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The reality of rescue

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by koekemakranka, Apr 12, 2011.


  1. koekemakranka

    koekemakranka PetForums VIP

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    This email came in from a manager at an animal shelter, which kind of sums up what many people working in rescue feel much of the time. Some of it may not be relevant to the US/UK/Europe and it makes for harsh reading, but it is fairly universal, I think.

    A Letter from a Shelter Manager

    Hate me if you want to. The truth and reality hurts. I just hope I may have changed one persons mind about breeding their dog or cat, 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

    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 or kitten you just sold or gave away will most likely end up in my shelter when it's not a cute little plaything anymore. So how would you feel if you knew that there's about a 90% chance that your dog or cat will never walk alive out of the shelter it has been dumped in? Purebred or not! About 50% of all the dogs that are "owner surrenders" or "strays" that come into my shelter are purebred.

    The most common excuses I hear are; "We are moving and we can't take our dog (or cat)." Really? Where are you moving to that doesn't allow pets? Did you really not enquire beforehand?

    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 garden". 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". Don’t kid yourself. Face reality : you have just signed her death warrant. Live with that !!

    Odds are your pet won't get adopted and 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, Rottweiler, Bull Mastiff, Bull Terrier 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 72 hours and the shelter is full, it will have to be killed. 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 killed 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 killed because shelters just don't have the money to pay for even a R 100 treatment.



    I hate my job, I hate that it exists and 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 good homes.

    The point to all of this?

    Don’t buy a puppy or kitten from breeders or pet shops while shelter pets die.

    Don’t breed your dog or cat. Have her sterilised.

    You want your dog or cat to have just one litter for your children to witness the miracle of birth? Then you should be prepared to complete their education by allowing them to witness the miracle of death in the backroom of a shelter.

    You never have a problem finding good homes for your puppies or kittens? Visit them six months later to see what happened to them. Still there? Lonely and neglected in a backyard or a happy part of the family and allowed to sleep inside?

    When you are old, don’t adopt a puppy or very young dog when there is a good chance that they will outlive you. Rather give an older cat or dog a peaceful home.

    Don’t acquire a pet on a spur of the moment or give in to the demands of a whining child. Dogs can live twelve to sixteen years depending on breed, cats up to twenty years.. Where will you be fifteen years from now? Taking pets with you when emigrating is not an option because of endless quarantine and costs.

    Don’t ever “rescue” a puppy from a man standing on a street corner. By paying him you encourage puppy factories and hamper efforts by animal charities to sterilise township dogs. And what do you do afterwards? Give it to a charity, only to be killed in the end? Or keep it and deprive a shelter dog of a home?
     
    #1 koekemakranka, Apr 12, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 14, 2011
  2. Quixoticish

    Quixoticish PetForums Junior

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    I would have loved to have adopted from a shelter. However as recently discussed in another thread both of those local shelters that we visited treated us like dirt. The staff were rude and obnoxious and from the outset we were made to feel like a huge inconvenience.

    Perhaps if many animal shelters pulled their socks up and actually tried to be thankful that people were rescuing their animals rather than assuming that anyone who walks through the door is some kind of horrific animal abuser then things might be different.

    We went to a breeder because we wanted a cat and all of our local shelters were appalling. There's no-one to blame here but the shelters themselves, and whilst I'm sure there are plenty of wonderful shelters full of lovely volunteers however the two that I visited recently were quite the opposite. They almost felt like private pet collections for the volunteers, who frowned and scowled at the thought that some of their precious babies might actually be adopted out to someone they deemed to be not worthy because they didn't like the look of them.

    I bought from a breeder, and I had such a wonderful experience that I plan on doing it again in the future.
     
  3. momentofmadness

    momentofmadness PetForums VIP

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  4. Lumboo

    Lumboo PetForums VIP

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    This made me so sad.

    However, I am currently trying to adopt kittens from an animal shelter(s) and I agree that sometimes you are made to feel bad for wanting a kitten instead of a cat, or wanting a ginger cat rather than a black one etc. We all have our preferences for whatever reason and shouldn't be judged for them.

