Why One Dog is Currently at a Shelter in MA

As I stated yesterday, we don’t often know the stories behind why pets end up in shelters.  There is a Westie called Sadie in a shelter in MA today whose story we do know:

A Massachusetts couple boating on a lake drowned after jumping into the water to rescue their dog, who survived.

Sadie was taken to the local municipal shelter and is supposed to be given to a family member, according to WaPo.

While I am not implying that every pet in a shelter today is there because she was loved so much that the owners gave their lives trying to help her, I am saying that this is Sadie’s story.  And to my mind, it’s not a stretch to believe that some of the other pets in shelters right now also had people who loved them very much.  They weren’t dumped, they aren’t damaged goods, and we should not smear the unknown people who brought them there for reasons unknown to us.

66 thoughts on “Why One Dog is Currently at a Shelter in MA

  1. I am so pleased that you are addressing this situation. It is all too easy to think and then say appalling things about people that surrender animals or pass judgement on others in total ignorance of the circumstances. I for one of thousands no doubt have a great big chubby cat as a result of his person having to be placed in a home for the ill and aging. She was and is heartbroken. Does she deserve to be ridiculed or spat upon. No! Thanks again for your kind thoughts for those who hurt. I will personally make sure that my own organization treats all people with the dignity and respect they “deserve”.

  2. Time and time again we are contracted by a kill shelter here in the south that a dog was DUMPED in the shelter by the family members of the owner when he/she died or was put in a nursing home. Our family took in my mom’s dog when she was no longer able to care for here. Unfortunately many families do not feel that way and disrespect their mom’s, dad’s and other family members by dumping their beloved pet in the shelter.

    1. This happens waaay too much, all over. The family and adult children of the person who died or had to go into a nursing home, etc. will argue and fight over real estate, possessions, jewelry, but when it comes to the thing that mattered probably most to the parent/relative, a living, breathing animal, they couldn’t care less. Of course there are exceptions, but they are just that… exceptions. I really do hope Sadie’s “family member” picks her up from the shelter, and gives her another home befitting of such a beloved animal.
      Of course SOME of the animals in shelters had people who loved them very much, but even if they didn’t, or even if the y were dumped, none of them should ever be called “damaged goods”. Where did that come from? That would be a terrible thing to say, or think, about an animal. There are many “damaged owners” though, and owners with extremely damaged families that just don’t care, adn do not value the animal no matter how much it was adored. I just don’t understand this. My parents, family.. I would be honored to take any of their animals if something happened to them, gawd forbid.

  3. I have 3 cats, that started as fosters. They were dumped at a kill shelter. THey were beloved pets. Their owner died and the SAME day her family took them to shelter. I brought them home on kill day and here they have remained, very much loved.

  4. Why assume “dumped” instead of “grieving family members who didn’t want the pet to go without care doing the best they knew how to help the animal”?

  5. Because the family members have walked in and said “we don’t want this dog” that doesn’t sound like a greiving family member to us and it’s happened more than once so don’t just assume that the family member is greiving know that they don’t want the animal and disrespect the family member by “dumping” the poor animal. I’ve been in rescue for 12 yrs now and it happens more my way than your way.

  6. People who “don’t want this dog” are some of those whom I definitely don’t want to discourage from bringing pets to a shelter by guilting and/or smearing them.

  7. You may feel that way but from hearing this story over and over again you get to understand that “some” people WILL dump an animal at one shelter or another and they have “NO” guilt if they did they would not “dump” the dog to begin with. I’m in the trenches and I know how it really is. Sadly by them taking the dachshund to the shelter is probably a death sentence for that dog because dachshunds do not do well in shelter sittings AND if they appear to want to bite or snap they will put them down. Better that they contract a rescue and work with us than “dump” in a shelter.

    1. But these are the same people who will (if a shelter is too “difficult” for whatever reason for them) “dump” a dog in the woods, on a farm, on the side of the highway. They don’t care, can’t be bothered, and can’t be shamed.

      And we can’t make them care. What we can do is make sure that shelters are the safe havens they are meant to be.

