Showing posts with label animal shelters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label animal shelters. Show all posts

Wednesday 1 May 2024

How many animal shelters are in the US?

American animal shelter. Utopian image.
American animal shelter. Utopian image. 😊💕😉

As of 2024, there are over 3,900 animal shelters in the United States. These shelters play a crucial role in caring for and rehoming companion animals. Let’s delve into some additional statistics related to animal shelters:

Annual Intake

Approximately 6.3 million companion animals enter U.S. shelters each year.
These animals include both cats and dogs.

Adoptions

Around 4.1 million shelter animals find loving homes through adoptions annually.
It’s heart-warming to know that many people choose to adopt and provide forever homes to these animals.


Stray Animals Reunited

Of the animals that enter shelters, approximately 810,000 stray animals are successfully returned to their owners.

Reuniting lost pets with their families is a significant achievement for shelters.

Remember, these shelters work tirelessly to provide care, love, and second chances to our furry friends! 🐾❤️.

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Remember to that the US is indebted to Nathan Winograd the founder of the No-Kill movement and North America's greatest advocate for shelter animals.

Here is some information about Nathan:

Nathan Winograd is an attorney, journalist, and passionate animal advocate. He serves a the Executive Director of The No Kill Advocacy Center. Let’s explore more about his impactful work:

No Kill Advocacy

Nathan Winograd has been a driving force in creating No Kill communities across the United States for nearly two decades. Under his leadership, Tompkins County, New York, became the first No Kill community in the U.S. This achievement marked a significant milestone in animal welfare.

Background and Expertise

Nathan is a graduate of Stanford Law School and has a background as a criminal prosecutor and corporate attorney. His experience extends to various leadership positions, including director of operations for animal shelters.

Legislation and Litigation

Nathan Winograd has authored animal protection legislation at federal, state, and local levels. Notable examples include: The first American law making it illegal to kill community cats unless they are irremediably suffering. A law making it illegal to kill animals if qualified rescue groups are willing to save them (saving over two million animals to date). The Delaware Companion Animal Protection Act, credited with reducing state-wide killing by over 90%.

Investigative Journalism

His investigative journalism has exposed corruption within prominent animal protection organizations, including PETA, the Humane Society of the United States, and the ASPCA. Nathan’s tenacity has led to legal victories, including extending reporter shield privileges to non-traditional media.

Vegan Advocacy

Nathan and his wife Jennifer have co-authored two vegan cookbooks: “All American Vegan: Veganism for the Rest of Us” and “All American Vegan Candy Cookbook”. These books showcase delicious and humane plant-based recipes for America’s favourite foods and confections. Nathan Winograd’s unwavering commitment to animal welfare continues to make a positive impact on the lives of countless animals. 🐾❤️

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Wednesday 24 April 2024

What would be a cat's reaction to changing owners?

The answer to the question in the title depends on the context. At one extreme, sometimes domestic cats voluntarily change owners albeit fairly rarely. They move out of their owner's home, jump over three or four fences and into the home of their new owner where they are well cared for. This might happen if the cat has got used to their owner's neighbour and prefers him or her. The desire to move may be reinforced by the fact that their current owner is not very good. The cat's reaction will be one of pleasure and contentment.

At the other extreme, a domestic at is abandoned to a shelter, suffers a lot of stress inside the shelter and then his adopted perhaps a month or two later into a new home where there are other cats and of course where the owner is a stranger. This will be very stressful all the way for this cat who has changed their owner. The change has been forced on them.

The default reaction by a domestic cat to a change in owner is anxiety because as we all know domestic cat get used to their owner and often domestic cats are fearful of strangers. But that response, too, depends on the cat's character. Some cats are confident and some cats are timid and some cats are in between. Confident cats tend to accept new owners far more easily than timid cats. And they might be the kind of cat who walks into a neighbour's home and learn to like it as does the neighbour!


