Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Stop the Killing – Solutions

In Part 1, I took a look at the number of cats and dogs killed in US shelters every year.  Sadly, the numbers are a best guess because there are no requirements for shelters to keep statistics.  The estimated kill rate of 64% was based on a 14-year-old study with only 1000 shelters participating.

In Part 2, I took a look at causes for the killing.  The primary cause is the shelters themselves, with irresponsible owners being secondary.  There are also a number of contributing factors.

Today, I conclude with solutions.

Because the problem itself is multi-faceted, there is no single solution.  There are a number of parts, that when put together create a whole.  Each component must be utilized if there is to be widespread success.  While any one component certainly helps, it can be overwhelmed when the others are ignored.

So what is the solution?  I believe there are two primary solutions … no kill shelters and education.  But neither is as simple as the words imply.  The problem is multi-faceted, and so is each solution.

No Kill Shelters

If shelters stop killing all the adoptable animals, then the kill rate drops to 15% or less.  Simple, yes?  Not really.  Part of the current problem is what the shelters do or don’t do. 

Some, such as the shelter in Vermillion Parish, Louisiana, is rescue only.  Most rescues are foster-home based and are limited in the number of animals they can handle.  Shelters such as this one must allow adoption of their animals.

Some shelters, such as Bladen County, North Carolina, have restricted days and hours, making it difficult for people to adopt or rescue.  To make matters worse, this shelter only has one rescue day each week, and the day changes weekly.  Rescues must also call for an appointment.  Adoption and rescue friendly policies must be put into place. 

Some shelters, including my local ‘humane’ society, do not market or advertise their animals as they should, if at all.  If people do not know about the available animals, they can’t adopt or rescue them.  Adoptable animals must be marketed and advertised appropriately.

Some shelters do not allow adoption or rescue of animals at all.  Every animal they intake is killed.  The question is why. 
·         If it is because of local/county government policies, then the citizens of the area must speak out against such policies.  It is up to the citizens to ensure elected officials do what is desired of them.  If they don’t, boot them out of office and elect someone who will.  These policies must be changed.
·         If it is because the employees themselves would rather kill than have to care for the animals, then the employees need to be fired and replaced with those who will care for the animals.  Employment policies must be changed.

Some shelters, such as the one in Memphis, Tennessee, do not make all of their adoptable animals available to the public.  If these animals are never seen, they can never be adopted or rescued.  All adoptable animals must be made available to the public.

Some shelters kill because they think no one will want to adopt a senior dog or cat, or simply because it’s ‘euthanasia’ day.  This is an employee problem, and yes, shelter directors are employees too.  Policies must be in place to ensure this type of thinking is not condoned or allowed, and if necessary, employees replaced.

Some shelters kill dogs of certain breeds and all black animals upon intake, no matter how the animal arrived at the shelter.  Policies must change and this type of killing not allowed.

Many shelters kill owner surrenders upon intake.  Most of these animals are healthy and adoptable.  Policies must change and this type of killing not allowed.

Many shelters do not give strays a chance.  Once the stray hold is up, the animal is killed.  How can an animal be adopted if it’s killed before it’s even seen by anyone?  Policies must change and this type of killing not allowed.

Some animals are killed because they have not been adopted after weeks or even months.  Why these animals are not adopted is another multi-faceted issue.  Often, it is because the animal doesn’t present itself well at the shelter due to fear, anxiety and stress.  Sometimes it’s because of the breed and/or color.  Sometimes it’s because of the animal’s condition.  Read this blog post for a few stories that illustrate this.  Sometimes it’s because the dog needs some training and socialization.  Read Save Marshall to see a current real life situation.  Shelter employees and volunteers must be trained to recognize these animals and work to make the animal more adoptable.

Some shelters either do not allow volunteers to help, or restrict what volunteers are allowed to do and say.  Some, such as the shelter in New York City, require volunteers to sign non-disclosure agreements so they cannot say anything about what they see.  These policies must change, and the shelters must change if they are so afraid of what volunteers may say about them.

Some shelters kill animals who fail their temperament testing, even when the test is improperly administered and interpreted, even when the dog is under duress from being in the shelter.  Some test results may even be deliberately fudged to justify killing the dog.  This must change with tests appropriately and properly administered by qualified, impartial testers.

Most shelters are not transparent.  They do not publicize their adoption versus kill rates.  They do not advertise their policy regarding owner surrender.  They do not advertise their policies concerning strays.  They do not publicize their budgets or where all their money goes.  This has to change.  Shelters must be transparent.

