Letter from a shelter manager posted on Craigslist - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-24-2013, 03:31 PM Thread Starter
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Letter from a shelter manager posted on Craigslist

I found this on my local Craigslist under "Pets". I hated reading this. I hate that this happens but the reality is that it does. God bless those that work the awful jobs in the shelters.

Letter from a Shelter Manager (Please read)

The shelter manager's letter:

"I am posting this (and it is long) because I think 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.
Maybe if you saw the life drain from a few sad, lost, confused eyes, you would change your mind about breeding and selling to people you don't even know - that puppy you just sold will most likely end up in my shelter when it's not a cute little puppy anymore.

How would you feel if you knew that there's about a 90% chance that dog will never walk out of the shelter it is going to be dumped at - purebred or not! About 50% of all of the dogs that are "owner surrenders" or "strays" that come into my shelter are purebred dogs.

No shortage of excuses
The most common excuses I hear are:

We are moving and we can't take our dog (or cat).
Really? Where are you moving to that doesn't allow pets?

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 and still have time for my 6 dogs!

She's tearing up our yard.
How about bringing her inside, making her a part of your family?

They always tell me:
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 won't get adopted, and how stressful do you think being in a shelter is?

Well, let me tell you. Dead pet walking!

Your pet has 72 hours to find a new family from the moment you drop it off, sometimes a little longer if the shelter isn't full and your dog manages to stay completely healthy.
If it sniffles, it dies.

Your pet will be confined to a small run / kennel in a room with about 25 other barking or crying animals. It will have to relieve itself where it eats and sleeps. It will be depressed and it will cry constantly for the family that abandoned it.
If your pet is lucky, I will have enough volunteers that day to take him / her for a walk. If I don't, your pet won't get any attention besides having a bowl of food slid under the kennel door and the waste sprayed out of its pen with a high-powered hose.
If your dog is big, black or any of the "bully" breeds (pit bull, rottweiler, mastiff, etc) it was pretty much dead when you walked it through the front door. Those dogs just don't get adopted.
If your dog doesn't get adopted within its 72 hours and the shelter is full, it will be destroyed.

If the shelter isn't full and your dog is good enough, and of a desirable enough breed, it may get a stay of execution, though not for long. Most pets get very kennel protective after about a week and are destroyed for showing aggression. Even the sweetest dogs will turn in this environment.
If your pet makes it over all of those hurdles, chances are it will get kennel cough or an upper respiratory infection and will be destroyed because shelters just don't have the funds to pay for even a $100 treatment.

The grim reaper
Here's a little euthanasia 101 for those of you that have never witnessed a perfectly healthy, scared animal being "put-down".
First, your pet will be taken from its kennel on a leash. They always look like they think they are going for a walk - happy, wagging their tails. That is, until they get to "The Room".

Every one of them freaks out and puts on the breaks when we get to the door. It must smell like death, or they can feel the sad souls that are left in there. It's strange, but it happens with every one of them. Your dog or cat will be restrained, held down by 1 or 2 vet techs (depending on their size and how freaked out they are). A euthanasia tech or a vet will start the process. They find a vein in the front leg and inject a lethal dose of the "pink stuff". Hopefully your pet doesn't panic from being restrained and jerk it's leg. I've seen the needles tear out of a leg and been covered with the resulting blood, and been deafened by the yelps and screams.

They all don't just "go to sleep" - sometimes they spasm for a while, gasp for air and defecate on themselves.
When it all ends, your pet's corpse will be stacked like firewood in a large freezer in the back, with all of the other animals that were killed, waiting to be picked up like garbage.

What happens next? Cremated? Taken to the dump? Rendered into pet food? You'll never know, and it probably won't even cross your mind. It was just an animal, and you can always buy another one, right?

