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Hi everyone, I'm new here. I signed up because I have a specific question to ask fellow dog people: In your state (or territory), are shelters bound by law to contact the owners of microchipped pets who are picked up?

I'm in Delaware, and this is the hot news this week:

"Dog Euthanized Scandal" (watch the video on the right side of the page)
http://www.wmdt.com/Global/story.asp?S=14736916

Details are emerging that the shelter found a lost dog, scanned his microchip, knew who the owners were but didn't contact them. Instead the dog was moved to a shelter 50 miles away and euthanized 5 days later.

In Delaware, they just passed a law in January that says shelters must make every effort to contact any known owners. So in this case, it's a clear violation of that law. But it made me realize in other states, maybe shelters are not required to do so. Most shelters are required to scan... but do the laws say anything about them contacting owners? Or can they put your dog to sleep anyway?
 

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Shelters are not really in the business of putting dogs down. No one likes to do that, even though it happens a lot more than we'd like. If they knew the dog had an owner who might be looking for it, what's the incentive to not contact that owner? If the dog got put down, then they lost money on it (at a minimum, 5 days worth of food plus transportation costs) and burdened an already over-burdened shelter system. If they had returned it to its owner, they could have fined the owner ~$100 (or whatever the going rate in the area is) for letting their dog stray.
 

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That particular shelter, Kent County SPCA, has the animal control contract for the entire state of DE. As such, they have a huge budget ($1.5 million) for stray intake & disposal, but almost no budget for adoptions & animal care. So it's in their best interest to dispose of strays quietly rather than wasting shelter space on them.

My guess is, if you investigate the animal control facilities in major urban/downtown areas, you'll find a similar mindset. They're more in the business of making stray animals vanish, cleaning up the streets, rather than dedicating space, staff & resources to running a true shelter operation. Especially when the animal in question is an injured pit bull, it's probably a no-brainer for them.

That's why it's important for the laws to maintain a strict protocol to keep the animal control facilities focused on what's right (reuniting lost pets with their families), rather than what's efficient (eliminating animals).
 

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No, there is no legal requirement for a shelter to contact an owner from the microchip.

Shelters are not really in the business of putting dogs down
Many shelters are in exactly that business. That is how they were set up, and some are paid by the kill.

No, no one likes to put a dog down, but many believe that that is a better life than that dog can be given and see no better route, so they do it as they - often mistakenly - believe someone has to. Some of them do it with very little compassion and care what-so-ever. The following four links can fill in some more about that.

Snapshots from MAS - http://yesbiscuit.wordpress.com/2011/05/26/snapshots-from-mas-4/

Doctor, Lawyer, Wall St. Executive, Hempstead Animal Shelter Worker? - http://yesbiscuit.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/doctor-lawyer-wall-st-executive-hempstead-animal-shelter-worker/

Understanding the Epidemic of Cruelty - http://www.nathanwinograd.com/?p=5864

SPCA Pays New Brunswick Shelters to Kill Dogs - http://bullmarketfrogs.com/blog/2011/05/spca-pays-new-brunswick-shelters-to-kill-dogs/

“We had an agreement that for each dog that these agents brought to us and released to us we would get a $60 disposal fee which would cover their vaccines, de-worming, checking for fleas and basic introduction needs.

“This year in the contract, the NBSPCA changed that from each dog released to the shelter to every euthanized dog we would receive $60 … That was unacceptable.


Others are better and are achieving low to no-kill rates by putting in the great effort, and thank Dawg for that.

The Calgary Model for Success - http://saveourdogs.net/2009/08/09/the-calgary-model-for-success/

UPAWS: Doing It (Marquette) - http://yesbiscuit.wordpress.com/2010/12/11/upaws-doing-it/

SOB
 

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So few shelters actually scan any cats (almost none of them scan all cats--if your cat is shy or scared, it's immediately deemed feral and killed without a scan or a stray hold at many shelters) that there's almost no point in microchipping your cat at all. I'll hope that most shelters do better by dogs, but I won't hold my breath.

I think it's absolutely abhorrent that they did scan the dog, found current contact info, and didn't contact his owners. No decent person would do that. But shelter workers at a kill shelter have to brainwash themselves into believing that the animals are better off dead, so it's just a small step from believing that a stray is better off dead to killing an owned dog because they believe he's probably better off dead as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
No, no one likes to put a dog down, but many believe that that is a better life than that dog can be given and see no better route, so they do it as they - often mistakenly - believe someone has to.
But shelter workers at a kill shelter have to brainwash themselves into believing that the animals are better off dead, so it's just a small step from believing that a stray is better off dead to killing an owned dog because they believe he's probably better off dead as well.
It's shocking, but what you guys say is absolutely true. Think of it... how can a normal human being with some sense of morality & compassion ever kill healthy animals for a living? The answer is they have to "brainwash themselves" with some spurious sense of logic. They have to justify what they are doing, otherwise they'd go mad.

I've talked to soldiers who tell me the first thing they are taught is that the enemy is not a human being. It's a target, a speck, a robot, or whatever you want to call it. Once soldiers are re-programmed, they can kill hundreds without having a conscience. Apparently it's very easy to wash away a human's basic morality & compassion.