And when a county shelter, such as the one in Seagoville, Texas, wants and works to be no kill even when county policies are not written that way, county government needs to rewrite their policies and support the shelter’s efforts.

Simply addressing the problems above could dramatically reduce the kill rate, even without officially becoming a no kill shelter.  Taken together, everything above is what a no kill shelter is about.  But no kill shelters also go beyond this.  They hire and properly train caring employees.  The animals’ best interests come first.  They make the commitment to the no kill philosophy and to the animals. 

Irresponsible Owners

Virtually everything I listed under irresponsible owners is a matter of education
·         Many people don’t know how to choose the right pet for them. 
·         Many people don’t know why an animal should be altered, and many are under false impressions concerning altering. 
·         Many people don’t know about the proper care of their chosen pet, which includes everything from feeding to exercise to breed characteristics to vet care.
·         Many people do not know what resources are available to them when they have a problem.
·         Many people don’t know what their local and county animal laws are.
·         Many people don’t know why they should train and socialize their puppy.

For a real life story that illustrates some of my points about the lack of knowledge, please read about Miss Pig and her mom.  It is a story of life, love and lessons.  You may want to have a tissue handy.

Shelters, rescues and other animal welfare groups, as well as veterinarians, need to work to compile information and resources, and disseminate it in multiple ways.  It does no good if you have the information and don’t share it or otherwise make it available.  And you have to market/advertise the fact that you have this information.

Classes, pamphlets/booklets, document files (on websites), handouts, posters, and more will go a long way in helping to educate people.  Programs where presentations are given at schools, social groups, town meetings, etc are another way to educate.

Shelters and rescues must have policies in place and appropriately trained staff or volunteers to help potential adopters choose the right pet for them.  When the wrong animal is chosen, it is often returned, and this is not the animal’s fault.  Please read Cocoa’s story, a real life situation where a dog was not a good fit for the family that adopted her and is now in danger of being killed.

I remember that while reading Badd Newz: The Untold Story of the Michael Vick Dog Fighting Case the author recounted an incident where a woman brought in a puppy to surrender because it was destructive and then wanted to adopt another.  When asked, the woman admitted she had never taken the puppy to any sort of training class.  Thankfully, the staff member on duty at the time accepted the puppy and refused to let the woman look at others.  If this isn’t a case of a lack of understanding and education about puppies, I don’t know what is.  And sadly enough, it probably happens far more often than we’d care to think about. 

Any of us could recount multiple instances of problems caused by a lack of education about companion animals.  Use your knowledge and personal experience to help others learn.

Contributing Factors

Blissful ignorance, disposable society, and thinking of animals as being property or things are all a matter of education.  These are probably the toughest education issues.  People believe what they want to believe, and sometimes, no matter what you say you can’t change their minds.  But that does not mean you shouldn’t try.

Dissemination of information will help educate the public about what is going on with our shelters, which is why I wrote this series of posts.

Education programs can help people rethink how they view and treat animals as being property or disposable.  Put a link on your website or print out copies to hand out of I am a dog, not a thing by Penny Eims, National Dog News Examiner.  Some people just never look at or think about animals from this point of view.  Until they do, animals are just a thing to be treated however the owner wants, or to be disposed of when a newer model comes out.

Animal neglect and cruelty often results in the abused animals being taken to a shelter.  Neglect is sometimes a matter of education where people just don’t know any better.  While we will never be able to change or educate abusers, better animal welfare laws and penalties can serve as a deterrent.  Weak laws and “slap on the wrist” penalties do nothing to make people think twice about abusing an animal.  Unfortunately, this will not eradicate the problem, but it may lessen it and thereby the number of animals going to shelters.

Going hand-in-hand with better laws is the establishment of Guardian ad litem programs where trained volunteers are assigned to abuse and criminal cases and represent the animals in courts.  These programs can help prevent animals from being killed when the case is resolved and they are no longer considered evidence.  Their guardian will be able to speak for them, and make sure they have been evaluated for potential adoption or rehabilitation.

Overpopulation is not a cause of the killing, although it certainly contributes to it.  There are more than enough homes for all the animals entering shelters each year.  Many people advocate mandatory spay/neuter laws, but I’m not sure mandatory laws are the way to go.  A lot of people get very stubborn and testy when any level of government mandates they have to do something in regards to their property.  Yes, we think of our pets as members of the family, but according to law they are property, and we must remember that fact.  Yes, altering pets will reduce the number of unwanted litters and pregnant females that end up in shelters but mandating it is not the solution.  Educate people about the benefits of altering their pets, as well as dispelling some of the myths concerning altering.  People are more likely to respond positively to benefits than they are to mandatory laws.

