Finding Local Resources

In my adventures in the field of animal welfare, I found many resources within my community. Follow me as I discovered them.

I started my career in Pullman Washington. This location is one of the best locations to start any adventure. With Washington Veterinary School in my backyard, I found them a wealth of knowledge and resources. I learned the handling of birds and the use of chemical immobilization from them. The school was involved in nutritional studies and I reaped the benefit of having access to pet food that was left over from their studies; for example, they were conducting a calcium study on Great Danes. They used pet food with low, medium, and high concentrations of calcium. By mixing the bags of food, I had a perfect blend of food for the animals in my shelter.

I also engaged in a program with Alpo in which they would offer free dog food to animal shelters participating in halftime adoption events at basketball games. The audience would vote by clapping as to which shelter brought the “best” dog. The winning shelter would receive a large amount of food and the other participating shelters would receive less. Alpo would provide coupons and you could pick up the food from your local grocer as needed. I once found myself with excess food, so I traveled to other animal shelters in my area and distributed my newfound wealth.

In Pullman, I worked in the Police Department. I didn’t have a very good working relationship with our Chief of Police. He had developed a three-year phase-in of computers within the department and the animal shelter was scheduled in year 5. I desperately wanted to use a computer to track the intake of our animals, but it was unlikely that I would get one from him. I approached him and asked about monetary donations to the animal shelter to move the shelter higher on his phase-in plan. He told me that any money donated to the animal shelter was a “police donation” and would unlikely be used for the shelter. So, I found someone in the community who bought a computer for the shelter. That resulted in one of the longest chewings that I ever encountered by a boss. The same lady also provided all of the cat food for the shelter.

Drug manufacturers offer free drugs to veterinary schools. They hope to get veterinarians in training used to their drugs for when they get out into the world to open their practices. The Veterinary College provided me with free vaccinations for the animals at my shelter.

If you have a Veterinary College near you, become their best friend.

In Portland Oregon, our shelter provided a pickup service for dead animals from veterinary clinics in town. Oddly, it was a very popular service. In exchange for picking up the dead animals from the clinic, the clinic became obligated to handle any animal emergency brought to them by one of our animal control officers. It was very convenient for the officers because emergency assistance was always nearby. I remember an incident in which a veterinarian was not fulfilling his obligation. He was turning away our officers. I wrote him a letter and explained that since he was not living up to the agreement, we would stop picking up his dead animals. He came in person to beg me to change my mind. It just so happened that we were dealing with a hoarding situation so I told the veterinarian that if he would assist the officers in making a court case in the hoarding case that he could earn his way back into our good graces.

It is important that animal shelter staff attend local meetings of the veterinary association to see if you can find ways to help one another.

While in Fairfax Virginia, we began working with a Vet Tech College. We gave the students the opportunity to work directly with animals and as a result, we got free veterinary care.

Also in Fairfax, we develop arrangements in which our animals were adopted through various companies in town. We had arrangements at Pet Smart Stores, Veterinary Clinics, and even feed stores.

In Gainesville Florida, I was fortunate to be working near another Veterinary College. Due to a grant from Maddie’s Fund, the College started a shelter medicine course. Veterinary students would visit the animal shelter several times a week to provide veterinary services.

Another advantage of having a Veterinary College nearby is to have access to specialized medical treatments. If an animal came into the animal shelter with serious medical issues, we frequently passed the animal to a Veterinary College to be used as a class assignment. Usually, a vet student would come forward and adopt the animal after treatment.

Once you have uncovered all of your local resources, don’t forget about national resources. Suppose you are engaged in a national disaster. In that case, Pet Smart Charities, American Humane, the Humane Society of the United States, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are extremely valuable. I don’t know what I would have done without them when we were forced to seize nearly 700 cats in Gainesville.

One of the things to keep in mind is that in my career of directing animal shelters, I encountered jurisdictions that prohibited fund-raising. The mindset of these jurisdictions was that by asking for money for the animal shelter, you are announcing that the animal shelter is not properly funded. You can see where public officials might get upset. So, before you start advertising that you are accepting donations, check with your bosses as to how they feel about that.

