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Why Animal Shelters are not what people think

pitbulls are animals

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 Why Animal Shelters are not what people think

There has been a great deal of publicity and opinion lately on the overpopulation problem in our animal shelters. Every city especially in the Southeast seem to have a never-ending struggle to stay under the kill zone. Hundreds of rescue organizations work day and night just to keep the animals out of the shelters.

Meanwhile there are groups and individuals that berate the animal care workers and volunteers calling them names like killers, abusers, or heartless. These workers do what they can with the space and resources that they have. People make it seem like they enjoy putting animals to sleep. Nothing could be further from the truth. They put their blood sweat and a whole lot of tears to protect these animals, mostly from people.

Unfortunately when you have bureaucrats making decisions without understanding the real issues, whenever it comes to budget cuts the animals are the first to lose. Also when ignorance within public opinion is rampant like dogs in summertime breeding season. There are opinions thrown about that are no more than fact-less lies. These opinions grow and people become complacent, they see an animal shelter as evil and refuse to support it.

Public funding is the only way that animal shelters and rescues will ever be able to meet or maintain a no kill status. Without the generous support through volunteering and funding we would never be able to save as many as we are saving. Before passing judgment or even worse thinking that your help does not matter.

Imagine the world where we lived in just a few short years ago when if a dog barked or growled or was pregnant with puppies their fate was sealed. Only the perfect dogs would make it out alive while so many perfect pets needlessly died.

If you feel these animal shelters are cruel, take a few hours and go work with one in your community. Put your money where your mouth is and help them help those that are unable to help themselves.

The next time Sarah Mclachlan comes on TV with the pitiful puppies, rather than flipping he channel why not pick up the phone. The pictures you see may upset you when the bruised and broken dogs are posted by your friends on Facebook. They should upset and anger you into action, as these are examples of every communities’ problem. I use the term problem not to infer they are a nuisance, I say problem as we owe them a solution.

They are all Gods creatures just like you and me, We as a community should work together to find each of them a home, a home forever. One of the most important things anyone can do to help is keep a list of numbers handy where you can report animal cruelty. Whether is the dog left in a backyard tied to a chain too short and no water. Maybe it is one left in a hot car while their owner is shopping. Be the eyes and ears of those without a voice.

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself. ―Josh Billings

You may say well it is someone else’s problem, well that someone else is the one that breeds them for money or worse for fighting. That someone else is the one guilty of bully breed racism and created a media frenzy against pit bulls. That someone else is the one that lives in your neighborhood and does not give their own dogs enough to eat.You see that someone else is the one that throws them away when they are no longer cute and cuddly. Do we really want to leave it to someone else. We need to protect the innocent animals in our community.

Whether you volunteer your time just to spend time to comfort shelter dogs, or maybe you rescue your own off the streets. Maybe you think you don’t have time or are unable to help in person. There are organizations that will work when you cannot if funded they will continue to save lives until they save them all.

Whether it is the ASPCA, Best Friends or the Humane Society. or any of their sister organizations there are ways in every community to make a difference.

You can always do food drives, or collect old towels, every shelter has a with list of things they need that you probably throw away. If we each do what we can, one day in our lifetime their will no longer be those people who refuse to support the kill shelter in their area. They won’t exist because they will no longer have to make the heartbreaking decisions in order to make space for another.

So take a walk, donate some towels, pick up a phone, rescue one-off the street or from an animal shelter. Whatever you do something so that we no longer have a overpopulation problem to contend with. I am participating in Strutt Your Mutt in my community if your would like to support Best Friends virtually or in your own community please see the information below. And in the words of Bob Barker help control the pet population. Have your pet spayed or neutered.” (and certain relatives too)

Now it is your turn:  What do you do in your community to help save the lives of homeless pets? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

About Charles Johnston

Charles is a Christian, husband and father of fur-kids who shares his walk with others in hopes to help other's along the way.

  • I believe in the mission of animal shelters like the ASPCA, but tend to put more money/volunteer time in my local county run shelter. I have adopted from there. I have tried to help the pet population in my own neighborhood. I have what we call the “crazy cat lady”. She has lots of strays outside that she feeds. I have offered to get them fixed for her and she won’t let me. I see these poor cats in heat, underweight, and constantly pregnant with babies that don’t survive. It breaks my heart.

    • You bring up a great point that I failed to mention which is the cat overpopulation issue. Trap Fix and Release programs are the way to go as they not only stop the population but they also tend to control the cat communities in the area. Thanks for your comments.

  • I try to support my local animal shelter as much as I can. I’m not currently an animal owner because I simply don’t have the time to take care of one, but I do believe very strongly in supporting animal shelters.

  • jaws4242

    You make some great points for why people should get involved, and there are so many ways. While I’m sure there are some sketchy shelters out there, there are tons of good ones, and the more you help those, the more animals they can help.

  • As a shelter worker, I’d like to say thank you for the kind words. We do try very hard. And we do cry a lot. We may act tough, but the vilifying comments really do hurt.

    However, I do disagree with you on one point. DO NOT pick up the phone when you see this Sarah McLachlan commercials if you want to help local animals. ASPCA and HSUS are national organizations; they do not share any of the money you donate with the local shelters. If you want to help the animals in your area you need to donate to your local shelters.

    • You bring up a good point about helping local, as the national organizations are not always supportive of local initiatives. Keeping it local has a larger impact, thank you for all that you do too!

  • Great post. You made some very good points. I wish more people would get involved and stand up for helpless animals. I’m glad I found your blog. Will share.

  • Joan O.

    Studies and examples across the country prove that No Kill works and it is more cost effective than putting animals to sleep. Over population is a myth and an excuse for killing animals. In fact, there are more than enough homes that are looking for a new pet, shelters just need to creatively change or add to their tactics to bring people in to see the pets. There are many successful models they can follow.

    No one is villifying any shelter worker or calling the individuals killers. It is the system that requires healthy and treatable animals to be put down. This is not euthanasia by its very definition..

    Every shelter, if it changes its mindset can save over
    90% of healthy and treatable animals .. Without overcrowding, with the same or less money and the ability to euthanize the very sickest and untreatable animals in a humane and caring fashion

  • Thank you for writing about such an important issue, we ourselves help animal shelters in the Baltic states and the struggle of the workers and volunteers in those shelters is sometimes up to extreme.
    There are both kill and no-kill shelters and all of them endure criticism of different kinds, while the only thing they should receive is help and support.