Letter From A Shelter Director

You can’t keep your pet? Really?
~By a Shelter Director

Our society needs a huge “Wake-up” call. As a shelter manager, I am going to share a little insight with you all… a “view from the inside” – if you will.

First off, any of you who have surrendered a pet to a shelter or humane society should be made to work in the “back” of an animal shelter – for just ONE DAY.

Maybe if you saw the life drain from those sad, lost, confused eyes, you’d stop and help these animals find homes.

That puppy you just dropped off will most likely end up in my shelter when it’s no longer a cute little puppy anymore.

Just so you know, there’s a 90% chance that your dog will never walk back out, once entered into the shelter system… Purebred or not!

About 25% of all of the dogs that are “owner surrenders” or “strays” that come into a shelter are ‘purebred’ dogs.

The most common excuses: “We’re moving and can’t take our dog (or cat).” Really? Where (& why) are you moving to a place that doesn’t allow pets? … Or they say “The dog got bigger than we thought it would”. How big did you think a German Shepherd would get? … “We don’t have time for her”. Really? I work a 10-12 hour day & still have time for ALL my dogs! ….”She’s tearing up our yard”. How about learning proper exercise & leadership & making her a part of your family?

“We just don’t want to have to stress about finding a place for her — & we know she’ll get adopted…. she’s a good dog”. Odds are, your pet will NOT get adopted … & how stressful do you think it is for your pet to be dumped by the ppl she trusted in a noisy, stressful shelter?

Did you know… Your pet ONLY has 72hours to find a new family from the moment you drop it off? …..that means the 1st couple days when he/she is the most stressed, sad & confused, he better suck it up & put on a smile for ppl looking to adopt! Or else…..

And often dogs are scared & do not respond well to ppl talking @ them in kennels; & they often are still holding their pee/poo for the 1st few days waiting on a walk… so ppl dont think they act very “adoptable”, misunderstanding the poor dog & all the stress they are going thru!!

IN SOME STATES, owner surrendered pets can be euthanized rt away!!!!! (1 lady changed her mind & went back 20min. later & it was too late!)

Some states’ shelters also ONLY have 2-4 days HOLD for strays, they are so full, they barely have enough time for legit ppl looking for their lost dog to find them before they are euthanized!!!

Sometimes a little longer — if the shelter isn’t full… & if your dog/cat manages to stay completely healthy — in a germy place where that is almost impossible to do! ………. BUT if it sniffles, it is euthanized!!

Your pet will be confined to a small kennel in a room with other barking & crying animals. It will have to relieve itself where it eats & sleeps. It will be depressed & will cry constantly for you. If your pet is lucky, there will be enough volunteers in that day to take him/her for 1 short walk. If not, your pet won’t get any attention besides having a bowl of food slid under the kennel door & the waste sprayed out of it’s pen w/ a high-powered hose. Most dogs are too stressed to eat, too uncomfortable holding their potty, & too scared when ppl approach them…. or desperate for any attention, neither of which is a healthy, happy mindset…

If your dog is big, black or any of the “bully” breeds (or misunderstood, sensitive aloof breeds), it is pretty much a dead dog walking from the second you walked it thru the door! (Pit Bull, Rottie, Mastiff, chow, akita, etc)

If your cat is scared & doesn’t act ‘friendly’ enough, or if it catches a cold (which most of them do), it will be euthanized. Those dogs & cats just don’t get adopted. In most cases, it doesn’t matter how ‘sweet’ or ‘well behaved’ they are. If your pet doesn’t get adopted within it’s short time frame allotted – if any time is given at all! … & esp if the shelter is full, it will be KILLED! If the shelter isn’t full & your pet is ‘good’ enough, & of a ‘desirable’ enough breed, it MIGHT get an extension of execution, but not for long.

Most dogs get very stressed from staying in a kennel after about a week & are KILLED b/c ppl misunderstand them as ‘showing aggression’. Even the sweetest dogs will turn in this stressful environment!!!

If your pet makes it over ALL of those hurdles, chances are it will get kennel cough or an upper respiratory infection & will be KILLED because the shelter gets paid a fee to euthanize each animal & making money is better than spending money to take this animal to the vet.

