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Guest Dabeagle

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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 whom 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 wasnt 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!

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Radio "shock jock" Howard Stern, who can be extremely obnoxious at times, has a very soft spot for animals and has donated often and promoted the cause of animal rescue. He's railed against people who have a pet for a few years, then when they have to move, just arbitrarily dump the poor pet off at the city humane society. I agree with Stern: how could anybody abandon a member of their family that they've known for years and years?

I don't have a problem with somebody who has to move out of the country and can't take their pets with them, so they go off and find new homes for them. That happens. But abandoning them is unthinkable to me.

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People should be more like my parents. Every one of the 13 times we moved, my parents made sure to find my dogs a good home on a quiet farm with lots of butterflies to chase.

But seriously though, I've been looking to get a dog for 10 years now and never went out and actually got one because I knew I didn't have a stable enough living arrangement to care for a pet.

Another thing that gets me is when a movie like Finding Nemo comes out that is all about Nemo being trapped in an aquarium away from his family and parents respond by buying Nemos for their kids.

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We got Katy, a Siamese blue point, as a kitten. At three years old she vanished for several days, then arrived back with a glint in her eye, licking her paws. Sadly, she's gone, but two of her kittens are still shambling around on zimmer frames, bless their cotton socks. :smile: The fact is: they are just as important a part of the family as any human.

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Another thing that gets me is when a movie like Finding Nemo comes out that is all about Nemo being trapped in an aquarium away from his family and parents respond by buying Nemos for their kids.

Doh! I hadn't thought of that. I can tell you that many years before that, people saw 101 Dalmations and would run out and buy a Dalmation for their kid, then eventually wind up giving the dog away once they figured out how much trouble it is to take care of a dog. You have to make a real commitment when a pet comes into your life -- not just for food and shelter, but also spending time with it, playing around, and all that stuff.

We got Katy, a Siamese blue point, as a kitten. ...The fact is: they are just as important a part of the family as any human.

Absolutely. For the first 40 years of my life, all I ever had as pets were Siamese cats, usually chocolate point. Beautiful cats -- but also very finicky, very neurotic, and very loud. At the moment, we have a Russian blue mix, and she's a beautiful cat... but totally crazy. I'm not sure if it's me or just luck.

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I got my first cat when I was 5 years old. I chose him from a litter of kittens because he was the one who ran towards me. I loved him and he loved me. I nursed him to his final departure some 16 years later...he purred until his final breath escaped him.

So has been the story with all five of our cats. All lived with us as members of our family until at least 17 years though one lived till she was 20. We sacrificed taking vacations together so that one of us would be home to be with the cat/s.

Until recently we were uncertain of how long we would be able to live in our own home. During that time I became aware of how rare it was for landlords to allow pets in rented accommodation. On average I'd say if you rent a flat, house or an apartment, you have a one in ten chance of being permitted to have a pet, whether it be a cat, dog or a goldfish.

When I read the above post on the treatment of abandoned animals, which I have long known, I become even less impressed with my fellow human beings.

Sufficient research and dare I say, common experience, has shown that the lives of both humans and the animal are enriched, showing health benefits for both, when they bond with each other in a loving, caring relationship. Yet we still find homes for the aged, who do not allow even a house pet for the elderly to pat.

It seems to me that aged people and pets can be unwanted, but perhaps even worse, we see so little regard for the lives of the elderly, the lonely, and animals, when they are abandoned to the misery of their predicaments, and when they could in fact be a comfort to each other if pets were allowed.

Sure there are circumstances that affect keeping the pet, and we have waited until we could be assured of keeping our home before we embark on finding a new cat who will let us live with him. I am pleased to say that we have now consolidated our finances and will be able to keep our home, but what do we do about getting the cat? We are both no longer young twinks, and I am near 70. Fortunately, we are in good health, so we have decided that as soon as we have given the bedrooms a coat of paint, we'll see about saving an older cat from the horrors described above. We'll live out our retirement together, as humans and their faithful animal companions should.

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As I reported in my blog, we have adopted a 4 year old cat....with an attitude from hell. He's only nice to us when he wants to be fed. He'll stare us down if we are sitting in the chair that he wants to sleep on. If his plate is empty he will bite our ankles until we fill up all three of his plates.

We've had him checked by the vet and spent a small fortune from our pension on toys, flea medicine and laxatives.

We think that he was taken from his mother at too early an age, and we know that the previous owner used to put him in a kennel when she went on vacation.

Despite all of the problems, we would never abandon him, and now after a year and a half he is showing signs of affection to his staff (that's us).

We have made arrangements with our neighbour in case anything should happen to us, and she will look after him with love.

The vet told him that he's a very lucky cat.

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Almost six years ago some odious cretin abandoned a tiny black kitten on my front porch. My first reaction was to dash to the supermarket for food and litter. And so the Lady Artemis came to take charge of my household and she has managed it with calm efficiency to date; a year ago a friend begged me to adopt another kitten and so the Lady Beatrice moved in. Yesterday, when I was taking out the trash, the Lady Beatrice accompanied me and I'd swear she was dancing the whole way. She wasn't in pursuit of anything, she was just hopping, and jumping and dancing along with the trash can and I. She made my day.

She and Artemis aren't exactly cordial, but relations appear to be thawing. It used to be that one slept on either side of me, but lately they've both been on the same side of me and there's been no growling or nastiness.

I've loved cats, and dogs, and horses in my life and I think they've loved me. I know my life has been the fuller because of them.

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