Friday, May 15, 2015

A very long vent on a subject very close to my heart

I am about to unleash a hue vent... a vent that is going to be long, anger filled, and will probably make some of you upset with me.    So, be it...that's your right, feel free to leave your opinions and comments, I'm not the type of person that can't handle hearing the opinions of others.   That doesn't mean I will change my opinions or beliefs, but you are entitled to yours just as I am to mine. If you are reading this, that means you are part of my life in some way, and so a difference of opinion isn't going to change the way I view or feel about you. This vent is being written because it is about something very near and dear to my heart. Something that is very important to me.
     Now......Most of you have probably gathered from seeing the links on my FB page, or from speaking to me, that I am actively involved in Canine Rescue.  In fact I am working on opening my own Canine Shelter/Sanctuary here in my county, that will hopefully be fully up and running within the next two to three years.
What really upsets and angers me and causes me so much anguish  is the fact that we need to have shelters in the first place. This is where my vent/rant begins....I actively do "cross-posting", I sit here every night reading though post after post on Urgent and Emergency rescue site after rescue site, about beautiful, healthy, wonderful dogs that are scheduled to be murdered in high kill Animal Control facilities (and people it doesn't matter what the name of these places are, they are *NOT* a shelter if they KILL the animals for reasons other than incurable injury or illness or violent behavior that can’t be rehabbed)...But, these beautiful, creatures are on countdown to death for no other reason except the selfish humans that were supposed to love and care for them, tossed them away.
   I have seen 11 yr. old dogs that have been a part of families their entire lives dropped at high kill facilities with explanations such as, "No longer have the time for a pet"....."Cost too much money to feed"......"Moving out of state and don't want to deal with taking a dog".....this next one, I think takes the cake, "He's become old and lazy, he just lays around"...gee I hope when they are "old and lazy" someone does the same to them!!    
Other reasons listed on some of the younger dogs have been, "He pees"...."He's too energetic",  "We're having a baby now so we don't need the dog anymore"...."She smells"....A chewer"....."Sheds"....."Landlord won't let me have it anymore" (anymore??? Did he just decide one day, “Hey I’m bored, I know, I’ll  abolish all dogs from this dwelling??").....This one took a prize as well, "Decided a fish would be an easier pet".
   People, dogs (and cats)  are a commitment; they are not something you go out and get and then decide you don't want it later and toss it away. They are living beings. 
Dogs and Cats, believe it or not, have feelings....they bond, they care, they love, they mourn,  they grieve, they fear, they show happiness, they show sadness, they show anger and they show joy.  
Look deep into a dog's eyes. You can see exactly what it is feeling. 
When I get ready to go someplace and my Chihuahua realizes that she isn't going to be able to go with me, you can see her whole facial expression change. She looks depressed, her forehead wrinkles, she looks anxious and worried and her eyes even tear up. 
    People also don’t realize that dogs do understand what we say, it’s not the tones of our voices, and they understand words. They aren't stupid, they have feelings, they have hearts, they have brains, and they are very intelligent.  
To just toss them away and abandon them, isn't much different from abandoning a small child or a helpless elderly person. They are scared and helpless. They don’t understand what they did wrong, why their family that they loved left them in  that strange place.  
They want to go home, they want to be held and loved by the people they adore and trusted.  
They are nervous and there is all kinds of strange people and noises,and smells, and it is depending on the season too hot or too cold.
They are so scared and upset that when the staff members, who to them are just strangers,  start to poke and prod at them, they tend to be cross and cranky or just completely shutdown all together and refuse to acknowledge anyone at all. This then
causes them get evaluated with “Not Sociable” or “Has a Bad Temper”…..which means they are moved up on the list to be put to sleep sooner without ever making it to the adoption floor.   
Their owners, the people that picked them out as that “cute little fuzzy puppy they were going to love forever” threw them away like disposable trash when they were tired of them.  They will then die all alone, terrified and with a aching heart, emotional turmoil and confusion.
       Then you also have your once beautiful  female dogs...AKC worthy full-bred breeds,  that are tossed away after they have served their purpose as a *Brood Mare*. 
