American Humane Association brings the drama:
The numbers are sobering: Every year, some 7-8 million animals end up in our nation’s shelters, which struggle valiantly to provide life-saving services to them. Nearly 4 million are euthanized. Now, new research published by American Humane Association indicates that hundreds of thousands of animals who manage to get adopted from the nation’s shelters are no longer in their homes six months later. These staggering statistics do not even factor in the number of homeless pets abandoned by their former owners to the streets, who wander aimlessly without a roof over their heads, unsure of when their next meal will be. What can be done to get these animals in to loving, forever homes?
Oh noes! This sounds terrible. Hundreds of thousands of shelter pets being jettisoned from their homes in addition to the untold hordes of pets already turned out into the streets. It’s little wonder any of us can make it out to the mailbox without wading through a sea of homeless pets. Adoption is pointless. There’s no way out. I see that now. Oh! This is the big one! I’m coming, Elizabeth!
Before I depart this mortal coil though, let’s take a look at the AHA study. The survey included 572 recent adopters from 3 cities – Charlotte, Ft. Worth and Denver. In each city, adopters were selected from one municipal facility and one private shelter. Results determined that roughly 90% of the adopters still had their pets after 6 months. Approximately 5% had returned the pets to the shelter and the remaining pets had been rehomed, gotten lost or died.
Gee, when I type it all out, it doesn’t sound so TerribleHorribleReallyQuiteBad anymore.
Let’s go back to that dreadful news on the AHA website:
New study: 1 in 10 adopted pets gone within six months
“Gone” sounds so, I don’t know – final. Like they were sold for use in the slave trade in some faraway land. Or they were fitted with cement shoes and tossed into the river because they couldn’t repay their gambling debts. But really, what the AHA study found was that 90% of adopters kept their pets. Isn’t that kinda yay? And 5% returned the pets to the shelter – the safe haven, if you will – presumably because the pet wasn’t a good fit for their family. Isn’t that kind of expected? And the remaining 5% either had a pet get lost or die or gave them to someone else. Again, this falls under the expected category to me, not the Hair on Fire Emergency that AHA seems to think it is. Things happen. Pets get lost. Pets die. People die. Pets need to be rehomed. No need to deploy the National Guard.
I’ll be honest and admit I didn’t read most of the rest of the study. You might like to read it in full. In the main, I don’t trust AHA since they kill dogs and cats. But with this study specifically, they seem to be making a mountain – a fiery, ash-spewing type of mountain – out of a molehill. I am concerned though that AHA may attempt to use the findings to encourage shelters to restrict adoptions even further. Better dead than taking a chance on anything else, right?
Overall, my take on this study is this:
- 90% pet retention 6 months post adoption=pretty good.
- 5% return rate=about what I’d expect.
- 5% other life stuff happens rate=about what I’d expect.
Stand down. Unbunch your panties. Keep calm and keep adopting.
May 17, 2013
Free for all (except those who want to hurt pets or defend those who do). Post any animal related links, comments, questions or anything else that fits into a blog comment.
May 16, 2013
• Campbell Co Mayor William Baird on the Campbell Co pound in TN:
(Thank you Karen for the link.)
• Lake Co Manager David Heath on a recent audit of the Lake Co pound in FL which revealed that roughly 12% of intake remains unaccounted for:
(Thanks Clarice for the above and below links.)
• Cyndi Nason, the new Lake Co pound director and a former ASPCA consultant, on her goals for the facility:
Wonderful for the dogs and cats who make it out alive, less-than-wonderful for the ones tossed into the dumpster. And I take it “as low kill as possible” will be determined by the failing performances of other pet killing facilities in the area. When a director talks in terms such as this, she is leaving killing on the table as an option and indeed, letting the public know they should not only expect killing but accept it – because the shelter is “doing the best they can”, as we so often hear.
Typical, favorable, wonderful – this is how enablers describe the needless killing of dogs and cats in animal shelters.
