all” was clearly designed by a sick individual who had no knowledge of how these animals think. If killing was not an option, what would you suggest we do? At least the “Adoption Center”, or “Living Center” Model” offers concrete suggestions about how we can try to save them all. I live in the SE USA where many shelters are not open to the public more than12 hours a week. They get paid for the corpses they ship to labs. I volunteer at a shelter and visit many. This system is rotten to the core. All these counties have figured out how to make $ from these homeless animals. They sell the drugs and the animals,.dead or alive. I want to see this end totally !

  28. I honestly believe that part of the reason that the no-kill movement get slowed down is due to the fact that even people who agree on the principals of it find stupid things to argue about.

    If we could allow one another some differences in opinion and differences in how to accomplish the objective without damning them we could probably make better progress.

    It is supposed to be about the animals after all – not us.

    1. We have loads of different opinions here. I don’t think a day goes by that the comments don’t reflect various opinions from people who agree on the broader issues.

  29. WOW! It has taken me several days to read all of this. I am just a little women from Alabama that wants to help save doggies and kitties. I don’t even know how I came across this but, that is what makes the internet so wonderful. I wasn’t going to write anything but I since I have spent a very long time reading this argument I need to write something at least just to say

    “thank you both for your love toward these lost beautiful animals”

    I went to a shelter in our area Saturday to volunteer a few hours of grooming, playing, or what ever they might need help with. My husband and I fell in love with all of them and was heart broken when we found out which ones would be put down tomorrow. As I was walking around I thought about the idea that you have for a shelter and Mr. Malosh comments. This shelter was very smelly and old. It needed to be painted very badly. I saw several dogs that needed bathes and nail care and wondered why they were this way. I asked one young girl among three if they gave them a bath and cut their hair and she said “sometimes”. The dog I was asking about was a white Maltese mix with large knots in his hair and very muddy. His eyes were almost completely shut with mucus. The comments you made about diseases spreading came to mind and I did find one young man that I had seen a few days before so I asked him a few questions. I could tell he really cared for the animals in his care. He told me I would have to ask the manager. There was this one older lady that I saw several times in passing that never said a thing to me and I wondered who she might be since she was the only one not under 20 . He said that she was the manager. I told him “No” she didn’t seem to interested in what I was doing there or anything.

    I’ve said all of this to say” what about the small stuff” the stuff that really works that is free – cost nothing to the city, county, or state or government. IT IS FREE!!!
    we didn’t go to the shelter for any reason except to help and I feel our time was wasted. But, I had to remind myself that we did brush and love on several dogs that might not have been loved. I have posted the pictures of the ones that will be killed tomorrow and I really want to volunteer but I don;t know if it is going to make a difference.

    I hope I haven’t wasted your time reading this but please remember, people who visit a shelter only want one thing – a new pet – we don’t care about diseases, how they are grouped, how or who gets the credit for them – none of that stuff – just
    which one can I carry home to love and will love me back

  30. I spent some time in the tiny waiting room (about 6 by 6, standing room only) of the local county shelter, relating to an issue with a foster dog. I saw a man give up his elderly overweight lab mix, and the staff member started to lead the dog to the back. The man walked out the front door. the dog froze. the staff member pulled on the leash to drag the old dog by the neck through the door. In an upset state anyway, I threw down my purse and gently helped the poor old dog through the door with my hands, telling the staff person to stop dragging the dog!

    Another time, a young woman came in to surrender two large dogs. Her husband was out front with the two dogs and sent her in to do the dirty work. The shelter person interrogated the young woman right there in front of me and others in the cramped area. She began to cry in shame and hurt. I went over to hug her and told her I understood. It didn’t do any good.

    In my meeting with the Pinal County Animal Care and Control shelter director regarding Helping Orphaned Hounds, the PCACC “New Hope” program, and issues associated with the foster of a dog who turned out to pregnant with 12 pups – I brought those situations up and they took notes. I hope it did some good. Lord knows I got no satisfaction for my particular situation, just a bunch of smoke and mirrors.

    1. I have never understood the idea of shelter staff/vols shaming people who bring in pets they are unable or unwilling to care for. THIS IS WHAT WE WANT PEOPLE TO DO IN THESE SITUATIONS. The woman who was shamed to tears will likely never bring another pet in need to a shelter. Who knows what she will do with any other pets in need but it won’t be the shelter. Mission accomplished?

      1. I confronted the Director about this incident and she said they don’t have the money for a larger reception room or private receiving areas and I replied, what about making a inexpensive “Gazebo” area out front on the lawn? It’s southern Arizona, for God’s sake. A picnic table, some shade cloth, sit down and talk about it. Got a blank stare, then more notes being taken.

      2. They dont even have SOME sort of an office to go to? Sheesh. I figured most/all animal shelters did, even if it was just one.

      3. Jessica, you walk into the building and there you are – in the small receiving room, about 6 x 6. There is a counter with a glass wall between you and their work area which has a couple of desks, a hallway area. To the left there is a small room with three or four chairs for people who are adopting dogs to talk with the staff, again through glass walls and only separated by a few feet, no privacy there either. Ahead of you is a glass door to their work area, which they come in and out of and auspiciously lock before and after, beyond that the door to the kennels. The shelter director has a small office, about 10 by 12. The day I went for my meeting with the shelter director, there was a animal control officer, not just office staff but an officer in full uniform, present in the front office just in case….

      4. Weird…But still, it seems like ANY one of those rooms wo do, over yelling at her in the middle of the waiting room..

      5. Not a very welcoming environment, from the sounds of things. I’m sure, with some creative thinking, they could make it much more friendly for those coming in (for whatever reason). Don’t know why they think every change has to take a lot of money.

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