  8. I’ve been holding back on commenting as I have mixed feelings about this subject. I do think that some people should not have animals at all and they treat them as objects. I also think that our emotional ties to our animals means that we often don’t think clearly when we’re in a bind. Rather than slow down and examine alternatives, we often make knee jerk decisions which are not smart. I also think that when a shelter has an owner surrender, an effort should be made to determine what the problem is to see if there are alternatives to surrendering via a pet retention program. When all else fails, a shelter should be a safety net and a place to go for help. If the shelter is progressive, there are times when the animal will stay in the home or some other alternative works out. If the shelter is not progressive or assumes the caregiver has “dumped” the animal, that just makes it easier to destroy the animal from a mental standpoint. I don’t think vilifying people who surrender animals does the animals any good regardless of the motivations as that does nothing to help the animal itself. But I would like to see a balance between making it too easy to surrender an animal and trying to keep the animal in the home.

    I understand this thread started with a tragic story. I also understand that sometimes people die of terminal conditions and their animals have to be placed as we did with my parents’ cats after my folks died.

    I work in a city where people know the muni shelter is high kill so they often just let their pets go either in a very public place or in a rural place, hoping they can somehow resort to their instincts and survive on their own. It’s a pretty sad state of affairs when people would rather abandon an animal than to go to the local shelter.

  9. Do we kill or blame the children that are in the custody of the state for variations reasons having to do with their parents? Did you know that approximately half the pets at shelters are simply LOST? Kill shelters are especially appalling in their failure to reunite the pets. These pets have loving families that either don’t know where they are, went to the shelter and were told they weren’t there when they were, were already killed by the shelter, the shelter staff failed to scan for a microchip, the shelter is only open during limited hours and the family is at work and can’t go, the shelter refuses to put up pics of animals they intake and/or blurry worthless pics. No Kill open admission shelters have upwards of a 60% reunite rate! Of the pets that are taken to the shelter, many are there due to a death especially of an elderly person. Regardless I am doing research in this area and only 3% of all pet owners in the country surrender their pets for any reason whatsoever. Let that sink in.

  10. To the people who work in shelters: Please don’t assume you understand why someone is giving you an animal based on their behavior that day.

    The day I had to return a dog to a shelter I’d adopted from, I could barely say a word to the workers there. It’s a no kill shelter, and they took her back without a fee since she was from there. They took her and did a vet check on her, then brought her back so I could say goodbye.

    While they were doing those things, they weren’t very nice to me, to say the least. I spent the time waiting doing stuff on my phone and trying to be invisible. I was angry at the situation, and if I had left right then, they probably would have simply thought I was heartless.

    When they brought her back to me so I could say goodbye, and I started crying, they finally started treating me nicely. One of them even said “I guess this is hard for you too”. Like it had never occurred to them that if I wasn’t bawling from the get-go, I didn’t care about that dog. I loved that dog. I still cry when I think about her. The day her new owners brought her to see me I couldn’t even look at them, and had to leave and go home, because seeing her made me feel like throwing up, and I couldn’t handle it.

    I can only assume there are people out there stronger than me, who would have made it out of there without crying, and waited until they got in the car, or got home, to start crying. No one wants to show their emotions to a stranger in a shelter. The people who have more control over their emotions might be just as torn up inside, and you should treat them with the same compassion as you do the ones who openly weep over their beloved pets.

    1. Thank you for sharing this Jessica.

      I am one of those who tends to hide my emotions publicly. When I brought Scout, a dog my neighbors had abandoned, to an area no kill shelter I visited regularly, I brought the staff pastries. No one was mean to me (not because I brought pastries!) and they understood I was trying to help, which I appreciated. But I have never been back since that day, simply b/c it was too overwhelming for me personally to have filled out a surrender form on a pet and to leave her. She wasn’t MY pet (although she did live with me briefly), she wasn’t going to be killed, but still, it was so difficult to leave her there. I’ve never fully recovered and that’s why I stopped going. I imagine they have no idea of why I stopped visiting.

  11. You are quick to blame the shelters but also place the blame on owners families that surrender the dogs/cats for silly reasons, believe me I’ve worked with shelters that do all they can to save these dogs and time and time again they say that the family “dumped” the dog/cat and they do nothing but shut their mouths and take the animals. I try to save them from being put to sleep and that family doesn’t care what happens to them…let that sink in.
    Those are the families that would also dump them in drop boxes at night cause they are too ashamed to bring them during the daytime. Yes we have drop boxes here in the south, TN and no this is not Memphis with I agree is a hole and bad shelter for any animal but some of the smaller shelter go above and beyond trying to find rescues/homes for the unwanted animals.

  12. Unfortunately a lot of bad apples spoil the barrel so to speak….too many give up dogs because they are “moving, can’t take dog, had a baby, couldn’t housebreak, husband wife didn’t want, and the list goes on and on…..

