The Plight of Animal Shelters, Rescues and Homeless Animals

The Japan Animal Rescue shelter in Samukawa houses about 200 dogs and cats, most of them brought in from the now off-limits area around the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

I have written several articles on postings related to Reform in America. A list of links have been provided at bottom of this article for your convenience. This article will, however address additional areas rife for reform.

Cowering under parked pick-up trucks, slinking through weeds at the side of the road, or staring out of cinderblock cages …. They’re everywhere and yet invisible. In America there are millions of them, and in other countries the numbers are even worse: homeless, lost or abandoned dogs and cats.

How is it in our modern society where billions of dollars are spent each year on such things as doggie daycare, pet strollers, neon claw polish, organic pet food, and designer collars that there is such an appalling flipside to the same coin?

The Humane Society of the United States estimates that 4 million dogs and cats will be “euthanized” this year in American animal control facilities. Due to the efforts of animal welfare groups and individuals, there has been tremendous progress made in the last decade or so, bringing that figure down from 20 million in the 1990s. But obviously much work remains to be done.  Why are we still allowing pet stores on Main Street to sell puppies and kittens, when the county is spending our tax dollars to kill puppies and kittens on the next street over? Why are dog and cat breeders filling their backyard kennels with litter after litter, when EVERY breed of dog or cat is already available at an animal shelter or rescue group nearby and desperate for a home? Clearly, a realignment of priorities is needed.

The number of homeless animals is increasing by the day, especially since the pandemic began. Pets are either abandoned in rural areas or on the streets, left alone in empty homes, or given to animal shelters.

Causes, consequences and effects of animal homelessness

Due to lockdowns and working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, a large rise in the number of people purchasing pets has been observed. But once individuals begin to go back to work and discover that they do not have enough time for their pets or are simply no longer as interested in them, they resell their pets, or give them to shelters or surrender them to pounds, or regrettably for some, abandon them on the streets.

A dog is abandoned on the road by a irresponsible, cruel owner (istockphoto-1149259962-612×612.jpg Photo from “18,553 Abandoned Dog Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images – iStock”)

Pet abandonment has long-lasting effects on the animals involved as well as the surrounding neighborhood. When left outside, abandoned dogs and cats are left to fend for themselves and may experience hunger, thirst, injuries, and illnesses. Due to the fact that their owner has abandoned them alone in a strange location, they may also feel puzzled and distressed.

Pet abandonment is a crime that carries a penalty in many nations that includes a fine and imprisonment. A number of countries already have animal welfare laws.

Homeless animals also arise from people’s refusal to spay and neuter their animal friends, enabling them to add more animals to a world where there are already more dogs and cats than there are loving homes for them. Some were left behind when their guardians moved and left them behind, or they were dumped by the side of the road when their guardians could no longer care for them or just didn’t want them anymore.

Many of the homeless animals are the offspring of abandoned animals. More and more animals are finding themselves on the streets, where they procreate and generate even more homeless animals. An increasing number of animal shelters have started to stop accepting animals due to lack of space and funds.

Dogs and cats are domesticated animals that are unable to survive for very long on their own and are dependent on people to provide their needs for food, water, veterinary care, housing, and safety.

A sad, abandoned dog. (Photo from “21,047 Abandoned Dog Photos – Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from Dreamstime”)

Pet abandonment nearly invariably results in tragedy. Street-dwelling dogs and cats are more likely to get hit by cars, be the target of vicious attacks from other animals and people, and catch, disseminate, deal with, and eventually pass away from contagious diseases. Simple illnesses that are left untreated can develop into fatal infections, and both internal and external parasites literally devour them.

While some animals are taken in by animal shelters, the government, or people who find them, many are not so fortunate and are left to live on the streets in perpetual terror and be left to fend for themselves. This almost usually results in the death of pups and kittens who are not weaned properly at the time of abandonment. Animals that are wandering the streets are thirsty, hungry, and exposed to harsh weather. They will eventually get sick and die if they don’t have access to food, shelter, and veterinary treatment.

When animals are abandoned, those who are not neutered add to stray animal overpopulation since their children will be born into a life of begging on the streets.

