I am not afriad of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today~William Allen White

Below is a letter written from an anonymous shelter manager I saw on Facebook and I would like to share on my blog becuase it is truly heart breaking:
I think our society needs a huge “Wake-up” call. As a shelter manager, I am going to share a little insight with you all…a view from the inside if you will.First off, all of you breeders/sellers should be made to work in the “back” of an animal shelter for just one day. Maybe if you saw the life drain from a few sad, lost, confused eyes, you would change your mind about breeding and selling to people you don’t even know.

That puppy you just sold will most likely end up in my shelter when it’s not a cute little puppy anymore. So how would you feel if you knew that there’s about a 90% chance that dog will never walk out of the shelter it is going to be dumped at? Purebred or not! About 50% of all of the dogs that are “owner surrenders” or “strays”, that come into my shelter are purebred dogs.

The most common excuses I hear are; “We are moving and we can’t take our dog (or cat).” Really? Where are you moving too that doesn’t allow pets? Or they say “The dog got bigger than we thought it would”. How big did you think a German Shepherd would get? “We don’t have time for her”. Really? I work a 10-12 hour day and still have time for my 6 dogs! “She’s tearing up our yard”. How about making her a part of your family? They always tell me “We just don’t want to have to stress about finding a place for her we know she’ll get adopted, she’s a good dog”.

Odds are your pet won’t get adopted & how stressful do you think being in a shelter is? Well, let me tell you, your pet has 72 hours to find a new family from the moment you drop it off. Sometimes a little longer if the shelter isn’t full and your dog manages to stay completely healthy. If it sniffles, it dies. Your pet will be confined to a small run/kennel in a room with about 25 other barking or crying animals. It will have to relieve itself where it eats and sleeps. It will be depressed and it will cry constantly for the family that abandoned it. If your pet is lucky, I will have enough volunteers in that day to take him/her for a walk. If I don’t, your pet won’t get any attention besides having a bowl of food slid under the kennel door and the waste sprayed out of its pen with a high-powered hose. If your dog is big, black or any of the “Bully” breeds (pit bull, rottie, mastiff, etc) it was pretty much dead when you walked it through the front door.

Those dogs just don’t get adopted. It doesn’t matter how ‘sweet’ or ‘well behaved’ they are.

If your dog doesn’t get adopted within its 72 hours and the shelter is full, it will be destroyed. If the shelter isn’t full and your dog is good enough, and of a desirable enough breed it may get a stay of execution, but not for long . Most dogs get very kennel protective after about a week and are destroyed for showing aggression. Even the sweetest dogs will turn in this environment. If your pet makes it over all of those hurdles chances are it will get kennel cough or an upper respiratory infection and will be destroyed because shelters just don’t have the funds to pay for even a $100 treatment.

Here’s a little euthanasia 101 for those of you that have never witnessed a perfectly healthy, scared animal being “put-down”.

First, your pet will be taken from its kennel on a leash. They always look like they think they are going for a walk happy, wagging their tails. Until they get to “The Room”, every one of them freaks out and puts on the brakes when we get to the door. It must smell like death or they can feel the sad souls that are left in there, it’s strange, but it happens with every one of them. Your dog or cat will be restrained, held down by 1 or 2 vet techs depending on the size and how freaked out they are. Then a euthanasia tech or a vet will start the process. They will find a vein in the front leg and inject a lethal dose of the “pink stuff”. Hopefully your pet doesn’t panic from being restrained and jerk. I’ve seen the needles tear out of a leg and been covered with the resulting blood and been deafened by the yelps and screams. They all don’t just “go to sleep”, sometimes they spasm for a while, gasp for air and defecate on themselves.

When it all ends, your pets corpse will be stacked like firewood in a large freezer in the back with all of the other animals that were killed waiting to be picked up like garbage. What happens next? Cremated? Taken to the dump? Rendered into pet food? You’ll never know and it probably won’t even cross your mind. It was just an animal and you can always buy another one, right?