  13. No I don’t miss any points you are lumping all shelters into a group that bad mouths the people that bring dogs into shelters and I’m telling you that a lot of people dump their families pets and NO all shelters don’t make people feel bad. YES some do but many do not soooo don’t assume all shelters are like that. I see both sides unfortunately I see more people that don’t care and dump the dogs than those that do care and have to surrender the animals but I also see a lot of shelters that don’t treat the people badly. I’m one of the good guys not one of the bad. I/we our rescue tries to save as many as we can.

  14. I am getting increasingly frustrated reading this blog post. Banging head on wall now. Yes some people dump their animals. Yes some are irresponsible, maybe even more than half of the pets at a particular shelter are due to a dumping irresponsible owner. SO WHAT? It doesn’t help the pet, yes the pet in question – remember him or her – to be labeled as dumped – second hand goods – unwanted etc. I thought that is what the point of the blog post was – to stop using pejorative terms so we can improve marketing and hence subliminal public acceptance of these cute ( I mean dumped unwanted pariah) pets. My mistake.

      1. You know what gets me too? Aside from devaluing pets, all this anger, all these stories of The Irresponsible Public, it’s a real turn-off. I wouldn’t want to deal with all this bile and judgmental suspicion to adopt a pet. Reasonable care, yes, but adopting a pet should be a joyous occasion, and all this? Just makes me wonder how much of the staff’s issues I’d have to deal with to qualify.

        Way back when I was an in-shelter volunteer I remember with greatest clarity one new adopter, a big woman in a go-to-church hat with a chihuahua cradled in her arms, both of them smiling so wide it was like the sun shining after rain. That’s what it’s all about. How that chihuahua got to the shelter wasn’t all that important. It’s how he left that really mattered.

  15. I’m in my local shelter multiple times per week and have seen many dogs turned in by their owners. I dont care what people want to call this practice but these animals are abandoned by the dirtbags that leave them there to die. Call it what it is, THEY ARE LEFT TO DIE. Dumped, disgarded, abandoned, surrendered, left, ect… TO DIE. Most likely, they are not getting adopted or rescued and anyone who thinks they are is dilusional. A very small fraction make it out alive. Through no fault of their own, someone gave up on them. There are ZERO good reasons to leave a dog a kill shelter. I agree that these animals arent trash being dumped. Most are wonderful animals who just need a chance, whether it be training, medical attention or love. Now, I will admit that a few end up there for reasons similiar to Sadie but they are few and far between. If the shelter werent full of “dumped” dogs, the Sadies of the world could see these “shelters” as a safe haven that most people think that they are. We live in a sick society that discards animals of all species like trash.

      1. Banging head on floor and wall now. Those pets had a lot of nerve being treated like trash didn’t they? We will show them – by killing them. And the nerve of people wanting to not dwell on that and advertise them as precious. So many idiots so little time!

      2. You started this blog/thread…don’t knock us for giving our honest opinions. If you don’t want to hear our opinions than don’t post items like this and expect us to agree with you. I agree with Todd Patrick and I’m glad someone else stepped up to agree that as much as we’d like to think dogs are taken to shelter for good reasons and they are a small number the majority are not, too many irresponsible people that shouldn’t have dogs or cats in the first place.

      3. I’m sorry, I don’t know what I was thinking, saying whatever I felt like on my own blog. Of course I will abide by your rules.

      4. Unbelievable. I just followed a link someone put on my fb page, to get here. Now I know why I do not read this blog, normally.

        I rescue out of LACDACC Downey Hi Kill Shelter–every day. I know the real deal. I know. I’m right there. These poor animals do not deserve what their POS scumbag DUMPING owners do them, and there is no excuse to take an animal to a kill shelter, especially in the middle of the summer months. Stop making excuses for the disgusting apathetic creeps who dump at these places. And for those of you who have little violins sounding in the background behind your own sickly sweet sob stories of why you were FORCED to dump your own, or your dead, or incapacitated parents’ animals, at shelters, kill or “no-kill” (no such thing, actually), give it a rest. You’ll get no sympathy from me, no matter how many crocodile tears you say you shed. Now, if you proactively went out into the world and posted flyers, visited rescues, talked to other family members, posted in veterinary offices, did other things that are known to promote good re-homing for an animal you really could not take, then you have my ear, and perhaps my sympathy, but never dump at a shelter.

