Thursday, August 20, 2009

Animal "Pounds" - The Conspiracy

I hate to hear an animal shelter referred to as a "pound". I hate to hear Animal Control Officers referred to as "dog catchers". Just like I hate the deceitful term "no kill". And let's not forget the best one of all, "high kill shelter". Let me give you my take on this. Here are the players.

We have the humane community, aka "rescues". What defines that term in the ears of the general public? The public's perception is people taking animals off the euthanasia table at the shelters or putting themselves at risk to "rescue" a drowning dog in a storm drain. Yes, there are some "rescues" that do take the high euthanization risk pets from the shelters. Yes, there are some that take the sick, injured, and old pets from the shelters. And there are some that do put resources and take risk to "rescue". These rescues have earned the use of the term "rescue" and I do applaud them. I don't hesitate to call them rescuers because they truly are.

Then we have the "adoption" groups who call themselves "rescues". These are the ones who, if they even go to a shelter, cherry pick for purebreds or cute, cuddly that in their minds are the adoptable ones. This also leads to the double standard in the entire industry of what is adoptable. Shelters are given one definition for adoptable and these adoption groups have their own definition. When the shelter can't adopt their "adoptable" ones, these adoption groups complain and call them "kill shelters".

Adoption groups get the best of the best anyway. They are called by owners wanting to "get rid of" their pets and their phones don't stop. Many owners do try to place their pets with a "no kill" "rescue" group first. So a few questions later and a request for a donation, the adoption group decides whether they want the pet. If they don't want it, what happens for the owner then, what choice does the owner have? Either dump the pet or take it to the public shelter, the "kill" shelter. Hard choice, huh? So we end up with strays because the adoption groups want to continue to give the public a bad impression of the shelters by calling them "kill" shelters.

Here's where the conspiracy part comes in. All these negative terms used against animal control shelters only lead to more euthanasia because it is driving away potential homes. Who wants to go somewhere that "kills" animals? But would it be different if the public were told that some animals are "put to sleep" or euthanized? This has a different meaning to the public than using the term "kill". And criticism only drives the public away.

And where does the public end up? At the "rescues", of course. The "rescues" have actually given their competition a bad name and they are the beneficiaries. Much nicer to go to Petsmart than to a shelter. Don't have to worry about seeing cruelty, hateful staff, and barrels of dead animals. These"rescues" are the problem, a big problem. Rather these adoption groups, because like I said at the beginning there are groups that earn the title, are deliberately condemning the shelters for their own personal agendas.

The shelters end up with these adoption groups' rejects is what it comes down to. And these adoption groups are shameless with their complaints about euthanizing when the dead are those they turned away under the guise of the term "no kill". The blood of the shelter animals actually lies on their hands, not the poor employees that have to do their dirty work.

I get really pissed off at this subject. It's one thing to undermine your competition if you are in the restaurant business but this quite another when lives are lost. The use of all these terms is a conspiracy to further personal agendas, the Savior complex usually, and drive people away from the shelters and into their hands. Not all shelters are the same but those who deserve respect should have it.


Anonymous said...

As a shelter worker who is called a killer on a regular basis, all I can say is THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HonestyHelps said...

Oh no, Thank You for being there. For having the strength that I don't have. None of us want to see good animals go down but what is the alternative? "No Kill" certainly isn't. Not as long as shelters are called "pounds" and the public is told how evil they are, will we solve this problem. I want regulation of "rescues". I feel they should only be allowed to take animals from the shelters. Just think, at a California shelter you have to prove ownership to surrender or get your pet back. "Rescues" don't do this. So if a pissed off boyfriend wants to hurt his ex, he steals the dog and takes it to a "rescue". Just shove a donation in their face and the dog is gone, no way to trace it. Just one little thing that I would like to see "fixed". But I know that criticism doesn't help shelter animals, it hurts them, and that hurts the people who work with them. I say don't air dirty laundry in public when it comes to animal shelters.

Anonymous said...

What you have written is very eloquent and the truth.

There is a need for true open admission shelters, and even if spay neuter rates go up, there always will be.

(No Kill shelters are NOT true open admission shelters. Period.)

Open admission shelters serve a service to the public. For example, many people who have a very sick or dying pet cannot afford the outrageous prices that veterinarians charge for euthanasia, and open admission shelters perform that service for the lower income citizen.

Open admission shelters take all pets, including the disturbed and aggressive pet that simply is not placeable and is a danger. Euthanasia is the most compassionate answer, because placing a dangerous dog (or biting cat) means that pet will only get abandoned later (or have terrible things done to it) when the inevitable bite occurs.

Refusing to take animals, and leaving animals on the street to die or refusing admittance so that some owners can then shoot or inhumanely kill the animal, is NOT acceptable, and is going backwards. But that is what No Kill shelters do.

It was a tough fight just to get many people to bring their unwanted pets to a shelter instead of dumping them to starve in the woods, etc. But now No Kill has us going back to those terrible days of inhumanity and cruelty.

No Kill has become nothing more than a profit center for some, and that is why they call true open admission shelters "kill" shelters. Just as you said, No Kill wants to steal away the donations. By maligning and lying about what they think of as their "competition."

How evil is that? It takes an uncivilized, hateful, reality-challenged person to push that attitude.

HonestyHelps said...

Anon, that was much more eloquent than what I wrote. And oh so true, we have gone backwards with the "No Kill" movement. The Whino and his Whinonettes can't recognize this because they don't have enough experience to know the difference. Just like they think the Hayden Act in CA is a good thing when in fact it kills more adoptable animals than before. When this well intentioned but poorly written law all along was responsible for more euthanization, these people can't see that. The mandate was just repealed and that mandate paid the shelters for those animals euthanized, rather than paying for adopting out animals. If you are a shelter with a poor budget, what would you do to pay for the additional expenses created by the Hayden? You euthanize. This law caused shelters in CA to stagnate. And not once did the authors of this law consult with animal control to learn what the results could be. We are not in a war with animal control, we are in a war with the public. Nathan Winograd has made it a war with animal control rather than embracing animal control and trying to help.