Times are hard, but resources are closer than you would think.

Open Animal Shelter

One of the things that I hate more than seeing animals in cages in an animal shelter is seeing them all running loose.  My good friends at Best Friends Animal Society opened an animal shelter in Bentonville Arkansas that allows the animals to run loose.  What could go wrong?  A whole lot!

It is a widely known fact, at least to me, that animal shelters were never constructed for holding animals for long periods of confinement.  They were originally built to house stray animals for a few days for their owners to find them.  In the beginning, animals were held for three days.  As owners became increasingly irresponsible, the holding time grew to five days and then ten.  Of course, that holding time varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  So, if you wait nine days, don’t go pointing a finger at this blog claiming you had another day.  Most places have a three-day stray holding period.   Don’t balk, that is two days more than you should need.

The no-kill movement changed everything and animal shelters began holding animals way beyond the point where the animal goes cage crazy.  I can understand the mindset of wanting to turn them loose.  But, an animal shelter’s first obligation is to protect stray dogs for their holding period.  After the holding period, the animal becomes lawfully owned by the animal shelter.  As shown below, it makes sense to NOT mix stray dogs with adoption animals.

Many of those stray animals have no evidence of vaccination or behavior history.  Allowing these animals to mix puts the entire population of animals at risk of disease or injury.  It is foolish to just turn an animal loose in your shelter hoping that it isn’t an aggressive animal.  If you are admitting pit bulls, you are going to have issues.  Period.  Most animal shelters have to deal with pit bulls making up 70% of the dogs within their facility.  It makes it impractical to allow them to run loose.

Introducing a toddler to a mass of over-active dogs could be a terrifying experience.  The toddler’s actions might incite the dogs to bite.  If one dog in a pack goes nuts, a good many of the other dogs will go nuts as well.  Even experienced staff will not do well in a frenzy of dogs.

I get it, announcing that you are freeing all of the dogs makes for a good newspaper article.  It worked.  But, how are you going to explain to the community that most of your bites come from people visiting your animal shelter?  What are you going to say to the lost parent of a small dog who comes to pick up their puppy, but you can’t seem to get the puppy out of the mouth of another dog?

Calling this facility an animal shelter is technically true, but when I think of animal shelters, I think of public animal shelters.  Bentonville already has a public animal shelter, so in my mind, this is a private animal shelter; we call them humane societies.  The primary difference is funding and intake policies.  Animal shelters are funded by local taxpayers and have the expectation to take in stray animals.  Humane Society builds facilities to supplement the public facility and depends on donations; they may or may not accept stray animals.  The Best Friend’s facility, as a private animal shelter, can better control the population of its shelter and thus keep the population low enough to allow for a limited number of animals to be able to live outside of cages.

Population Dynamics in Animal Welfare

Wild Populations

One of the main goals of engaging with feral cat populations is to bring the number of cats down to the carrying capacity in your area. Pretty simple. Or is it? Basically, carrying capacity is maintaining the number of animals to a level that is not detrimental to the animal’s population or the environment. Pretty simple stuff; keep the animal population to the level that the land can support it. Oh, but there are so many things that can go wrong.

Several years ago, communities were trying to understand how their local efforts at Trap, Neuter, and Release or TNR were failing, in spite of all their efforts to sterilize all of their free-roaming cats. One of the big obstacles was little old ladies in white tennis shoes (LOLWTS). Who can watch an animal starve? So, these folks began changing the dynamics of the carrying capacity of their neighborhoods by feeding the feral cats that come into their yards.

As long as there is a food source, animals will breed. Even though the communities have spent a small fortune in sterilizing their feral cats, there are always enough fertile cats to join the cause to breed. Most of the fertile cats were indoor/outdoor cats owned in the neighborhood or abandoned by a previous owner. TNR programs failed when they believed that they had their feral cat problem under control. The current population of cats increased as cats immigrated into the area and others were abandoned by their owners. Soon, these fertile cats started causing the population to climb again.

