If John Q. Public Can Do It, Why Can’t the Staff at Your Local Pound?

Every day, people with zero training and no government paycheck adopt out puppies and kittens.  They put ads on Craigslist, post photos on Facebook, stand in the Walmart parking lot with a cardboard box – whatever it takes.  They do it because for them, killing is not an option.  They are not surrounded by enablers who tell them it’s ok to kill baby dogs and cats because there aren’t enough homes for all of them.  In fact, for individuals who adopt out litters of puppies and kittens, the thought of killing doesn’t even enter their minds.  “Not enough homes? Puh!  We’ll see about that.”

If your tax dollars pay the salaries of people who kill pets at your local pound, you have an obligation to speak up.  They are trained animal professionals who are failing to do their jobs.  They are not even doing as well as the guy in the store parking lot with a cardboard box.  Shouldn’t we be setting the bar much higher for those being paid by the public to protect the community’s pets?

Why are the trained professionals failing?  Because for them, killing is an option.  And they are probably surrounded by carefully selected staff and volunteers who won’t rock the boat.  They have no one asking them why private citizens are adopting out puppies and kittens every day using their own resources while the public facility set up to protect pets from harm is sending them to the landfill instead.  I think someone should.

Unidentified kitten at a CA pound, as posted on Facebook.

23 thoughts on “If John Q. Public Can Do It, Why Can’t the Staff at Your Local Pound?

  1. Why, Shirley, I do believe you’ve stumbled upon a solution to the adoption situation at MAS: since the staff doesn’t seem to be able to photograph or post animals properly, why not just have them stand in Walmart parking lots with cardboard boxes and dog kennels? Hell, the folks in my town’s WM seem to do a pretty brisk adoption business that way!

  2. my daughter and I actually knocked on neighbours doors with our stray kittens, raised them by hand and then found homes for them, it took as long as it took. It was a wonderful experience, several of them stayed in our neighbourhood and we were able to watch them flourish.

  3. Ah, but people on Craigslist and whatnot *advertise* and *go offsite* to move their animals. MAR-KET-ING.

    Something that MAS and many other shelters are woefully remiss in doing and fail to pursue with any sort of fervor at all. Ironically, they have the resources (volunteers, websites, media outreach, funding, etc.) to do a much better job than your average John Q. Why then do they do such a lackluster job? Because it’s just not a priority to get animals out alive for them like it is for John Q…

  4. sorry your WM parking lots, etc scenario is impossible in Louisiana,.. California and a few other states.. HSUS pushes laws to make selling or even giving away animals in a “public place” ILLEGAL. As a breeder of pedigreed dogs I was a nervous as a cat ( excuse the pun) when I had to deliver a puppy to a person I knew and meet the person at a restaurant halfway between my home and theirs..If I had been caught I would have at the least been cited ..possibly arrested…. and now APHIS is trying to make even that simple exchange against the law,,,
    I had a friend who took a litter to a park and she and the breeder were discussing which ones should be sent to which homes.. just viewing them. Another couple came along and said “are you selling those puppies because if you are we are reporting you to animal control” funny thing was.. the breeder of the pups whipped out his badge and said.. “duly noted.. I AM animal control” and he was.. but if he were not ???
    Pictures on Facebook?? Websites?? all will be severely restricted if the new APHIS regulations or PUPS is enacted.. and the “loophole of internet sales” is closed. What will that do? Kill more animals..Put up a picture of a dog that needs a new home on FB??? under PUPS or APHIS “new rules” that person would have to come to your “retail store” i.e. your home if you are a foster..to pick up the puppy so they can view the “surroundings”
    Could Memphis do more.. of course they can.. but if these rules go through you can expect more animals in shelters all over the nation
    Shelters NEED animals in shelters because dog forbid they should run out of things to kill.. who would they blame then?

    1. Alice, thanks for the reminder about the “proposal” (i.e., plan) to implement a new Retail Pet Sales rule by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, APHIS.

      The final deadline for public comment on this rule is coming up very soon: August 15th. After that, the rule will be published and implemented.


      I am sympathetic to both sides of the argument (as I am familiar with them) over this rule. It seems likely to me that some breeders — those that all of us would view as puppy mills — do breed inhumanely and then profit by selling the animals online. However, I’ve also learned how much good is done for animals by caring people, all outside the purview of government. And regulation that constrains (as opposed to regulation that encourages, i.e. regulation by tax incentives) sometimes excludes informally organized, positive efforts by ordinary people. Regulations against feeding feral cats on the grounds of protecting public health are an example.

      Do those opposed to the APHIS rule believe that there should be no regulation of online animal sales at all? Is the concern about how it would be enforced? Is there a counterproposal that would address concerns about side effects, unintended or otherwise?

  5. Such a simple question – they don’t see killing as an option. Therein lies the only difference. THEY CARE and MAS and other “shelters” simply do. not. care.