When it comes to terminology, the simple solution is to tell the truth.  Unless a shelter is no kill (officially or by actions), it does not deserve to, and should not, use the term.  Same thing applies to humane societies.  What term is better?  That’s a tough one.  I’m not sure “pound” is the way to go, although it is a familiar term to most people.  Don't use the term "euthanasia" unless the animal is truly being put down for humane reasons.  Most are being KILLED and not as mercy killings.  Avoid using "put to sleep" as it is misleading and implies a peaceful end by going to sleep forever.  It doesn't matter if the killing is by gas, injection or heartstick ... it is painful and not peaceful.

There are other contributing factors, such as Breed Specific Legislation and media hyperbole and sensationalism, which I have not included.  These also need to be appropriately addressed if we are to make any headway with them.

In conclusion, it is possible to stop the killing at our shelters … but it will take time and effort on the part of many people.  It will require making tough decisions, and opening yourself to pain and sorrow.  It will require people to open their eyes, minds and hearts to that which they would prefer not to.  It will require many people to speak up and be the voice of the animals.  It will require “the powers that be” at shelters to admit the truth.

Every positive change made by a shelter is a step towards no kill.  Every person who is educated is a step toward reducing the number of animals entering shelters.

It can be done.  It is a matter of doing it.

Stop the Killing - Solutions Part 2

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Stop the Killing – Causes

If the killing is to stop, people have to be aware the problem exists, as well as its causes.  While many try to place the blame solely on overpopulation, this is not the case.

There are two causes.  One is irresponsible owners and it is a multi-faceted issue.  If owners were more responsible, then maybe the number of animals entering shelters would be reduced.

Failure to make the lifetime commitment owning an animal requires.
·         The puppy or kitten has grown and is no longer young and cute.
·         The puppy or kitten was gotten for their child, who has now gone off to college and the parents do not want the responsibility.
·         The cute little puppy got a lot bigger than they thought it would.
·         Decided the puppy or kitten cost too much in food and vet bills.
·         Making the wrong choice in regards to breed, shedding, activity level, etc
·         Decide they don’t have the time to properly care for their pet.

Failure to properly prepare before choosing a pet.  If you want a new pet, do your homework first.  Research the animal’s needs in terms of vet care, feeding, breed characteristics, activity levels, intelligence, grooming and shedding, size, and items needed (bed, toys, food/water dishes, etc).  Keep in mind that dogs need walks/exercise and yards should be fenced.  Remember there is a time commitment involved.   

Failure to properly train and socialize their dog.  Unfortunately, this often leads to destructive or vicious behavior, either of which can result in the owner dumping the animal.  If a dog is brought to a shelter because of vicious behavior, it rarely escapes the kill room. 

Failure to spay or neuter their pets when appropriate.  People who have multiple dogs of both genders, and who are not legitimate breeders, should have one gender or the other altered.  If you spay or neuter your pet(s), then there will be no unwanted pregnancies and litters. 

Failure to find homes for an unwanted litter.  Bringing an unwanted litter to the shelter should be the last choice after all other options have been exhausted.  Rescue groups and shelters are usually happy to give you advice on how to do this to ensure the puppies or kittens find good homes.

Failure to obey leash laws – better known as allowing their animals to roam freely.  If you choose not to spay or neuter your pet, then keep them at home and don’t allow them to roam.  If your animal isn't allowed to roam, it will not be randomly breeding, bothering your neighbor, their property or livestock. 

Failure to microchip or tag the animal.  If you allow your animal to roam freely and it does not come home, or it runs away for whatever reason, no microchip or tag means you cannot be contacted if your pet is found.  If it isn’t killed on the streets, it will likely end up in a shelter.

Failure to accept responsibility for a special needs pet.  Pet owners surrender their animals who are injured, sick, blind, deaf, physically handicapped, or simply old because they don’t want to be bothered with their care.

Failure to accept responsibility and seek appropriate solutions for the problem.  Dumping your animal is not an appropriate solution.  The decision to bring it to a shelter should be the choice of last resort.  There is help available if you seek it out and ask.  Shelter staff/volunteers and rescue groups are a wealth of information.  There are low cost spay/neuter and vaccination clinics; there are low cost vet clinics as well as veterinarians who are willing to work out payments; there are pet food banks; there are trainers of all sorts who can help with behavior problems.  You can get help with re-homing your pet if you have no other choice but to do so.

The segment of the population who just don’t give a damn.  There’s no way to know how many people there are in this segment, but there seems to be a lot.  They are the ones who have no regard for laws concerning their pets, no regard for the safety and welfare of their pets, and who plain don’t care if an animal they surrender to a shelter lives or dies.