The climbing population of cats resulted in neighbors calling their local animal control officer to trap and remove the cats. Those trapped cats create an unnecessary burden on the animal shelter and place the shelter’s animals at risk. Feral and outdoor cats are largely unvaccinated. When an unvaccinated animal enters the stress of being trapped and caged, the animal becomes susceptible to disease. We had an extremely difficult time maintaining the health of our cat population in Roanoke because the animal control officers in one jurisdiction kept rounding up the sick feral cats in their jurisdiction which provided a constant source of sick cats to the animal shelter. As a result, many potentially adoptable cats were prevented from finding new homes because of the constant quarantine conditions that the shelter was experiencing.

In Jacksonville, we were so effective in removing the nuisance feral cats in one neighborhood that neighbors began to complain of the rise in the rodent population. Jacksonville is home to a Norwegian Rat that grows to the size of a large cat. The neighborhood didn’t understand the benefit that their feral cat population provided and incurred larger problems in the removal of the cats.

Mother Nature provides a great equalizer for population control. Her efforts are frequently disturbed by human intervention; whether it is backyard feeding or animal removal programs. Ironically, as the shelter fills up with sickly feral cats, the carrying capacity of the area where the cats were removed opens up to new arrivals.

TNR is a short-term solution. It just seems like it takes forever. But when you announce your success and curb your TNR efforts, mother nature will begin to swart your original efforts. TNR isn’t a won-and-done proposition. Since you have already interfered with the carrying capacity of your program area, you’ll will need to continue those trapping efforts to ensure an ongoing effort to keep those cat numbers to a minimum.

I have always believed that the solution to the feral cat problem is an oral sterilant, that was used in controlling wildlife populations. The advantage of an oral program is that it treats both wild and domestic free-roaming animals. The offside is the effect that it would have on young children that seem to pick up and eat anything they find lying on the ground. Adding a rabies vaccination to the bait would help keep rabies under control and help minimize children running around biting one another.

Shelter Populations

A veterinarian once told me that the best way to keep disease down in your shelter is to keep the population of animals to a minimum. As the population of animals increases in an animal shelter, the stress of the animals rise. Stress weakens the immune system and disease outbreaks become common.

A feral cat may keep an illness under control until that cat undergoes the stress of being captured, caged, and confined. Illnesses in feral cats begin to manifest after three or four days in captivity. Then shelter staff, in their routine of feeding and cleaning, inadvertently begin spreading the illness to the rest of the cat population in the shelter. Then you have an outbreak.

Disease within an animal shelter population is generally spread by direct touch. Shelter staff need to clean themselves between cleaning each cage. Shelter visitors need to keep their hands to themselves. It is not uncommon to watch a visitor going down the line of cages petting one animal after another. Each touch creates an avenue for disease to spread.

When dealing with internal and external population limits, animal welfare staff have to consider what is in the best interest of the community’s people and animals. And always remember that Mother Nature (and well-intended people) will be constantly battling you along the way


Intake Vaccinations

There has always been a debate as to whether the cost of the vaccination of animals on intake is a worthwhile expense. Some of the issues to consider:

Over-vaccinating owned strays. Pet owners who frequently allow their pets to run loose may experience their pets being over-vaccinated if shelter personnel do not recognize the pet at intake since few animals entering an animal shelter carry owner information.

Vaccinations weaken the immune system. As the body is adjusting to the addition of a foreign substance, the animal might be more likely to become sick in a facility that may already have diseases. The stress of the vaccination is added to the stress of the animal entering the shelter.

Vaccinations take 4 to 6 days to begin offering any immunal support. So, during the short time that an animal sits in a cage, the vaccine that you provided is not protecting it. The vaccine becomes more effective several weeks after administering the vaccine.

So, with all of the negatives that go with intake vaccinations, why do we do it? In spite of it all, vaccinations at intake continue to be seen as a “best practice.” The negative reaction to the vaccination is minor and the positive results can be major.

Smart animal shelter staff try to minimize the impact of the vaccination by keeping the stress level down of their animals. It helps to dim the lights and dampen the sound in the areas where the animals are kept. Keeping “feral boxes” in cages for cats gives them a place where they can hide and feel safer.

