Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Letter from a Shelter Manager

By Anonymous

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.

First off, all of you breeders/sellers should be made to work in the "back" of an animal shelter for just one day. 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. So 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.

The most common excuses I hear are; "We are moving and we can't take our dog (or cat)." Really? Where are you moving too that doesn't allow pets? Or they say "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 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 & how stressful do you think being in a shelter is? Well, let me tell you, 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 in 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, rottie, mastiff, etc) it was pretty much dead when you walked it through the front door.
Those dogs just don't get adopted. It doesn't matter how 'sweet' or 'well behaved' they are.

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, but not for long . Most dogs 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.
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. Until they get to "The Room", every one of them freaks out and puts on the brakes 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 the size and how freaked out they are. Then a euthanasia tech or a vet will start the process. They will 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. 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 pets 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?

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 deal with everyday on the way home from work.

I hate my job, I hate that it exists & I hate that it will always be there unless you 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.

Hate me if you want to. The truth hurts and reality is what it is. I just hope I maybe changed one persons 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 and it made me want to adopt". THAT WOULD MAKE IT WORTH IT

For those of you that care--- please repost this to at least one other craiglist in another city/state. Let's see if we can get this all around the US and have an impact.

- Contributed by Elly Monfett

Friday, March 12, 2010

Finnegan the Squirrel

Debby Cantlon, who plans to release Finnegan, the young squirrel, back into the wild, bottle-fed the infant squirrel after it was brought to her house.

When Cantlon took in the tiny creature and began caring for him, she found herself with an unlikely nurse's aide: her pregnant Papillion, Mademoiselle Giselle.

Finnegan was resting in a nest in a cage just days before Giselle was due to deliver her puppies.

Cantlon and her husband watched as the dog dragged the squirrel's cage twice to her
own bedside before she gave birth.

Cantlon was concerned, yet ultimately decided to allow the squirrel out and the inter-species bonding began.
Finnegan rides a puppy mosh pit of sorts, burrowing in for warmth after feeding, eventually working his way beneath his new litter mates.

Two days after giving birth, mama dog Giselle allowed Finnegan to nurse; family photos and a videotape show her encouraging him to suckle alongside her litter of five pups.

Now, Finnegan mostly uses a bottle, but still snuggles with his 'siblings' in amosh pitof puppies,
rolling atop their bodies, and sinking in deeply for a nap.

Finnegan and his new litter mates, five Papillion puppies, get along together as if they were meant to.

Finnegan naps after feeding.

Finnegan makes himself at home with his new litter mates, nuzzling nose-to-nose for a nap after feeding.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could all get along

like Finnegan and the gang?

MORAL OF THE STORY: Keep loving everyone,even the squirrelly ones.

-- Contributed by Evelyn Dudziec

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lilly Goes to Her Forever Home

Lilly was adopted today by Rich and Ruth Andreozzi. Ruth took Lilly around the house and their yard right away and seemed completely in love with her. Before I had even left she had brought her to the neighbor's, who came out with a pretty pink jacket just for Miss Lil. I think she's going to be a very spoiled and happy dog there!  Congratulations also to Heather, for doing a fabulous job as her foster mom!

Make Mine Chocolate

Before you bring a pet rabbit into your home at Easter, please consider these facts:

  • Rabbits are NOT low-maintenance pets! They require as much work as a dog or cat.

  • Rabbits can live 8 to 10 years, sometimes longer.

  • The necessary spay or neuter can cost $100 or more, and rabbits require routine veterinary care.

  • Rabbits are not cuddly - they can become frightened when held!

  • Pet rabbits cannot be set "free" -- it's a death sentence.

This Easter, why not make it a CHOCOLATE bunny or a cuddly stuffed toy instead?

Let's make it a Happy Easter for bunnies, too.

Help spread the word that rabbits are NOT disposable pets!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Folk Remedies for Pets

I came across this site when looking for homeopathic ways to help alleviate some of the symptoms from the mess of stuff my foster has. It is "folk remedies" for pets. I've tried a at least two (mange and kennel cough) and they have helped. Though I would share...