    Whilst I don't want gratitude for taking in a new member of my family I would prefer not to have critism for my choices either. Yes I want a kitten, because after thinking long and hard I believe it would be better suited for our little family. No I don't want a 7 year old cat, because I want my child to grow up with an animal from a baby so he can learn the same sense of responsibilty that my husband & I did.

    The point is why should I justify my preferences as long as I can show that I can provide a loving home to them. I am a patient person and will go along with any questions/attitude given to me because I am sympathetic to why they must act that way, but I can understand why so many would get fed up and end up at a breeders instead.
     
  5. Amethyst

    Amethyst PetForums VIP

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    Brilliant,though it will make uncomfortable reading for some, probably because it isn't all nice and fluffy, and tells it like if often is ...

    I am all for choice of where one sources a pet, but would urge
    people to make their choice an ethical one. Personally I wouldn't expect people to justify their preferences, but then neither can I be bothered to hear them try ...
     
  6. Lumboo

    Lumboo PetForums VIP

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    Do you work for the Cat Protection League?...if not, you should - you would fit in!
     
  7. missye87

    missye87 PetForums VIP

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    I had the same issue. I went to a very well known cat rescue close to where we live. As we live in central London, and even though our garden is secure, we were told that under no circumstances that we should adopt a cat, as the risks of the cat escaping on to the road, combined with the fact that we work a normal working day. Apparently cats need somebody to be with them day in and day out? We were hoping to be able to adopt an older cat and provide it with a few years with a good quality of life but were knocked back harshly.

    I've grown up around cats and had countless of adopted cats at home in Sweden, all very well loved and well taken care of. I don't believe for a second that all cats have to have somebody at home with them all day, how would people have pets at all in this case? I can understand the few cases where the trauma to the cat has been so severe it will take a lot of willpower, love and training for them to become a happy well-balanced being again.

    Whenever we have brought a new cat home from a rescue or breeder alike, my mum always spent time at home with them for the first few days so they are comfortable and settle in. I believe this is a good thing to do, but to expect people who have a normal job to quit their job so to be able to provide every seconds attention to a cat for the rest of it's life, is completely unreasonable. This doesn't mean that we love our cats any less by going to work.

    Regardless of whether I work 9-5, I would provide any cat with unconditional love, a good diet, and care and veterinary attention whenever sick. I was shocked by being told that I shouldn't even have Sooty, as I work 9-5 by the volunteer. I'm now getting a kitten from a breeder because of this, but I truly hope that some day in the future I can also adopt cats from rescues.

    As much as I am saddened by the original statement of what goes on at rescues, I'm not surprised, but I do think that us regular people who are reaching out and genuinely love any cat we can take in, shouldn't have to be treated as animal-neglecting criminals.

    x
     
  8. Amethyst

    Amethyst PetForums VIP

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    As I said uncomfortable reading for some ...
     
  9. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    I can understand why you want a kitten & agree that at times, rescue centre do have alot of rules but they are trying to do their best for the animal in the care.

    Instead of just giving up try other, they don't all have the same rules. When I was adopting my dogs some rescue wouldn't have entertained the idea as I work but other were more flexible & assessed each animal & person individually.

    So many animals are being put in to rescues & even if people are vetted many are retunred for morre pathetic reasons so I can completely understand why some question people as they do but do feel that they have to be realistic in theri expectations of the new family.
     
  10. dom85

    dom85 PetForums Senior

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    I had the exact same experience with all of the shelters around here, as soon as I said I lived in a flat they said no. My flat is a two bed and is bigger than your average 2 bed house and I only want indoor cats anyway so I dont see what the big deal is with me living in a flat?

    They didn't even take into consideration the fact that I am at home alot, ask me about my history of pet ownership etc so yes, I ended up with a breeder.

    A responsibe, ethical breeder who loves her animals, provides all the vet checks, vaccinations and tests her animals for certain conditions.

    My cat isn't taking up a home that an animal in shelter could have had because the shelters wouldn't let me rescue one!
     
  11. Lumboo

    Lumboo PetForums VIP

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    Of course it is uncomfortable reading - what kind of sick person would feel fine about reading it?!! (No one on this site I would imagine)

    However, as I said before, rescue workers are not helping the situation judging from the number of people on this forum who seem to be complaining about them.