The picture below was made by AI. It shows a man gifting a cat to his girl. I did not ask the AI computer to do that! 💕🤔. It is still good though and the cat is changing owners! 💕😊


Domestic cats change owners all the time in the general world of cats. That's because there are millions of cats passing through animal shelters in for example America where many of them are rehomed. They have a new owner. Sometimes of the cats are very happy to have a new owner because they have been in a shelter for a long time.

Sometimes shelter management put a notice on the cat's cage to tell adopters that this cat needs to be in a quiet home with no other cats. That, too, would be the default scenario for a cat changing home. I mean the new home should ideally be quiet. The new owner should be very pleasant and loving and ideally should follow a routine and be at home a lot. Result? Happy cat after some initial anxieties perhaps.

As I said at the beginning it depends on the context and the circumstances. The default is anxiety and sometimes it is pure pleasure for a cat learning to live with a new owner. And even when their is anxiety, provided the new owner is good and a good cat caretaker, the cat will get used to their new caregiver quite quickly and all will be well until the end of the cat's life.

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Monday 25 March 2024

Somebody TOSSED two cats in a box into an animal shelter lobby and RAN

This is another example of how some people surrender their cats and obviously it isn't the best way. Sometimes people surreptitiously arrive at the doors of an animal shelter and leave two or three cats in a cardboard box outside to be collected the next morning which is dangerous for the cat if it's in the middle of winter.

Other times they give up their cats in cruel ways but on this occasion the Brother Wolf Animal Rescue center in Asheville, North Carolina, United States Of America, reported that, "Somebody tossed two cat in our lobby. They opened the door, tossed a box in, sliding it across the floor, then ran out to a car waiting in the road that sped away."



Guilt?


How does that look to you as an outside observer? I'll tell you how it looks to me. It looks like they feel very guilty about what they're doing and they don't want to confront the shelter staff and explain to them why they are surrendering their cats. 

But this is stupid behaviour. No one is going to judge them. No one is going to criticise them. Shelter staff will, I am sure, accept cats surrendered even if the reasons are poor. That's because their primary objective is to care for unwanted cats and find a new home with them.

So it is very stupid to abandon cats in this way. Far better to face up to it and admit that you can no longer care for your cats and hand them over. You don't even have to explain why you are surrendering the cats. You just surrender them. You don't have to justify it.


It does indicate a cowardice on behalf of the people who tossed this box into the shelter lobby but I don't want to be too critical because we are all human and we are all, in some way, vulnerable and have our own weaknesses.

Still high numbers of cats given up


The cats' names are Juniper and Theodore. They were written on the box. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reports that annually in America, 6.3 million pets are surrendered which equates to 17,260 per day. Obviously, I'm sure that 99% of them are super surrendered across the counter in the animal shelter and not in the way described.

Stressful experience


We all need to be reminded sometimes that animal shelters are stressful places for cats and dogs to be rehomed. They are strange places. They are noisy places with strange people and strange goings-on. They are confined to cages and it's very difficult for them to behave normally and in an attractive way to do their best to find an adopter.

One caption on the video of the above-mentioned surrender said, "We always try to give people the benefit of the doubt. Not make quick judgments. Check our biases. Not to shame them for needing help. Some days, it is really hard to do that. Today is one of those days."

The video is on Instagram from the above-mentioned shelter. Sometimes these embedded videos stop working so if it has stopped I apologise but I don't control it.


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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Wednesday 20 March 2024

Riverside County told a woman with a neonatal kitten to put him back on the street

This news comes from one of my favourite animal advocates, Nathan Winograd, in the United States who is the founder and campaigner of the No Kill shelter policy saving many thousands of lives.

He has reported on Riverside County Department of Animal Services. He has described their actions as "obscene". He is correct.

He said that last week Riverside County "told a woman who found a neonatal kitten - with his eyes not yet open - to put him back on the street. She left in tears. That kitten was entitled the foster care and then a loving home. And as obscene as Riverside County's policies, they are not alone."

