The unfortunate reality of animal rescue

The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue.
~Anonymous

You can’t save them all, Mrs. Shuster.

Yes, I am a proponent of so-called “kill shelters.” Some pets just can’t be placed, for both mental and/or physical reasons. Of course, most animals are euthanized simply because there’s too many to care for, not because they are completely unadoptable.

Yes, what happened to the dog was a tragedy. But trying to turn every shelter into a no-kill shelter is denying the reality of the situation. Animal shelters in the US are underfunded, understaffed, and underresourced for the sheer number of animals they try to save. You can’t fucking save them all.

I’ve been involved in small-scale rescue and foster for many years. Sometimes, you just have to go with the lesser evil. I remember my mother adopting out a cat to a couple who really wanted a cat, but could only put afford eight dollars toward the adoption fee. My mother let them have the cat, anyway, even though the local rescue group screamed bloody murder. Her reasoning? “I feel better letting them have a cat that’s already spayed and vaccinated rather than leaving them to find a “free” kitten in the newspaper and being unable to take it to the vet.”

It fucking sucks that perfectly healthy animals have to die. No-kill shelters are nice, and they definitely need to exist. But at the same time, not every shelter can or should be a no-kill. Everything has a carrying capacity, and that includes America’s animal rescue services, both organized and not.

And as far as the incompetence of the person who euthanized the wrong dog? Trust me, the poor person will probably kick themself for the rest of their life for that mistake. Don’t make it worse. And chances are, these people really do care for animals. But after a while a job is a job and there are days working with any animal that you get frustrated and tired. Just because they don’t act the way you expect them to, Mrs. Shuster, doesn’t mean they don’t care or love animals as much as you.

And not all microchips work with all wands. Not to mention you need a wand to read the chip, which private individuals do not often buy. Microchipping is not a magic bullet.

Let’s concentrate on addressing the root of the issue…not overburdening those who are likely doing their best to help.

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2 Responses to “The unfortunate reality of animal rescue”

  1. “Would a nurse or hospital administrator mistakenly administer the wrong and fatal drug to a human patient?”

    I love this line. It’s like comparing the Port-O-Let cleaner to the dudes that handle nuclear waste.

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