There’s nothing like being a 4 yr. old little dog that’s had 9 litters and who’s little uterus is about to fall out of her body... who is haggard and looks about 16 instead of 4.  With a coat that is matted and ratty and has never been brushed or bathed.  A little dog who 
hasn't spent a whole lot of time outside of a kennel cage, so she has never been housebroken, she has never had toys to play with…she is under weight and malnourished.  Her nails are over grown and so she hobbles when she walks...if anyone can get her to actually walk as she doesn't know how to walk on a leash, because no one ever bothered to teach her. In fact she is terrified of the feeling of grass or sand or sidewalk because she has basically spent 24/7 of her entire life inside a wire kennel cage.   She’s never been loved, never been anyone’s “pet” or “Fur-baby”…her whole existence has been to produce puppies and make money for her owners.  The look in her eyes is pain and depression and she doesn't even wag her tail when someone talks to her, and if anyone tries to pet her or pick her up, she screams ad howls like she is being murdered because this is completely foreign to her. Does this make you sad, break your heart and cause you to tear up reading about her? Just wait I'm not done yet...Now she’s worn out, so they don’t need her anymore, so out she goes. If she is lucky, she is dumped at a animal control facility. The less fortunate ones are murdered there at the mill...shot, strangled, smothered...whatever it takes to get rid of her. Then, there are some, that have their cages set out in/behind a shed or someplace out of the way and they are not given any food or water until they just die.   Puppy Milling is illegal and the offspring of these poor little dogs are not healthy.  This kind of treatment is despicable and cruel.
The ones that are dumped at the pound by their “owner” have usually still been sentenced  to an early death…Surgery to repair her uterus is expensive, and she will have to have a lot of social and behavioral rehab. Unless she can find sponsors and a rescue with money to offer her surgery, there are few people that would be willing to adopt a dog with so many costly issues...and most animal control agencies will not even consider releasing them to anyone outside of a rescue because of liability.    
       There are also the irresponsible and inconsiderate pet owners that *REFUSE* to have their animals spayed /neutered.. and then allow them outdoors when they are in season so that they end up pregnant and then surprise…they have litters of more unwanted puppies and kittens.  When these puppies and kittens are old enough to be weaned, these mixed breeds are dumped off at the high kill facilities.  Six to twelve week old puppies who have not had any vaccinations at all do not do well in a pound. They get sick easily.....Even worse is a pregnant momma dog or momma with newborn puppies that are surrendered.  They are quickly euthanized.  Unless a rescue has the funds and room to take them, the pound will kill the entire family...
When a facility has the ability to house 120 animals and they have 225 turned in to them what options does that leave when they are not funded and they are a KILL FACILITY by order of their county??  You do the Math people??  
How do we fix this???  
Gee,  Here is the answer….if you are going to be a pet owner, be responsible…SPAY AND NEUTER your dogs and cats!!!   Saying you can’t afford it is a cop out. The ASPCA has many low income programs to help and there are also many low income clinics in every area.  No one wants the pet population to keep expanding to where we have to have these poor innocent animals murdered daily for no reason other than the selfish stupidity of humans.
   It's also not just mix-breeds...there are full-bred pups with AKC papered parents that are dropped off as well.  Why? Because their "owners" thought, "wow, I have these two beautiful full-bred dogs with paperwork, I'll breed them and then make some extra cash off the puppies."   Well, that does not always happen and then the owner has Mom, Dad, and 4 to 6 rambunctious older puppies that are into everything, costing them a small fortune to feed, they cannot afford to take them all to the vet for vaccines atc...and caring for a large group of dogs, the majority of them young is a lot of work.  Things get chewed, Carpets and floors are getting ruined by a pack of pups learning what Housebreaking means,  there is more dog feces than you can imagine and their neighbors begin to complain of the barking and the smell in the yard....not to mention the fact that momma dog is usually at the end of her maternal rope by this point and is ready for her babies to leave home and for her life to return to pre-baby normal....(that is if her stupid owners have not let her breed again already), so the humans pack up the dogs into their car and take them to the pound thinking, "These guys will have no problem getting adopted into nice homes, they are full-bred". They have no idea how many full-bred dogs get euthanized right along with the mix-breeds.  Taking them to the pound though is a much better option than placing a "Free to Good Home" ad on places like Craig's List or in the newspaper....this is where most dog fighters get their training bait from.  I won't even go into do not want the gruesome details. If you thought the Puppy-Mill story was sad... I have seen things that haunt me years later.  It is a fate that no living thing outside of a pedophile should ever have to go through....and a type of bloody, painful death that you cannot imagine...if they are lucky enough to die from their wounds and are not taken battered, bloody and broken and dumped out in the middle of nowhere to suffer with no help until they finally die from blood loss, the injuries themselves mixed with starvation and dehydration along with infection.  
