Written by Linda Rock of Be Kind to Animals in Florida
As a volunteer for a high kill shelter, I go from cage to cage taking dogs out for a walk and assisting people who come to adopt a dog. This shelter takes in 24,000 dogs and cats each year, euthanizing half of them due to lack of homes. The dogs have approximately one week to get adopted or rescued by a rescue group. This is happening in shelters all over the United States and we must all come together to put an end to this horrible tragedy.
I pass by cage 7 with a large black dog and stop to look at his cage card. The card says he has been here for about 9 days and I knew there was little hope for him. I take him out to the yard for some ball play. He is young, friendly, loving and beautiful. As we spend some time together, I think about this wonderful dog being put to death through no fault of his own. This will most likely be his last day alive. I return him to his kennel and go on to the next. About a half hour later, a couple walked over to me and asked where was the dog in Cage 7. I go back to the kennel and see he is not there. I hurry over to an animal officer to ask where the dog was and he radios to another area of the shelter to find the dog. We are then informed the dog was taken to the euthanization room to be put down. His time was up. He was already under sedation and the needle was ready to be inserted for death. Remarkably, the shelter staff immediately stopped the procedure.
Would It Be Too Late?
We were told it would take about a half hour to revive the dog so he could have his chance at adoption. The potential adopters agreed to wait! A short while later, the dog was meeting his new family. Yes, this sweet dog’s life was spared, but most are not that lucky.
There are high kill shelters all over our country. People have the misconception that “bad people work there,” which is not at all true. Most shelter workers care very much about the animals and work tirelessly to ensure an animal’s time there is comfortable and as safe as possible. Animals who end up there can succumb to disease, kennel fights, anxiety, fear and depression. The only way to stop this horror is to stop breeding for profit, stop buying dogs from pet stores and the internet, and impose strict regulations and laws on breeding. It is not the shelter’s fault. At least it is a place where an animal living on the street has a warm place to sleep, can get some medical attention and have a chance at a forever home.
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