        FYI By not dumping at an overcrowded shelter during peak months, especially, you are actually saving TWO lives! The life of the animal you opt to not leave there all alone, and the life of the animal already there who they would have then had to kill to make room for the animal you would dump. (In advance, there is no reflection, implied or intended, upon the poor animal just because their owner was a scumbag and dumped them. ) IT IS A FACT THAT FOR EVERY ANIMAL WHO DIES IN A SHELTER, THERE IS A HUMAN WHO IS DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE (AND i AM NOT REFERRING TO THE STAFF WHO DOES THE ACTUAL KILLING, HERE, EITHER.).

        Oh, and if you really think killing yourself will help things, what can I say? If you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem. THAT SOUNDS A LITTLE BIT SEVERE, BUT IT’S YOUR LIFE, TOOTS.

  16. Some of these postings just make me sad. I am running a non profit that specifically provides pet care assistance to seniors, disabled and hospice patients.

    I currently have 4 dogs in my home that we are caring for. Had our organization not been around to help, these four dogs would have been “dumped” at the shelter. None of these dogs have uncaring owners, in fact these dogs are loved very much.

    Unfortunately, one of the owners is dying of bone cancer and is physically unable to care for the dogs. Her husband is in medical rehab and won’t be home to care for the dogs for another month. There is no family available that would care for these dogs without it resulting in severe neglect. The other two dogs are owned by a senior couple. The wife has days left to live and the husband is wheelchair bound. The family is busy providing hospice care and cannot properly care for the dogs. The family also has dogs of their own who do not care for other dogs, particularly small dogs. The husband is wheelchair bound and can’t even go the bathroom by himself, he can’t care for these dogs.

    What would you have these people do? Would they be wicked vile people had their dogs ended up at the shelter?

  17. These are the exception NOT the rule, I think everyone is missing the point that I am making, yes some do have ligitmate reasons for surrendering dogs to the shelters but unfortunately they are also risking them dying in that shelter…people need to reach out to family, friends and neighbors if it’s a temp thing and rescues if it’s a long term reason…but if they “dump” in a shelter the dog will likely die..this is all about how much the dog means to them and what they are willing to do for the dog they can’t care for. I had a care-giver that contacted me the lady died of cancer, family didn’t want the dog, she took it and reached out to us, we found her a foster home and a forever home. IF the care-giver had not stepped up where would that dog have ended up?? Family didn’t want him, WHY?? Reasons are just excuses for not stepping outside your comfort zone and doing what you have to do to take care of what your mom or dad held dear in their hearts. I can’t tell you how many senior pets get “dumped” in shelters by family members because it was their parents dog and they didn’t want to deal with the dog for any reason.

    1. And you’d rather someone who doesn’t want a dog keep it and mistreat it, than have the people who don’t want it and didn’t ask for it take it to a shelter to find a new loving caring home? WHY ON EARTH?

    2. WTF does how the pet arrived at the shelter have to do with brainstorming on better ways to market them to assist them in getting out alive?? Diane maybe you are not conscious of it but you are a killing apologist. Your ( and all those that are similar on this blog) attitude and comments actually cause more shelter deaths. Maybe that is because underlying them is your true feeling that “too many irresponsible people that shouldn’t have dogs or cats in the first place.” So yeah let’s just kill them all. Brain now damaged from continued banging.

      1. I feel really bad that just because I voice my opionion you now accuse me of killing animals you are so far off. How many dogs to you rescue? How many shelters do you go into? Are you not doing the same thing to me that you are accusing me of doing to all the people that turn dogs into shelters?????

    3. In my experience the folks that drop the parent’s pet off at the shelter because they just don’t want to be bothered, are the exception to the rule. There are usually very good reasons (or excuses if you would rather call them that) or at least what seems to be a good reason for most people who aren’t entrenched in the animal welfare community. And usually the people that do “dump” the parents beloved pet, had already pretty much dumped the parent. Do you really want those people caring for an animal?

  18. I think everyone has the wrong idea, I AM A RESCUE PERSON I rescue dachshunds, I don’t berate people for giving up their dachshunds, I don’t agree with what they are doing for any reason BUT that doesn’t mean I can’t have my opinions or feelings. JUST like you all do, I would LOVE the perfect world cause if I did I wouldn’t need to be in rescue. I don’t do it for the people I do it for the dogs, I can’t tell you how many miles and miles I’ve put on my own personal vehicle, how many holidays I’ve given up to help a dachshund NOT the people that wouldn’t give me the time of day but the dachshund and still when I tell people something they don’t want to hear(and I’m not being judgmental) I get called names and told I’m an ugly person some things can’t be repeated. I do this for the love of the breed but I can tell you there are some very bad people out there. THAT is all I was trying to get across. Yes there are some bad shelters out there Memphis being one but not all shelters are bad, so please cut some shelters slack just like you want us to cut some owners slack for “dumping/giving up” their animals.
    Now I’m done, I will make no more comments on here and will not respond to any more posts.