Myth or contributing factors to the number of animals killed each year:

Overpopulation is a myth.  Somewhere between 3 and 6 million companion animals are killed in shelters each year.  Somewhere between 15 and 23 million homes get new pets EVERY year.  There are enough homes available.

Contributing Factor – Abusers and Criminals.  They don’t care about the animals, and when they’re busted, the animals end up in shelters as evidence.  Some of these animals are euthanized for humane reason due to their horrible injuries.  More often than not, the surviving evidence is destroyed after the case is resolved.    

Contributing Factor – Blissful Ignorance of the Public in General.  If you don’t know what’s going on, you can’t protest against or try to change it.  Shelters do not advertise the fact they are a kill shelter.  They do not advertise how many animals they kill each year.  The public in general has no idea how many animals end up in shelters every year or why.  People are misled by the terminology used.

Contributing Factor – Terminology Creates Misinterpretation / Misunderstanding:

·         Shelter – Gives the impression of a safe haven.  Far too many people think that when a dog or cat ends up in a shelter, they will be well cared for until they are adopted, no matter how long it takes.  Most shelters are dismal places, and often animals receive minimal care.  Sometimes, animals are allowed to suffer until illness, injury or starvation kills them.

·         Euthanasia – Tends to make people think the animals die happy and without pain.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The animals smell the death from the kill room.  They become depressed while in the shelter.  They become afraid when it’s their turn.  Gassing, heartstick and injection all cause pain to the animal.  Euthanasia is mercy killing by definition, and few of the animals killed in shelters fall under this definition.

Contributing Factor –Thinking of Animals in Terms of Being Property or Things.  How many times have we heard the phrase “it’s just a dog”?  Many people and even government and businesses consider companion animals property and incapable of any type of emotion.  We read stories about, or even personally experience, animals that have shown devotion, loyalty, fear, and a host of other emotions thought to be solely a human thing.  One of our pack bears psychological scars from past abuse, just I personally do.  Yes we own them according to law, but they are members of our family.

Contributing Factor – Disposable Society.  We are very much a disposable society.  We use all manners of disposable items – tableware, storage containers, and even cell phones.  This has even translated to traditionally non-disposable items where when a newer model becomes available, we ditch the current one and get the new one.  Unfortunately, people also think and act this way with animals.

And finally, the number one cause of death for shelter animals – the shelters themselves.

Shelters kill for no good reason.  Some don’t adopt out any animal, period, and all are killed.  Some shelters kill because “it’s euthanasia day” or because they think no one will want a 10 year old dog or simply because it’s easier than feeding and cleaning up after them. 

Many shelters kill upon intake of an owner surrender.  They don’t advertise this fact, and once you leave Fido or Fifi behind, he or she is taken directly to the kill room.  These animals are never given a chance to be adopted.

 Impossible to adopt or rescue.  Many shelters have restricted times and/or days, which makes it difficult for anyone to adopt or rescue.  At least one shelter allows rescue on only one day each week – and the day changes each week – and rescue groups must call for an appointment.  Some shelters do not make all of their animals available for adoption.  Once the mandatory stray hold (if there is one) is up, the animal is killed.

Shelters kill even when space is available, and even when there rescue groups and/or adopters interested in taking animals.

It’s a Secret.  Many shelters don’t advertise or market their available animals.  Instead they make you visit their facility or their website.  Often, not all of the available animals are listed on the website.  Many shelters do not make all of the healthy and adoptable animals available to those who visit the facility.  Why couldn’t a NYC shelter find a home for a 6 month old puppy in a city of 8 million?  Why do shelters not market or advertise their animals?

And even though shelters do all these things listed above, they will tell you they kill because there aren’t enough adopters/homes.

Blackmail and Lies.  How many times have rescues and crossposters heard “We are completely full.  If nobody takes some of the animals we will HAVE to start EUTHANIZING them” from shelters?  Surely they can’t say they HAVE to start killing when they haven’t even offered the animals to the public for adoption or rescue?  And if they HAVE to kill because they are out of space, it is most certainly not a mercy killing.  Need space?  Let the animals be adopted or rescued.   

It’s a Secret 2.  Shelters don’t want us to know what’s going on behind the doors and within their walls.  They don’t tell you their policy concerning owner surrenders.  They don’t tell you they are withholding adoptable animals from public view.  They don’t want us to know their save versus kill rates.  They would rather place the blame on irresponsible owners and overpopulation.  But if they truly believed this, and actually cared about the welfare of the animals in their care, wouldn’t they make all animals available for adoption or rescue, not kill owner surrenders upon intake, and make their kill rates known in trying to wake us up to the problem and get help?