Update your local laws to allow shelter personnel to microchip pets that are impounded multiple times without wearing identification. If the animals are scanned prior to vaccination, it will reduce the possibility of over-vaccinating them and reduce the time they are in the shelter waiting for an owner to discover that they are missing.

Animal Laws

Most animal laws are enacted to keep the stupid people in our society from harming the rest of us. In a world in which we feel like we are over-regulated, the following laws are for your own protection:

Leash Laws – Pet owners are the last people to recognize that their pet is a danger to other pets or people. Leash laws are to help provide a level of control that an obtuse pet owner might need. Communities should NEVER allow for a law that provides for verbal control over pets; anything less than physical restraint is just a stupid plan. Sorry, I was lacking a better term for that.

Exotic Animal Laws – Many people do not have the sense when it comes to owning wild or verminous species. Exotic animal laws limit the ownership of animals that present a danger to themselves or others. In Portland, we had a person who owned a liger, in Milwaukee we had numerous people who owned verminous snakes. Sorry, here it comes again…. people who own these animals are just plain stupid. There is no point in owning a dangerous animal whether it is domestic or wild. Have you ever watched a show in which some idiot is interviewed claiming the number of times he (and it is usually is a “he”) was bitten by his verminous snakes? Sometimes you just have to ask yourself whatever happened to natural selection?

Licensing Laws – Less than 10% of the dogs entering an animal shelter wear any form of identification. The percentage is even lower for cats. For years, I created campaigns with the slogan: “A license is a phone call home for a pet without a dime.” Okay, that was a long time ago. The slogan never worked, so we purchased a pet tag engraver and began giving tags out when people reclaimed their pets. The free ID tags didn’t work; no matter how many tags we created for a pet; it would always be picked up without a tag. So, we created laws that pets that were picked up three times without identification would be microchipped.

Let’s face it, in addition to providing revenue, the pet licensing law was a means to get an animal back to the owner. The last thing we need is for owned animals taking up the necessary space in our animal shelter. In a perfect world, a pet owner would begin looking for their lost pet within 24 hours. Working in animal welfare, I learned that we don’t live in a perfect world. Many pet owners don’t seem to look for their pets at all… or, at least until the 3, 7, or 10-day stay-holding period is up. It is amazing the number of pet owners that show up after their pet has been adopted by someone else.

Most pet licensing laws require that the pet be vaccinated for rabies. Dogs and cats are the two species that are most likely to come in contact with a rabies vector species (bats, skunks, raccoons, and foxes). Rabies vaccinations are usually good for 1 or 3 years. Many veterinarians use the 1-year vaccination to force their clients to bring in their pets for an annual check-up.

Animal Cruelty – Although this is a blog about laws that protect you, a good number of people need to be told how to treat their pets. Yeah, I know; you would think that it would be common sense. But it isn’t. One of the most common complaints that animal control officers receive in the winter is that dog owners do not provide fresh water for their outdoor pets when the water bucket freezes over. In the summer months, the complaints turn to dogs left without shade or left in hot cars. I know what you are thinking, and I think that as well: a person should have to pass a test first before being allowed to be a pet owner or parent.

Dangerous Dog Laws – Some owners still will not recognize their dog as being dangerous, even after it has been declared dangerous by the local jurisdiction. Dangerous dog laws create an additional layer of safety for the community after a dog has exhibited signs of being dangerous. Those laws require additional confinement restrictions and insurance. Many dogs are euthanized when they attack or bite a person after they have been declared dangerous. Even with fatal dog attacks, it seems the only one who didn’t believe the dog was dangerous beforehand is the owner. I don’t know if this ignorance is the result of stupidity or just laziness to accept responsibility for the dog’s behavior. These laws determine when a person cannot be responsible to maintain an aggressive dog properly and then make a determination as to the need to kill the dog.

It is not uncommon for a judge to remove a dangerous dog from the community. Instead of euthanizing the dog, the judge rules that the dog should be removed from the community. In these cases, the judge just removes the dog from his community to place it upon another community to worry about. Judges don’t like to order the death of an animal and sometimes make foolish decisions.