Comment: I'm shocked. It's completely unthinkable but it happened.



Mr Winograd also reports on Orange County Animal Care. He says that they are doing the same thing. He cites another example. Here it is, in his words.

"For example, when a pregnant cat showed up in the yard of a Good Samaritan and then gave birth, the woman did what she thought was responsible: allowed the kittens to nurse and then wean before taking them all — mama and kittens — to the shelter.

Shelter staff told her to return the feline family to where she had found them."

Remarkable. Apparently the woman explained to them that the female cat might not have a home. She didn't have a collar or tag and was pregnant when she was found. The kittens had no home to go to because they weren't born. The staff at the Orange County shelter still turned her away telling her "to release them back on the street".

As I said, remarkable. Callous. Insensitive. This cannot be right.

These rescue cats deserved a lot better. Sometimes it is applicable to put cats back on the street where they came from if there are unsocialised and not lost and reasonably healthy and sometimes cared for by TNR volunteers. But when cats are socialised, lost and unclaimed then they deserve to be found a home via a rescue center. The two organisations referred to did not discharge their duties.

These are my views and the views of Nathan Winograd. Different people have different views including of course these shelters referred to. I respect those views but strongly disagree with them in this instance.

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Wednesday 28 February 2024

Why does the no-kill cat shelter policy mean that 10% of the cats are killed?

You may have wondered why the much vaunted no-kill animal shelter and cat shelter policy results in 10% of the cats being killed. Surely "no-kill" means no killing whatsoever? I'm afraid not. 

What it does mean is that there is no killing i.e. euthanasia of healthy cats but exceptions are made for cats with severe medical conditions that cannot be treated causing significant pain and poor quality of life and cats with severe behavioural issues that pose a danger to life to humans or other animals and where rehabilitation efforts are unlikely to succeed.


These cats are euthanised. The term euthanasia would genuinely apply to a chronically ill and terminally ill cat but under any other circumstances it wouldn't really apply. We have to use the word "kill" under circumstances where the cat is euthanised because of behavioural issues.

There is a muddying of the waters in terms of the language used at cat shelters. However, the no-kill movement - which is the brainchild, as I understand it, of Nathan Winograd, American's greatest advocate of saving the lives of shelter animals in America - has reduced unnecessary euthanasia.

The no-kill philosophy focuses on saving all healthy and treatable animals and with that in mind it can dramatically reduce the number of animals euthanised due to the limits of space at shelter facilities and time limits.

The concept is there to focus the minds of managers and workers to use their best possible practices and imagination to find ways to save lives. And there's been a quite dramatic - I think it's fair to say - increase in the number of no-kill shelters in America over the past decade.

The euthanasia rate has dramatically dropped in America over the past decade too. It's still pretty high but much better. There is still work to do.

Some people decry the no-kill movement. I've read quite a lot about PETA but once again there is misleading language used against them in my view. But they seem to believe that killing feral cats is preferable to looking after them and putting them back on the street under TNR programs. 

I think that is a misleading idea about PETA. But ironically Nathan Winograd is in a running battle with PETA about saving cats and killing cats. Nathan Winograd hates PETA as he thinks that this very high-profile animal charity kills too many cats. Either they promote the idea of killing feral cats or they kill themselves and he consistently says this. It's a shame because both of great animal advocates. We don't want people on the same side fighting each other over policy decisions.

I'm told that in 2017 a milestone was reached when for the first time the total number of dogs and cats euthanised in US shelters fell below 1 million. The actual number is estimated at 800,000. I'm also told that it is difficult to obtain accurate data on the number of cats killed 10 years ago compared to the number of cats killed today at shelters. There's been a reduction though so no-kill has worked to a good extent but more work needs to be done.