In light of these facts, it is impossible to make an argument that killing shelter animals is necessary.  Not when so many shelters don’t try.  Not when animals are not even offered for adoption or rescue.  Not when shelter days and hours are restricted enough to limit adoption and rescue.  Not when owner surrenders are killed upon intake.  Not when the number of homes getting new animals outpaces adoption from shelters by such a large margin.

Coming Next – Stop the Killing – Part 3: Solutions

Monday, August 29, 2011

Stop the Killing – Numbers

Between 1940 and 1945, the Nazis murdered 4 million people, less than 1 million deaths per year.
[Plaque at Auschwitz]

Since many shelters are not required to keep track of their numbers in regards to intake, adoption, returned to owner, and killed, any statistic concerning shelter animals is a best guess.

The number of companion animals entering US shelters each year is estimated to be between 6 and 8 million. The number of animals killed in shelters each year is estimated to be 64% - some shelters have lower rates, some have higher rates.

The 64% is an estimation based on a study done in 1997 with input from 1000 shelters (there are an estimated 4000 to 6000 shelters in the United States). It is very likely the nationwide kill rate is higher.

Using these estimated numbers, between 3.8 and 5.1 million cats and dogs are killed in shelters EACH year, EVERY year.

Assuming a mid-point of 4.5 million cats and dogs killed in shelters each year, this averages out to:

Each Month – 375,000 cats and dogs killed

Each Week – 86,538.5 cats and dogs killed

Each Day – 12,328.8 cats and dogs killed

Each Hour – 513.7 cats and dogs killed

Each Minute – 8.6 cats and dogs killed

Sadly enough, this does not include the cats and dogs that die in shelters from starvation, illness or abuse. It does not include those that mysteriously disappear from shelters never to be seen again.



Gas Chambers

Injection or Heartstick

Video: This Can't Be Happening

Those killed include the unborn, days old, unweaned, less than 1 year of age, seniors, and adults.

Those killed include perfectly healthy and perfectly adoptable animals.

Those killed include those whose only crime is their breed (actual or assumed) or their color.

Those killed include those surrendered by their owners (usually no hold period), lost and unclaimed, seized in criminal or cruelty cases, and strays.

Those killed include those with an easily cured illness, such as a cold or kennel cough.

Those killed include those who fail their temperament test, even when the test is improperly administered and interpreted.

Those killed include those who fail their temperament test due to fear, anxiety, and/or stress.

Some shelters cremate. Many don’t.

Coming next: Stop the Killing – Part 2: The Causes

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Manners Please!

There is no doubt about it, animal lovers are a passionate group of people.  Unfortunately, this leads some of them to let their emotions, rather than reason, rule.  Here are some thoughts (or tips if you prefer) about this.

·  When you rant in a comment posted to a news article or Facebook page, you detract from the issue at hand ... helping the animal in need.

·   When you rant in a comment posted to a news article or Facebook page, the person you are ranting at will not see it, so what’s the point?

·   Name calling and profanity does nothing to help the situation, and may in fact make it worse.  Again, the person you are cursing at and/or calling less-than-polite names won’t see it.

·   Threatening physical harm to a person, be it the alleged abuser or an elected official, absolutely does more harm than good.  It also has the potential to land you in jail.

·   Posting personal information, such as address or phone number, of an alleged abuser can land you in jail, especially if you include inflammatory comments with it.

·   Writing to elected officials, police departments, etc can help … IF it is done politely and with thought.

·   Sending rants and other impolite writings will not help in any way.  They will be deleted and ignored.  They also tend to destroy the credibility of animal advocates as a whole.

·   Do not spread rumors or unverified information.  It will create confusion as well as harming the effort to help the animal in need.

I understand the need to rant about many of the situations that animal lovers and advocates come across multiple times a day.  BUT keep your rant to yourself:

·   When you write that message, email or letter, be polite and courteous.  State your concern, argument and/or plea with reason and verified facts.

·   When you write that comment to a news article or Facebook page, make it one of love and/or support. 

·   Remember that sometimes it takes time to gather information and verify it.  Be patient while waiting for updates to be posted.

·   Remember that often numerous comments are being posted every minute, and a lot of scrolling takes place.  Have the patience and take the time to scroll through several pages of postings.  The question you want to ask and/or the information you are looking for may already be there.

Animal lovers and advocates can do a lot of good if their ‘efforts’ are done correctly and with reason. 