It would be a wonderful world that if we didn’t have to live with laws, but humanity would kill itself if we didn’t have them.

Old School

People get a certain satisfaction from adopting their pet from a “kill shelter.” It congers up some notion of a last-minute reprieve from death. It gives the person something to feel good about themselves. Unfortunately, it also gives in the impression that animals are safe in a no-kill shelter. That is not the case. Many shelters are understaffed and overcrowded. Many modern-day shelters are little more than hoarding facilities. The lives of animals border on inhumane. Shelter managers are faced with a hard decision about whether it is better to house animals in inhumane conditions or euthanize them. Either decision will bring public criticism.

I was once referred to as being old school. I suspect that meant that I adhered to the notion that public safety was our first priority in providing animal sheltering. I suppose that is true, I always believed that humans had to come first, but not at the expense of our treatment of animals.

During the no-kill movement, public safety has and still does take second place. Animal Control programs have geared themselves toward saving the lives of animals ahead of providing public safety. This is manifested in shelters closing their doors to public animal intakes and encouraging officers to stop picking up stray animals on the streets. Communities are less safe now.

In Virginia, the notion of saving all animals caused animal shelters and rescue groups to start lying about the behavior of their animals so as to overcome any potential objection that an adopter might have in obtaining a potentially dangerous dog. The problem got so large that the Commonwealth of Virginia had to legislate laws that prohibited shelter personnel from lying about an animal’s previous history. In Fairfax Virginia, shelter personnel were put at risk because they were forced to care for dangerous animals that the shelter refused to euthanize. From an “old school” perspective, the no-kill movement turned us all stupid.

After all of these years in the “business,” it looks like they haven’t taken the old school out of me. As I watch news coverage of shelters being investigated for animal abuse, I think it is time that the animal welfare profession begins to put some old school back into their policies. We need to do everything that we can to save as many pets as possible, but not at the expense of the animal’s welfare or public safety.

Animal shelters are committing animal cruelty and neglect, believing that they are doing it for the good of the animal. If we are going to save an animal, we need to provide that animal with a humane life. Animals need to stop being statistics and start being cared for.

My personal philosophy was to treat each animal as if it were my own pet.  As a shelter manager, you need to decide that if you cannot do that, then you are probably overcrowded and should look to methods of controlling your current shelter population.  Find the number of animals that you can care for and do everything you can to maintain that number.  Prepare contingency plans for the day that your animal control officers uncover an animal hoarder and need to find room for an additional fifty animals.

Mission Conflicts

Many organizations create a mission statement.  Some reduce the mission statement down to a few-word motto.  Like the police, “to protect and serve.”  In the animal welfare business, I used the motto, “protecting pets and people.”  Over the years, that motto has taken on different meanings.

Early in my career, our mission was clearly weighted towards protecting people from the dangers of animals and protecting animals from cruelty.  In that mission balance, people were given first priority.  Our primary mission was to remove stray animals from our streets.  It was a common practice to euthanize animals when the shelters became overcrowded.  We accepted that as necessary.

Our mission began to change during the no-kill movement.  Animals started becoming our first priority and, in an effort to become a no-kill shelter, many shelters stopped patrolling the streets for stray animals and eventually began refusing to accept animals at their shelter, just so that no animals were killed.

Once animal shelters had met the definition of no-kill, by reducing their euthanasia death to 10%, the shelters were pressured to go beyond 10%.  Animal shelters were pressured to keep alive animals that were clearly not adoptable.  Shelters began keeping animals for much longer periods of time.  Animal shelters were no longer able to provide their animals quality care.

Then the pandemic struck.  People started abandoning animals at a higher rate, and shelter staffing hit an all-time low.  Overcrowding became commonplace and the quality of care dropped further.

Anyone who has ever seen the layout of an animal shelter will realize that shelters were never constructed for long-term care.  The cages are too small to preserve the spacing needed to keep an animal sane.  I recently saw an animal shelter come under fire for failing to put dog beds out for their animals.  Pictures of the kennels clearly show that a dog bed would take up the entire floor space of the kennel.  Shelters were constructed back in the time when animals were kept only for days, not months.  Now with overcrowding, many animals have to be doubled up in those small kennels.  It is surprising that more shelter managers are not charged with animal cruelty.