Here’s a little Euthanasia 101 for those of you who have never witnessed a perfectly healthy, scared animal being KILLED:

First, your pet will be taken from its kennel on a leash — or handled forcefully on a catch pole, often they are terrified & bite @ the pole, causing bleeding, ripping gum from their jaw, breaking teeth, etc. Or many of them look relieved, actually happy, wagging their tail, like they are finally getting out of a cage & going for a walk…

Until they get to “The Room”…. where they can smell fear & death!!!

EVERY ONE of them freaks out & puts on the brakes when they get to the door. They shut down, they are petrified, desperate to live! (Like they trusted someone to walk them & feel betrayed that the person is killing them instead! This goes against their social nature! It breaks their spirit — like it wasn’t broken enough already by being betrayed by the ppl who dumped him here… By sitting in a cage for days… )

Your dog or cat will be restrained, held down by a couple shelter workers, depending on the size & how terrified they are. Then a shelter worker who we call a “euthanasia tech” (often UNtrained, & certainly NOT a vet!) “finds” a vein in the front leg & injects a lethal dose of the “pink stuff”. Often just enough to kill them is injected, & they lay there for hours, dying in agony alone… Some dogs have been put into the freezer STILL alive & dying slowly alone in agony…

The vein is hard to find on a writhing panic-stricken dog, especially from an UNtrained person, so often this is a painful ordeal of being stuck many times over the course of hours!! And needles rip out of the leg & blood is everywhere & the dog is screaming in pain & fear!!!!!

Shelters do NOT have to have a vet perform their euthanasia procedures. Oftentimes, they are UNtrained personnel administering lethal injections!! So… that employee may take 50 pokes w/ the same needle & 3 hours to get inside the vein!!! …. All the while, YOUR pet is in agony!

And once that horror is done, they don’t just “go to sleep”, they spasm for several minutes, gasp for breath & defecate on themselves.

SOME shelters use HEART STICK, which is injecting direct into the heart. To save money, they often cut corners & DONT stick the dog w/ sedative 1st! Since the dog is in a panic, they often miss & painfully stick other organs!!

Other states still have GASSING shelters! Where dogs are overcrowded into ovens, & to save money, barely enough gas is used on as many dogs as possible at a time… They paw, scratch, bite, panic & are desperate to breathe & live. Big dogs are often STILL alive @ the end of the horror & have to go thru it a 2nd time!!! It can take up to an hour for some to die!

Shelters are trying to make money to pay employee pay checks & there’s the board of directors, who need to be paid too!

Consequently, corners are cut, & we don’t spend our funds to tranquilize the animal before injecting them w/ the lethal drug, we just put the burning lethal drug in their vein & let them suffer until dead.

If it were not a business for profit, we’d do it humanely & hire a licensed vet to do this procedure. That way, the animal would be sedated or tranquilized & THEN euthanized.

But to do this procedure correctly would only cost more money… so we don’t necessarily do what is right for the animal, we do what’s “expedient” (tho it actually takes longer to KILL them, since they are writhing in pain) so we can continue to make a buck!

In the end, your pet’s corpse will be stacked like firewood in a large freezer, usually in the back of the building w/ all of the other animals that were killed. They will lay there (remember some are still sying in the freezer) until being picked up like garbage……

What happens next? Cremated? Taken to the dump? Minced into pet food by-product & fillers? Or used for schools or labs to dissect & experiment on? You’ll never know & it probably won’t even cross your mind. After all, it was just an animal & you can always buy another one, right?!

I hope that those of you who still have a beating heart & have read this are bawling your eyes out & can’t get the pictures out of your head. I deal w/ this everyday. I hate my job, I hate that it exists & I hate that it will always be there …. unless YOU people make changes & start educating yourselves, your children, the public!!!! Do the research, do your homework, & know exactly what you are getting into before getting a pet!!!! These shelters & humane societies exist because people just do not care about animals anymore!!!

Animals were NOT intended to be disposable but b/c of ppl’s selfishness & ignorance, that is what they’ve become!