The heavy burden of animal shelters

Animal caretakers in both the public and private sectors may experience financial strain as a result of surrendered and abandoned animals. Organizations that care for animals, such as animal shelters and rescue groups, frequently struggle to make ends meet. They typically do not get any government funds and are dependent on contributions to provide the essential treatment for unwanted animals, although this load has escalated as a result of individuals discarding their animals during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Stray cats during feed-a-homeless animal project of Save ALL – Save Animals of Love and Light Inc.

In addition to the financial aspect, many shelters eventually hit their limit in terms of the number of animals they can take in.

Those surrendered to government pounds are either killed or go hungry because the local government units have not allotted sufficient funds for food for impounded dogs and cats.

Solving the problem of animal homelessness

The overabundance of companion animals might be overwhelming, but the good news is that spaying and neutering can completely prevent the suffering and demise of homeless animals. Despite advice and pleas from charitable organizations, veterinarians, animal shelters, and an increasing number of free and low-cost spay/neuter clinics, many people continue to neglect to perform this commonplace, life-saving medical treatment on their animal friends. It is at this point that we see a dire need for a more rigorous information drive on this matter for more people to be convinced about it.

In order to combat the homeless animal epidemic, several localities impose substantial breeder’s fees on anyone who opts not to spay or neuter their pets. The number of animals seen roaming has been significantly reduced in areas with such regulations, according to reports.

Those who care must advocate for municipal regulations that will oblige pet guardians to stop breeding additional dogs and cats when so many are already literally on the verge of euthanasia since many individuals won’t act morally unless the government forces them to.

Such a sad face which is common among homeless animals. This stray cat’s fur is also dry which means he or she is dehydrated. He/she needs water and wet cat food. This cat needs a visit to the vet to find out if he/she needs extra care or medical treatment. Save ALL file photo

Those who care must advocate for municipal regulations that will oblige pet guardians to stop breeding additional dogs and cats when so many are already literally on the verge of euthanasia since many individuals won’t act morally unless the government forces them to.

If it happens that rehoming your pet is unavoidable, you should look for a responsible, loving, and long-term home. A smart spot to start your search for a new home can be your friends and relatives. If you’re considering posting a rehoming ad online, proceed with caution at all times. If you do, be sure to interview potential pet parents thoroughly to make sure they are providing the best environment for their pets, thus they can take good care of another pet.

Contacting a reputable shelter or animal rescue group to see if they can accept your pet for rehoming is a preferable option. Trained personnel will be able to care for your pet until a new owner is found to adopt your pet.

Kittens at shelter

Cats and dogs depend on humans for their everyday needs – food, water, shelter, veterinary care, love, and more. Yet thousands of animals across the UK have no guardian to care for them, let alone a warm, comfortable place to curl up at night. Many suffer and die on the streets or have to be euthanised for lack of good homes. Animal homelessness is a complex crisis, but the solution is simple: adopt animals from shelters or the streets instead of buying them from breeders or pet shops, and prevent unwanted animals from being born by always having your companion animals spayed or neutered.

Too Many Animals, Too Few Good Homes

At any given time, there are an estimated 100,000 dogs – and countless cats – without homes in the UK. Left to fend for themselves on the streets, cats and dogs often suffer and die after getting hit by cars, being attacked by other animals, succumbing to extreme temperatures, starving, contracting contagious diseases, and facing other dangers. Many stray animals are poisoned, shot, mutilated, tortured, set on fire, or killed in other cruel ways.

Animals are often abandoned by the people they depend on to care for them. For example, two dogs were found huddled together near a river in Tottenham Marshes, London, after apparently being dumped there. Both of them were extremely thin, and one of them, who was elderly, could barely walk. Another dog was found tethered to a fence in Bramley, Leeds, on New Year’s Day having apparently been left there overnight in freezing temperatures while fireworks were being set off nearby. The dog was so terrified that he was shaking and had wet himself.

Open-admission shelters accept every animal in need, caring for them and keeping them safe, warm, fed, and loved. But because there are so many homeless animals and not enough good homes for them all, many have to be euthanised – a procedure that’s fast and painless for animals but heartbreaking for the caring shelter workers who must perform it.