Liberty, freedom and justice for all
I hope that those of you that have read this are bawling your eyes out and can't get the pictures out of your head. I do everyday on the way home from work. I hate my job, I hate that it exists and I hate that it will always be there unless people make some changes and realize that the lives you are affecting go much farther than the pets you dump at a shelter.

Between 9 and 11 MILLION animals die every year in shelters and only you can stop it. I do my best to save every life I can but rescues are always full, and there are more animals coming in everyday than there are homes.
My point to all of this is DON'T BREED OR BUY WHILE SHELTER PETS DIE!

Hate me if you want to - the truth hurts and reality is what it is.
I just hope I maybe changed one person's mind about breeding their dog, taking their loving pet to a shelter, or buying a dog. I hope that someone will walk into my shelter and say "I saw this thing on craigslist and it made me want to adopt".
That would make it all worth it."

Cat owners' prayer: "Lord help me be the person my cat thinks I am"
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-24-2013, 03:47 PM
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Thanks for making me cry!

It makes me so angry when people buy "designer" dogs or purebreds from pet stores. Honestly, I don't see what all the big fuss is about. I would much rather have a mixed animal that will give me love and attention because I chose it from all of the other animals in the shelter, not the animal that I choose because it is the cutest one at the pet store or because it will look great in handbag. More than being angry at the people who buy those dogs at the pet stores, I detest people who breed dogs and cats for money without caring about the animal. Puppy mills are the worst. The only "purebred" animals we have owned (and I put purebred in quotes because I am not sure if one of them was) were animals we adopted from people who didn't want them anymore or strays.

When I was little we had an English bull dog that a guy's new wife didn't want because it was mean to her ferrets. Ferrets?? REALLY? They were going to take Winston to the shelter where he would probably not have lasted because he was kind of mean and a bull dog. (he was pure bred)

Then we got Miss Kitty, a himalayan, who was only used for breeding and the lady we got her from (an old gym teacher of mine from middle school) didn't want her because they had just gotten a skunk.. Yes, a skunk. Miss Kitty lived to be about 14-16 and died this past spring living a healthy and loving life. She probably would have been put down at the shelter too because she wasn't a lap cat and was very peculiar.

The third purebred (he is the one I am not sure of being purebred) was a bull mastiff. He walked up to my dad in the city and jumped in the back of his truck and my dad instantly fell in love with him. He went to the store and bought some dog food and Brutus was ours from that day. I still miss that guy. He was the best dog in the entire world. His owners left him to die. When he walked up to my dad he weighed about 30lbs, when his normal weight was supposed to be 110lbs. We took him in and although he never got to the size he should have been due to malnourishment, he lived to be about 8 years old. We had to put him down due to kidney failure. That was the only time I have ever seen my dad cry.

Having those "unwanted" animals in my life have given me some of the best memories I will ever remember. I feel sorry for the person who doesn't have the compassion to keep an animal that has brought so much joy to their lives, but I am so grateful that we got to rescue three animals who didn't have a chance.

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-24-2013, 03:50 PM
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I hated every word of this - especially the parts that I know are all too true but I doubt that this was 100% honest.

For example, when animals die they normally defecate - it's nature - we do too. This would be enough to put someone off ever having any animal put to sleep and sometimes it is the right thing to do. The last time I had an animal die in my arms was my beloved old Trixie. Of course that happened! It shouldn't be turned into a horror story for those who abandon their animals but should be something we all recognize.

I also have to say (and maybe this is because of location or my cowardice) I have never, ever visited a shelter this grim.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-24-2013, 03:56 PM
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I adopted Oreo, a 6 year old cat. I think she missed her former owners. They took her to the shelter because they were moving across the country. She's slowly coming out of her shell.

Last edited by marie73; 01-24-2013 at 04:18 PM.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-24-2013, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by BigDaveyL View Post
I adopted Oreo, a 6 year old cat. I think she missed her former owners. They took her to the shelter because they were moving across the country. She's slowly coming out of her shell.
I think that is the absolute worst reason to give your animal up. If I ever move back home, across country, you bet I will be taking my Moosey with me.

