5,500 Dogs Will Die Today

Life expectancy for people is 75 years, for shelter animals it’s 72 hours. For about 5,500 shelter dogs, today will be their last.

When Mark Barone read those statistics, he knew he couldn’t go on living his life as he knew it. He had to make a change that would raise awareness about shelter animals and make a difference. ”My relationship with pets has changed my life,” he told me. “After losing my dog of 21 years, my partner, Marina, went online to adopt a dog. Instead of finding a dog, she discovered the chilling number of animals being killed every day.

After two days of shock, I woke up with the vision to paint the approximate number of dogs killed in shelters, every day, and to create a museum of compassion to raise awareness for change and to build a forever fund to save the rest. I was willing to use my retirement savings to paint 5,500 shelter dogs who have lost their life simply because they didn’t have a home.”

An Act of Dog was created when I had that vision and started requesting images from animal rescuers, volunteers and fosters who knew of dogs that they could not save,” he said. Mark paints 10 dogs every day. ”I’m not telling their individual stories. I’m telling their collective story and their collective ending.”

8 x 8 foot wall. Pictured Left to Right:
Santina (Mark’s dog of 21 years, RIP), Batman (froze to death at a shelter when left outside), Grant (Bassett Hound killed for food bowl aggression)

Imagine walking the “Wall of Compassion” and feeling the impact of 5,500 portraits of shelter dogs, collectively spanning two football fields long and 10 ft high. ”This is the first national platform being created to let people know what is going on in the shelter system. Most people don’t know and need to be educated.”


Katrina - Night Light

If you want to support Mark’s work, you can be a part of the “Candlelight Vigil” to honor the 5,500 forgotten shelter dogs. The dogs from the Wall of Compassion paintings are turned into night lights. Mark’s dream is to light up every home with the sweet souls of the dogs, uniting all in the quest to save the rest.

At this date, Mark has finished a little over 5,000 of the final 5,500 paintings. His commitment to this project, along with Marina’s, is nothing less than astounding. Thanks for helping educate others about the state of shelter animals by sharing this post on Facebook.

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Lorraine Andersen
Lorraine A1 years ago

Thank you so much Mark to you and your partner. I hope that people will began to realize how shelter animals suffer because of us.

Ellie M
Ellie M1 years ago


Nicole Heindryckx

Last, but not least : I THANK MARK & HIS PARTNER FOR THE EXCEPTIONAL JOB THEY ARE DOING. Pictures remain so much longer in our memories than an article with some figures.... I also thank each and every one who ADOPT a pet, instead of making some bastards even richer by buying a pet in a breeding mill. Latter pets are not in good health, have had no contact with the world outside, never have seen other people than those who feed them and therefore lack each form of social contact.... etc....

Nicole Heindryckx

As long as the problem exists, viz. that there are way too many dogs / cats on the planet, each and every country should take measures to turn this situation. First : close all breeding mills. Only a very limited number of breeders should be allowed, viz. for instance for service dogs, police dogs, etc.. All the rest is to be closed.
As economic situation in Western world, viz. Europe, US etc.. is getting worse by the day, it may well be possible that you come in a position where you can no longer take care of your animal, specially when it is older and needs more vet expenses, medication etc.. Governments should also take their responsibilities and provide necessary number of places where animals can be treated at "cost" price. I bet there are may vets who would like to spend a couple of hours each week to take care of these poor ones. I remember the days that here in Belgium we had to pay a certain tax for each dog we owned. We then got a medal which each dog had to wear when on the street. On regular basis, a young policeman came from door to door to check whether we owned a dog or dogs and paid the appropriate taxes. If not, we were fined. May be this should be re-introduced. There are so many people jobless. Give them a job, which is in favor of animals and humans.....

Nicole Heindryckx

The first to condemn is the human being. Have you noticed that specially dogs vary each year, just as clothing. Every year, a certain breed takes over the number 1 of the most wanted dogs. And what is the result : more and more people go to a breeding mill and purchase that particular breed. Then, there is education. I know it is an utopia that each woman or man or family should follow a series of educational lessons so that they know how to treat their animals. Pets are no objects. They still are your pet when you go on holidays, when they are ill,need medication, special diet food, etc.. Also, it should be obligatory that each and every pet, be it dog or cat or rabbit or whatever... is micro chipped when it is being sold. Then, owners would think twice before dumping their "article". Further measure to be taken : each and every a-hole who can be traced of having dumped his animal (thanks to the micro chip) should be severely fined. When this happens several times with the same a-hole, prison is the place to be.

Nicole Heindryckx

@ Karen H. : All shelters are thieves ??? see my comment to Karen R. This applies to you as well, first THINK, then WRITE

Nicole Heindryckx

@Karen R. : do not donate to shelters. Call them death camps. My God. Do you know what you are talking about ? let's say 1 shelter receives 10 dogs a day, and on a daily basis and average of 2 dogs are adopted. Can you calculate how many dogs you have after a month ?? after 2 months ?? I can = 30 days x 8 dogs = 240 ; 60 days x 8 = 480 and so on... How will you feed them ? how will you pay for vet care ? Shelters are not slaughtering houses. Most of the people work for free. You understand ? For nothing ! So first think, then write.

Magdalena J.
Past Member 4 years ago

Thank you!

Panchali Yapa
Panchali Yapa4 years ago

Thank you

Nan Towle
Nan Towle4 years ago

Thank you Mark Barone for putting to canvas the remembrance and images of these sweet souls who were betrayed by humans they trusted one way or another, and again and paid the ultimate price through no fault of their own. The impact of your artwork is haunting and takes my breath away every time I see it. It breaks my heart for all these vulnerable, innocent sentient beings whose only desires are the same ones we all have, to be loved, cared for, be safe with food and shelter. For that they give us back ten times more in loyalty, love, protection and devotion. I work with rescues and all my beloved canine family members are rescued. I want to take them all....
Thank you Lisa for the article. More people need to see these portraits and rescue.