Homeless dog waits in shelter

Who’s to Blame?

Why are so many animals homeless? Breeders and pet trade are major contributors to this crisis because they bring more puppies and kittens into a world that doesn’t have enough good homes for all the animals who already exist. Puppy and kitten mills – which supply animals to pet shops – churn out litter after litter, and many of the dogs and cats bred by breeders will either become homeless themselves or fill homes that could have gone to animals waiting in shelters. Puppies and kittens bought from breeders or pet shops are often taken away from their mother at just a few weeks old, leaving them sickly, traumatised, and unsocialised. This can lead to physical and mental health issues that many people are unable or unwilling to deal with.

In April 2020, a law came into force in England banning third-party commercial sales of puppies and kittens under 6 months of age. If it’s strictly enforced, “Lucy’s Law” will put puppy and kitten mills and other commercial breeders out of business. Unlicensed breeders and licensed ones who can’t show puppies and kittens interacting with their mother now face fines or prison sentences.

Cat Breeding Diagram

People who don’t have their animal companions spayed or neutered are also to blame for animal homelessness. Some may think that letting a cat or dog have “just one litter” isn’t a big deal, but that “one litter” can quickly lead to hundreds or even thousands of animals if the offspring from that litter go on to have kittens or puppies of their own, and so on.

Many people acquire animals on a whim or give them as “gifts” without considering the lifetime commitment that’s involved. When people discover that caring for an animal requires more effort, money, time, and patience than they expected, they often turn their backs on their loyal companions.

People who acquire animals in response to a “fad” often dump them just as quickly after the craze fades. In recent years, there has been a spike in the number of huskies being abandoned or handed over to shelters, which experts attribute to increased demand for the breed because of its physical similarities to the direwolves from Game of Thrones. Blue Cross adoption centres saw a137% increase in the number of miniature breeds given up between 2008 and 2013 as people tried to imitate celebrities who were seen carrying tiny dogs in their handbags.

Staffordshire bull terriers, Rottweilers, Akitas, and other breeds often acquired as macho status symbols are frequently abandoned after they become too aggressive to handle. And sadly, many animals are overlooked or abandoned simply for being the “wrong” colour: Blue Cross reported a 65% rise in the number of black cats they took in each year between 2007 and 2013, speculating that the increase was because black cats don’t show up as well in selfies.

Remember: always adopt – never shop.

Hope for Homeless Animals

The simplest, most important, and most effective way to spare cats and dogs all this suffering is to prevent more unwanted animals from being born by making sure that animals are spayed or neutered.

Every animal who is sterilised prevents potentially hundreds of thousands more from being born only to suffer and die on the streets, be abused by cruel or neglectful people, or be euthanised for lack of loving homes. Without spaying, one female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies in just six years. In seven years, one female cat and her offspring can produce a staggering 370,000 kittens!

Spaying and neutering are routine, affordable surgeries that improve animals’ health: spaying avoids the stress and discomfort that females endure during heat periods, eliminates the risk of uterine cancer, and greatly reduces the risk of mammary cancer. Neutering makes males far less likely to roam or fight, prevents testicular cancer, and reduces the risk of prostate cancer. In the UK, low-cost, subsidised spaying and neutering services for dogs and cats are offered by some companion-animal charities.

Communities that have passed mandatory spay-and-neuter legislation have reported a significant reduction in the number of animals who are taken to shelters and subsequently euthanised.

 What You Can Do

Each of us can help work towards a day when every animal can have a loving, permanent home by having our animal companions spayed or neutered and by always adopting animals, never buying them from pet shops or breeders. And encourage everyone you know to do the same! It’s also important to consider whether we’re prepared to take on the lifelong commitment of caring for an animal before adding a new member to the family.

Volunteering at Animal Shelters

Millions of animals each year become candidates for animal shelter in British Columbia. Although not every unwanted pet becomes a ward of a shelter, many of them do. Once in the shelter, every attempt is made to find a loving home for the animal. Whether the animal is a dog, cat, rabbit, bird, horse, or other creature eligible for adoption, standards and practices are mandatory for their effective care. Unfortunately, due to massive overpopulation it sometimes becomes necessary to euthanize unwanted animals after a period of time. In order to address the plight of these animals, research was done into the various types of shelters, the people who work in them, and the steps they take to promote the health and well-being of their charges.