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Saturday 24 February 2024

Marlin's police chief, city manager and animal control officer accused of animal cruelty

NEWS AND COMMENT/OPINION: In Marlin, Texas, USA, the police chief, city manager and animal control oversee a dog shelter (dog pound). And within that dog pound there were dogs that were starving and living in filth and on the verge of death. Many had died. It was a vision of Armageddon in the dog shelter world.

Marlin's police chief, city manager and animal control officer accused of animal cruelty
Starving dog at Marlin's dog pound. Image: KWTX.

This appears to have been a complete failure by the city officials in caring for shelter dogs. It's the kind of failure which would normally result in arrests and prosecutions of the administrators of the shelter. 

But, as we know, when the authorities are the alleged perpetrators of animal abuse they are protected because they close ranks and the law is not applied equally. The old adage that everyone is equal under the law is simply a false concept.

In this instance, Marlin's mayor promised accountability but has so far failed to deliver according to Nathan Winograd in his email to me.

There's been a promised investigation by the Falls County Sheriff's Office which has not materialised. Sheriff Joe Lopez of that office said that dogs were not his priority! Yes, we understand that anywhere on the planet, for the police, dogs are not a priority and neither are cats.

The police are invariably engaged in speciesism by which I mean they prioritize humans over companion animals.

As a consequence of this failure of the authorities to act, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has become involved and he is reviewing the case. He told local news reporters that "the Marlin Animal Shelter investigation is now one of his top priorities."

The residents in the area are becoming restless and irritated by the lack of action. They are protesting according to local news reports (which is why the Governor is involved 🙄). They want accountability. A local news station reports that multiple dogs were found dead. They must've starved to death.

Around 40 peaceful protesters are demanding change. They've been protesting in Moody, Temple and Thornton to demand that Marlin's city manager, animal control officer and the police chief be arrested for animal cruelty under the law. They want prosecutions and they want accountability.

The mayor, Susan Byrd, said, "As a proponent of dog rescues we are all working to cooperate with the investigation by the Falls County Sheriff's Office. Upon completion of the investigation, the City of Marlin will do our best to ensure the responsible parties are all held accountable."

It would seem to me that she is in charge and therefore she should also be accountable 🤢. The local newsgathering station that I referred to here, KWTX, said that they tried calling the Marlin Police Chief multiple times for his comment but nothing was forthcoming.

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Monday 12 February 2024

Impending roof collapse forces animal shelter to clear the building

NEWS AND VIEWS: Cape Breton Shelter was forced to clear the building of dogs, cats and one rabbit over fears that the roof might collapse under the weight of heavy snow that fell during a snowstorm that lasted four days.

The Cape Breton SPCA in Sydney, N.S., as it appeared on Tuesday. The organization says there are concerns the roof could collapse under the weight of snow.
The Cape Breton SPCA in Sydney, N.S., as it appeared on Tuesday. The organization says there are concerns the roof could collapse under the weight of snow. (Sarah Lyon - image credit)

When Sarah Lyon was interviewed by CBC's Main Street Cape Breton in an interview on Wednesday, she said that staff were "prepping the animals and getting them ready for evacuation."

At the time the shelter had 45 animals including 19 dogs, both adults and puppies, and 25 cats and one rabbit.

The snow storm lasted four days as mentioned and staff stayed with the animals as they heard creaking sounds coming from the roof while it bowed under the weight of the snow.

Sarah Lyon said that the ceiling was starting to look structurally unreliable.

The shelter animals will be placed in other shelters until it safe to return. In the meantime a contractor went to the shelter to remove snow and ice from the roof. The building is 47 years old. Comment: that isn't very old but I guess they had to evacuate the building out of an abundance of caution. Questions should be asked about the original construction.

The report by CBC implies that the building will need work in order to test the structural integrity and potential repair. Comment: repairs might be expensive which is the kind of expense that an animal shelter does not want.

Further comment: is the first time that I have encountered a news story about an animal shelter where the roof might collapse under the weight of snow. I've been reading stories about shelters for the last 15 years so this is a novel situation which is why I am reporting it.