  19. Lisa (Hospets), your example is unfortunatetly the exception although there are many out there with this story. As I stated, there are some that end up there like Sadie. The problem is that so many others are dumped for no good reason the Sadie’s of world rarely have a chance. Do we pay our taxes to have a facility to dump unwanted pets or do we pay taxes for lost animals to have a safe haven to go thats better than wandering the streets? Or to give animals a chance when an owner passes or is too ill to care for the animal? Most animals that are surrendered are because they are no longer wanted, not because of medical reasons. YesBiscuit, not everyone is a dirtbag. Only those who abandon their responsibility to their pets.

  20. My frustration is this: All of this judgment on people who dump pets (yes, I mean the worst, most irresponsible dumpers) is reverse-engineered from the fact of the killing. People f*** up their relationships with their children, their parents, their siblings, their friends, and with people they have vowed before God to love and cherish until death. Why in the world is it a reasonable expectation that relationships with pets would be less likely to fail – let alone never fail?

    It seems that we go back after the fact to label the people’s behavior as capital-E evil because the animal gets killed in the shelter, i.e., the subsequent behavior of OTHER people. I would argue that irresponsibility towards animals is a part of a “normal” spectrum of irresponsibility that exists in human nature.

    Even this “dumping senior pets” thing. Have people no compassion for other people? It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine that after losing a parent, dealing with all of the emotional and logistical issues involved, that the family might just be overwhelmed. Maybe they can’t have a pet at their apartment. Maybe they have 6 children and 3 pets of their own. Again, there are 400,000 plus children in foster care in the U.S. Yet even people who would condemn their parents tend not to label every grandparent, cousin, aunt, uncle, and older sibling “EVIL” for not taking those children in.

    1. You’ve reminded me of safe haven for babies – where newborn babies can be surrendered at hospitals and fire stations, no questions asked. The safety of the babies, that’s what’s important.

      Same with pets.

  21. I’m saying this one last thing then I’m done. I lost my son, mom, father, brother and sister all at different times and none of their dogs went to shelters or mine either because I was over-whelmed due to those deaths. We took care of our sons dog, my mom’s dog and sisters dogs when she passed with cancer two years ago, yes it was a hardship but we didn’t “dump” them because they were too hard to look at “NO” we sucked it up and did the right thing maybe we need to educate the children in schools that it’s not ok to give up on animals and give them examples of what to do IF they have to give up a pet. Evil no but irresponsible YES. Until we educate the children that their is a better way people that are irresponsible will continue to “dump” dog at shelters and they have this idea in their head that some wonderful person will come along and give fluffy a wonderful home, that’s just not true.

    1. “Until we educate the children that their is a better way people that are irresponsible will continue to “dump” dog at shelters and they have this idea in their head that some wonderful person will come along and give fluffy a wonderful home, that’s just not true.”

      Or, we could stop using shelters as butcher shops. There are more people looking to add a pet to their home than there are pets in shelters. The people who for whatever reason don’t keep the pet are not the problem. The people who kill the pet are the problem.

      Yes, it’s good when people can do the rehoming on their own. It’s nice when family members step up and keep the pets. But if they don’t want to or can’t, it is not their fault that the SHELTER (see the header on this page? “Shelter (noun): Something that affords protection; a refuge, a haven.”) is going to kill the pet. Most people don’t know about the no-kill vs kill battle. Most people do think their pet will get a new home. We need to educate people so they can say to their shelters STOP KILLING PETS.

      The person who shoots their dog they don’t want? That person is killing their dog.

      The person who takes their dog to a shelter? They are TRYING to do the RIGHT thing. You telling them they’re irresponsible isn’t going to help the situation. Maybe they are irresponsible. You really want them in charge of an animal or finding that animal a good home? No. The shelters are being more irresponsible by killing pets that could be given homes. If you can’t see that I don’t understand why you are commenting on this blog, when you could be reading about this topic and educating yourself. It’s all about education.