  6. I also think that at this point, the trained professionals are failing by intention. By that I mean that now that they are coming under fire for their years of failing to protect animals, they rule animals “unadoptable” for all sorts of spurious reasons so that when their kill rates come out they can say “I meant to do that.” And this is also why most of them are so vehemently against efforts to go no kill (or even “less kill”): because it would show them as the liars they are for claiming most of the animals are “unadoptable.”

    1. That’s the huge ploy by Michigan Humane – which has tons of money, facilities in some of the most wealthy areas of Michigan – and a kill rate that is unbelievably high (and told me they are not going to not kill animals to pad their statistics).

  7. The pending legislations of “PUPS” and “APHIS” needs to be spotlighted and stopped dead in its tracks! These are huge steps backwards in the wrong direction!

  8. Are you sure these workers are professional and trained? I doubt many of them are!

    Also many of the ads on Craigslist and the like are further marketed. If I see a sale ad or a lost/found ad on Craigslist for my breed, I post it on a breed forum list. Many of the dogs have been saved by breed experienced owners. I usually do a daily search of All of Craigslist.

    If the dogs are not being listed by the shelter(s) on the web, they cannot be marketed and no one has any idea which dogs are being killed!

  9. Oh, if only it were so simple. Have you not heard any of the horror stories about what happens to some of the animals given away to strangers on craigslist? Our shelter recently got in a dog that was found “stray” in our town- given away on craigslist only the day before. I happened to have seen his ad and had the PD call his previous owner, who had NO IDEA who she gave him to. By the time we got him, he was full of burrs and a horrible mess. God only knows what that poor dog saw in that 24 hours before he was lucky enough to cross our doorstep. I don’t consider craigslist trading to be “Adoption”. Adoption should imply thought, research and education has entered the equasion. CRAIGSLIST IS PET RECYCLING, pure and simple. The pet is probably not any better off, just in a different place. My goal when I adopt out is to get the animal into a better place! The reason “killing” doesn’t enter the minds of people homing puppies and kittens is that it’s so easy to sucker someone into taking one of the cute little things- and if all else fails, they can always take them to the shelter (AND THEY DO!) However- how many of them end up permanently outdoors, tied to a tree, or living in a barn, or dumped at the shelter when they’re 6 months old because they start marking and the wonderful new owners wouldn’t get them fixed? Almost every time a 6-12 month old animal walks in the door, it’s because the owners didn’t train it (we don’t have time for it) OR they didn’t alter it (we didn’t know it cost so much). They weren’t committed to it in the first place, and that is why acquiring an animal on an impulse is a bad thing.

    1. I could sit here and debunk every one of your claims but it would be tedious for regular readers who are probably tired of me repeating myself ad nauseum. The bottom line is: A pet who is alive is better off than a pet who is dead.

      1. You can’t debunk my story of what happened to the craigslist dog. It actually happened. Would you like a copy of the police report? I wonder how many craiglist kittens end up becoming snake food? We will never know. You can’t debunk MY professional experience with people surrendering young animals. It happens….OFTEN. The bottom line is: Some things are worse than a kind, painless death. Yes…some craigslist pets are lucky enough to find forever, loving homes. Others, well- it’s a crapshoot!

      2. Animal cruelty exists, tragic as it is. Sometimes it happens via Craigslist, sometimes it happens in animal shelters. There will always be a tiny minority of owners who will harm their pets. But there are no fates worse than death. Where there’s life, there’s hope.

      3. Your human brain understands that, but I don’t believe that the dog, who’s spent the past 4 years tied to a tree in all sorts of weather, with little human interaction, understands that…..or the puppy who’s just been kicked for the 30th time for peeing on the floor. How do you explain to them? They’re not thinking to themselves,”I’m just going to hang in here, and hope for a better tomorrow.” Pets deserve to be in GOOD homes, not just any homes.

      4. Yes pets deserve to be in good homes. In order to get them there, we have to keep them alive. There is a very small segment of society who are irresponsible parents, drivers, pet owners and/or whatever. We don’t kill those who have suffered at their hands.

  10. the formula:Love,patience and the strong belief that killing animals is not an option….i ve been helping the for more than 8 years with 0 pay….Gracias!!!!!!!!It is a pleasure and an honor to do what we humans are suppose to do…

  11. The general manager of our county shelter attaches a boilerplate “disclaimer” to every press release stating that “their community’s irresponsible pet ownership requires them to euthanize animals and then they [the shelter] are faulted for doing so.”

    1. These shelters act like they have no responsibility in killing the animals. What are they doing to increase adoptions and working with rescues? I would ask that of the general manager!

      1. The shelter faults the public by calling them irresponsible… and so begins the “blame game”. Rather than educating and embracing the community (whose support the shelter desperately needs) instead, they alienate them. And rather than focusing on seeking solutions, the shelter excuses and exonerates themselves because they have created a scapegoat, the “irresponsible” public.

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