    Perhaps the Shelter worker who wrote the article should know why some people have chosen to go to breeders - that might be the flip side of the reality check - some of them doing more damage than good!
     
  12. buffie

    buffie Mentored by Meeko

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    Whilst I agree wholeheartedly with the email you referr to,in defence of myself and the many others who have tried ,repeatedly ,to adopt from rescue shelters,I have to say all you have achieved with this is to drag up ,yet again the Cat Rescue versus Common Sense argument.While the rescues insist on their inflexible rehomers attitudes then there will never be a happy outcome sadly for many animals in rescue.
     
  13. Amethyst

    Amethyst PetForums VIP

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    Many people have cats from rescues, if they are under represented on this forum , it makes you beg the question why I guess ...

    I think if you visited a more welfare orientated "rescue forum" you would find the majority of people had cats/animals via rescue :)
     
  14. colliemerles

    colliemerles PetForums VIP

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    i know people who went to adopt a cat from a rescue,but couldnt because they lived on a main road, so they got a kitten from the local paper, my brother and his wife went to a rescue to look for a dog, but were told they worked so couldnt,they got a dog from an advert in a petshop,they had the dog for 14 or 15 years, used to come home at dinner times,to walk it and there daughter would walk it after school, sometimes i think rescues could be a little more relaxed with some of there rules,i understand they cant dish out animals to everyone that walks through the door, but i hear alot of people saying they would not go back to a rescue centre, which is very sad,
     
  15. Lumboo

    Lumboo PetForums VIP

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    Oh don't worry, I have gone to another shelter as well as spoken to a different person at that shelter - it takes more than some stroppy attitude to put me off! Besides, I know not all staff are like that - as with everywhere you get good staff and bad ones.

    If anything would have put me off cat ownership it would have been the insurance costs! :001_smile:
     
  16. Amethyst

    Amethyst PetForums VIP

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    Yes, I understand some people have had problems, who knows I might be allowed a cat by some rescues :rolleyes:

    To be honest, I personally don't care (not sure how everyone else feels) where anyone gets their pet cat/kitten from as long is it is from an ethical breeder / rescue, they neuter it and give it home for life.

    If EVERYONE did that there wouldn't be the dire rescue situation we have now.
     
  17. Amethyst

    Amethyst PetForums VIP

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    Thats good, so many rescues rehome brilliantly.
     
  18. Lumboo

    Lumboo PetForums VIP

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    :001_smile: I am not a welfare crusader, and my personal preference for wanting a rescue kitten/s does not make me judge anyone who has a cat through a breeder, or those who choose to have a kitten rather than a cat - I simply joined this forum to see if I could get advice/assistance about my kittens, so I am a bit prepared prior to ownership.
    (so far I have had great advice about getting two kittens instead of one, and which insurance provider to go for!)

    Anyway, if I went on an animal welfare forum I am sure I would get lectured about not being vegetarian...there is always some moral issue out there to make you feel bad!
     
  19. Amethyst

    Amethyst PetForums VIP

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    I doubt it, many people involved in rescue are not vegetarian, though on an animal rights type forum, I suspect you may be right ;)
     
  20. staceydawlz

    staceydawlz PetForums VIP

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    This letter really did get to me and id hate to know how it really feels being there,i really would!! Personally i dont think i would have the stomach to see it every day and i certainly couldnt imagine ellie being stuck in a kennel with lots or crying barking dogs i know for a fact it would send her mad and make her ever so upset but the reality is shelters and rehoming centers are far too tight on what and where they rehome to!! Some may not agree but i think just because you live in a flat you cant have a "large" breed dog is a pittifull excuse! what does it matter the size of home that dog will be loved and looked after 10 times better than it would being stuck in a shelter will all those other poor soles...i hope everyone understands where im coming from...i would love to win the lottery and have my own HUGE dog and cat place where if the dogs ever foud a new home or the old cats were stuck there they wouldnt care because they would still be treated cared and loved for....reality...this will probably never happen xx
     
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