    2. Well said. I could not agree more. Here locally, we have a nice new animal shelter that looks roomy, clean and inviting. They even put a pretty sign out front that say “Adoption Center”. People bring their unwanted dogs in under the impression that “fluffy” will find a great home. The truth is that “fluffy” is dead before they leave the parking lot because there is no hold for owner surrenders. They euth a VAST majority and that number grew by 7% this year while many cages are empty.

      Bless people like you that take in loved ones pets. Many people dont think about making sure their pets are cared for if something happens. Before I got into rescue, it wouldnt have occured to me either.

      1. And yet, you think it’s the person who got duped by the manipulative shelter’s fault that the pet is dead…not the shelter who is killing with empty cages? What?

      2. I absulutely, 100% do. It’s the shelters fault for killing the animal and it’s the owners fault for dumping the pet. They share equal responsibility for the problem. I dont care how nice and cushy the shelter is or how nice the rescue people are, the animal no longer has his/her home. How unfair is that? I’ve watched many people surrending an animal that were told point blank that the pet would likely be euthenized and they still chose to leave it. There are no innocent parties in this story except for the animal. We live in a throw away society and the shelters give them an outlet for it. My taxes pay to kill animals that end up at the landfill like garbage and it’s wrong. I agree with your comments that a shelter should be a safe haven and education is the key. I’m a huge proponent of the No Kill movement and pray that more county run facitilities adopt it. I’m just not willing to give anyone a pass that gives up on their pet. No exceptions except for illness or death.

      3. What sort of illness? I mean, I think you should define the parameters here. Stage 1 cancer? Stage 2? Stage 3? Stage 4? What if the person has no health insurance and can’t afford treatment – is that a factor?

    3. How nice for you, Diane, that you were able to do that.

      If I died unexpectedly and there were no place else for my cat and two small dogs to go, my sister could take them and manage fine. The two dogs wouldn’t be a great fit for her, because she prefers Labs, but she has the space, resources, physical ability, and a husband and teenage daughter who are also dog and cat lovers.

      If my sister’s family were all killed, and there were no place else for their pets to go, I’d be in deep trouble. I live in a tiny house with no yard. There’s no way I can physically provide for the needs of a big, high-energy dog like a Lab anymore. I don’t have the simple living space to add a Lab and two twenty-pound (no extra weight!) cats.

      I’d have no choice but to find alternative homes for my sister’s animals, simply to prevent a situation where NONE of the six animals (her three and my three) would be adequately cared for.

      No amount of scorn and contempt from you would change the fact that I can’t care for a Lab and two more Maine Coons, in addition to my own two dogs and one Maine Coon. Nor would any amount of that scorn and contempt change the fact the my mother, my sister, and I are the “animal people” in our extended family, and my mother is in her eighties and living in senior housing where she is allowed one pet–a spot that is already filled with HER Maine Coon cat.

  22. I pretty much couldn’t agree more with what Jessica, barbararuth and Pet Advocates Network had to say. They took the words right out of my mouth. I will just add two more quick points.

    It is important to have shelters because it is not the animals’ fault that they are there. Instead of blaming the person who brought them in there, take that time to give the animal a home. And it is better than the alternative, if people are too embarrassed or whatever, to bring the animal inside the shelter. That’s what the shelter is there for.

    Secondly, Patrick made that point about “well if people would stop bringing in animals than the ones who really need the shelter, like Sadie, would get a home but instead there is an overpopulation, etc”. To me, if shelters took more time to try to adopt out the animals, they’d all get homes. Yes, I understand that some shelters don’t have the resources or space to house a bunch of animals. Instead of having 50 kennels, to house 50 dogs, they may have a space for 20 instead. But there are also lots of places that can house TONS of animals, and they still don’t do it. I hear about those shelters more often than not. Even MAS is like that. They can house, what like 500 dogs, yet 1/3 of them isn’t allowed to be seen by the public, 1/3-2/3 often end up dead, so if you’re lucky, you may be able to see 1/3-1/4 of the animals in there, and more often than not, they will put some sort of stipulation on you before you can see them anyway. So, my point being, is that while some shelters are trying everything they can to adopt out animals (such as giving them medical care so they can be healthy enough for adoption, off-side adoption events, marketing so people know of the animals in the first place, and so on), a lot of shelters are not like this and purely see the animals in a “catch-and-kill” animal control kind of way.

  23. I’m going to draw an analogy, and if even one person who has been following these threads and blaming the public gets it, I will be pleased.

    Let’s say Mrs. Smith, a taxpayer, is cooking dinner on the stove and unintentionally nods off on the couch. When she awakens, the stove is engulfed in flames. She tries to put out the fire but is unable and the fire is spreading. She calls the fire department.