According to the Humane Society, only 2.2 to 15 percent of the dogs and .2 to 3% of the cats surrendered to or rescued by shelter find new homes ( The rest are sold to laboratories or dealers or are killed. On the average, 25 percent of the animals killed are purebred. In some areas, the percentage of purebred animals is 50 percent. Surprisingly, the most popular breeds are among the highest numbers found in shelters due to overbreeding.
This type of behavior is against the moral purpose of civilized societies. Most humans seek to prevent the suffering of animals. Statistics are not available for the numbers of animals euthanized in Canada annually, but in the United States the total runs around 3.5 million unwanted pets ( However, the number of dogs going to new homes after coming into an animal shelter are around 20 percent, and the number of cats are 25%.  

Morality beyond volunteering

Many shelters run strictly on volunteer staffs and all of them accept the assistance of qualified volunteers for responsibilities such as cleaning cages, exercising and socializing the animals, and working in events for donation solicitation. But morality concerning pets runs far deeper than giving time to a local animal shelter. It lies in the attitude toward pet ownership.
A person or family takes in a pet for a number of reasons, but the main one is companionship. But if the animal causes problems due to unrealistic expectations or inadequate training, an immoral pet owner may simply drop the animal at a shelter, give it away to a home without screening the new owners or, even worse, dump it on the side of a road or highway and drive away.
Sometimes an elderly person dies and leaves behind a beloved companion. Particularly when the animal is aged, it is very difficult for it to adjust to a new environment and few potential owners are interested in a pet that will be requiring expensive medical care. The family members may see surrendering the animal to a shelter as the only option when simply working with the pet could offer solutions. A dog adopted as a “watch dog” is not a pet and is not treated like one. Although a dog does not come into the house, such as a working dog on a ranch, many times they are still treated with the respect and love a house dog receives.
Frequently, the excuse of “moving” is given for surrendering a pet. They may state the new landlord does not allow pets or there is no room for it at the new location. But if a responsible owner already has the animal, why do they opt to move into a home that does not allow their pet or where there is no room for it? The immorality lies in the lack of consideration for the future of the animal who has placed his life in the hands of his owner. A study shows that more than half the time, moving causes behavioral or transportation problems with the pet the owner does not want to contend with in the hassle of relocating (Towell).
When new parents have a child who misbehaves, there are steps they take to train them. They rarely just abandon them somewhere. It the child has health problems, they spend the time and money to cure it. And adopting a pet carries with it the same responsibilities and moral obligations. The pet was selected by the new owner and brought into the environment. If he doesn’t understand what is expected of him, it is the responsibility of the owner to take the steps to teach him how to behave.


An email interview was conducted with Natalie, the secretary for Angel’s Animal Rescue Society. Natalie stated they do not euthanize their rescue animals and rarely have returns of adoptees. She stated this is primarily due to the extensive screening they conduct prior to releasing an animal to a new home. The organization is run by a Board of Directors, and all of the staff are volunteers.


Aside from the inhumanity of the destruction of unwanted pets, the activities of animal shelters are a drain on public funds and the limited philanthropy of individuals. It is for this reason that local governments are paying attention to actions to decrease the unwanted animal population and punish irresponsible pet owners.


Families think that buying a dog from a breeder providing papers for purebreeding quarantees a healthy animal. Predigree papers only allow tracing a bloodline back to a specific animal and make no promises concerning health. In fact, in an effort to make as much money as possible, many purebred dogs come from “puppy mills” where the females are bred as often as possible. This promotes life-threatening and painful condition. Inbreeding results in hip dysplasia in larger breed, respiratory problems with breeds having short noses, and spinal disc ailments in breeds such as dachshunds. Spaying also decreases the chances of ovarian or uterine cancer, uterine infection, and eliminates false pregnancies. The risk of cancer and other diseases is also lessened. Overall, neutered and spayed animals live almost twice as long as those not surgically sterilized due to physical and behavioral benefits.
There are many benefits to spaying a pet. It prevents reproductive cycling so packs of male animals are not attractive to a female for breeding. This decreases the urge of pets of both genders to roam away from home. Neighbors and the police don’t complain about animal running loose that may be dangerous, destructive, or noisy.
Many shelters offer printed information and classes on dealing with the most common behavioral problems. Some organizations even have telephone hotlines for education dispersal. Visitors to animal shelters are screened for possible educational needs and after adoption new owners are encouraged to contact the shelter for assistance with any problems that may arise.

