I’m Going to Stop You Right There

As most pet owners know, end of life decisions are heartbreaking.  When a beloved family member has been diagnosed as medically hopeless by a veterinarian or even when suffering is evident, it is not uncommon to hold onto hope.  Maybe tomorrow will be better, maybe she could feel well enough to go for one last walk or play ball one more time.

In some cases, that hope is not realistic and as painful as it is, we must face the truth and make the decision to let the pet go.  In other cases, very rare ones in my experience, we do get that chance for one more moment in the sun together.  We might spend it at the pet’s favorite hang-out spot in the yard or at a park.  We might share a cupcake or some other special treat because hey, smoke ’em if ya got ’em.

But inevitably, we all face that final goodbye, where we hold our friend in our arms or stroke their fur and talk to them about good things while the vet gives the injection.  It’s the final kindness we can bestow upon our faithful companion.  One last act of love before we part ways in this life with all the hope of seeing each other again someday.

That is euthanasia.

This is killing:

From: “Rescue, MAS” <MAS.Rescue@memphistn.gov>
Date: November 3, 2016 at 9:26:33 AM CDT
Subject: Critical List 110316

Good morning everyone-

WE ARE FULL!!!

This morning I have had an amazing dog hanging out in my office, which technically is against the rules. You see, she has been here for an entire month. She is a generic, non descript, heartworm positive, quirky dog and despite me buying her extra time repeatedly, it isn’t fair to her to house her in a kennel any longer, nor is it fair to the other dogs whose spot she takes in the building. Tomorrow morning, I am putting her on the euthanasia list. I will take her outside for a final romp, give her some delicious treats and I will hold her when it is time. It is not something I want to do, she is my wiggly girl, we talk every day while I do rounds and she dances at me. I cannot take her home, my pack already includes too many quirky dogs. I have sent video of her in my lap to various people. She has been pinned to the top of a highly active rescue page. She has been on the critical list for far too long. I have done absolutely everything I can do to avoid this outcome for her. She is extremely quirky with other dogs, which I know played a large factor in why she hasn’t been pulled by a rescue. I hate it but I also understand it. So while it will break my heart, as well as the hearts of others she has charmed, I will move forward tomorrow with it, unless someone pulls her. She is hanging out, enjoying kongs of kibble and other treats, getting loved on by everyone who comes by my office and just enjoying her time in here.

[snipped]

Whitney Van Zandt, Shelter Supervisor

The above is a portion of a guilt-trip email sent to rescuers this week by Memphis Animal Services – a place that does almost no offsite adoptions, keeps “stray” dogs behind locked doors, leaves cages empty, and opens to the public begrudgingly and relatively rarely. A facility serving a community the size of Memphis should be holding several offsite adoption events daily, getting pets featured on TV and radio daily, unlocking all the doors in the facility so the public can see and fall in love with all the animals, using every available cage for lifesaving, and staying open for adoptions 7 days a week, including evenings. They don’t do the bare minimum to get pets adopted at MAS, never mind “absolutely everything” they can do.

Despite their many failings though, they don’t have to kill animals. That’s a choice they make. And if it’s the best they can offer, they should get out of the animal sheltering business because it’s unacceptable.

And as far as taking the dog out for a last romp, feeding her treats and holding her while she is killed – no. Fuck no. You don’t get to say that. You don’t get to lay the burden of that loaded image on weary rescuers who are kept in constant crisis mode via your “only you can stop us from killing by doing our jobs for us” emails.  We who are committed to lifesaving and to love for animals, we who believe where there’s life there’s hope, we who understand what a precious gift a healthy, happy pet represents – we own that. We own all that. You have no right.

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5 Comments

  1. mikken

     /  November 4, 2016

    Amen to that. This is not euthanasia, it’s … abhorrent.

    And the letter exhibits what is called “moral license”. I do a good thing (kept a dog in my office for a month and was kind to her), therefore it is now acceptable for me to do bad things (kill the same dog, kill other dogs, blame other people for my choices, etc.). I am clearly not a bad person because I did a good thing. Thus, my other choices/actions are not those of a bad person, but rather a good person in a bad spot. I am still a good person. Because I did a good thing.

    Unfortunately, moral license is subjective. It does not alter the facts. It only alters your perception of the facts.