Following the pandemic, we were hit with inflation.  With the rising costs of caring for an animal, we are witnessing an ever more increase in shelter overcrowding as people abandon their pets because of an unsure future.  All the while, the shelter mindset is still to preserve the life of every animal even while the quality of care continues to further erode.  It is a time in which we have lost our ability to protect either pets or people.

As a profession, we have given up on the notion of managing our shelter population.  We are in the era of managing our shelter overcrowding.

It is necessary that animal shelter management make difficult decisions and stop being afraid to do the right thing for the animals in our care.  The bullying that shelters take to save all of the animals is putting those same animals at risk.  You have to ask yourself; can you save them all?  If you said, “Yes”, then you need to ask yourself, at what cost?

Dangerous Dog Laws

Recently, I was confronted with two issues concerning dangerous dog laws; the first was President Biden claiming that the Secret Service is lying about his dogs biting them and the other was an article that I ran across claiming that animals are not adequately represented in current dangerous dog legislation.

Having worked in the animal control business for most of my life, Biden is like every other pet owner who thinks the victims are to blame for getting bit.  It is owners who fail to take responsibility are the ones that necessitate the need for dangerous dog laws.

Concerning the article: DANGEROUS DOG LAWS: FAILING TO GIVE MAN’S BEST FRIEND A FAIR SHAKE AT JUSTICE .  The writers are correct, dogs don’t get a fair shake when accused of presenting harmful behavior toward people.  They can’t tell their story, so we have to act on their behavior.   Behavior that a responsible pet owner would keep in check.

Most dangerous dog laws seem to fall on the notion of one free bite.  After that bite, the owner has full knowledge of the propensity of the dog to be potentially dangerous.  Unfortunately, like the parents of an unruly child, people fail to recognize the behavior long after it is too late.

Dangerous dog laws are like other laws that remove potential hazards from society.  That’s what we have jails for.  But there are no long-term facilities for dogs.  In the old days, judges used to run dogs out of town.  Some probably still do.  So that they can become a problem for another jurisdiction to deal with.  I am guilty of warning the animal control officers of the jurisdiction in which one of my dogs was vanquished to them.

Dogs are considered personal property.  As such, the dog owner must be afforded due process.  However, this particular piece of property has its’ own mind and may act against the owner’s desires.  The purpose of dangerous dog laws is to protect society.   When an owner cannot control the behavior of his pet, the animal may be headed down the path of euthanasia.  Is it fair, of course not, but it is the only mechanism that we have to deal with the problem; because responsible pet owners are in such short supply.

The bottom line is that dogs have to live in our world.  That is why they have owners.  When owners fail, dog laws begin.



A Great Misperception

One of the greatest misperceptions in the world of animal welfare is that one size fits all. The No-Kill Movement is the best example of this. A community decides that ending the killing of animals in their local animal shelter is a good idea. It just feels good.

They look to no-kill animal shelters and decide to mimic them. So many people believed that the easiest way to end the killing of animals is to just stop killing them. It is this philosophy that caused the current overcrowding crisis in animal shelters today. It was easy for humane societies to become no-kill; they just closed their doors to animals coming in and let the local public shelter take the strain of the pet overpopulation. The humane society could be the good guys while the public animal shelter takes the grief for killing animals.

So? Why can’t a shelter just stop killing animals? The simple answer is space. Once you have filled up all of your kennels and foster homes, space becomes an issue. That seems simple enough; so, why not adopt them? Again, the issue comes down to space; you run out of potential homes or you find that many people don’t want to adopt a pitbull. Pitbulls or their mixes make up the largest percentage of animals in the shelter.

You can say what you will that pitbull dogs are like any other breed, but they are not. In a world of irresponsible pet owners, pitbulls demand the most responsible of owners. Most people cannot live up to that responsibility. The fact that seventy percent of any animal shelter is filled with pitbulls is a testament to the irresponsibility of their owners.