Responsible Adoption

Animal shelters would like to see all adoption come through a regulation organization. When prospective pet owners respond to advertisements for free animals, buy from a breeder or a pet store, or get an animal from a friend or neighbor, there are no consequences for mistreating the animal later. By acquiring their pet from a government regulated animal shelter, a family can be assured about the health and behavior of the animal and an assurance they can bring the pet back if the situation does not work out. Shelters also evaluate the animals for temperament and never allow the adoption of a potentially dangerous animal. Also, shelters insist on the new owners spaying or neutering an animal being adopted if it has not already been done. This decreases the number of unwanted pets from accidental or irresponsible breeding. To promote sterilization of pets, most shelters offer discounts on the cost of the surgeries. Finally, shelters are reliable about evaluating the animal for health problems. Each pet has been vaccinated and dewormed. And all for a price probably lower than a pet store or breeder.
Animal shelters also run a constant media campaign informing the public of the consequences of irresponsible pet ownership. Television shows similar to “Animal Cops” and public service announcements let people know the atrocities that are committed on unwanted animals, how to report abuse, and how easy it is to insure good homes for pets.

Training of Animals

Statistics are not available for the numbers of animals returned to a shelter after adoption. However, there are a number of reasons why this occurs. Sometimes a pet allergy is discovered that was no known before the adoption. Sometimes, a pet already present in the home does not socialize with the new family member even after a significant period of time. There may be personality clashes with family members and the new pet that were unforeseeable. However, many times the animal is returned for one of two reasons: the family was not educated on what to expect from the new pet and how to work with it, or the animal was not adequately trained for assimilation into the new home.
Few families want their new pet to soil the furniture and floors, chew, bark, not walk well on a leash, jump on people, and other irritating and potentially dangerous behaviors. By having realistic expectations of potential problems and arming themselves with the tools to handle unwanted behaviors, new families can address the issues with the animal rather than turning it away.


Investigation into allegations of animal abuse resulted in the production of the film “W5”, a documentary based on the transportation of livestock in Canada ( It went on to become one of the longest-running and most watched documentaries of all time. It also resulted in public outrage and 80,000 signatures to the Minister of Agriculture.
Some investigations are conducted by animal rights activists, but most are performed by members of organizations such as the SCPA when citizens or the police contact them with suspicions of abuse. There are restrictions on the immediate actions the officers can take, but they try to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. Some animals are fed while notices are given to owners and some animals are seized. Owners may or may not have their pets returned to them, and in some cases charges are pressed by the organization and judges hand down fines and other punishment for inappropriate care.


People believe there are not consequences for animal abuse and neglect and this prompts them to believe they can treat animals in whatever way they wish. However, animal control officers and the court systems have a history of passing down punishments on criminals convicted of these violations. For instance, on February 5, 2015, a guilty verdict against Alan and Sheree Napier of Brandenton, Florida, USA for eight counts of aggravated animal abuse, one count of unlawful solicitation, and one count of scheming to defraud following the rescue of over 300 abused and neglected animals. Sentencing is pending and Mr. Napier is being held without bail. The state will seek prison sentences for both criminals.
On February 3, 2015, the Food Standards Agency in Bowood, England pressed charges against a slaughterhouse in violation of standards for treatment of animals (BBC News). Four licenses for operation have been revoked following release of a video by Animal Aid in the United Kingdom. The laws require the animals to have no warning of their impending deaths and the slaughter is to be conducted in a humane manner. As a result, Animal Aid is called for surveillance cameras to be placed in all slaughterhouses to monitor compliance.
These are only two of the many cases pending and completed regarding animal abuse. The general public is horrified at information they never suspected existed. As public opinion becomes more outraged, court systems and politicians will respond to demands for justice.