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-24-2013, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Arianwen View Post
I also have to say (and maybe this is because of location or my cowardice) I have never, ever visited a shelter this grim.
I agree. But I think a lot of what happens behind closed doors the public doesn't know about and/or turns a blind eye to.

This person likely lives in the many areas, and sometimes entire States, where animal surrender rate is very high while adoption is rate lower due to the economy tanking.

A lot of dogs from California, for example, are being pulled from shelters there all the time and shipped all over the States and parts of Canada. The dogs are young, sometimes purebred, wonderful temperaments... but they're not getting adopted.

This story remind me of the story My name is Sam. Very sad.

Along with the dogs Tara and Coco.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-24-2013, 04:09 PM
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I worked at a shelter before and almost everything she said it true. Now the one I was at was no-kill but it was pretty much the same. They get very little contact other then to be fed... usually staff are kept two busy to walk dogs/visit cats and when you are caught it is highly discouraged as you must not be busy so they assign you more tasks. I usually got around this and walked dogs/groomed cats any free moment I had... even on lunches. As for intakes, it was brutal. If it was full, large breed dogs would be confined to a way too small crate(not even a run) where it pretty much had to poop in it's food dish (this was the case most of the time) as there was no room. Cats were held far too long where a lot of them because aggressive due to being locked up in a small cage and the only contact they had was when they were examined or their cage had to be cleaned. Most cats were held sometimes for up to a year for very little reason... and in that time they ended up getting sick/mean because of the poor conditions. It was a horrible place and I would rather euthenize my animals and send them to prison.

This is why I can't look on kijiji (canadian criag's list). It infuriates me how many byb are on there... cat and dog. These people are in it for a quick buck and don't even like animals or else they wouldn't be doing it. Beeding should be illegal. There are too many animals that are killed for no reason due to irresponsible idiots.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-24-2013, 04:10 PM
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Couldn't face any more tears tonight, Carmel, so I'm afraid I chickened out.

I do know intimately a cat shelter and a horse rescue (and a dog rescue reasonably well) and I am very glad that this awful horror is beyond my experience. I have seen many neglected animals - conditions on the local commons for horses have deteriorated badly in my lifetime - but have not for an awfully long time found something this dire in the locality.

I simpl;y count myself (and the local animals) lucky.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-24-2013, 04:20 PM
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This hit close to home for me because when I met Zephyr at the shelter, he was about half an hour from being put to sleep. I signed the adoption paperwork only a few minutes before he otherwise would have died.

He'd only been at the shelter for five days, but so many people were dumping their unwanted kittens that he had run out of time.

The people who dropped off his litter said they had tried to find homes for the kittens and were unable. The shelter workers told me they do this 2-3 times a year when their unspayed cat has litters. So do a lot of other people.

Originally Posted by grrawritsjordi View Post
I think that is the absolute worst reason to give your animal up. If I ever move back home, across country, you bet I will be taking my Moosey with me.
The moving thing gets me, too.

Now, I'm not trying to say a person could never legitimately get in a situation where they are forced to move and are unable to take their pet. (Although rehoming to friends is much better than leaving the pet at a shelter.) I'm just saying that the circumstances where there's truly no other choice are few and far between, but the excuse is used very, very commonly.

I think most of the time it is just that - an excuse when they just don't want to bother.

For the record, I moved across national borders with my cats during rather difficult personal circumstances, so I'm not saying this as someone who has never been put in this position.

The Boys: Maisie, Zephyr, and Cullen.

Last edited by Blakeney Green; 01-24-2013 at 04:24 PM.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-24-2013, 04:28 PM
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A friend of mine has recently moved back to the UK from South Africa and all her animals (I think it is 12 cats and 4 dogs) are being flown here. Another friend hadd to leave Egypt in something of a hurry but still got homes for all her cats and her horses before leaving.
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