There is a dark area in animal welfare that many people don’t like to talk about… but it’s an area that needs to be clearly understood so that change can occur. And, I’m confident, that when you’re done reading this, you will feel as I do, and the change will start.
First, you need to understand there are a number of different types of animal welfare organizations out there. Some of them rescue a few animals a year, and others rescue thousands. Then, there are the animal control agencies ,aka “animal services” that are run by municipalities and are termed “open admission”. This means, they will take in any animal, including owner surrenders, strays, and animals from other shelters. Here’s the problem – these groups are tasked with the responsibility of taking in as many animals as we as a community burden them with. And they simply run out of space…sometimes very quickly. So, what happens then? Usually, the animals are euthanized. Yep. Someone at the facility, literally is tasked with choosing which animals will live another day, and which ones won’t. As I write this article, over 100 dogs daily are being turned in to an animal services in Texas.
So, we as a community, turn these animals in, and then we as a community demonize the people working at these facilities when they are forced to euthanize. We call them monsters on social media, we write negative articles in the press, and why – either because we are truly ignorant to the situation, or we have to place blame somewhere for this horrific act, and we don’t want to blame ourselves.
Here’s where it gets worse…. We’ve beat these employees up so much in the news and social media, that they don’t know what to do. They don’t want to tell the community they have this terrible problem for fear of the public backlash, so they don’t tell the story, and the animals die. Millions of them. Every year. Wow.
But the tide is finally turning. These employees are starting to take a stand. They are slowly letting their communities know they need help, and they are hoping that we, as a community, will step up and become heroes to these animals, instead of unjustly portraying the workers as villains. Me and my business partner and long time friend (Betsy Saul, Petfinder’s founder) are counting on it. It takes a strong willed group to come together and fix a problem as big as this, but it can be fixed. And here’s how.
Healthy puppies, kittens, dogs, and cats are currently at these facilities nationwide and facing euthanasia very soon. We have created 911fosterpets.com to help find these urgent pets temporary foster homes. Some for less than a week, some until they are adopted or moved to another rescue group. We need to get them out of these over crowded facilities, which will save the pet’s life and the employee’s sanity, and do our part by letting these furry buddies crash on our couch for a little while. Put on your cape. Become a foster hero. Save a life and be the change we need. Our community’s pets are depending on it.