    Finally the above mentioned topic brings me to what I think one of the worst situations at the animal control facilities is...the problem with the discrimination against the 'Bully Breeds'.  
This tragic situation is due to attacks stemming from the violence of dogs trained to fight…some areas have not even had an actual case of Bully Breed attacks, but because of the horror stories, they want no part of these beautiful and loving my nature dogs. 
We have the problem with injured dogs, like the tragic scenario I mentioned above being dumped that have been used as bait dogs to train Bully Breeds to fight by the horrible losers that think this is “cool” and a easy way for them to make drug money. Occasionally, those poor babies...(they can be any breed and any size as long as they are less aggressive than the dog being trained),  are taken by a rescue and can be repaired and rehabbed to trust again, but many times they’re so injured they have to be humanely euthanized.  
Then We have the actual fight dogs themselves... if they show no signs of aggression, and aren't too beat up,and there are rescues that have space and enough funding and depending on the state, they are put through rehab and are allowed to be adopted out to new forever owners, usually people with *NO* children or other animals….if anyone is willing to take them and the area they are in does not have BSL laws. 
For those of you that do not know, BSL stands for "Breed Specific Legislation", which means a law that bans certain types of dogs due to appearance, because they are perceived as "Dangerous Dogs". BSL not only causes problems and usually death for dogs rescued from fight rings, but it is also basically equal to discrimination and racial profiling in the canine world.  If there is a BSL law in an area and someone surrenders a dog to the pound that even remotely resembles one of the breeds on the BSL list, it is instantly euthanized....this also includes any dog that the facility feels looks as if it is mixed with a BSL breed.  Due to the lack of breed identification training of most pound employees, many dogs that are not BSL breeds or even mixed with one, are killed weekly in BSL areas.  
I personally love Bully Breeds.  Pit Bulls are one of my favorite dogs….I also love Boxers, Mastiffs, Rotties.  They are all beautiful and sweetheart dogs.  Cocker Spaniels and Min Pins an Chihuahuas  are actually by nature more aggressive breeds with a much higher bite risk.  But, because they are smaller, they are not listed on BSL lists.  People do not realize that Bully Breeds have the reputation they do mainly due to the media.  Yes, there have been some very, very tragic cases involving Pit Bulls attacking people...sadly usually children...But what the media downplays is the fact that usually:
*The dog did not belong to the residence where the child lived full-time....usually it is a family friend, non-custodial parent or other relative of the child that owns the dog.....and the dog and the child have no relationship or bond.
*The child is unattended with the dog that is not used to being with that child....and I don't care what breed, what size, how docile a dog is....if the child does not live with the dog and has not bonded with it, no child under 10 should be left unattended with it.  If they child is bonded with the dog then I would never leave a child under the age of 6 alone with it....children are unpredictable with their movements,  small children do not have a grasp on "gentle"...and a dog cannot say, "Hey, that hurts me, don't pull my ears/hair/whiskers/tail" "I'm not a horse and you are too heavy for my back, so please do not try to ride me or stand on me for that matter. It hurts."  Any parent that does not monitor a small child with a dog, is irresponsible.  
* Many cases of maulings have occurred when a small child (who should not have been out unattended in he first place) wanders into the yard of a residence that is not his/hers where there is a dog on a chain (something that no one should do to any dog...but that is another rant).  
*Many times the owners and the child's parents allowed a small child to bother a dog that was eating or sleeping....something that is a huge no-no. Dogs have pack mentality. Their adult owners are the Alphas in their pack (if they have responsible owners that have established Alpha status and trained their dog)...but to a dog, small children, even if they are bonded to them, are in their eyes, fellow pups and equals in the pack.  This is why dogs that are establishing their roles in a multiple dog household snap and growl when they are eating/sleeping in "their spot"/have a treat or favorite toy.  They are saying, this is mine, you are not my boss, you will not take this from me"  so when the child goes up and tries to take, touch, interfere with what the dog has/is doing, it treats the child like another dog.  This is why adult supervision is always necessary when little ones and dogs are together.
       There is also another point  I want to bring up before I end this rant. People, when you go to get a pet, let’s use our brains. If we live in a small 2 bedroom apartment on the 3 floor in the middle of the city and we decide to get a puppy for our family (*AFTER* clearing it wit ohur Landlord. And only *AFTER*),  hmmmm lets think this one through….tiny 2 bedroom, 3rd floor, in the city, that would mean we don’t have a large fenced yard…right? It would also mean we are short on space indoors as well, right?  So, what kind of puppy would we get?  …….