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Saturday 13 January 2024

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania has passed a law banning the retail sale of commercially bred cats

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA, has passed a law (ordinance) which bans the retail sale of commercially bred dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores. People should understand that pet stores generally acquire animals from Commercial Reading Enterprises (CBEs). A more common term for these businesses is "puppy mills" or "kitten mills". A description which signifies that the animals are churned out with little regard for their health and for ethical breeding standards.

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania has passed a law banning the retail sale of commercially bred cats
Image courtesy Nathan Winograd's newsletter.

Nathan Winograd writes that, "CBEs engage in systematic neglect and abuse of animals, leaving severe emotional and physical scars on the victims. One in four breeding dogs have significant health problems, are more likely to suffer from aggression, and are psychologically and emotionally shut down, compulsively staring at nothing."

He paints a horror story and thankfully under the new law pet shops can partner with rescue organisations if they want to stock animals for sale/adoption.

The law that is mentioned is one which is becoming increasingly commonplace across America in an acceptance that it is unethical to allow pet shops to purchase dogs from abusive breeders when there are many unwanted companion animals at shelters nearby.

This law will help to encourage people to adopt and rescue animals rather than purchase them, to educate the community about dog and cat puppy mills and kitten mills and thirdly to stop the abuse of these animals.

I'm told that the number of CBEs has declined by 30% across America. In Nebraska, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture's records show that 50% of the state's commercial dog and cat breeders have left the business.

Bethlehem City Council unanimously passed the new ordinance last Tuesday. News media reports that there are no current pet sellers affected by the law but it will stop future businesses doing deals with puppy mills and kitten mills. And of course it sends a very strong message to the community.

The ordinance states: "A significant number of dogs and cats sold at pet stores come from large-scale, commercial breeding facilities where the health and welfare of the animals are not adequately provided for.”

A council member, Grace Smith, said: "I know our furry friends in Bethlehem and throughout the communities, as well as their families, are very grateful."

The penalty for a pet store from selling or offering to sell a cat, dog or rabbit will be a $500 dollar fine for every animal offered in violation of the new ordinance.

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Thursday 11 January 2024

Heart disease (HCM) affects 1 in 7 shelter cats as per a study

The title may seem concerning to readers. It certainly concerned me which is why I am writing about it. The information comes from a scientific study so it is pretty sound. The researchers tested 1007 cats over the age of 6 months in shelters. They were all healthy on the face of it.

Tabby shelter cat keen to be adopted. Image in the public domain.

Of the 1007 they obtained 'complete data' for 780. 40.8% had a heart murmur. Although I understand that this condition does not automatically mean that the cat has heart disease. That said the percentage is high.

"The prevalence of HCM was 14.7% ". Yes, 15% of the cats or around 1 in 7 cats had HCM which is a common type of feline heart disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The left ventricle enlarges and the heart malfunctions.

The scientists concluded with the following words:

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is common in apparently healthy cats, in contrast with other cardiomyopathies. Heart murmurs are also common, and are often functional.

I am unsure what the phrase 'often functional' means in this context. Taking a common sense interpretation it means that the heart although diseased functioned.

Comment: 15% is a high percentage. It encourages me to believe that tests for HCM should be conducted on all shelter cats as a default procedure. The study might not represent the general shelter cat population.

If I was adopting a shelter cat I think I'd ask about HCM and whether they did tests.

Study details:  Cardiomyopathy prevalence in 780 apparently healthy cats in rehoming centres (the CatScan study). Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvc.2015.03.008

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Sunday 7 January 2024

Adoption rates have declined from US animal shelters due to increased living costs

I've been doing some research on animal shelters and adoption rates in the United States. Euthanasia rates are linked to adoption rates. The picture is a little confusing but overall it would appear that fewer people are adopting animals from shelters than they were before the pandemic. There are added complications. Some shelters have not opened as they usually would have, which was the norm before the pandemic, which puts a barrier between the adopter and the shelter. This slows adoption rates.