-- Jodi, Lancaster, PA

Monday, March 8, 2010

Meet Up Fundraiser at Pabby's Pet Pantry

Jamie at the Meet Up

WOW! We had 31 Bostons and their people at the SEPA/SNJ Meet Up Give from the Heart fundraiser for NEBTR held on Sunday, February 21 at Pabby's Pet Pantry!! It was so good to see how well NEBTR was represented: Cynthia, Craig, Jessica, Barb, Jeff, The was a fun day. We got some really nice donations of coats, beds, etc. that will work very well for gift basket auction items and I think we had over $150 in donations. As usual, Cynthia "Martha" M sold a ton of her awesome jelly, lip gloss and sachets.

Pabby's is such a great venue--it's ideal for this. We also have a new potential foster family applying to volunteer!

I have a very tired duo of Cal and Jaime. Jaime should be tired, he must have peed about 20 gallons.....
little stinker!

Jeff--it was great to finally meet you in person. Beth, it was so nice to see you and the sweet little girls again! Jaime was majorly smitten by both Molly and Brynn!

-- Joy Riley

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Otto Went to His Forever Home

Otto went to his forever home this weekend. He is living in Gillette NJ with the Meringolos. They adopted Jodi's previous foster Miles, who is now Beans. He is a lucky little guy. Their younger daughter loves dogs and is considering being a vet. She was so excited for Otto. Beans is a little upset that his quiet home is now interrupted by Mr Otto but they should soon adjust to each other.
Allentown PA

Shelter Animals

From Tails Media Group

The Truth Behind the Surrenders

By Melissa Wiley

Far more often than not, the animals we encounter at shelters are the victims of human circumstances beyond their control. However, the myth that shelter animals have somehow earned their way there is still heartbreakingly pervasive. All too commonly, prospective pet parents purposely bypass the shelters for fear that shelter animals come with baggage they’d rather do without. According to Julie Morris, senior vice president of community outreach for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), “Shelter animals come from a wide variety of sources. … Shelter animals arrive with an equally wide variety of experiences and behaviors. There is no reason to believe that shelter animals are damaged goods.” Far from being responsible for their own abandonment or surrender, companion animals are at the absolute mercy of their guardians’ life choices, financial and emotional stability, and willingness to assume responsibility for a voiceless living being. Likewise, animals are equally victimized when their people undergo taxing, even traumatic events. Pets suffer when their guardians suffer—and often end up in shelters as a result.

Recent studies have verified the fact that people, and not animals, constitute the reason for the bulk of animal surrenders to shelters. In 2007, under the auspices of the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, of which the ASPCA was a founding member, shelters recruited by three universities and a national humane organization partnered to develop the Shelter Population Index. The index was the first to reflect the combined impact shelters and their communities have in addressing pet homelessness. Included in the index are the study’s findings on the top reasons for cat and dog relinquishment. According to Morris, the study’s top three reasons for dog surrender are lack of time, a guardian’s personal problems, and allergies. The top three reasons identified for cat surrender are allergies, guardian’s personal problems, and a new baby. Reflecting on these findings, Morris says, “Most animals end up in shelters for people [related] reasons that were not the fault of the animal. As such, the brunt of the responsibility of shelter relinquishment is people-related.”

Also in 2007, Pethealth Inc.—the second largest provider of pet health insurance in North America—conducted a study to determine the top 10 reasons for cat and dog relinquishment to shelters. The results of the study are based on data collected from nearly 800 animal-welfare organizations related to more than 1.4 million dogs and cats. Findings were published in PetPoint Journal #7, distributed in November 2007.

