Shelter Life across America; behind the scenes tragedy
by Robin Hamilton
(Fort Worth, TX, USA)
I would love to see a documentary get out to the public on how animal shelters really work. Expose the horrible things that really happen to the animals while they are in shelters.
1. The treatment of animals in shelters (handling of animals, not getting out of cages for days or weeks, little to no human affection)
2. Length of time before they are killed (instantly after their owners surrender them, some 24hrs some 72hrs and some 10 days).
3. by a gas chamber which causes slow suffocation in which they pack several scared animals in a small gas chamber and lock them in and turn on the gas. All you hear is growling, crying, barking and gasping for air until its quiet then they pull them out and dispose of them in dumpsters. There is the all common lethal injection in the forearm of adults or heart-stick injection (where a shelter employee injects a lethal injection into the chest wall with a direct hit to the heart usually done to kittens,cats, puppies and small dogs. No regard for life as they kill pregnant dogs and cats, puppies, kittens, owner surrendered pets, strays, older seniors that have some quality time left but sadly have been dumped and disposed of at shelters.
4. The dogs and cats that have never been exposed to shelter life and come in terrified, shaking and just scared to death are put in the back out of the publics eye and labeled as "timid, shy, fearful, dog aggressive etc etc" which is a death sentence for most of them. Only the few select animals make it out to the public eye for adoptions. Many are killed as their owners are walking to their car after surrendering them. They just walk them down the hall with their tails wagging and smiling without a clue they are headed to the death room.
5. Often times animals are tagged by rescue and ignored and killed anyway.
6. Disposal of the animals that have sadly left out the back door (killed) are coldly just thrown in garbage cans and taken out to the dumpsters to end up in landfills with all of the rest of the garbage.
7. Very few shelters have a vet on staff which means several animals must suffer thru their stray hold time until they meet their death. Often times they have broken bones, open wounds, cherry eyes, severe mange.
8. Many shelters are forced to kill every animal if the facility is not properly cleaned and a virus or disease spreads thru the facility.
9. Many shelters are very small and have little resources so the kill rates are very high.
10. Many shelter employees have little to no experience with animal behavior, medical issues and are not very compassionate, caring people that like animals. (stories of a tagged dog awaiting for rescue was walked down the hall and killed, a cat got loose and was stuck in a wall and the shelter manager never did anything and sadly after days of distress the cat died.
11. Many of the dogs in shelters are very sweet, loving potentially wonderful pets that will never have the chance to have a family and know love.
12. Several shelter dogs that have made it out have made a turnaround and saved the lives of humans. Kinsey a rescued Lab that worked 911 and 7 other deployments, therapy dogs, seizure and medical dogs, search and rescue dogs. These are dogs that would have otherwise been killed and dumped in dumpsters.
I really believe the majority of the public have no idea what really goes on in the animal shelters in our country and I believe as a dog rescuer and animal advocate I believe change happens when people stop looking the other way and see and learn the truth.
The federal government needs to end puppy mills.... There needs to be strict guidelines for "responsible breeders" and all shelters should have more city, state and federal funding to employ a veterinarian on site, larger shelters, actively recruit volunteers to get dogs out to rescue and play time which will help the shelter pets become more adoptable. There should be a city, state or federal grant for very low cost, free spay/neuter program for the underprivileged people that cannot afford to fix their pets and they continue to create more animals. There needs to be some common sense laws to help the pet overpopulation. We are supposed to be the grandest, most powerful and resourceful country but we somehow cant get control of something simple like pet overpopulation. If we had some programs in place there would be less pets dieing in shelters every day.
If you can help us with a documentary I have tons of folks that would step up and give information, pictures examples and such.