There are some good city shelters, like those partnered with the SPCA or the Humane Society and everywhere there are good people who truly care about animals and also work at shelters. Be watchful fo some so -called “Humane Society” shelters who are not affiliated with the HSUS shelters, especially in small towns, where the treatment of animals is hardly humane and diseases like Parvo are rampant. Alas, shelters are not sheltering dogs from harm, there are merely holding pens where, anywhere from 3 days to rarely over 10 days dogs and cats meet their fate: A reunification with his or her family (1 in 10), a lucky adoption for animals under 5 years of age (1 in 3) or their lonely death (7 in 10). In these holding facilities, workers make little money, hardly above minimum wages, are not often screened for their dedication to animals, more often spilled over from another city or county agency, especially in small towns, where working at the animal “pound” (for impound) is often considered a demotion from another public service position. Still in effect is the outrageous practice of pound seizure where dogs and cats unclaimed during the few days of grace (3 to 10) are sold for experimentation to university laboratories or Class B dealers who resale the former pets at a profit to biotech (vivisection) facilities. Few states have outlawed this transaction and your beloved pet whose only fault was to walk thru a gate left open and wander a while until lost, your sweet family dog or cat has been shipped to an laboratory, where courtesy of the FDA, it will be lawfully submitted to painful invasive, maiming, debilitating, poisoning, burning, or bone breaking experiment. My personal experience is that shelter employees develop a veneer of insincerity, a combination of power over the animals, and callous acceptance of the harsh reality and the inexorable fate of their inmates. Systematic spaying and neutering of strays and licensed pets to prevent overpopulation, tax credits and veterinary care at reduced cost for low income and elderly citizens to deflect pet surrender, and charitable pet food banks, combined with the elimination of large breeding operations and puppy mills could realistically take away the need for overfilled shelter facilities and their maintaining costs (paid with tax revenues), property ground and building, utilities, workers payroll and benefits, veterinary services and drugs. The humane, compassionate private,” no-kill”, run shelters, could then handle the smaller number of animals in distress.
Helping the helpless animals is a heartbreaking mission left to a few who care deeply.
If you know of a back yard, mobile home or deep in the woods puppy breeder, of a neglected animal, left in the cold, too thin or chained, if you witness or suspect abuse, if your hear continuous whining or pleading barks, please report it to your city’s SPCA. They are most likely to do something about.
Make it your business to speak for the helpless. Our best friends and companions, dogs and cats, who sit in our pictures of the perfect happy home, so dedicated to us and intelligent and intuitive of our needs that we easily train them to serve us as guide and rescue dogs and therapy pets.
Call, write, email your congressman/woman, your senator, your state elected official, your county and city officials and demand that dogs and cats be designated companion animals and removed from the overall “animal/livestock” category, removed from the callous USDA jurisdiction that oversees puppy mills and laboratories and allows the abuse. And give them the respect, protection and love they deserve .
Adoption:If the thought of adding a four legged child to your family, has crossed your mind, please visit the local government shelter (where animals are least likely to survive) and take home a mixed breed dog or cat. Older animals make wonderful companions, housetrained and patient, grateful for any attention for which they have so longed. He (or she) will bring lasting joy to the whole family.
Animalshelter.org has a fairly comprehensive list of city and county shelters by State.
If your heart is set on a specific breed, because their characteristic are better suited for your lifestyle or because you have a particularly fondness for that breed, contact a private animal rescue. They do not kill any of the animals they take in. They are usually breed or “cousins” specific, either pure bred or a close related mix, and because their pets are often surrendered they have a known history which helps you make a better match.
Petfinder.com is the most comprehensive network of animal rescues and animals for adoption.
Beware! that when you “Google” Breed Specific rescues, most of the listings are from deceitful breeders and puppy mills, pretending to be helpful only to lure you to their advertisements of puppies for sale. Craigslist is not to be trusted with pet adoptions either, but your neighborhood newspaper advertises usually sincere people in a hardship trying to re-home a dog or cat.
The dogrescuelist.com has a long list of rescue but is incomplete because it has not been updated in a while.
Donatetodogs.org has another legitimate list also incomplete but helpful.
If you are not able to take in another companion, you can make a donation to an animal welfare organization or rescue, buy a chew toy for a lonely yard dog and bring a old blanket to a stray cat in your neighborhood. If you have used carriers or leashes, unneeded shampoos or treats or common treatments for pets, please donate them to a private animal rescue in your area.