Reasons related to the personality of the animal in question did not enter into the top 10 for either dogs or cats. In fact, the study found that 86 percent of all animals surrendered to shelters were assigned a dubious fate for reasons directly related to the life situation of the guardian. As positively as these findings speak to the blamelessness of animals for their return, they also point to some disconcerting patterns of behavior among the most well-intentioned of guardians. All too often, people adopt without fully assessing their life situation and preparedness to adopt an animal. Reasons such as “cost of maintenance,” “no time for a pet,” “inadequate facilities,” and “too many pets” indicate lack of foresight on the part of the guardian at the time the decision was made to bring an animal into the home. “Too many pets” and “no homes for littermates” often indicate a failure, perhaps even a refusal, to spay and neuter on the guardian’s part. According to Nadine Walmsley, vice president of development for the Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago, failure to spay and neuter constitutes the number-one reason for surrenders to the organization. “[Pet guardians who don’t spay and neuter] think they can find homes for the cute litters of kittens and puppies, and when they can’t give them away or sell them, they end up in shelters,” says Walmsley.

“Moving,” “landlord issues,” and “personal problems,” such as divorce or sudden illness, are less directly related to pets, less within the guardian’s control, and less possible for a guardian to anticipate. Reasons related to loss of home and job are also, unfortunately, signs of these hard economic times and have likely only been exacerbated with the accelerated decline of the economy since 2007. But Walmsley has found a silver lining amid all the media reports of the recession’s impact on shelters filling to capacity. “People who can afford to care for animals are adopting,” she says, as opposed to buying from breeders or pet stores, a fact that she attributes to increased media coverage of the problem.

And though they may account for only 14 percent of animal surrenders, those reasons ostensibly attributable directly to the animal may still indicate an inability or reluctance to work through problems—both behavioral and health related—on the guardian’s part. “Doesn’t get along with other pets,” for instance, refers to a behavioral difficulty that guardians with enough patience can proactively address through consultation with a behaviorist. Providing a scenario in which seeking professional help can make all the difference to an animal, Walmsley says, “A new pet comes into the family and does not get along with the existing pet. A woman has a new baby, and [the family] is worried about the way the pet is going to adjust. Many of the pet behavior issues are simple and workable, and our behaviorists provide advice and assistance through our free behavior hotline, helping and hoping to keep the pets in the homes they are in.” Many larger humane societies offer similar types of free behavioral assistance to assist newly adoptive pet parents.

When asked what measures prove most effective in limiting the number of animal surrenders, Walmsley unhesitatingly states, “Education and prevention.” Prevention refers to spay and neuter—prevention of unwanted litters that might too easily mean unwanted animals. Education, says Walmsley, means “educating pet adopters and the public about responsible pet care and pet [guardianship]. The adoption fee is not the only cost involved.”

Knowing that human beings, and not animals, constitute the greatest reason for the presence of animals in shelters should elicit not our guilt, but our compassion. Moreover, “Dispelling the myths of shelter animals is a continual process,” according to Morris, a process that the more people partake in, the better the outcome for homeless animals.

The top 10 overall reasons for animal surrender

1. Too many pets 18%
2. Unwanted/incompatible 10%
3. Moving/deployed 10%
4. Stray/found/abandoned 8%
5. Inability to care for 8%
6. Financial/home insurance policy restrictions 6%
7. Euthanasia request 5%
8. Other/unclear reason 4%
9. Unwanted litter/pregnant female 4%
10. Allergic to animal 4%

* 2007 Pethealth Inc. study

The top 10 reasons for feline relinquishment

1. Too many cats in the house
2. Allergies
3. Moving
4. Cost of pet maintenance
5. Landlord issues
6. No homes for littermates
7. House soiling
8. Personal problems
9. Inadequate facilities
10. Doesn’t get along with other pets

The top 10 reasons for canine relinquishment

1. Moving
2. Landlord issues
3. Cost of pet maintenance
4. No time for a pet
5. Inadequate facilities
6. Too many pets in the home already
7. Pet illness
8. Personal problems
9. Biting
10. No homes for littermates

* 2007 Pethealth Inc. study

The average yearly cost of caring for your furry bundle of joy

Food: $120
Medical: $235
Toys/Treats: $55
License: $15
Health Insurance: $225

Food: $115
Medical: $160
Litter: $165
Toys/Treats: $25
Health Insurance: $175

* As reported by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

-- Contributed by Heather, Wharton NJ