Adoption rates have declined from animal shelters due to increased living costs in the US
Adoption rates have declined from animal shelters due to increased living costs in the US. Image: MikeB

Also, because there was a surge in adoptions during the pandemic, the marketplace encouraged people to go into dog and cat breeding. Now that purchases of dogs and cats has decreased, it's left breeders with a surplus of animals. My guess is that some of these animals are finding their way to animal shelters.

Some animal shelters are overcrowded with some overcrowded quite dramatically. One website says that animal shelters in America are 'broken'. Some are under extreme pressure being oversubscribed at about double their normal capacity. There aren't enough adopters because, as mentioned, people are more cautious in America and elsewhere about the cost of cat and dog caregiving which has climbed with inflation to a point where it becomes untenable for many people in the lower echelons of earning capacity.

Nathan Winograd, in his newsletter to me, says that 753,022 animals were adopted in America during the 2023 Home for the Holidays campaign. That's good news he says but it's almost "half a million below prior year totals because fewer shelters are participating and others are refusing to fully open post-pandemic, offering fewer adoption hours and increasing bureaucratic obstacles, such as requiring an appointment before visiting. As a result, they are killing more animals, despite fewer intakes."

The problem is not the number of intakes to shelters. These have remained fairly stable on my understanding of the situation. It is a reduction in people prepared to adopt shelter animals which is the cause of what might be described as a growing crisis at some shelters.

The Colleton County Animal Shelter in Walterboro, South Carolina would seem to be a typical example.  Laura Clark works there and she says that they have 65 permanent dog kennels. Sixty are available because they like to keep five open at all times for new dogs. At the moment they have 195 dogs in their care. Of those, 141, are at the shelter full-time. They are at more than double their capacity.

Clark says that when she first started working at the shelter they took in over 3,000 pets per year which is come down to around 2,000. But the problem as mentioned is adoptions for the reasons stated. 

Also, there might have been a backlash to unethical breeding. During Covid-19 there was a lot of unethical breeding; breeders producing unhealthy dogs which has been discussed a lot on the Internet. This educated people about the problem. They are now more cautious. This has possibly resulted in less purchases of dogs and therefore reduced the intake as mentioned at shelters.

But post-pandemic attitudes have changed about dog adoption. I presume by the way that the same applies to cats. Most of the discussion on this topic is about dogs which is why I have referred to them in this article.

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Wednesday 27 December 2023

American families dump pets as costs surge

NEWS AND COMMENT: Although some shelters have quite definitely gone against the grain in terms of having too many cats and dogs to rehome [check out the empty shelter], in general, The Times reports that US families are dumping pets as the cost to keep them has become untenable. This is mainly due to inflation and lack of proper long-term budgeting, I believe.


The Times reports that American animal shelters are at their most overcrowded in years. The reason? Fears over the economy. And the end of boom times when many dogs and cats were adopted during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

I feel (I hope not harshly) that many people adopted dogs and cats who shouldn't have. This was impulse adoption without really doing due diligence to figure out the costs and even more importantly to check out the health of the animal that they were adopted. 

That last point particularly applies to the French Bulldog which is one breed which is being dumped on shelters faster than many other breeds. Clearly the owners have found out how expensive they can be to take care of.


However, many adoptions were carried out responsibly. Many people relinquishing their companion animals have lived with them for a long time. It's be tough for some to consider relinquishing their pets.

However, according to the Shelter Animals Count, there are an estimated 250,000 more companion animals in shelters this Christmas then there were over the same period last year.

And it appears that many if not most kennel operators say that they are in crisis. Their facilities were already overcrowded before the Christmas festivities.

