Shelters Should Protect Dogs, Not Put Them To Sleep
I agree it's terrible that even one homeless dog is put to sleep. So, yes, shelters should protected dogs, not put them to sleep - but you can hardly blame the shelters for having to work within a broken system.
Where The Blame Belongs
If you want to blame someone, put the blame where it belongs:
Shelters Are The Least To Blame
Breeders keep churning out dogs, the public keeping buying from breeders, with many later abandoning their dogs...and it's the shelters who try to clean up the mess of this terrible cycle.
The shelters shoulder the heavy burden of finding homes for the unfortunate dogs dumped on their doorstep, and perform the awful task of putting some of those dogs to sleep. So as far as I can see, they're the least to blame for this entire nightmare.
I won't pretend that all shelters are perfect.
The kill shelters generally work on a simple time system: if a dog is not reclaimed or adopted out within a certain timeframe, that's it. The dog goes on the kill list, and is put to sleep when time is up. (All the while, more abandoned dogs are being brought through the front door.)
These shelters say that with so many dogs being dumped at their facility, there's just not enough room to keep them all. I can't say I like or agree with that reasoning, and I don't accept their policy as an acceptable 'solution' to the issue. However, individual workers of kill shelters still toil daily within this appalling system to rehome as many dogs as possible, doing what they can to protect dogs.
Luckily there are no-kill shelters. But it's probably more accurate to call them low-kill shelters, because even they sometimes have to put dogs to sleep.
The reason is that some dogs have been so badly abused that they can't be rehabilitated for adoption. Others have been so neglected that their bodies are too diseased and weak to survive, and they either pass away or are put to sleep.
So the fact is, that even the shelters with the lowest kill rates are still forced by certain circumstances to undertake the horrible task of putting some dogs to sleep.
Put The Blame Where Blame Is Merited
Shelters don't want to put dogs to sleep even though, as I've explained, they sometimes do.
But if you're tempted to admonish them for this, always remember that shelters aren't the ones who created problem of overpopulation and homelessness - they, against all odds, do all they can to save these innocent victims of human selfishness, short-sightedness, and irresponsibility.
So if you want to point the finger of blame, fair enough - do it. But at least place the blame on those who deserve it, because the shelters are not the villains.
In fact, if anyone's a hero here, it's the shelter workers, because even with dogs getting dumped on their doorstep every single day, and despite very limited money and space, shelter workers labour tirelessly to protect dogs, and rehome as many of them as they possibly can.
SAY NO TO PUPPY MILLS! SAY NO TO ANIMALS IN PETSHOPS! SAY NO TO BREEDERS!
Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance
It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.
Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.
Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.
Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.
Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.
If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.
All information and photos are copyright © Despina Rosales.