I want to apologize to the public on the [unofficial] behalf of animal rescuers this National Pet Month. Normally, we’re a bit nuts about our furry friends, but, as a whole, we know, in the back of our minds (for better or worse), there are no pets without people.
This is a very personal blog this morning for me as you may have guessed? I work extremely hard every day trying to ” Save the word ” one dog at a time. I find this so damn frustrating that there are so many ” Do gooders ” out there screaming on the top of their lungs and clogging Facebook everyday trying to save every, single animal well this is not possible nor should it be! Nature has a way of taking good care of its self if we as humans but out, it’s only when we intervene does it start to get complicated. I read damn near every shout out on Facebook and other sites as well with people criticizing others on what is the ” right ” thing to do and if they loved their animals as much as the person finger-pointing then they need to do what ever it takes to save them! As I do agree that it is important to be responsible for those animals that we have brought into our homes, I also feel that people need to stop judging the masses on what is a very obscured view-point, you have no idea why this person is making the decision they are?
Did they lose their jobs and have children to feed?
Did someone pass away?
Are they about to be homeless themselves?
Did they simply make a bad choice on getting the animal in the first place?
Well it is not for me to judge, I simply am here to give you a possible solution to help everyone in need, not just the animals. I would like to also point out that the people doing the original finger-pointing, and criticizing are the very same people who have come to rrruffhouse for training advice and refused due to the cost! Tisk, tisk on you! You can’t point out everyone elses mistakes and them do what you are condemning them for, you know who you are, and so do I!! I also have seen those same people selling their dogs on kijiji and other sites to rid themselves of the problem and lie about the reason they are rehoming the animal! You should be ashamed! People in glass houses shouldnt throw stones! I simply ask that we stop! Stop condemning what we do not know or understand, the difference between us who rescue and those who ” wish they could be we do our best to do what is right for all involved and sometimes that means making heart wrenching decisions, so please for all you ” do gooders and wanna be’s ” please just stop! You are making it hard for us to do the right things! Not all animals can or should be saved.
To all my fellow rescuers!
We’re often called overprotective toward our pets, and we can tend to throw our whole hearts into our work. We know this field can tear you up and spit you out, but every day you see those fluffy faces crying out to be saved, and really, that muddies the waters of sound decision-making. We waffle while figuring out what it means to do the right thing for the animals, and falling into the worry-wart trap of thinking no home is good enough for the dogs and cats we hold dear. But, in the past few weeks, some of us have crossed the line and forgotten that, in our society, people need to come first.
If I had a dollar every time I heard someone lament over the problem of pet overpopulation with the phrase, “I wish we could save them all…,” I would have enough money to buy a private island. And on that island would be a bunch of dogs who really did need a second chance.
Atlas, sadly, would not have made it onto my island.
Atlas, a German Sheppard mix with a demonstrated history of aggression, found himself in an animal shelter and was scheduled to be euthanized. Although Atlas bit a shelter staff person twice, the shelter agreed to adopt the dog out to a local dog trainer. Sadly, less than two weeks later, in a public park, Atlas seriously attacked the adoptee and two other people before he was fatally shot to death by local police officers. ( not all trainers are equip to train aggressive dogs, it takes specialized training from a behavioural trainer with many, many years of experience.)
Was the chance of life at human cost better than a compassionate, humane death for Atlas? Were the consequences of releasing a dog with a known history of unprovoked aggression truly evaluated? And why are aggressive dogs receiving so much attention from people wanting to save them, when there are thousands of friendly — or at the very least safe and rehabilitate — dogs dying in shelters every day?
Atlas isn’t the only example.
There is Rocky, a Bully breed mix who first killed a puppy, and then broke the bones in a child’s face, but still had over 60,000 Facebook shares trying to save this dog and get him released from the shelters. Although a judge ordered him to be “defanged:” neutered and sentenced to spend the rest of his life in a rehabilitative sanctuary, the dog is now living in the prison system.
And then there is the 8-month-old black labrador mix who became infamous in last week’s viral video in which a cat stopped a brutal, unprovoked attack towards a young boy on his bicycle. ( seen on YouTube )The animal shelter in which the dog is being held for rabies observation (prior to euthanize) has had their phone lines flooded with people wanting to adopt the aggressive animal, while friendly pets languish in kennels.
There are a dozen aggressive dogs, at any moment, who have hundreds — or even thousands — of people rallying to save them, while dogs who have committed no such acts are condemned to death because they were simply in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and the shelter kennels were full.
To my fellow rescuers, please stop for a moment and realize: There are so many wonderful, truly rehabilitate dogs in shelters who need that second chance. , who in spite of 936 shares on a volunteer-run Facebook page simply ran out of time at the shelters and paid the ultimate price.
Today, at this very moment in our country, we cannot save them all. There are not enough adoptee’s for the specific animals available, nor are there the medical resources, the transports from “high-kill” to “low-kill” areas, or the financial means to make that change today. But I do believe, with time, effort, education, and resources we can get much, much closer. And every day we get a little closer.
However, I will always believe public safety needs to come first. When we domesticated dogs tens of thousands of years ago, we took on the responsibility that comes with having animals and people live together. Let’s not forget that responsibility today. Saving should not forego safety.