    By the time the fire trucks get there, the whole apartment is burning and the family who lives upstairs is standing at their windows, screaming for help. The firemen take out rifles and begin shooting the family members through the windows.

    Now sure, it was irresponsible of Mrs. Smith to fall asleep on the couch with the stove on but she did not do it intentionally. And she called the fire department when she saw she needed help putting out the fire.

    Is Mrs. Smith to blame for the shooting deaths of the family upstairs?

    She didn’t know the firemen weren’t going to do their jobs when she called them. In fact, it was her belief that she paid taxes in order to fund the fire department so they could extinguish fires when needed. She had no idea what they were talking about when they started yelling at her about “too many fires and not enough water”. She knew nothing about any water shortage.

    Further, when she said to the firemen, “If you weren’t going to put out the fire you could at least NOT have taken out rifles and shot the people to death. They might have survived without your help, even if they had to jump to the ground!” she was scolded for being a heartless, irresponsible and cruel person. The neighbors told her the firemen had done the family a kindness because burning is a horrible way to die and the deaths are on HER hands.

    Anyone get that? ANYONE?

      1. Ok, the same woman burns her house down and instead of rogue fireman shooting everyone, the woman and her kids make I out safely. The house is lost though. She “decides” to move to an apartment that doesn’t allow kids so she “dumps” them at Happy Smiles orphanage. She assumes they will find a great home and have a wonderful life. Instead, Jerry Sandusky is the director and they’re molested everyday until adulthood. Is the orphanage the only bad guy here or is she responsible as well for “dumping” them there?

      2. Todd, in your scenario, everyone would agree that the orphanage director was a criminal, and he would be prosecuted. People would judge the woman for abandoning her kids, but no one would think she bore primary responsibility for them being sexually molested in the orphanage after she surrendered them. The director wouldn’t dare try to defend himself on that basis, and no one would take it seriously if he did try it.

        Also, of course, no one would argue that, because there aren’t enough homes, and these kids are after all “parent surrenders,” that an injection of Fatal Plus, or, even better, a gas chamber, would be a humane and practical solution to orphanage overcrowding.

        So, nice try, but no cigar.

      3. Todd- Society is a lot more supportive of parents than pet owners, and she would have a variety of options other than giving up her kids and moving into an apartment available to her. The same cannot be said for someone trying to keep their pets.

      4. That’s my point. A fireman also wouldn’t shoot people through a window as yes biscuit tried to use as an analogy. It’s ridiculous. The point is that the owner that surrenders is as bad if not worse than the shelter that kills their abandoned animal. I can’t understand why people in this post want to defend them.

      5. Todd, you’re ignoring the essential point that in your scenario, where you’ve done everything you can to make the woman absolutely indefensible, she still wouldn’t be blamed for what a criminal orphanage director did to those kids after they were out of her custody–and no one would consider killing the kids a reasonable response.

        Why do you think pet owners are responsible for what happens in the shelter after the pets are surrendered, and that killing the pets is a defensible response to them having been surrendered by their owners?

      6. OMG! How many times do I have to say that the shelters killing dogs is wrong? Its also wrong that people dump them there! Please read my comments before replying. It’s not ok to abandon your pet to a place that will likely kill them. My analogy was in response to the authors ridiculous post about fireman shooting people. The point was that you wouldnt abandon your kids that depend on you so why is it ok to abandon your pet that depends on you? Onviously

  24. I have a new thing to say when it comes down to it and people say something about the danger of getting a shelter pet because “you don’t know what happened to them before”. We know what happened to Vick’s dogs. There were trained to fight, abused, and the lucky few were simply horribly neglected. But of 51 dogs, one had to be euthanized as irredeemably hostile, 2 died under mysterious circumstances. So of the 49 that were seized and evaluated, 48 were healthy, savable animals. Some needed careful training and some needed a little TLC to get to where they needed to be. Some went into sanctuary and some went to fosters of which many have been adopted. So if dogs from a fighting business that made it their jobs to create hostile dogs could come back from that, why would someone not adopt a shelter pet that probably was let go for a much less heinous reason? As a person with more than 15 fosters in the last 3 years, I have never had a dog that was unadoptable. And many with horrible pasts. From my experience, kindness and shelter handles well over 90% of homeless pets’ issues.

