I’ve seen a lot of “rescue” sites that say no dogs should ever be euthanized in shelters. That there is no reason for any dog not to be able to be rehomed. Do you agree that it is that simple? That all dogs are able to be saved?
What I’m about to say is probably going to rub some the wrong way, but I totally disagree. My honest opinion is that not all dogs can or should be rehomed. To think otherwise in my opinion is not being realistic.
First I’d like to start with some facts on the homeless epidemic in the US. There are approximately 13,600 community animal shelters nationwide that are independent; there is no national organization monitoring these shelters. The terms “humane society” and “SPCA” are generic; shelters using those names are not part of the ASPCA or the Humane Society of the United States. Currently, no government institution or animal organization is responsible for tabulating national statistics for the animal protection movement. These are national estimates; the figures may vary from state to state.
- Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats.
- Each year, approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized (1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats).
- Approximately 2.7 million shelter animals are adopted each year (1.4 million dogs and 1.3 million cats).
- About 649,000 animals who enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners. Of those, 542,000 are dogs and only 100,000 are cats.
- Of the dogs entering shelters, approximately 35% are adopted, 31% are euthanized and 26% of dogs who came in as strays are returned to their owner.
- Of the cats entering shelters, approximately 37% are adopted, 41% are euthanized, and less than 5% of cats who came in as strays are returned to their owners.
- About twice as many animals enter shelters as strays compared to the number that are relinquished by their owners.
Since 26% of dogs are returned to their owners, that drops the number down to 2.886 million. The cat percentage drops from 3.4 million to 3.23 million as 5% of cats are returned to their owners. As a side note: since only 5% of cats are returned to their owners, microchipping may be a factor to increasing that percentage.
Combine those numbers with the estimation that 70-80 million dogs and 74-96 million cats are owned in the United States. Approximately 37-47% of all households in the United States have a dog, and 30-37% have a cat. (Source: APPA) So now we have approximately 72.886-82.886 million dogs and 77.23-99.23 million cats in total in the US.
Now according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, approximately 40% of pet owners learned about their pet through word of mouth, regardless of the source. The majority of pets are obtained from acquaintances and family members. 28% of dogs are purchased from breeders (this will be addressed on a separate entry), and 29% of cats and dogs are adopted from shelters and rescues.
In a perfect world, all of those pets would be healthy, both mentally and physically, and that would make them good candidates for rehoming. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world and not all of those animals are healthy, mentally or physically.
Those that are critically sick or have aggressive temperaments (extreme dog/people aggression) that really cannot be rehomed due to a liability issue…and a big one at that or those that have a serious illness or disability are a different story. These dogs are humanely euthanized as they’d have no life outside of that kennel or are already dying and it would be the humane thing to do. So there really and truly is no such thing as a no kill shelter. However, what they mean by no-kill to be is no healthy animals that are capable of being rehomed are killed.
Now this is where people are going to get pissed off. Dogs are being imported in by the thousands by rescues. A great many of these dogs are actually feral and with that brings assorted behavioural issues, not to mention diseases that our dogs are not vaccinated against simply because there was no way they’d have been exposed before. Now most people know that you don’t buy puppies from a pet store simply because by doing so, it feeds the puppy mills greedy little appetites and just makes room for more pups. It continues the cycle rather than ending it. By not purchasing that pup you are ending that vicious cycle. No demand means no need for supply. That lesson we’ve all learned, right?
So why are we allowing dogs to be imported into the country that have probable health issues (there is no quarantine) and definite behavioural issues? These animals have serious issues stemming from their owners spending months gaining their trust let alone allowing them to be touched. This means that many homes have dogs that cower, snarl, growl and possibly snap at owners on a daily basis, let alone their children. The average home is NOT prepared for this. They neither have the skills nor the resources to fix this type of problem.
Not to mention the fact that by removing the dogs from the country of origin, all we’ve done is open up slots for more dogs to fill. It doesn’t fix the problem, it simply fuels it.
So now we are deliberately bringing potentially dangerous dogs into family homes. These types of issues would not have normally have ever passed the necessary testing nor would they have ever allowed these dogs to be sold and placed in homes. Chances are very high that these dogs would have been humanely euthanized due to their issues. Most reputable rescues wouldn’t take the chance of the dog biting someone, whether they be the owner, their children or someone, anyone, else.
One has to wonder why these rescues don’t seem to have a problem with selling a huge sob story and placing potential ticking time bombs in peoples homes?
It’s time we asked ourselves why we fall for the shtick that is thrust down our throats by these rescues. It’s time to stop calling them rescues and call them brokers, which is what are.
Copyright © 2016 Sandy Monk/K9HotSpot blog. All rights reserved. Revised: ALL PICTURES AND CONTENT ON THIS BLOG ~ K9HOTSPOT ~ ARE THE SOLE PROPERTY OF Sandy Monk, and may not be used, copied or reprinted without express permission from the owner. Copyrighted 2016