We are the voices for these animals, and when we speak for them, not only must we make ourselves heard; we must say it in a way where people will listen.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Please Help Sweet Bella

  I received this email from a transport coordinator I worked with a couple of months ago.  If you can donate, please do.  Please share Bella’s story.

Thank you.


This is Bella, a 4 yr old smooth St. Bernard who had been used for breeding her whole life.  Last Thursday her previous owner who had her, her whole life decided he didn't want her anymore.   She ended up in the hands of a teenager who when he got her home was informed "She can't stay here" by his mother.  Bella had to spend her first night away from the only home she has ever known, even though it was a terrible place, but she had to spend it outside on a back deck.

A fellow animal lover got wind of her situation and went to retrieve her, got her a bath and right off to the vet, here is her diagnosis.... Bella's left eye had ulceration on it possibly from a blunt trauma, luckily she could slightly see out of it but her pressures was not good, she has been on antibiotic drops in her eye and it is clearing up the whiteness is going away and the prognosis is a little more positive.  Her nails had to be trimmed back 1/2 inch on all of them(she had to be sedated for that.)  Her ears have multiple types of infections going on and she has a giant hematoma on her left ear,  She is on drops for her ear infections.  She needs an antifungal bath every 3-4 days and has taken 4 capstars in the past week because her skin is in such bad shape frontline wont work. 

So we found a wonderful foster Mom (Rose) who has fallen in love with her and informed the rescue that she would adopt her.  Of course when all was taken care of, Bella went in to get spayed today, we found out that she is also heartworm positive positive.  No surgery, no vaccs yet and another enormous vet bill.  Rose is a wonderful adopter but cannot afford HW treatment and the good samaritan who got her out of this situation has already spent $500 on her vet bills.  We are looking to raise money for her HW treatment and hopefully reimburse the good samaritan who so generously donated the money so far for her vetting.  Please help if you can.  Bella has come such a long way just in the last week to a better life, heartworm can't stop her now.

Susan Turturice
OTRA Co-Owner/OTRA Co-Mod-MI/OTRA Verified Transport Coordinator
Co-Founder/Transport Coordinator-Something Special Castaways Rescue
Cell: 313-806-2033

Thursday, August 11, 2011


I received the email below via a Yahoo Group I'm a member of.  I made the decision to share (after asking permission!!) with my fans/followers because this is a part of what animal advocacy is about. I could only post the animals in need of rescue.  I could only post news articles and videos.  I could only post animals and news from within the state I live in.  I choose to do more.

Please share this note far and wide.   If a rescue closes down, it is the animals that suffer.  The animals of Memphis suffer enough as it is.  Remember, this is the city where a dog starved to death in MAS, where Kapone went missing after being picked up by Animal Control, where dogfighting is a tremendous problem, where little Yogi was stolen from his backyard.  Paws NE works with the Tipton County Animal Shelter in Brighton, rather than MAS but that does not mean the need is any less.

So donate if you can.  If you cannot donate, share the note.  Let's help a rescue continue to do the work it was created to do.

Thank you.

Carol Schatz

Date: Wed, 27 Jul 2011 00:47:59 -0400


Here I sit at the computer, it's almost midnight as I'm starting this email, and I don't even know where to begin. My heart is very heavy and my mind is a blur of thoughts and emotions that I just can't even comprehend right now. All day every day for the last several days, i've been going through the necessary motions at work and at home but my mind and heart are elsewhere.

I'm sick in my soul because the one thing that I've been most passionate about for the past four and a half years (since April 2006) is about to exist no longer unless strangers and friends, alike, can save us. I hate so much to do this but I have no choice but to turn to animal lovers in the community and beg and plead for your help. Our rescue group is in the
worst financial condition it has ever been in and the reality is that we probably will not be able to pull out of it this time -- not without a miracle :(

I know that the economy has tremendously hurt so many people and ruined so many lives and, as we all know, the beloved pets of these people are the ones who suffer and are left behind when things get tough. The rescue groups try to come in and pick up the pieces for those animals and help them along to better futures. Adoptions are very slow right now due to the economy so our foster homes are just packed with too many foster dogs and no donations coming in. Because of the dire financial mess we are in right now, we have not been able to take any dogs from anywhere in over two months.

The rescue group that I co-founded more than four years ago (Tipton Treasures/PAWS NE, Inc.) is finally on its last leg and, if we can't pull off a miracle somehow, we will have to "permanently close our doors." We are out of money and we owe thousands of dollars in vet bills, we have to feed, provide medication, frontline and interceptor for approximately 150 foster dogs at all times. Adoptions are at an all-time low (most likely due to the economy) and we're having to turn away animals right and left that have nowhere to go. We have consistenly rescued 80% of our dogs from the Tipton County Animal Shelter in Brighton, TN and, since we have no funds lately and are so deeply in debt at this point, we have not been able to go to the shelter to pull any dogs in over two months. We all know what that means for all those little faces at the Tipton Shelter every week, most of whom don't have a prayer.