As mentioned there was a sharp rise in pet ownership during the pandemic. One in five households in America had a companion animal according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

There are fears over the economy in America and the rising cost of living. The cost of owning a pet is out of reach for many. They decided to abandon their animals.

Kim Alboum, of the Bissell Pet Foundation, an animal welfare organisation, said that "The economy right now is really challenging for a lot of families. And with the housing crisis, people are losing their homes and our having to downsize or move in with others. And this is a recipe for disaster for people that have larger dogs."

The Times reports that shelters are experiencing a big influx of puppies in particular including those of the French Bulldog breed as mentioned. There's been a period of inflation recently in America resulting in vets and pet product businesses raising their prices making it even more expensive to be a pet owner.

I'm told that veterinary prices jumped by 9% from November 2022-November 2023 according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics. Pet food costs rose by 5.6% over the same period.

Sarah Barnett runs an animal shelter in Philadelphia. She says that she has seen hard economic times which has challenged pet owners financially.

She said that people are losing their jobs have to decide between putting food on their table or feeding their companion animal. They've been left with few options.

Obviously, many people giving up their companion animals have had a very long term and good relationships with them. And I agree with Sarah Barnett in that not all people self-indulgently adopted cats and dogs during the pandemic. 

Lesson?


The story really highlights a very valuable point namely that looking after a companion animal properly is expensive. You can't do it properly on a shoestring. Perhaps the first stage in the adoption process is to check your budget, work out the maths, and make sure you maximise the chances that you can and will be able to afford to look after your new friend to a good standard for the remainder of their lives.

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Monday 25 December 2023

Animal shelter has a true miracle at Christmas: empty cages

Brilliant empty shelter at Christmas at the Adams County SPCA in Gettysburg
Brilliant empty shelter at Christmas at the Adams County SPCA in Gettysburg. Image: Facebook

What better Christmas gift for shelter staff than achieving the Holy Grail of sheltering: all cats and dogs adopted for Christmas? None left at the shelter. It is empty except for the staff twiddling their thumbs! Well not quite because there was one tabby kitten (believed) remaining for adoption probably because he came in quite recently.

The shelter I am writing about is the Adams County SPCA in Gettysburg and they announced their miracle moment on their Facebook page.

The post says it all. It is the first time in 47 years that they have been empty (bar one kitten who I hope has been adopted by now).


"It's a true miracle. To say that we are beyond excited is an understatement."
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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Monday 27 November 2023

Experiences before and during stay at animal shelter leaves dog terrified (video)

This is not news. It is pretty obvious if you know anything about animal shelters and the kind of life dogs and cats can have before they are rescued. The combined experiences can leave the cat or dog terrified. It may be be that the shelter alone scares the dog because they can be scary places.


Perhaps they can sense that death is around the corner. If they've been placed on a list of dogs to be euthanised, perhaps some of them sense this and understand that their death is impending. We don't know. But dogs are very sensitive and intelligent. It's certainly plausible to suggest that they might understand that their lives are in danger.

Combine that with the small space they are living in. The sterility of the place. The noises. The unnaturalness of the environment and you might have a scared dog.

A dog might have come from a good home and then suddenly thrust into sheltered life which would be a great shock to them. Either way, the video we see on this page is not, in my experience of researching these matters, unusual. This dog looks terrified. She won't even turn her head towards the person petting her. You can see that they have covered her up perhaps to make you feel more secure.

One great problem with a dog becoming scared like this is that it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. Dogs that are scared and timid and hiding or trying to hide become unadoptable. This means that that they are earmarked for euthanasia.

Or perhaps their reaction will be aggression in defence of what they consider to be a hostile environment. This also can make them unadoptable.

It just looks to me as if like this video indicates a failure in dog domestication. This is what it has come down to in this instance. It shouldn't be like this.

Fortunately, I can report that this dog has been fostered and once they live in a foster home they often flower and their personality comes out. They behave more normally and become unadoptable. 

