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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.

Comments for Shelter Life across America; behind the scenes tragedy

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Jun 04, 2011
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Sounds terrible
by: Webmaster

Thanks Robin for your documentary idea. The picture you paint of animal shelters is awful! I'm sure not all animal shelters are like this. I have friends who run a local animal shelter in my town and they are very compassionate and caring for the animals that come into their shelter. I have no doubt there are people in the world who are cruel to animals and their actions should be exposed.

Aug 16, 2011
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Yes Robin you are so right!
by: chrissy

To webmaster perhaps you should watch this!!!



... Robin if you read this please contact me ... Take Action - Ban Animal Gas Chambers on facebook.

Aug 16, 2011
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The cycle of...death
by: wade shaw...

should tie in the movement to a no kill nation..BSL..how ineffective and costly and how it also contributes to the overload in shelters...add in the expose's by hbo and others on the puppy mills and the amish connection...and the boycotts and legislative bans on pet store sales which fuels the demand for the puppy mills which in turn adds to the overload in shelters...all these things impact the shelters and would make an excellent eye opening documentary..

Aug 16, 2011
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I think it's time that shelters are exposed.
by: Megan Mason

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Take-Action-Help-Ban-Animal-Gas-Chambers/131864610227124

In many shelters in the U.S, there is a cruel method of ?euthanasia? involving placing animals in a gas chamber without sedation where they suffocate to death. In some shelters, cats are piled in with dogs, small dogs are mixed in with large dogs, they put live dogs on top of dead ones and they all fight each other for the last breath of air.
Everything that Robin has outlined is true & accurate.The subject of gas chambers needs much awareness brought to it.An inside view this issue would be very advantageous.Please consider a documentary on this issue.There is an overwhelming amount of people who would be eager to see one.

Aug 16, 2011
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Make People Aware
by: Marlene

This is a MUCH NEEDED Documentary. Alot of people aren't aware of the conditions of some of these shelters and the little amount of time they give these animals before they dispose of them. I'm sure there are some that actually care for these animals, however the ones that feel it's just a "job" need to be exposed. Every animal deserve to be treated with compassion and love,and respect!!!. Instead, they receive torment, loneliness and depression until their time is up and they end up in these "chambers of death"!!! People NEED to be made aware of what they are subjecting their "pets" to when they decide they NO LONGER WANT THEM!!!! :o(

Aug 17, 2011
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Absolutely
by: Mary

A documentary that needs to be made. Tax payers have a right to know how it is their money is being spent -- I think most, if not all, would be HORRIFIED. I don't know when we suddenly began referring to kill pounds as shelters, but when I was a little girl the term "shelter" was reserved for facilities that took in animals and took care of them for the rest of their lives if need be. Kill shelters are not shelters at all, they are nothing more than crude holding pens for animals awaiting heartless and certainly not painless execution. “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” -- Mahatma Gandhi.

Aug 17, 2011
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Dog spoken for by rescue euthanized anyway
by: Mary

And this is only one of HUNDREDS of stories EXACTLY like it.

http://www.examiner.com/dogs-in-national/dog-runs-miles-to-get-home-only-to-be-killed-at-animal-control?CID=examiner_alerts_article

Aug 20, 2011
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Everyone should know how the 'system' works (or doesn't, actually)
by: Deanna

I applaud your efforts to raise awareness on this issue. People should be informed and knowledgeable about our so-called 'animal shelters'. The shocking reality may be sufficient to stop many from purchasing pet store pets and adopting instead. That would be wonderful, backyard breeders and puppy mills would have no demand and without demand there is no need for supply :) A vicious circle could be ended.
People in my neighbourhood are shocked at the fosters which come through my house. They had no idea that 'shelters' kill healthy and adoptable pets. They had no idea that purebred pets end up in shelters. To sum up, the masses are ignorant (in some ways, ignorance is bliss) and need to be made aware.

Oct 24, 2011
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Thank you.
by: Anonymous

Thank you for writing this.

Oct 25, 2011
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.RE
by: Hanka

thank you for doing what you're doing. I've managed to watch several videos regarding gas chambers and find it inconceivable that something like this can be going on in a civilized country. How can this be legal?? I can somehow get my head around humane euthanasia (sedation and lethal injection) though I would still prefer to see extensive state support of Adoption Centers, but gas chambers?? C'mon, that's just barbaric.

we need to get more people to sign petitions, I myself signed quite a few regarding this and encourage my friends to do the same. A documentary would definitely help raising awareness and getting more signatures.

Thank you, Robin.

Oct 26, 2011
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No kill shelters are hopefully not far behind
by: Anonymous

I hope you can get a commentary up. It is really needed to educate people. I didn't realize till really getting involved reading on here that there are quite a few that work in shelters that don't care for the animals, which don't make sense to me. I couldn't handle it, i'd cry everytime one had to leave or be put down. I just hope that it can come down to no-kill shelters very soon. I see no reason why with all the waste the gov't spends, they can't help out shelters & not ever have to kill an animal unless of course it is really volatile & mean, or very,very sick with no chance of living thru it. Good luck, i'm behind you on this.

May 26, 2016
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LONG OVERDUE
by: Jenai Herod

I came here to find out how to do the same... working with other advocates nationwide. We are literally chasing our tails trying to slow the intake of owner surrenders down and without a film to be played on tv and other media we are never going to gain a grip on the problem or get these archaic useless laws changed that promote evictions just for having a pet even if your a responsible pet owner and allowing any animal to be killed for any reason by the owner. Laws HAVE GOT TO BE CHANGED in place targeting high school grads because twenty somethings are the number one age group who abandons pets in shelters. As long as people do not know the truth that their pets are being killed in shelters, not adopted, and those body bags dear arent just going to landfill but they are sold to rendering plants and turned into animal protein and used for dog food and cattle feed. Its a huge racket and must be exposed and i am looking to find help to do a film that shows the relationship between the akc and puppy mills kennel clubs and back yard breeders dog brokers and craigslist free to good home dogs. ITS TIME TO MAKE IT ILLEGAL TO DUMP A PET O GET ONE ITS YOURS FOR LIFE JUST LIKE A KID OR BE GUILTY OF A SERIOUS CRIME. I already have contributions of music for and am welcoming anyone to join us and make this documentary happen

May 26, 2016
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LONG OVERDUE
by: Jenai Herod

I am hoping to do one myself maybe we need to join forces

Aug 01, 2016
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Was a documentary ever made?
by: Megan

Revisiting this page after 5 years since my first comment.Did you make a doc on animal welfare during this time.I was curious.

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