    Ms. Van Zandt truly believes that she’s a good person. She also believes that she’s doing right by this dog – up to and including the moments she kills her.

    And that is why she is not good at her job. Because if you *believe* you are doing everything possible (even if the dead bodies are evidence to the contrary), you will not work to change. And if you do not seek improvement, do not try new methods and approaches, you will never learn that right now, you are doing it wrong – or at least less right than it could be. You are settling for the current suckitude of the moment and calling it good enough. Even if it means that you’re killing a wiggly, friendly dog with whom you’ve bonded. A dog you taught to trust you. A dog who thinks you’re there to help, to keep her safe.

    This same dog whom you will betray and kill, simply because you wouldn’t try something else to get her out alive. Simply because you’ve been “good enough” to her and now you’re done trying. Oh well, on to the next one, I guess?

    But of course, it’s not your fault. You have moral license. You were kind to her. Therefore, you now have (in your mind) permission to betray her trust and kill her. And you’ll probably be sad. And she’ll be dead. Because you were done trying.

    Reply
    • vida

       /  November 4, 2016

      This is a fantastic point, I hadn’t really thought about it this way before. Real food for thought.

      Reply
  2. Serial killers of animals. But these people always know how to play the part of the innocent victims of circumstance and “we have no choice except to kill animals because we make the tough choices that have to be made” – HOGWASH, people like this kill animals without a second thought and NO FEELINGS!

    Unfortunately, there are also people that run elaborate scams that operate donation-funded animal rescues that are also serial killers of animals and their stupid followers on facebook think its just fine they kill animals these fiends have collected thousands of dollars to rescue, including money “they say” will be used for vet care, deworming, vaccinations and feed for 2 months for the horse (it’s all in writing on their Facebook page).

    The rescue at the link below has admitted in writing that the founder, a former animal control officer at a high kill shelter in San diego, california that admittedly has killed THOUSANDS of animals in her work as an aco) has shot to death 56 healthy horses that tens of thousands of dollars were sent in this year alone to rescue.
    Instead of taking care of the horses, she betrayed them and SHOT THEM TO DEATH, and their heartless followers don’t care one bit because they are addicted to the drama this “rescue” serves them everyday (this rescue is trying to get their own reality show).

    This story should be going viral for the mere fact that numerous complaints to San Diego County animal services (the founders former employer) and also the counties district attorneys office have fallen on deaf ears.

    So not only is this horse trader “rescue” so far getting away with committing 56 cruelty felonies as per California law, they also are committing major fraud and other crimes that written documentation proves is factual.

    Maybe some of the animal lovers here that are sickened by the ruthless killings of innocent animals at kill animal controls can feel for horses that were supposed to be rescued USING donation money that was/is begged and pleaded for every week like clockwork (this rescue has written they’ve rescued over 400 horses in 2016 but REFUSES to give the current locations of WHERE ARE ALL OF THE RESCUED HORSES? They also refuse to produce vet reports, vet bills, and other documentation from their vet that “they say” examines ALL of the rescued horses: the fact is that HUNDREDS OF HORSES ARE MISSING) will please read the blog posts containing screenshots from the rescue that validate the actual shooting to death of 56 horses with a .22.

    Phone numbers and email addresses are listed in the blog posts to provide easy access regarding law enforcement contacts asking them WHY won’t they do ANYTHING about this cruelty and fraud?

    Thank you everyone for any help with having people posing as rescuers being exposed as running a ponzi-type fraud scheme USING horses and brain washed people to make a fortune who then mercilessly dispose of horses that are supposed to be safe by the rescues founder shooting them, some are hauled to a carnivore sanctuary where the horse is shot and fed to the wolves (these horses have no known history, so they could be chalk full of drugs such as bute, banamine, dewormer, steroids, etc which can poison the animals eating their meat), and it is also suspected that horses are also sold/traded to the rescues friend the kill buyer Dave Meisner and the horses ship to inhumane commercial horse slaughter in Mexico.

    This must be stopped before more horses are BETRAYED by people running a scheme.

    https://hicaliberhorsekillers.wordpress.com/2016/11/01/rotten-apples-spoil-rescue-barrel/

    Reply
  3. Sorry if this has already been addressed but what happened to this dog?

    Reply

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