Dogs and cats have a right to live. Shelters can not attempt to justify infringing upon that right simply because their neighboring shelters are also killing animals. Didn’t everyone’s Mom give them that “If everybody jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?” speech when they were 6?
May 16, 2013
The biggest animal welfare myth in the south rears its ugly head again (where is my Whack-A-Mole mallet?), this time courtesy of Surry Co rescuer Rachel Hiatt after a dog shipped to MA from NC was adopted by a celebrity:
“Up north they have laws where you have to have your pet spayed and neutered so there is a shortage of puppies.”
Portland reporter investigates suspicious fundraising activities from a purported animal advocate who claims she is the “Oprah of the Dog World,” among other things. (Thanks Clarice for the link.)
The photo at the beginning of this article on Muskegon Co AC in MI features a dog being restrained with two chokepoles held by two officers.
TN Governor vetoed the state’s “ag-gag” bill. (Thanks Devry for the link.)
Photos of Jon Stewart walking his 3 legged dog Champ around NYC.
Maricopa Co ACC in AZ impounded this obviously pregnant dog as a stray on April 22, 2013. Records obtained via FOIA request indicate that four days later the pound’s vet cut out her uterus which contained 10 full term puppies, old enough to survive outside the womb. These pups had a right to live. Medical records contain no mention of how the uterus containing the puppies was disposed of nor is there any notation of Fatal Plus being administered to the pups. They were presumably thrown into the trash can to suffocate and die.
Although this poor dog was cruelly subjected to a behavioral evaluation just 3 days after the killing of her pups, she passed. The day after, Maricopa Co noted she was “not kenneling well” and put her on the kill list. This dog had a right to live. Mercifully the so-called irresponsible public came through to save this dog from additional harm at the pound and she was taken in by a rescue group.
Remind me again how the mistreatment and killing of pets in animal shelters is the public’s fault?
May 15, 2013
This search term, which appeared in my WordPress stats this morning, says it all:
where can i take a stray dog and not have it put down
Directors, staff and apologists for pet killing facilities often blame the public for the killing, claiming you and I are guilty of myriad transgressions which “force” them to kill dogs and cats. The truth: The so-called irresponsible public does not want pets killed in “shelters”. We want shelter directors and staff to do their jobs and provide true shelter to pets in need until they are reclaimed, rehomed, rescued or fostered. We want no kill.
May 14, 2013
On my worst days as a blogger, it seems like most commenters don’t bother showing up unless they want to disagree with me on something. And I wonder why I am not in with the In Crowd, despite my numerous appealing qualities, which my Mom reassures me I possess.
On my best days, I remember that the overwhelming majority of readers never comment and since I am lucky enough to have readers, at least according to WordPress stats, I feel grateful. There are plenty of places to find reading material on the web and the fact that anyone drops by this little cranny regularly is both humbling and happying. Welcome to My Pretty Secluded Location. There are clean towels.
In between the worst and best days are all the other days. And on those days I think about plants and birds and rocks and things but also that I believe. I really do. I believe that the killing of shelter pets could end today, as untidy and challenging as it may prove in the short term, and that it could be maintained long term. I believe that shelter dogs and cats have a right to live, regardless of whether they are being carried in their mother’s womb or have lived on the streets for 10 years. I believe that no kill is possible and have resolved to live in accordance with its most basic tenet – that the life of every pet (and I use that as a general description meant to include feral cats and dogs) must be granted individual consideration and respect. Sometimes it’s inconvenient and requires I make personal sacrifices. I make them. Because even if I didn’t want to, there are no reasonable alternatives.
So if there are days when you feel isolated, alienated, or helpless, or perhaps just find yourself wondering whether anyone in the no kill movement would actually stand by you and the homeless pets in your community if push came to shove, know that I will and I am. This blog is a testament to that promise. If you are fighting for the right of every dog and cat to live, go ahead and put me down as your +1. And thank you for reading, which I should say more often.