Domesticated animals fill an important role in the lives of human beings. Their care is placed into the hands of those accepting responsibility for their well-being. When owners fall short of those responsibilities, either willfully or unintentionally, organizations and the public at large should take steps to remedy the situation. With mass communication for education and social networking for person-to-person relaying of information, the people who feel they have a right to abuse or neglect the animals entrusted to their care can be brought to justice.

The Plight Of Shelter Animals

There is no other topic that leads to heated discussion as the topic of kill versus no kill shelters. But many people are not familiar with the differences in these types of shelters because sometimes the status of a shelter can be misleading.To understand the differences in these shelters, it is important to learn what they are.

There is no other topic that leads to heated discussion as the topic of kill versus no kill shelters. But many people are not familiar with the differences in these types of shelters because sometimes the status of a shelter can be misleading.To understand the differences in these shelters, it is important to learn what they are.

A high kill shelter is considered an “open admission” shelter.That is a shelter that accepts any and all animals regardless of owner circumstances, animal health or age. A person can come in at any hour and freely surrender an animal, usually at no charge. These shelters often contract with local animal control agencies to take in the strays, surrenders and seized animals they pick up. I worked as animal control officer with Durham County Animal Control. This agency is contracted with the Animal Protection Society of Durham, North Carolina (Durham APS)

As an animal control officer, we even offered the service of free pick up. A citizen could simply call animal control and request a pick up surrender, no questions asked, no qualifying reasons.With these types of contracts, unless the animal is on hold for a court case, once animal control drops the animal off, they have no other reason to deal with that animal.I knew I was contributing to the euthanasia statistics and it was such a tough part of my job.These shelters will euthanize healthy animals for space, and animals with health or age issues as unadoptable.Their statistics are astronomical and eye opening.I know the shelter does all they can do to get animals adopted, but because of their status, they still posted a 48% euthanasia rate for 2015. This is not a dig against APS of Durham. This is the sad reality of a shelter in an area where surrenders are rampant and strays are abundant.

A low kill shelter is defined as as “limited admission” shelter.In this type of shelter, surrender appointments are made and an animal is assessed for adoptability.Once the animal has been surrendered, a limited admission shelter reserves the right to euthanize the animal should it show behavioral aggression or illness.Unfortunately, many behaviors aren’t caught at the shelter intake process. For instance, a dog may test well with no signs of aggression which results in his being accepted to the shelter but over time, the shelter stress gets to him and he becomes fear aggressive. His fate may be sealed based on that alone in a limited admission shelter.

Then there’s the no kill shelter, commonly referred to as “closed admission” shelters. As with a limited admission shelter, appointments to surrender must be made and a fee is usually charged.This type of shelter can turn down any animal for any reason regardless of the intake screening or even over the phone.The majority of reasons these shelters turn down animals, including very adoptable animals, is due to limited space.This is not to say that these shelters do not euthanize. This is a common misconception when considering a no kill shelter.These shelters may deem an animal unadoptable due to age, health or aggression and euthanize that animal.But they must keep within a certain rate of euthanasia, typically only 10%, to maintain their no kill status.These shelters will keep adoptable animals for as long as it takes to find them a home or perhaps release the animal to a non-profit rescue who will do the same.The biggest argument raised in these types of shelters is defining what is considered adoptable and not subject to euthanasia.

There is huge controversy between animal advocates about what happens to an animal that sits in a no kill shelter for an extreme length of time.Kim Kreem, a vigorously active animal advocate who has worked with both no kill and kill shelters knows first hand how a shelter’s status can change the life of a dog forever. When discussing the pros and cons of dogs lingering in shelters or being euthanized too soon, Kreem said, “Even in short stays we see dogs forming barrier aggression, resource guarding, signs of kennel craze. It takes a special adopter should a dog begin to exhibit those signs”. But she also states, “On the flip side, 72 hours isn’t much time for great dogs. But leaving any dog in a shelter for years should definitely not be a satisfactory outcome to any no kill. I’d hope they’d be putting extra socialization and breaks from shelter environment as part of maintaining that animal’s psyche.”

