If you can’t own it, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.

When the pound kills for “space” while cages sit empty, they blame the public for failing to neuter their pets.

When the pound kills someone’s lost pet instead of sending him back home, they blame the owner saying the pet should have been microchipped.

When the pound kills someone’s lost pet despite him having a microchip, they blame the owner saying the pet should have been wearing an ID tag.

When the pound kills someone’s scared cat and erroneously calls him “feral”, they blame the owner for letting the cat outside.

When the pound kills someone’s lost pet despite the owner visiting the shelter to look for him, they show the owner only some of the pets in the facility then claim the owner failed to recognize their own family member.

When the pound allows healthy pets to get sick by failing to follow standard disease prevention cleaning practices and/or failing to vaccinate upon intake, they blame a lack of manpower and resources even as they refuse help from volunteers and fail to partner with the community to save lives.

When the pound conducts a mass killing in response to a disease outbreak instead of performing appropriate testing and quarantine, they blame the public for failing to vaccinate the pets in the community.

When the pound kills orphaned puppies and kittens instead of placing them with foster homes they should have lined up on a list, they blame the public for failing to neuter their pets.

When the pound kills Pitbulls instead of letting them go home with people who want to adopt but are unwilling to submit to special requirements such as home inspections, they blame the public, claiming that the only people who wouldn’t jump through all their hoops are dogfighters and thugs.

When the pound kills feral cats instead of implementing a TNR program, they blame mythical population explosion figures, and/or parasites and diseases that they falsely claim will endanger public health.

When the pound kills treatable pets instead of providing them with basic veterinary care, they blame the public for so-called pet overpopulation.

When the pound kills healthy cats instead of adopting them out because it’s Halloween, they blame the public, claiming that only animal sacrifice ritualists would adopt a cat near Halloween.

When the pound kills healthy pets instead of adopting them out because it’s Christmas, they blame the public, claiming that only irresponsible people who won’t take good care of a pet would adopt at Christmas.

I say: When the pound kills pets, the pound is responsible. It doesn’t matter what someone at the pound thinks someone in the community may or may not have done at some point in time.  What matters is that once the pet hits the front door of the shelter, the staff need to do their jobs and quit looking for someone else to blame for their failures.

It’s time for those who kill pets to start taking responsibility for their actions. And for those who enable the killing to stop parroting the tired old excuses. There is an alternative – a set of programs proven to save pets’ lives.  Any animal shelter failing to do its job has no one else to blame.


36 thoughts on “If you can’t own it, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.

  1. Nothing left to say – you said it all. And well done, I may add.
    I am sure there are other shelters that are guilty of this but this has MAS written all over it.
    Merry Christmas, Shirley – I hope Santa was good to you!

    1. Santa brought me one very sweet and very bad puppy. Santa is currently on both my naughty and my nice lists. Time will tell which way the balance tips.

      On Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 10:05 AM, YesBiscuit!

  2. I can always count on you, Shirley , to lay out my responses to those doing the killing. And to those that support it.Thank you.
    And congratulations on the new addition.

  3. While I am NO fan of our city government who continues to staff the shelter with uncaring and unqualified management, and cannot fathom why a brand new facility continues to be totally dysfunctional, I take issue with the writer of this article. Do you really think all the answers are found by having a list of people willing to foster pets? And where do you quarantine 80 animals who have been exposed to parvo or distemper? The vet’s offices usually have ONE room for quarantine, and once a sick animal is in it, it’s off limits to others. How many dogs have YOU fostered this year or been willing to even OVERNIGHT? I have been managing a very active rescue group for about 8 years now. Every year we place more animals than we did the year before USING LESS FOSTER HOMES! They do not exist. People talk a big game about helping a dog but in the end it’s a hot potato that they just want to throw to the next person who will take the dog. There are simply TOO MANY PETS to place them ALL in RESPONSIBLE LOVING HOMES. You cannot adopt your way OUT of ignorance and apathy. The adoption groups in Memphis,TN stay overfull and we are working our tails off every weekend to be out in public showing pets so we will have room to bring the next dog in from a shelter. START IN YOUR OWN HELP TO HELP BY FOSTERING ONE DOG. If 10% of the people who told me they were willing to foster actually followed through and took a dog when I asked them to make good on their offer, I would not have the burn out I have from the dedicated few SAINTS that are currently fostering for Real Good Dog Rescue in Memphis,TN.

    1. “Do you really think all the answers are found by having a list of people willing to foster pets?”

      I’m sorry Lisa but if this is your sincere response to the post, I have little choice but to give you a warning on trolling. It’s not allowed here. Please stop.

    2. I enjoy this blog on a regular basis but I don’t think what Lisa says is argumentative. My local shelter uses all 11 No Kill Programs and still has a thousand animals every year with heart murmurs, dental disease and non invasive tumors that get in the way of adoption. If you are saying we are not trying hard enough that hurts. If you are saying we don’t own what we do, you don’t know us. We don’t blame the public but we are required to eat their sins. Blaming shelter workers is no more productive.

      1. Evidently you are not familiar with MAS nor do you work there. MAS is not a shelter but a house of horrors. There is no resposilbility, accountability or checks and balances. Animal abuse is rampant and the kill rate is above 70%, although the shelter sits half empty at all times. Maybe you should look into some of the background here on MAS. Enough horror stories to last a year.

      2. Dental disease is common in most dogs over age 3 if regular brushing is not done. I expect older dogs especially smaller breeds to need dentals and teeth removal. I would not trust a shelter vet to diagnose correctly a heart murmur. I had a regular vet misdiagnose one in a young rescue I had. He said it was a 4/5 and in reality it was barely a 2 and needed no medication. This after paying for an echocardiogram done by an internist. The shelter should work with rescues and lower adoption fees for these types of animals. I see dogs with health problems being rescued at the NYC shelters every day even elderly ones.

