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?