When I was working for Durham County Animal Control, Liam came into Durham APS. As I mentioned above, this shelter is an open admission.Liam had three legs and did not present well in his kennel.He was withdrawn and fearful.The staff kept Liam behind the front counter to give him a chance.It worked because Kreem fell in love when she met him and adopted him.

Kreem also fostered a dog rescued by Rescue Ur Forever Friend.Gabby had only 72 hours before becoming eligible for euthanasia at Pender County Shelter in N.C..Gabby came in with health issues, had been obviously bred repeatedly and was not great with other dogs.Kreem fostered her and found she could not part with this sweet girl.It’sious to see how Gabby flourished under her care.

Annie Torres, who promotes her low cost spay and neuter program, No Puppies for Hussies, through her dog Pickles’ page on Facebook, feels not enough is being done to avoid euthanasia in shelters. “Shelters are failing dogs by not aggressively pursuing foster home networking within their communities, ” says Torres.”Dogs do much better out of a stressful shelter setting which increases their odds of adoption. Executing healthy dogs is not the solution to the problem of overpopulation.” Torres works with Save the Nor-Cal Shelter Dogs by using social media to promote them.

When I was the Animal Care Manager at the Ulster County SPCA (UCSPCA), there was a dog named Blue who could almost qualify for the definition of unadoptable. Blue was a beautiful, block headed Staffy. He came into the shelter after his owner had gone to jail with the promise that once he was released, he would come back for him.But that never happened.Blue only responded to one staff member and would charge at his kennel when you walked by.He was rarely handled by anyone other than that staff member.Trying to test him with other dogs proved to be too risky. He spent most of his time in the outside kennels in the staff only area.A professional trainer had come in and evaluated him and showed serious concerns about his adopt-ability. Over the next year and a half, I slowly began to build a relationship with him but even that was limited to my being able to enter his kennel and walk him. Management continued to hold off from showing him to prospective adopters.I often wondered why he had not been deemed unadoptable and was convinced he would never find a home.He was there almost three years. I was no longer employed there when I heard a woman came in and adopted him.Even then I had my doubts and thought he would get returned.But I later learned that he flourished with his new owner and began a life that included hikes and swimming.

Blue never would have lived longer than a few days at a kill shelter and he would have been questionable at most no kill shelters.I believe shelters are temporary housing for animals.I have never been a fan of seeing animals live their lives in shelters. But I’ve also seen healthy, adoptable animals euthanized for lack of space.There is no answer to this controversy.Sometimes, the only option for an animal is to be pulled by a rescue.But if that rescue doesn’t help the animal overcome their challenges, that rescue finds itself with an obligation to make the best decisions for that animal.If shelters have dedicated staff and volunteers willing to help an animal with challenges, there’s a chance that animal will make it out of the shelter.But most open admission shelters don’t have the luxury of keeping animals past their hold time.And until an animal gets adopted, most closed admission shelters can’t help another animal.So where do these owners go? Open admission shelters.

With more and more shelters opting to become closed admission, shelters like New York Animal Care and Control (NYACC) become the only option for guilt free surrenders from owners or controlling the stray population.I visited NYACC last month after losing my dog to a seizure disorder.The first thing I noticed on the cage cards was that the intake dates for these dogs was the beginning of the month. That means the next month, all new dogs would be in those kennels.This reality is harsh but real.There is a website dedicated to promoting the dogs at risk at NYACC.

The best way to help any type of shelter is to adopt your next companion, make the commitment to keep him until the end and spay and neuter. All types of shelters will benefit from that.

Resources, “Invisible Ones: The Plight of Homeless Pets in America.” By Sarah Gross;, “The Plight of Homeless Animals.” ByMariana Burgos;, “Animal Homelessness: The Crisis and the Cure.”;, “Good Research Paper About Human Responsibility And The Plight Of Homeless Animals.”;, “The Plight Of Shelter Animals.” By Julie LeRoy;

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