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Some of you may have seen this before, but I found it online and wanted to share. It makes me so happy that we adopted Lilly from a shelter and did not purchase from a breeder like we had originally planned.

A Letter from a Shelter Manager

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 you just sold will most likely end up in my shelter when it's not a cute little puppy anymore. So how would you feel if you knew that there's about a 90% chance that dog will never walk out of the shelter it is going to be dumped at? Purebred or not! About 50% of all of the dogs that are "owner surrenders" or "strays", that come into my shelter are purebred dogs.

The most common excuses I hear are; "We are moving and we can't take our dog (or cat)." Really? Where are you moving too that doesn't allow pets? Or 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 yard". 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".

Odds are your pet won't get adopted & 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, rottie, mastiff, 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 its 72 hours and the shelter is full, it will be destroyed. 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 destroyed 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 destroyed because shelters just don't have the funds to pay for even a $100 treatment.

Here's a little euthanasia 101 for those of you that have never witnessed a perfectly healthy, scared animal being "put-down".

First, your pet will be taken from its kennel on a leash. They always look like they think they are going for a walk happy, wagging their tails. Until they get to "The Room", every one of them freaks out and puts on the brakes when we get to the door. It must smell like death or they can feel the sad souls that are left in there, it's strange, but it happens with every one of them. Your dog or cat will be restrained, held down by 1 or 2 vet techs depending on the size and how freaked out they are. Then a euthanasia tech or a vet will start the process. They will find a vein in the front leg and inject a lethal dose of the "pink stuff". Hopefully your pet doesn't panic from being restrained and jerk. I've seen the needles tear out of a leg and been covered with the resulting blood and been deafened by the yelps and screams. They all don't just "go to sleep", sometimes they spasm for a while, gasp for air and defecate on themselves.

When it all ends, your pets corpse will be stacked like firewood in a large freezer in the back with all of the other animals that were killed waiting to be picked up like garbage. What happens next? Cremated? Taken to the dump? Rendered into pet food? You'll never know and it probably won't even cross your mind. It was just an animal and you can always buy another one, right?

I hope that those of you that have read this are bawling your eyes out and can't get the pictures out of your head I deal with everyday on the way home from work.

I hate my job, I hate that it exists & 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 homes.

My point to all of this DON'T BREED OR BUY WHILE SHELTER PETS DIE!

Hate me if you want to. The truth hurts and reality is what it is. I just hope I maybe changed one persons mind about breeding their dog, 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.
 

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Thumbs up to some points but thumbs down for others. With this persons views we will not have any dogs left after a while, ether that or the gene pools will be horribly reduced.

But i agree that a breeder should not sell a dog to someone without getting to know them first OR getting a lot of information on that person from other sources.
 

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My dog is a rescue, but I can't stand this letter. This is the sort of one-sided, condescending, emotionally overwrought, factually challenged, overbearing nonsense that drives me nuts about activists of all stripes.
 

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It is also one of those "letters" that is reprinted and distributed all the time -- through email, on craigslist, on this forum, on other forums...

Poorly written, in addition to all the things Independent George lists.
 

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My dog is a rescue, but I can't stand this letter. This is the sort of one-sided, condescending, emotionally overwrought, factually challenged, overbearing nonsense that drives me nuts about activists of all stripes.
I agree.
My dog isn't a rescue but I work with them frequently and I tend to feel the same about these sorts of things. This type of attitude is also one of the main reasons people get the idea that shelter workers/rescue people are all bitter and 'Holier then Thou' about their cause. It really doesn't put us in a good light.
 

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My dog is a rescue, but I can't stand this letter. This is the sort of one-sided, condescending, emotionally overwrought, factually challenged, overbearing nonsense that drives me nuts about activists of all stripes.
^ What he said.

That 'shelter manager's shelter sounds like horribly-run, abusive pit of a place, and yet she wants to blame OTHERS for the fact her facility is inhumane to the animals in it? Give me a break. She should be publicizing the horrible situation the shelter is in and getting donations, volunteers, and tax money to get a facility that is actually HUMANE and that can PROPERLY CARE for it's animals, not holding it up as some kind of 'normal' reality that we should EXPECT shelter animals to have to endure. There is NO EXCUSE for it, not in this day and age when pet owners spend billions every year on their animals and places like the HSUS makes enough in a year to help fund every single shelter in the country if it wanted to. Abusive sheltering is NOT NORMAL and should not be ACCEPTED AS NORMAL. A sick, miserable, neglected life should not be the 'logical outcome' for animals whose only crime is homelessness. We are a first world country, the richest in the world, and we can do better that that. If a PRIVATE CITIZEN was keeping their animals in the same way this 'shelter' was they'd be ARRESTED. But just because a 'shelter' is doing the neglect and inhumane treatment, and keeping animals in terrible conditions, it's magically 'justifiable'?! B.S.