We have also always consistently taken just about any injured dog we were called about and have taken many that were strays in Tipton and Shelby Counties over the years. We have successfully treated, rehabilitated, and rehomed more than 3,000 dogs from the West Tennessee area alone in over four years. I'm feeling right now like all the blood, sweat and tears (literally) has been for nothing. We have so many wonderful foster homes and volunteers in New England and West TN who have worked so hard to build this charitable organization up and now it's all about to come crashing down around all of us.

I personally get calls every day about a dog that needs to be rescued but my hands are tied all because of money. Our rescue group American Express card is maxed out and we have no other options. Our dogs all originate in West Tennessee and so we're asking our own community to try to dig deep into your pockets and couch cushions and donate to save us. I know so well that money is very tight for everybody these days but I promise that NO AMOUNT IS TOO SMALL -- $1 or $10!!!! Or anything in between :(It seems that about once a year at least I have to turn to fellow animal lovers in our immediate community and farther to ask for donations to keep our rescue doors open and it is so humiliating to me. But I'll do it for the dogs.

Our rescue group is Tipton Treasures/PAWS New England, Inc. and we are a 501c3 public charity publicly recognized by the IRS. Take a look at our website at to read and learn about our group and all the wonderful fairytale-ending stories we have on there. You can also see pictures of me and our other volunteers on the volunteer tab. The heartworm treatments and vet bills that we need to pay for our group (again, our credit card is maxed out) are in Memphis and Collierville so we need for the funds to be donated here in West TN so that we can pay these expenses directly to the providers. Anyone who needs a tax receipt can request one and I will happily provide it to you.

Donations of any amount can be mailed to
c/o Traci Wood, President
7948 Quito Road
Millington, TN 38053
Checks can be made out to Tipton Treasures/PAWS NE


paid via Paypal at to the account of -- please note in the remittance box on Paypal if it is a donation to save Tipton Treasures

Please help us continue our very important work so that we can get back to the business of
taking care of the Tipton Shelter dogs very quickly :( In the meantime, *_please look at the
Tipton County Shelter's petfinder site and go save just one of those poor dogs! The shelter
staff is very rescue friendly and will do just about anything to make it possible for a dog or
cat to be able to leave that place. The Shelter phone is (901) 837-5919 and the staff are
Jeana, Sharon, Christy, Shane and Terry.

The Tipton Shelter's website link is

Again, bless you for even reading this email -- please please help us :(
Traci Wood

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Little Shelter That Does

Seagoville Animal Shelter is located in Seagoville, Texas, less than 25 miles from downtown Dallas.  They have only 9 dog kennels and 6 cat cages, yet take in more than 1300 animals per year.

They do not have a large budget.  There are no grants, resources or benefactors.  What they do have is love for animals and the determination to find them homes.

So what’s the big deal?  Well, Seagoville is a municipal facility and not a non-profit, so they must follow the rules set forth for them.  What makes them unique is they are determined to be no kill, which is the county does not support.

Seagoville has not killed an animal since November 2010, and have found homes for every single animal in their care by the time their number came up.

This little shelter is doing what animal lovers and advocates everywhere wants to see – animals adopted rather than killed.  They network tirelessly to find the animals homes.

Seagoville Animal Shelter needs our help and support.  They don't have a lot of money, and barely get by with providing the basic care of their charges. 

So my fellow animal lovers and advocates, I ask you to help.  Visit and like their Facebook page.  Share and network their adoptable animals in the photo section.  Donate to them if you can. 

They have a fundraiser going and will raffle a beautifully restored 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air that was donated to them.  The money raised will go toward a new, bigger and better shelter.  Purchase a ticket yourself if you can, and please share the raffle.  Tickets are only $10 or 12 for $100.

Please help Seagoville continue to be no kill.  They are doing what my local non-profit humane society cannot find it in their hearts to do.  I’m sure the same is true for many of you who read this.

Why We Do What We Do

I was reading the comments for a post on the National Dog News Examiner’s Facebook page.  The commenter asked if the stories in the article, More dogs in the news - a week in review, were happy or sad, and then said

I can't handle the sad ones....”

I can certainly understand this.  The stories, be they news articles; posts on Facebook from rescues, shelters, crossposters, or animal lovers; emails from groups; or however else you hear about them, are plentiful ... too plentiful most days.  Reactions cover the entire range of human emotions – horror, sadness, despair, anger, outrage, and even grief. 