But, let us get back to our original misperceptions. Every community wants to be no-kill, so why can’t ours? The City of Austin Texas is a good example. They were able to reach no-kill status (which is a euthanasia rate lower than ten percent) by throwing money at the problem. It worked for a short time but failed when they ran out of money and people in neighboring communities began dumping their animals on them. Eventually, all of their money went to waste and Austin just found that the pet overpopulation just grew to fill their increased shelter space. Most communities don’t have the funding that Austin dished out to solve their problem and, in the end, to keep their no-kill status, they had to start restricting intakes.

So, it comes down to this: if the community animal shelter is a public service to provide protection from stray animals running in the streets; does closing your doors to accept those strays end the public protection that was your original mandate? It does. The No-Kill Movement is not a public safety protection program. Not only does it put the public at risk, but it places sheltered animals at risk. Each community has to judge for itself as to how humane it is for an animal to be caged waiting for an adoption that never comes.

Is there a solution? You bet, but it demands a mandate to force every pet owner to spay or neuter their pets. Breeding pets are the cause of shelter overcrowding. Breeding pets is the result of irresponsible pet ownership. The first step is to demand that all pitbull and pitbull mix dogs are sterilized, since they are the predominant problem of shelter overcrowded. Let’s face it if we could get the pitbull problem under control, it would be a big step in a community becoming no-kill. If the percentage of pitbulls in an animal shelter would drop below ten percent, then animal shelters would experience a tremendous boost toward ending the needless killing of animals.

Is that even possible? Not likely. Pet owners cannot be legislated into sterilizing their pets. Even if it is for the good of the community. To many pet owners, having a fertile pet is right up there with 2nd Amendment Rights. It is funny to see men come into the shelters to explain that their virility is linked to their dog’s testicles. But there are workaround solutions. A community can make it infeasible to allow a fertile dog to run loose. In Alachua County (Florida) owners of fertile animals were charged a higher impound fee if their pet was picked up. After all, it is these fertile pets running loose that are the problem. We would give the owner two choices, to pay the higher fee or to pay no impound fee if we were allowed to sterilize the animal. The problem is those pet owners found an alternate solution and abandoned their pet at the shelter. At least, in our hands, the pet could hopefully find a new home and not contribute to the pet overpopulation problem.

Too many people, including the No-Kill folks, blame shelter euthanasia on shelter staff. The killing starts at home; with the reckless breeding of unwanted animals. It is like blaming the sanitation workers for filling up your landfill.

Tips to Helping Pets That Could Do With a Helping Hand

The following was submitted to me by Tyler Evans (

Image via Pexels

There are a multitude of pets out there that are in exceptionally distressing and disturbing situations. Because these innocent creatures are unable to extricate themselves from their unfortunate situations, we should all endeavor to do more to help out in this area. Joining a local or national animal welfare organization could be the start of your journey to help make a difference in the lives of those animals that require just the basics – food, shelter, and love so that they are fit to be rehomed later on.

Start a non-profit company

If you are in the position to start a non-profit company to help animals on a larger scale, then you need to follow a set of standard regulations to do so.

Donations are always welcome

If starting a business is not up your alley, the next best thing you could probably do is generate as many donations as possible.

  • Enquire around. You might find that local businesses are willing to accommodate a donation spot at their premises for the collection of donations.
  • Start a fundraising drive. GoFundMe is an excellent platform to get your message out there quickly and adequately.
  • Look for items that are pet essentials. When enlisting the public’s help for donations, be sure to cover the basics such as harnesses, pet crates, muzzles, playpens, etc.

Volunteer in your spare time

If you have lots of spare time on your hands, you can put this resource to good use by volunteering.

  • You can volunteer at your local SPCA if you’re looking for a convenient option that is close by.
  • If you want to volunteer from home, then there is an option for this, too, through Zooniverse.
  • You can also give up your time by educating others, especially the youth, on how to properly take care of the animals within their care.

At the end of the day, positive change can only come about if you’re willing to put in the work to help reduce pet abandonment. If we can combine our efforts individually and collectively, we can drive change together to make a lasting and significant change for these animals that so desperately need it.