WA Shelter Director: Public Too Dumb to Get Weather, Too Irresponsible to Have Pets. Also: Why Doesn’t the Public Like Me?

inoriteThe director of the Tri-Cities Animal Shelter in Pasco, Washington is saying things again.  This time, pound director Angela Zilar blamesplains to KEPR why the facility typically sees an increase in stray dog intake at this time of year:

“As soon as the weather starts to change, people that have all of these outdoor dogs that they wanted to keep as outdoor pets, they realize that maybe it’s going to be too cold for them.

They tend to start to get rid of them because what was easy for them possibly for the summer is now going to be different or problematic for them for the winter,” said Zilar.

The second reason being the start of the hunting season.

“They determine they’re not going to be a hunting dog so the rise in hunting breeds goes up because now they don’t want these dogs because now they don’t work for what they want them for,” adds Zilar.

The third reason… the agricultural industry.

“The workers have animals when they come to the Tri-Cities- they tend to get animals- and then when they leave they can’t take them with them,” said Zilar.

Shorter: The pound takes in more stray dogs in September and October because the public is too stupid to understand how seasons work, hunters suck and so do the Mexicans.

Smarter: If you know that your facility is going to see an increase in stray dogs in the fall, prepare for it. Be proactive. If people who have outdoor dogs in your area typically abandon them when the weather turns colder due to lack of resources, reach out to them while it’s still warm. Apply for grants and ask for donations so you can supply those in need with appropriate winter housing materials for their dogs. Educate owners whose dogs are not good candidates for being housed outdoors year round about alternatives while it’s still warm.

Engage the members of the hunting community in order to build a relationship with them so that they aren’t turning unwanted dogs loose in the woods every fall instead of utilizing humane rehoming alternatives. Educate hunters about these alternatives during your “Free nail trims for hunting dogs” weekend and other outreach events.

Seasonal workers are most likely not buying dogs. They are taking in strays in need of homes, even though they themselves only have a temporary home to offer these pets. They are sorta doing your job for you. Reach out to them. Offer free spay-neuter and vaccinations (using grant money and donations) to their temporary pets so the population doesn’t increase and remains free of diseases which are a serious threat in the shelter. Make yourselves the good guys. Educate the workers on humane options for rehoming long before the end of the agricultural season. Keep in touch. Let them know you are there to help and, if a shelter of last resort ends up being needed, that’s your job. They should feel welcome to turn to the shelter instead of abandoning the animal.

It sounds like a large number of people in the community think that pets are better off on the streets than at the Tri-Cities shelter. That is a problem. And it’s Angela Zilar’s job to fix it. Instead, she pours gasoline on the fire:

Gabby is a stray dog who just gave birth and was abandoned in a Pet Smart parking lot.

“They are trading her in for a younger generation they probably kept the puppy and now don’t want her,” said Zilar.

Wow. Apparently Gabby came with a backstory pinned to her collar. Or she can talk.

You know who abandons a dog in the Petsmart parking lot? Someone who thinks that people who love animals will see her and hopefully care for her. And obviously that’s not what people think of the Tri-Cities pound. Which again, is a problem.

Angela says they haven’t turned anyone away in the last four years and encourage owners to come in and ask for help when they don’t know what to do with their pet.

I guess I’ll just go with lol on that one. This from the lady who threatened to prosecute owners who surrender their pets to her facility and who blames the community for the many failings of that facility. Sure, walk into my parlor.

(Thanks Mary for the link.)

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  1. nancy

     /  October 16, 2015

    “Make yourselves the good guys.” Yes, great advice. But that’s a lot of trouble to go to. Yes, there are people who could care less about doing the right thing by the pets they bring into their lives, but there are many more who just need to be given the tools and guidance. Thanks for another great post.

  2. sarahjaneb

     /  October 16, 2015

    I wonder what she thinks her job is, and what function she thinks a shelter is supposed to serve. If she thinks shelters only exist because the public is uneducated and irresponsible, but she doesn’t want to help educate or do anything to help people to be more responsible with their animals, then what, in her mind, is she doing?

    • Job security.

    • KateH

       /  October 18, 2015

      “I wonder what she thinks her job is, and what function she thinks a shelter is supposed to serve.”
      I’m going with: threatening people and then killing animals.

  3. Karen F

     /  October 16, 2015

    “Seasonal workers are most likely not buying dogs. They are taking in strays in need of homes, even though they themselves only have a temporary home to offer these pets. They are sorta doing your job for you.”

    Thank you for pointing out that seasonal workers are actually doing animal rescue. I think less-affluent and poor people so often are underserved by their communities, and not recognized for how they help animals. A special, ongoing initiative to reach out to seasonal workers and collaborate with them for better outcomes is a wonderful idea.

  4. Nope, it’s so much easier to set yourself up in an oppositional role to the community you serve and point fingers. Anything else sounds like work.

  5. mary frances

     /  October 17, 2015

    Thank you for posting this.

    When there are positive stories – like changes for the No Kill Sheltering – that is reported as well. It’s what we all want.

    Sincerely I hope sometime to share a story that is about change for No Kill Sheltering.



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