Why are there kill shelters?
There is a constant uproar about shelters euthanizing animals. Many of the animals, cats and dogs both, have no health conditions, no behavior issues and no reason why they are not able to be placed in loving homes. It is heartbreaking to see so many listed on social media "Last chance" or "24 hours to live" or some other line they use to catch the attention of people and rescues.
Pledges do help rescues to get involved, pick up the animal and they depend on those pledges to ensure that the animal can be completely vetted, trained and cared for in hopes of looking for the perfect home. Most rescues will ensure that the animals are completely vetted, heartworm negative, spayed or neutered, up to date on shots and trained. Unfortunately, some people will pledge and not follow through leaving the rescue in a bind with veterinarian bills they can't pay. That can make it hard for them to get an animal that was already in their care into the vet that needs help immediately. If you pledge, please follow through with that pledge or the pledges will soon mean very little to rescues and will not be so quick to pick them up.
If a dog doesn't get along with cats, possible adopters will be informed and if they have a cat, the search continues. Rescues try to get to know their animals in hopes of finding that perfect home. Dogs are often tested with cats, other dogs, cattle, chickens and goats and children if it is available for them to be tested with. They can't get answers to everything but it helps make sure that they are properly placed. Shelters do not have the capabilities to do this so a dog is picked up by someone that has chickens to later find it kills them. What happens to the dog? It is returned to the shelter. Rescues try to prevent that from happening to ensure the adopters and the dogs are both happy together forever.
Dogs are just like people. Have you ever been approached by someone that just rubbed you wrong, came across rude or treated you with disrespect? How relieved were you when you got away from them? Now imagine being locked in a room with them 24/7 at no fault of your own and with no choice. Imagine not being able to speak the language of those that locked you in there so you couldn't tell them to let you out. It would be frustrating and infuriating and it would only be a matter of time before you or the other person snapped. In this situation a shelter now has 2 dogs that don't get along with other dogs. That means each one goes into their own kennel in a shelter where space is already limited. It isn't always true that they don't get along with other dogs. Those two dogs just don't get along with each other. Did you know that dogs speak with their tails? You can watch and learn how they speak, read the signs and watch for warnings.
Shelters are overwhelmed. They receive more dogs than what go out. Space is limited, kennels are shared, food is on a budget so they may not always be able to feed the amounts that should be fed which can lead to food aggression or them appearing thin and sickly, volunteers are needed for getting the dogs walked and helping them leash train or keeping them in practice. Some shelters don't even have volunteers or not nearly enough. Dogs that have fought are injured and again, that budget can cause problems with medical care that is required. No more space to take in more. This is what leads to kill shelters. They are left with no other option at times. It's not that they necessarily want to make that choice but they are sometimes left with no choice. You can help with that.
How can you help? Volunteer to foster with a local shelter, foster for a rescue, get out and walk the dogs at your local shelter or rescue. Sometimes that break away for two dogs that can't stand each other is enough to hit that reset button and buy them a little more time before they snap. Donate food, or sponsor a shelter animal that needs medical care or their spay/ neuter, either through the shelter or with a rescue. Do not buy from back yard or other breeders. Interested in a certain dog but not sure they will be a good fit, ask a rescue if you can foster to adopt through them. Give the dog a safe place to stay until you have made a decision and if you decide they are not, let them stay until the rescue can find them a good forever home. Give the rescue details about why they don't fit in your home (to avoid homing them in that situation in a different place) or why they are a good fit if you decide to keep them. It gives ideas on what to look for when homing other dogs. These are only a few ideas of how you can help end kill shelters. Texas is one of the highest kill shelters. Texas also has the worst turnover rate for dogs in shelters.
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