The fact this 'manager' seems completely unaware that anything is wrong here other than 'horrible pet owners' makes it clear she is completely divorced from reality. I do not blame people for not wanting to come to her shelter with their children or families to adopt an animal, it must be horrific and miserable in there. Way to drive away adopters! You're running a concrete 'death row' with miserable, sick animals in it, and you wonder why people would rather get their dog from a friendly breeder's home, pet shop, or a newspaper ad?! Give me a break.

And the number is 3-4 million (die in shelter every year), not 8-11 million. Anyne who does a SMIDGEN of research can find that out.
8-11 million cats and dogs end up in the 4,000 shelters we have in the U.S., but they do not all die. OVER HALF ARE ADOPTED. This director needs to learn how to do basic math before parroting the 'buying a dog kills a shelter dog' lie.

Because I know people are lazy, here are sources: ASPCA. Spay-USA. Maddie's Fund. National Council on Pet Population. Those numbers are not secrets.

I'm really tired of people using false facts and outright myths to bash people who breed dogs or who did not get their animal from a shelter. It's completely uncalled for, and unconstructive. I understand and sympathize with how awful it is that healthy dogs are killed for no reason other than the fact they have no owner. But those dogs are not helped by bitter, guilt-tripping tirades against people who aren't at fault for it.

17 million people will bring a pet into their home this year. So around 3 million more pets need to get adopted annually to largely END 'population control' killing by shelters. If more people spent time brainstorming ideas that could actually help that happen, and stopped harping on 'evil breeders' and 'terrible pet owners' all the time, we may actually be able to make a difference for shelter animals instead of just pointlessly pity-partying all the time and arguing over which of us are the most 'morally superior' dog owners.
 

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Well, the good news is that this "shelter manager" doesn't actually exist.

Google "letter from a shelter manager" and see what you get -- loads of hits of the same letter being circulated everywhere.
 

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It was probably true in the 70s and 80s, but any shelter that's run like that now should be shut down and the people responsible should be prosecuted. Shelters do pretty well with dogs nowadays.
 

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It is estimated that 25 million pets died every year in shelters in the 70s and early 80s. Barely anyone spayed or neutered back then, either. Then the big S/N public education blitz took off in the mid-late 80s, and everything changed. The vast majority of pet owners accepted their responsibility when they were told what was the right thing to do.

Now we're down to 3-4 million euthanized a year, with a 75% S/N rate for owned pets. SO much has improved. Yet the guilt-tripping and pet-owner hating continues from some shelters that have not changed their operating procedures in over 20 years. Shelters that are still stuck in the 'warehouse and kill, with no other options' rut need to be shut down, and their AC contracts given to people who live in the present and who can actually deal with today's reality. The constant hostility to pet owners and ehtical breeders needs to end -- because both groups are part of the SOLUTION, not the problem.

There is so much reason for hope, and it drives me nuts to see people who can't acknowlege anything but death and misery, and who can't seem to see the big picture or accept new ways of thinking about and dealing with the shelter situation in this country. Please, I beg all pet-loving people to educate yourself, and see how close we are to a country where no healthy, treatable animal needs to die 'for space' at a shelter or to live miserably confined in one.
 

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Pai, you don't know how much I agree with you. Shelter conditions have improved so much and the number of dogs and other pets being killed each year has been reduced so much that there is no need for recriminating the people who choose to be responsible breeders (I'd venture to say that responsible breeders were never the issue, but . . .) . The problem is that there are groups out there that want the general public to believe that the numbers have not changed and that mandatory spay/neuter laws are necessary. They have an agenda that they wish to support, so they flood the general public with figures that were correct in the 70s and 80s in hopes that the people and the politicians will accept these things at face value--which they have--and that laws favoring these groups' agenda will be passed.

Part of the problem is that a lot of shelter/rescue people threw in with some of those groups in the past and that they now treat breeders as the enemy. Sadly, many breeders are active in their own rescue efforts and are could be valuable assets to the shelters and rescues too. Unfortunately for both of these sides, the animosity that the AR-aligned groups have aimed at all breeders has led to some legislation being passed that is in support of the AR agenda of eliminating all pet ownership--and how does that agenda help either people or animals?

For all of the love-fest that I see with Petfinder in places like this forum and others, I dislike it intensely. PF, especially their forums, are very anti-breeder and I feel that they do a disservice to both people and animals by being so divisive and by presenting only one side so extremely. This very letter was posted on their forums several years ago and many people posting there had very bitter pet owner- and breeder-bashing responses that frequently contained the word "hate." Any group that is so extremist in its views, in my opinion, does more harm in brainwashing the general public than it does in adopting even thousands of animals (many of which I'm convinced either end up back in the shelter system or euthanized, anyway, since they are so misleading in their posting and practices). Neither side is perfect, but I can't see how we are going to defeat the animal rights extremists and continue with a happy symbiotic relationship with pets long into the future. Then again, with some of the anger toward breeders and pet owners that I sense from many shelter and rescue people, I honestly wonder if they really want to preserve that relationship themselves.
 
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