Sybil Erden - Benson AZ - September 26, 2015

Things you should know about relinquishing your animal to a municipal animal facility or any “shelter” that is

not a "no kill" shelter….

1-     According to the ASPCA at least 2.7 million animals are killed (“euthanized”) at so-called shelters annually. Further, according to a Best Friends Sanctuary study 9,000 healthy, otherwise adoptable animals are killed each and every day of the year simply due to lack of space and/or adopters at the facilities. That averages out to over 3.2 MILLION pets killed every year. If you factor in “less” adoptable animals: older animals, handicapped animals, the injured or ill (even those who become ill at the facility) the number skyrockets to between 4-6 million a year…each and every year. This number can include puppies and kittens.

2    -The numbers are staggering: Only ONE in TEN animals can be expected to have a single life-long home. And at least 3 out of 4 will be killed for homelessness, even factoring in multiple homes, at some point in their lives.  Continuing to breed animals insures that more of these otherwise adoptable animals will be killed.  SPAY and NEUTER your animals. PLEASE.

3-    Owner surrendered dogs have LESS time to find an adopter or rescue than a “stray”. Owners are signing a paper which gives the facility the right to kill the animal. READ what you are signing.

4-    Your “wonderful” and loving “pet” will, in all likelihood NOT find a new home. Many facilities have an up to 60% kill rate meaning that only the remaining 40% of HEALTHY, non-fearful, non-aggressive leave “alive”. This is particularly true in the smaller rural facilities throughout Arizona.

5-    Healthy animals entering these facilities often become ill with minor treatable illnesses such as kennel cough (dogs) or respiratory ailments (cats) Many shelters do not treat these or injured animals. The animals suffer and/or simply are killed.

6-    Depending on the region up to 60% of dogs at facilities are “pure bred” dogs. Being a pure bred animal does not guarantee adoption or rescue.

7-    The average age of animals at facilities is 2 years old. Dogs over 5-7 are called “aged” “senior” or “elderly” and have less chance of being adopted and therefore are generally the first to be killed.

8-    The average time an animal has to find an adopter or rescue at many facilities, whether large and overcrowded or small and overwhelmed, is seventy-two hours…or three days. It is common to be euthanized if an “owner turn in” (OTI) on the same or next day.

9-    Dogs are terrified at these facilities. A “fearful” dog or cat is as likely to be killed as an “aggressive” animal. These labels are excuses for choosing which animal to kill.

10-    Pit Bull and other bully-breed dogs and Chihuahuas are the MOST likely to be killed at facilities. The numbers are staggering. SPAY and NEUTER all your animals. There are often free or low-cost coupons available if you are financially stressed.

11-    Any black dog – black labs, and mixes, all the way down to black puppies of any sort - are the third in line for being killed. For some crazy reason black dogs are considered “common” or unappealing and therefore have a harder time finding an adopter.

12-    People carelessly discard older, elderly or ill dogs at pounds. This is cruelty. The animal is already stressed due to age or illness and now is abandoned. A "Shelter" is not a “nursing home” … this is death for the animal who loyally gave you his best years. Put yourself in his or her position and keep you companion with you. There are small grants available to families and individuals for emergency medical and food to keep your animals with you. Go to our LINKS page and scroll to the bottom of the page for more information regarding small grants to help your companion animals.

Rescues are full. We are OVER full. We are stressed. We are always trying to bring in funds to help with the animals already in residence awaiting adoption, or in the case of Sanctuaries, for the elderly and handicapped animals we are caring for. We who are running rescues, and people volunteering at rescues will tell you, honestly, that we are out all of room, out of fosters, and ultimately out of our minds….so:

If you are moving:

1-    Do not wait until the last minute to try to find options for your pet.

2-    There ARE apartments and homes which allow pets. Look for one. Realize you may have to pay a “pet deposit.” Save up for it the same as any moving expense. It is LIFE or DEATH for your companion animals.

3-    Even if you are moving a long distance, it is far more stressful for your animal to be dumped, awaiting death, in a frightening environment than spending a few days in a kennel in the car with you and your family while you drive across country.

4-    Often a Rescue can help you find an adopter by helping you write an ad and or posting your animal on one or more of the Rescue’s adoption sites as a “Courtesy Listing.” Get in touch with the rescue a month or more before your move and ask us to work with you, not just to take your animal because you are moving “tomorrow.”

If a family member has become ill or passed:

1-    Do not dump your relative’s animal at the nearest pound. Please understand that your family member’s beloved companion is a family member and is deserving of a home and respect. This animal is frightened and GRIEVING, this is scientifically shown to be the case. And a grieving, fearful, elderly pet at a shelter is simply waiting to die or be killed.

2-    If you cannot take the animal to your home permanently, considering short term fostering while working with a rescue to find a home for the dog or cat.

If you are facing a debilitating illness or will be unable to keep your animal(s) for health or financial reasons, as all the above:

Please give yourself and the rescues as much time as humanly possible. Most rescues will attempt to work with you in some manner…but we know that placing an animal is a hit-or-miss proposition and, particularly with older animals, can take a long time. It is not uncommon to take 6 months to a couple of years to find an appropriate placement option for an adult or older animal. But sometimes a Rescue can find a temporary foster home within a matter of weeks, so work with us, give us time and HANG IN THERE!

If your animal is misbehaving or is under socialized, Rescues often have the names of trainers who may be able to work with you. Like a child, it is up to you the “parent” or caregiver, to set limits, establish standards as well as direct and guide the animals in your care.

Please keep in mind that having a companion animal is a life-long proposition- life long for both you and the animal.
I cannot emphasize this enough: Spay and neuter, Adopt, don’t buy, whenever possible, and keep your animals with you for THEIR lifetimes.

Please…while it may be an inconvenience for you to insure their safety, ultimately it is LIFE and DEATH for them.