My comment on that post was that I shared all the stories.

Sharing the happy ones is easy.  Everybody needs and loves a happy!  We need the story that brings a smile to our face, or brings a sigh of relief to our lips, or makes our heart sing with joy.

Sometimes the happy stories, such as Judith’s, are bittersweet.  Judith spent the first 10 years of her life on a chain without human affection or attention.  She was finally rescued (the happy), and spent 18 wonderful months with a caring family before she passed (the bittersweet).

Sharing the ‘sad’ ones is not as easy, but is a task that we, as animal lovers and advocates, must do. 

One of the reasons is to try and help animals in need.  It is sad when we read about a dog that gave birth in a shelter only to have her pups die, then adopts an orphan litter, and now is waiting to be rescued or killed.  But if she is to have a chance at life, her story must be shared.

It is sad to read about an animal with illness or injury that needs donations for treatment.  They will not receive medical care if the story is not shared.  It is sad to read about animals suffering in the summer heat at a shelter.  They will not get help if their story is not shared.  It is sad to read about the animals that are in extreme danger of being killed at a shelter.  They have no hope if their story is not shared.  It is sad to read about an animal that is lost or has been stolen.  They will not be found if their story is not shared.

Another reason for sharing the sad stories is to raise awareness.  Our nation’s “animal problem” is a result of multiple causes.  One of those is blissful ignorance.  Many people don’t know what is happening in shelters … that 4 - 5 million animals are killed each year … that gassing is still used in many shelters … that heartstick is used … that “euthanasia” by injection is not as happy and peaceful as it is made out to be, albeit certainly better than gassing.

People are ignorant about Breed Specific Legislation (BSL).  They don’t know what it is, why it is done, that it may exist in their own town or county, or even if their town/county doesn’t have BSL their insurance company may.  They are ignorant of the results of BSL.

Many are ignorant of how slanted the media is, of how much the media sensationalizes news stories in the name of ratings and money.  The sensationalized news stories are part of the BSL problem, and many just don’t realize it.

Many people are ignorant of the proper care of their companion animals.  They don’t spay or neuter their pets.  They leave their dogs outside year round, usually on a chain, often without adequate shelter.  They don’t make sure their animals receive regular vet care or even important vaccinations.  We must share the stories of neglect to make them aware of their own behavior.

Many people just plain don’t think.  How many heat-related animal deaths do we see each summer?  Certainly many more would die if the stories were not shared.

Many don’t think about how inadequate animal welfare laws and sentences are in most states.  If change is to be effected, people need to be made aware.  The best way to raise awareness is sharing the stories of cruelty, abuse, neglect, torture, maiming, and killing that show the ridiculous sentences most of these abusers receive.

Despite the publicity of the Michael Vick case, many are still not aware of the widespread and pervasive problem of dog fighting, or any of its associated problems.  How many “free to good home” ads do we see on Craigslist or in newspapers?  Too many people don’t know that dog fighters ‘adopt’ these animals to use as bait for their dogs in training.

Many are ignorant of how their actions add to the “animal problem”.  They don’t know that the unwanted litter from their unsprayed pet may be killed in the shelter they bring them to.  They don’t know just how overcrowded their local shelter is, and therefore when they surrender their pet, it will be taken to the kill room immediately after intake.  They don’t understand how their failure to properly train and socialize their dog leads to unwanted behaviors, and ultimately, the dog’s death at the shelter.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture.

Reading multiple sad stories every day is difficult.  There have been many times I have shed tears for the senseless, sometimes horrific, injury or death of an animal.  There have been many times I have been angered or outraged over the abuse/neglect/cruelty toward an animal or the slap on the wrist sentence an abuser receives. 

Even without a story, I am angered and outraged, and often saddened, over BSL and the injustice towards the dogs, especially Pit Bulls.  I absolutely hate that so many dogs that would be wonderful pets are needlessly and senselessly killed simply because they are Pit Bulls.  I am angered and outraged about the senseless killing of animals at shelters across the country even without reading a story or seeing the urgent postings.  The stories and postings are simply more fuel for the fire.

Yet I continue to read and share these stories.  Refusing to read them is akin to hiding your head in the sand.  It doesn’t help, and it doesn’t solve the problems.  Refusing to share them contributes to the lack of awareness and to peoples’ blissful ignorance.

Taking the bad with the good is what you have to do as an animal advocate.  You have to know what is wrong and why before you can change it.  You have to know about an animal in need before you can help.

And this is why we do what we do.