Sometimes I wonder if high-kill shelter workers shut off all compassion entirely, or actually start to hate the animals. Maybe that's how they can justify killing so many. I haven't looked at spanielorburst's links (because I have a weak stomach) but I'm guessing those are the kinds of people.
 

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Yes, the Nathan Winograd link SOB posted (understanding the epidemic of cruelty) addresses that. Basically saying that if people are hired to commit the ultimate act of violence (death) against animals, it's likely they'll go on to commit other acts of violence against them as well. Go ahead and read it. . .I don't think there's anything in that one that would turn your stomach too badly :). No pics anyway.
 

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I believe how it works here, unless they changed it, was if an animal is licensed they are not allowed to be euthanized unless the owner refuses to claim the animal. I don't know about microchips since they aren't regulated by the municipality. When I worked at the humane society we scanned every animal coming in.

...about people trying to get animals euthanized on purpose. Those types certainly do exist. Those kinds of people are usually more concerned with the shelter's budget then they are about animal life. At the shelter I worked at, the person responsible for the budget also did a certain amount of the euthanizations herself. Some might also have ulterior motives, like being diehard PETA supporters who believe that domestic animals are basically slaves and are better off dead.

Sometimes I wonder if high-kill shelter workers shut off all compassion entirely, or actually start to hate the animals. Maybe that's how they can justify killing so many. I haven't looked at spanielorburst's links (because I have a weak stomach) but I'm guessing those are the kinds of people.
Harsh words. Try not to paint everyone with the same brush.
I worked at a kill shelter and I hardly ever believed that an animal was better off dead (the exceptions were terminally ill or injured animals, and some of the insanely aggressive, mentally damaged ones) I had a few arguements with my seniors about why certain animals were being killed during my time there. I remember the animals I fought for clearly and it tugs at my heart. There were quite a few animals that could have been pulled but the shelter staff didn't bother to try for some reason. I couldn't get that reason out of them.

For me I had to turn emotion off when it was work time. That doesn't mean the compassion wasn't there. I kept every animal as comfortable as possible while they stayed at our shelter. I took time on my breaks to visit animals that were lonely and scared. The place I worked was killing far more than I thought was necessairy, but the hard truth is you can't save them all.
 

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I've talked to soldiers who tell me the first thing they are taught is that the enemy is not a human being. It's a target, a speck, a robot, or whatever you want to call it. Once soldiers are re-programmed, they can kill hundreds without having a conscience. Apparently it's very easy to wash away a human's basic morality & compassion.
I digress, but I'm betting you haven't met a heck of a lot of military personnel.
 

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I There were quite a few animals that could have been pulled but the shelter staff didn't bother to try for some reason. I couldn't get that reason out of them. . .

The place I worked was killing far more than I thought was necessairy.
Did you read the link? That's addressed. It says that people who really do care about the animals don't last long working at a kill shelter, so the only ones left are those that absolutely don't care, or who have some kind of killing agenda.

I digress, but I'm betting you haven't met a heck of a lot of military personnel.
I dunno. My dad says the same thing. My grandpa did, too. . .and he was actually WWII (my dad was in the Navy during wars but never saw combat). If they don't teach you how to turn off your brain/conscience at some point, you'd never last.
 

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"For some reason." I'll clarify: it was implied that certain people in higher places at the shelter didn't want to admit they were trying to save money. It was never said openly.

Did you read the link? That's addressed. It says that people who really do care about the animals don't last long working at a kill shelter, so the only ones left are those that absolutely don't care, or who have some kind of killing agenda.
No I was replying to a post I thought needed some balance. That's great that they addressed that, but if one doesn't mean ALL of a population, one shouldn't state that or someone is going to call it out.

I also don't think that's completely true, because there were some very kind caring people who still work there since the time I was there (about 8 years ago now). They care enough and are resilient enough that they can look past the crap and save the ones they can. They will argue with superiors, they will make phone calls to rescues to get dogs pulled, or take them in themselves. No matter what, animals are going to continue to get put down and someone is going to have to do it. Society has shown we have a real need for this. The people that actually do the euthanasia vary in temperament. Some are definitely cold hearted and business oriented, others are regretful but see no alternative to the flood of pets dumped at our doors.

The rest of us might as well do our best to push as many as we can out to the adoption center. If no one does that, the other attitude wins over. Personally I couldn't do that job forever, as you have to be a real optimist to not get caught up in the depressing atmosphere. You feel like you're losing, all the time. You get a****** humans coming in and dumping their loving pets at your feet all day. Some people aren't like me though, they don't get caught up in the bad stuff and are able to focus constantly on the good they can do.

I'm just trying to add some balance and realism to something I feel is kind of propaganda-ish-y in this thread. :s
 

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Indigo;1013737I'm just trying to add some balance and realism to something I feel is kind of propaganda-ish-y in this thread. :s[/QUOTE said:
How much of Nathan Winograd's writings have you read? Those that insist killing is necessary are more on the propagandish side. Many shelters have significantly lowered their kill rates by taking simple steps, most of all just caring enough to not kill.
 
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