I hope that those of you that have read this are bawling your eyes out and can’t get the pictures out of your head I deal with everyday on the way home from work.

I hate my job, I hate that it exists & I hate that it will always be there unless you people make some changes and realize that the lives you are affecting go much farther than the pets you dump at a shelter.

Between 9 and 11 MILLION animals die every year in shelters and only you can stop it. I do my best to save every life I can but rescues are always full, and there are more animals coming in everyday than there are homes.


Hate me if you want to. The truth hurts and reality is what it is. I just hope I maybe changed one persons mind about breeding their dog, taking their loving pet to a shelter, or buying a dog. I hope that someone will walk into my shelter and say “I saw this and it made me want to adopt”. THAT WOULD MAKE IT WORTH IT.


Comments on: "A Letter from a Shelter Manager – anonymous in North Carolina" (18)

  1. Oh my goodness, I thought that animals in an animal shelter can stay as long as they are healthy and balanced but man, am I wrong. This is definitely saddening yet eye-opening.

    • this pained me too, i know there is kind of an “expiration” date or time limit as to how long the animals can stay, but 3 days is just too short

      • You are right. 3 days is too short. Why don’t they allow the abandoned animals like at least 3 to 6 months’ stay? Or at least 9 months maximum minus the “expiration”

  2. I cannot understand why people dump their pets at all! There should be law protecting these animals.

  3. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-19/wild-animals-escape-from-ohio-farm-like-noah-s-ark-wrecking-.html

    Saw this news… equally heartbreaking. Did you read “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen. It was also just as painful to see animals being mistreated as compared to being put to sleep.

  4. Anonymous said:

    Your shelters bear some of the responsibility for this cruelty as well. I tried to adopt a cat about a year ago, after mine was hit by a car. As a single white male in his mid twenties, when I walked in and asked to see the cats up for adoption, I watched as general pleasantry to other people in the shelter (middle aged couples, mostly) turned to icy suspicion whilst talking to me. She let me into the cat room, then went back to work.
    I spent about an hour in there, playing with various cats. Liking most of them, desperately wishing I could adopt a pair of them that were just cute as hell together. In the end, I found one I liked best of all. I went to the front, and told the manager I wanted XXX.
    She then handed me a small novel worth of paperwork to fill out, an application for adoption. Well ok I guess, so I sat down, and went to it.
    After god knows how long, and a process that’s more intensive than applying to work at a police station, she looked glanced through it, then told me, without explanation, that I’ve been denied, and couldn’t adopt any animals at that shelter.
    Bewildered, I argued, asked to see someone in charge (she was in charge) and eventually left in a rage.
    But, not to be put off, I called my mother, who lived about an hour away, and colluded to have her come in and pretend adopt the cat that I wanted. She couldn’t make it that day, and it would have been suspicious anyway, so she agreed to come up to see it on Monday (it was a Friday). Monday morning she went it, said she had seen the cat on the shelter’s website, and wanted to adopt it.
    It had been euthanized already.
    I am a 28 year old male. I make 120,000 dollars a year, have a government security clearance, a spotless record, and served in the military. And apparently that’s not good enough for an adult cat. Apparently, according to the shelter, that cat was better off being euthanized than spending the rest of his life with me.
    So don’t try to guilt the rest of us with your shit until you get your own business in order.

    • hi, thx so much for the comment and shedding light on the other side of things. I actually don’t work at the shelter, I saw this email online and felt deeping about the matter, so I posted it on my blog. I cannot stand it when people buy pets inpulsively and then abaondon them; on the flip side, a lot of bureacracies of a non-profit organization end up doing more harm than good. I’m in my late twenties too, so I know the “stereotype” that could be placed on us base on 1st impression. I hope more people are made aware of the situation and what you’ve gone through too and the system could be improved.

