View Full Version : Fact or fiction: One "Shelter Manager's" account

2nd March 2013, 01:32 AM


2nd March 2013, 03:51 AM
I believe it. In my area our local shelter volunteers are law breakers who have been sentenced to X number of hours "community service" so you know that must be____________ cough cough I'm sure they are just "happy" to volunteer and I know they work "really" hard. Could you image managing a place like that AND the build is OLD!!!!!

2nd March 2013, 08:01 PM
I started as a shelter volunteer walking dogs over 30 years ago . . . and this account is an emotional grab with little benefit but to spread the emotion of sorrow for discarded pets.

It is also spreading a falsehood and this one always gets my goat as it is defeatest and therefore hurts the cause of helping animals.

"There’s just no way to save all the animals that wind up there. I wish it were different, but with so many backyard breeders and people who don’t spay and neuter their pets, it will continue"

This one sentence focuses a 'blame' at production rather than at ownership responsiblity and pet retention. If people don't know what the target is to fix they are never going to fix it. We have too many unscrupulous substandard commercial operations always willing to fill the market void left when good breeders 'breed less' to think we can impact production and in the free world we cannot control that production. The target has to be community focus on education toward ownership responsibility and pet retention.

My first volunteer position was in Calgary, Alberta. That is when Calgary did have a high euthanasia rate. With hard work and the insights of a determined AC director Calgary has not seen the need to euthanize healthy (sound in temperament/health) dogs for more than a decade. They are also close to 'no-kill' for cats as well. Calgary and the other main city in my province continue to import dogs for adoption to combat a problem that has now cropped up - we have seen a terrible rise in substandard commercial operations breeding small dogs to fill the void in the market. My first Cavalier was a retired breeding foster from just one of these places. Her health and temperament issues meant she never made it out of my home.

I have no use for messages that continue the cycle that creates that kind of situation and indeed is partially to blame for increasing its incidense where I live.

Across all of North America intake and euthanasia rates have plummeted so now less than 2% of the owned canine population sees euthanasia at a shelter - over 78 million owned dogs and ~1.5 million are euthanized - and that includes unhealthy and temperamentally unsound - http://www.animalpeoplenews.org/anp/2012/08/20/u-s-animal-shelter-toll-appears-to-drop-below-three-million/. Many areas in the USA have been able to accomplish the same result as Calgary, of saving healthy and adoptable dogs when they have addressed the issue at hand - which is pet retention and the culture of ownership responsibility.

Keep in mind shelter systems across North America were set up to catch and kill to prevent rabies. MANY still do not consider it their remit to attract adopters and some still have policies which disallow the adoption of owner turn ins.

There are many places around the world where euthanasia is a daily reality for shelter workers and volunteers and that should not be downplayed . . . but the focus should be on how to resolve that, including looking toward shelter reform, and not on simply passing the sorrow along for wallowing in rather that being proactive. If someone is in those communities they need to campaign for changes. Changes to the culture of ownership responsibility can be spearheaded and usually the most concerned and willing to do the work are those in the sheltering community.

For ideas on what works to resolve this issue - as that is a constructive place to go - I will share these links.

Calgary has done it through using AC direction to help the community to embrace responsibility. They have a 90% plus license compliance rate and as well a 85%+ return to owner rate of strays. Most don't ever even have to be impounded as they are brought straight back home when the AC officer reads their chip. Their AC is completely self funded. - http://saveourdogs.net/2011/01/28/dog-licensing-and-msn/

The 'no-kill' movement has also spearheaded these recommendations that have worked to achieve success in communities across North America - and that is success in open admission shelters in poor to rich, rural and urban communities. ('No-kill' refers to the adoption of all healthy and adoptable - irremediably suffering are euthanized and not warehoused).

"I. Feral Cat Trap/Neuter/Release (TNR) Program
II. High-Volume, Low-Cost Spay/Neuter
III. Rescue Groups Transfers
IV. Foster Care
V. Comprehensive Adoption Programs (including off-site adoptions)
VI. Pet Retention Programs
VII. Medical and Behavior Prevention/Rehabilitation Programs
VIII. Public Relations/Community Involvement
IX. Volunteers
X. Proactive Redemptions
XI. A Compassionate Director"

source - http://www.thenokillnation.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=24&Itemid=21



Apologies as this comes off as a lecture. I am not chatty at the best of times and post only when I am passionate about a topic. I read that type of article and it does not elicit sympathy but has the opposite effect.