  25. Back temporarily from head banged into a pulp from frustration. I will ask you supposed pet loving owner blaming respondents once again and I expect a coherent answer this time ” What does blaming the surrendering owner have to do with a decision not to negatively label the pet themselves as “dumped” or “unwanted”? Why would you insist doing that to their detriment? Are you that selfish that you need to place blame rather than put your misplaced feelings aside to assist the pet in getting out of the shelter alive? If you don’t get this please pick up your torches and report to duty along with the rest of the angry mob at Frankenstein’s place or apply to work at your local Peta office immediately – they need people that think along your lines. Faux animal lovers. Automatons that somehow pervert cause and effect by placing emphasis on the irresponsible public as the cause and justifying death as the effect and soothe themselves with the mantra that killing is kindness.My motive is getting the pets out alive and well – what is yours? Lastly, how does blaming the owners better the pets or make them appear as attractive as possible ?

    1. What does my opinion of the people that dump their dogs have to do with the dog getting out of the shelter? I’ve pulled over 100 dogs in the last year alone and found new homes for them. I certainly don’t post them on petfinder as discarded trash. Can we at least agree that they’re dirtbags and just keep it a secret?

      1. “Can we at least agree that they’re dirtbags and just keep it a secret?”

        Yes. You can. The point is that you can make all the private judgments that you like, you just can’t let those judgments affect the adoptability of the animals or use them as excuses for shelters treating animals like garbage.

        So, we’re on the same side! It’s just that words/attitudes matter and that is something we all need to remember.

    2. Also, go back and read my posts. I’ve not justified anything the shelters do. It’s the exact opposite. I’ve been condemning both the owners and shelters. They discard them and the shelter kills them. They’re both at fault as I’ve said several times. Get your facts straight before you insult someone with your PETA comments..

  26. Todd – one of the points of my fire dept. story was that this was not a “rogue fireman” acting in some unheard of manner, but rather symptomatic of widespread rot within the system. He was doing the exact opposite, and in the most extreme way, of what he was supposed to be doing. Rather than helping, he was needlessly killing in response to a crisis. JUST LIKE SO MANY ANIMAL SHELTERS.

    And the woman is in no way to blame – she assumed the fire dept actually did their actual jobs. And even if she did know that the firemen go around shooting people they’re supposed to be helping in burning buildings, how is it her fault? Clearly it’s not. Those failing to do the jobs the public is paying them for and acting in such a violent and cruel manner are to blame for the deaths. JUST LIKE SO MANY ANIMAL SHELTERS.

    1. Apparently, my point is being missed here. I’ve written many times that the killing in these shelters is wrong. I dont know how I could be more clear about that fact to make it understandable to anyone reading this.
      The other disconnect is that maybe everyone is under the assumption that the general public is unaware that the shelters kill the animals that they drop off. I would have to strongly disagree with that. These people are not duped. EVERYONE knows that county shelters kill animals under their care. My point is that since people know this fact, they are DIRTBAGS for dumping the dogs there anyway. They all know that there is at least a good chance that the animal that they are leaving will die and they dont care. Yes, we could ask why we would want these people to own pets anyway and that is a very good point. We dont want dirtbags to own pets but they unfortunately do. They are probably dirtbags in other parts of their lives as well but we’re only talking about them surrendering their animals to be killed.
      The system is flawed. Something needs to change. I’m confident that most of the public knows that their tax dollars go to fund the county shelters. They also know that county shelters kill animals. Outside of the people who are on this blog and obviously care, most peole will do nothing to change it. I’m not saying that we throw in the towel, I’m stating facts.
      No Kill is the way to go and in many communities, this is already happening. It happens through low cost spay/neuter programs, education, community support and a shelter director that cares about the animals welfare. It happens through changing the perception that shelter dogs are good, deserving dogs. It’s about the shelters increasing their market share and beating out the breeders, pet stores and puppy mills to get adopters through the door. It’s going to take more than a positive attitude to change it even though that is part of it just like anything else in life. We cant just smile and tell the Dirtbags that its ok that they abandonded their dog though. And the fact that they are dirtbags who dumped their dog has nothing to do with adoptablilty of the dog. I’ve found great homes for many dogs that were once owned by dirtbags. I have a couple of those dogs myself including a three legged shephard that was beaten with a pipe.
      Believe it or not, I’m a very positive person. I’m just not delusional and wont give people that do wrong a pass.
      I think I’ve said all that can on this subject so I’ll sit back and wait for my points to be misinterpreted again. :)

      1. What possible good does it do to call people names? Even if they are horrible people, what good does it do for the animals to denigrate the people?

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