    • I also wish you could have adopted the cat too, that’s just so so sad! I am a bit appalled you are just left in the room and no one is there to talk to you and get you more comfortable and familiar with the animals, that seem so irreponsible for the “staff” that was supposed to be “in charge”. What if the animals got aggressive and attack you?

    • I do work at a shelter (not this one being written about). While we acknowledge not EVERY home is going to be a “perfect” home for an animal, we will often settle for a medicore home. As long as the person does not have a poor history with us, or does something during the adoption process to alarm us. But we definitely know a medicore home is better than the alternative…. I’m also sorry for you that you couldn’t adopt this cat.. I hope you spoke to someone further at this shelter, as to why you weren’t allowed to adopt. I’m sure there was someone above who you spoke to.

    • I am sorry, I laughed out lightly, when I read to the part “And apparently that’s not good enough for an adult cat. Apparently, according to the shelter, that cat was better off being euthanized than spending the rest of his life with me.”

      They are just being caution, its a good thing. And don’t be upset. Maybe you just ran into a woman that had a bad day or having her lady’s week.

      THe world still needs you!

  5. This made me cry, especially the part about how the dogs think they’re going for a walk before getting euthanized…I could never ever in a million years ever put my dog in a situation like that, she’s my family and I love her to death and it really saddens me to know that not all dogs get the same treatment…I wish these kinds of problems got more publicity..I’m going to sleep tonight holding my dog a little tighter and my heart a little heavier:(

    • yes, my heart is very heavy when I read this letter too, it’s very hard for people with dogs, definitely, because we know they have a soul and they have emotions and fears, very hard

  6. Your post gave me a big shiffer.
    I simply can’t agree more than what you say.
    Some human are just not responsible.

    I do not like the idea gifting a pet to your best friend, or purchase them for spontaneous enthusiatic minds that heat your head for 3 mins. End up turning yout pet into a shelter that have another hundred dogs that proabaly have couple other bigger one that could bully them.

    If they are in Canada, it might be luckier, some farmer actually like big dog, in capital city like HK, GZ, Tokyo, dumping a big dog is like putting them into hell, alive or not. An alive hell living and squeeze with another dozens of cats or dogs, or a needle that ends their life.

    The moment you see them giving you a smile in the window, you get a click with them, does not mean you have to bring them home right away. People should sleep on the idea for couple days till the heat has gone and if you think you are ready to bring them to clinic for regular check, needles, emergency issue at mid-night, buying food, cleaning their poo and pee, walking them and more… CONGRAZ, you are ready, or else you better have someone in your family that would take care for you. If not, you shall not buy a pet.

    Pet should not be a souvenir between couples or gift, I mean, it could be a joint decision of keeping a pet together, but not as a memory or something, I’ve heard enough story of, “I really can’t keep it anymore, it’s just reminds me of my bf/gf” What are you gonna do with your kid when you get a divorce? Sometimes we just have to stop giving ourselves excuse, there are many more people on earth suffering worse things then us. Like you said, finding an apartment that allow pet, contintue to walk them, train them not to detory your yard, tough it up even they are not as tiny as they were, none of these are like life threaten situation.

    I see family keep their pet even when she is pregnant with allegie. Things could be arrange if you try. Seriously, if we treat keeping a pet like having a baby, the animal world would suffers from less problem. Don’t look down to their feeling because they are animal, they have feeling, sense, and emotion just like human, they just don’t speak our language.

    Repect life, keep your pet, think triple time before you buy one, more, think about adopting!

    • I agree with what you have said, people should act responsibly when getting a pet because pets have life, they are not toys you can throw out when you are bored with it. Pets are like little children, they need to be fed, walked, and taken care off, and if you know you won’t have time to take care of the pet, please just don’t get one. And I absolutely do not agreed with giving pets as presents or a symbol of a relationship because these impulse purchases create more harm than good for the poor little puppy wrapped with a pink bow

  7. PS: I’d like to forward it

    • please do, I am not the one working at the shelter. I saw this on facebook and it’s just absolutely disheartening; therefore I have posted it on my blog to share

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