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.