§         Answer:   OH I KNOW….how about an ummmmm, a Mastiff!!  I mean it’s cute, it’s 7 weeks old and it’s only 12 pounds…that’s perfect!"   NO!!!!
Because, guess what….in a couple of months that cute little puppy is this BIG HUGE DOG. That has out grown the tiny apartment.  He needs to go outdoors to potty, because a Mastiff can’t use puppy pads….not hardly….not ones I’d want to have to pick up anyway.  So, you are spending a lot of time up and down three flights of stairs with a huge and hyper young dog and having to take a pooper-scooper along for the walk.  Not exactly a joy.  When you got your puppy, a Chihuahua, a Yorkie, a Teacup Poodle, even a cocker,  would have been perfect for your family... But you didn't research and weigh the options. So now you have this big dog that is too large.   
Now most people would be in love with their big goofy over size bundle of energy and poop and just deal with what they got themselves into  because ….he’s part of the family and they love him.  But, sadly, there are some selfish people that will just take this poor goofy bundle of love and dump him at the nearest pound.   He doesn't know why, he just knows one day he had a family and a rug and a bone and a boy to wrestle with, and today he’s in a cage with a cold cement floor and he’s scared. ….and tonight if he’s lucky he’s at shelter that’s going to kill him with a needle and not the gas chamber….because at least the lethal injection is a lot more human than being shoved into a room with a bunch of other dogs and at times even some cats,  and having gas fill up the room and then your lungs till you can’t breathe and you slowly suffocate and painfully pass out and die….after you have fought, mauled, chewed each other up while in a panic induced frenzy.

 I also want to say, you have never seen anything sad and tear inducing as watching a dog howl, while, cry and panic when it is handed over to the animal control staff and watches his people he loves walk out the door without looking back and not returning.  Those mournful wails are something you never forget the sound of.  The only thing worse, is the sight and whimpering sounds a scared dog makes, when it is being led down the hall to the euthanization room.  They know....the panic...they try to run, try to hold on to cage doors, try to lay down and refuse to walk....only to usually be dragged by staff.Just typing that paragraph has brought tears and I have a huge lump in my throat.  

So, PLEASE...I am begging you.  The next time you decide to just go drop an animal off at the pound or know that someone you know is about to….think about this post.  
Remember these precious animals are fur-babies.  They are just like having an infant or toddler....they look to you for love, care, security and to meet their needs.  Adopting a dog/cat is a lifetime of that animal commitment....they need and deserve FOREVER homes.   They require love, food/water, toys, attention, devotion, medical care/prevention, training and patience. If you are not up for all of this, then please don't go and get one only to uproot it's entire world later when you get rid of it. 
If you must get rid of a pet, contact a rescue and see if they can assist you in someway.  Ask your vet if they can help...many have adoption bulletin boards.  Ask people you know if anyone in their lives (that they know well) would be interested in adopting the animal.  If you decide to place an ad....scrutinize anyone that responds...get their full name, phone number (and verify it us a legit number), email and address.  If they have other pets or have had pets, ask for their vets name and number for references.  Ask if they have a problem with you checking on the animal.  Make them sign a contract that if it does not work out they will call you.  List in the add a rehoming fee...I prefer at least $50.00 or more....people looking for bait dogs do not want to pay for them....once you meet the person if everything checks out, then you can waive the rehoming fee.
Finding the animal a good and loving home is the most important thing.if you have tried but have no other options and a animal shelter is the last least research the facility and make sure it’s *Really* a shelter, a place that does *NOT* kill…that finds the animals a new home... Not a center that is just a slaughter house.  

    If you are still here with me…Thank you for condoning my ranting. I appreciate you humoring me and allowing me to vent.  Now go hug your dogs and cats and tell them you love them…and if you have the resources and/or opportunity *PLEASE* foster, adopt or sponsor (via a “chip-in “the fee to help pay for rescue/medical needs), a shelter or Pound pet.   If you don’t have the resources to do that…then how about donating some time?   The ASPCA  is always looking for volunteers to spend time with the animals…they need people to walk the dogs and to play with the cats…to brush both species...  so they get attention, exercise and human contact.  Not only will you be doing something great for a lonely and scared animal, but it will make you feel good to.  I promise it will.  :)

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