    3. Excellent point and well delivered. However, MAS stays half empty most of the time and animals there are routinely killed in the guise of “no space.” Also, any dog that comes to MAS that even has a hint of maybe a maybe pit bull (like a white tip tail or other sign) they are to be immediately euthanized. Data records are not accurate nor are they kept as needed. The people there are lazy and no one really cares what happens to the animals housed there. Sorry, but this is true. I appreciate the hard work your rescue does; however, if you look at the raids and the latest court cases for animal abuse there, it proves our point. MAS is a disgrace, no matter what, and no one seems to want to change it.

    4. Do you evaluate foster homes and know which ones can handle what kind of dog, or do you expect a busy, noisy household to try to rehabilitate a fearful, potential biter, knowing that the family’s lifestyle is likely to encourage a bad experience fro both dog and foster?

      Not all people who want to help are in a position to do it safely and effectively.

    1. Yes it is for public/taxpayer shelters. I do not think city and county shelters have the manpower to do home visits for every adopter! Some of these shelters do not even have evening or weekend hours for adopters/rescuers.

  4. That is telling it like it is. Thank you. Now to change shelter perspectives, programs, proceedures and people!!! There is a ton of work to do. Oh and how about killing and saying, “It is in the best interest of the dog?” or “the dog is aggressive”? Same dog that was out with 100 people and other dogs the week before but now he is aggressive…………For God sake, don’t let him go to the vet because he ate a tennis ball!! Let him sit at the shelter and get very ill and then kill him. OH and do it at the last minute so the volunteers do not know about it and can’t get him pulled to rescue.

  5. Hello Iowa! The largest Shelters with the high dollar Directors use all these excused. Can’t? No, Won’t!
    Forced? No, Chose to.
    Wake up donors and stop filling their pockets to pay these greedy Mass killers.

  6. Hallelujah, you are absolutely correct. I grow tired of hearing time and again that it is all the public’s fault. Of course, we all know that these shelters, particularly MAS, do not accept responsibility and have no accountability. Change must come soon.

  7. The pounds should be held accountable. I had my name on the list, to foster for our local shelter, for years and was never contacted. I attended three orientation meeting so each new reiteration of the shelter staff could personally meet me and I could let them know what services I could offer. Apparently they had so many people they didn’t need me but for some reason they still kill animals. I currently foster for our county’s no-kill group and I’m not remotely full as I have a 5K sq. ft. house with 2/3rd of an acre and I’m surrounded by animal lovers. Meanwhile, our county government makes it as hard as possible to do rescue work with an insane 5-pet rule that allows them to sweep into your house and take all of your pets (of any kind) if you have more than 5. So, techinically, if you have a tank of fish they can seize the tank if you have over 5 fish in it. I have tried to explain the zoning code to my koi, in our pond, but they insist on breeding, so I’m over the 5-pet rule from the get-go. It is a hell of a way to live but more and more towns and counties are passing similar laws making people have to give up pets, they have had for years, that are members of their family. If I had one wish it would be that someone would magically pick all of my family up and move us somewhere where the government was sane and didn’t pass stupid laws that help no one but hurt almost everyone.

    1. Pet limit laws do nothing but penalize good people like your self. they do nothing to stop substandard breeding, or hoarding. It also has been shown that hoarding decreases in areas where the shelters are no kill. Why can’t the idiots who make these laws see how counter productive these laws are in the quest to save lives. i get sick of pet killing facilities in areas that have pet limit laws whining about killing animals without doing anything to fight a law that prevents them from saving lives.

  8. Shelter accountability is needed. They want accountability from everyone else in the pet world….they must be under the same standards of accountability.

  9. excellent points. it is heartbreaking to see dogs and cats killed for “space”. It is heartbreaking to see owner surrendered dogs and cats euthanized first, what is the reasoning there?

  10. I made and delivered 3 beds for the dogs… went back 36 hours later and NONE of them are there.. the beds are gone!! What the Hell??? I asked for where they were and was given BS answers– I deliver bags and bags of donations and never see any of the items I donate… where the hell are they going? I am furious – They say they want help and donations and yet they disappear.. What kind of a place is this? I want to help — and it seems as if my efforts are being wasted.. what can I do to ensure my donations will go to the animals? Does anyone know?

    1. If you gave them to MAS-Memphis Animal Shelter, I would bet someone stole them or they threw them out. Ask and make sure the shelter is allowed to use the beds. Many shelters have so many rules and regulations it is ridiculous! I would contact a smaller public shelter in a nearby county as I bet it could use the donation or a private shelter or rescue. I rescued a dog from a rural shelter and when I went back to pick up the dog, I gave cat food and treats, a small monetary donation and a big jug of laundry detergent. It really needed the items.

    2. Rie, which shelter are you donating to? I would talk to the director and find out exactly what’s happening with your donations.

    3. Most likely they go home with the employees,much like the pet food does. Take your donations to a rescue group, not the pound or shelter. They will be more appreciated and used at rescue groups. Sorry.

  11. who is going to charge the shelters with animal cruelty when they murder healthy viable pets and call it euthanasia? !!!!!!!!!!!!

    The painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma.

  12. Why am I NOT surprised to see Lisa and her rant to support killing innocent animals from Memphis Tn!! Those sick people fight to complete stupidity for they’re “need to kill”! Someone ask her about their scheduled kill in Jan. 2013. Where MAS “must” and will kill innocent dogs in order to “Train” others how to properly kill!!!!!
    Yep, I’ve had this “verbal disagreement” with these Memphis people for awhile now. I was raised in Memphis and this crap is sickening to me. Thank God I left there as soon as I was legal. Stupidity and heartlessness runs DEEP in Memphis! And they have No Shame!

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