That simple step of going into foster care can save their lives. Perhaps you know all about this because it's quite common knowledge but if not this little video which I find very difficult to watch might be instructional.

Experiences before and during stay at animal shelter leaves dog terrified (video)
Terrified dog at animal shelter. Screenshot.
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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Sunday 5 November 2023

America's animal shelters don't care enough about saving lives (according to a celebrated animal shelter advocate)

The voice of America's displaced pets and the conscience of the animal sheltering industry, Nathan Winograd, claims that "uncaring and corruption are endemic to the [animal shelter] industry [in the US]"
A New York animal control officer was arrested for stealing Hope, a family’s 9-year-old dog. After Hope was found by a neighbor and taken to the local shelter, the officer sold her to people in Ohio. When Hope’s real family came forward, the officer told them that she had died. Hope is now back with her family. While animal control insiders want to pretend that the officer is a rare bad apple, the tragic fact is that uncaring and corruption are endemic to the industry. And though the facts of this case may be somewhat unique, uncaring and corruption aren’t. - Nathan Winograd

Nathan Winograd was motivated to claim that America's animal shelters don't care enough about saving lives and that there is corruption at an unacceptable level within the animal shelter industry, by a story currently on news media which reports that an animal control officer, Casterline, 51, stole a Yorkshire terrier whose name is Hope and then sold the dog to an unsuspecting purchaser.

Hope had been lost in Corning, California, and then found and taken to a local SPCA (Chemung County) from where Casterline picked up the dog and took her home and then eventually sold her to a family in Ohio.

I believe that this is little Hope. So pleased that she/he is back with their true owner. Image: Nathan Winograd's email.

The original owners of the dog became suspicious and telephoned the local police who investigated. Through a telephone number they discovered the family in Ohio who had bought Hope. This family released the dog which must have been difficult to the police.

The true owner of Hope had become very distressed because Casterline had told them that their dog had died.

Hope was then reunited with the original owner while Casterline was arrested for various misdemeanours including theft and he will be tried in the criminal courts. He has resigned his job.


The big issue here is perhaps not the story of Hope which ended well, but the statement by Nathan Winograd. He clearly has a very negative viewpoint of America's animal shelters.

And I think it comes from the fact that he is a world expert in no-kill animal shelters and he insists upon high standards and the employment of various methods to ensure that the maximum number of shelter animals are rehomed and their lives saved.

He criticises many animal shelters for failing to use efficient and widespread methods to save lives. He accuses them of being lazy and hiding behind rather feeble excuses such as there are too many dogs and cats coming into the shelter and not enough adopters to take them off their hands. Often this isn't the case. It's just an excuse. An excuse to wriggle out of responsibilities. That would be the argument of Mr Winograd.

Another excuse is that the animal is unadoptable because of their behaviour. But shelters create bad behaviour in animals because they are relatively inhospitable places with strange noises and lots of commotion. A shy animal will become reclusive and difficult. They will be deemed unadoptable. Or the animal might become aggressive when approached because they become defensive thanks to the environment in which they are temporarily incarcerated.

This, too, will allow the shelters to kill the animal being deemed unadoptable. This applies to both dogs and cats. For example, in New York City shelter the authorities deemed it acceptable to kill animals that were 'mentally stressed'. They decided it was better to kill them than to take them out of the shelter and place them with a foster carer where they wouldn't be mentally stressed. It is that kind of thing I'm talking about.

Nathan Winograd should know because he is an expert as stated.

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Saturday 28 October 2023

American news media inaccurately report on animal shelter intake rates

Nathan Winograd, a major animal advocate in the United States of America, tells me in his newsletter that "We are seeing something we've never seen before".

Image: Nathan Winograd's newsletter.

He has accused the online news media of America of "spreading alarm" about the very high animal intakes into rescue centres and shelters in America. He blames them for inaccurate reporting. He should know best and he says that the facts on the ground do not mirror the news media stories about high intake rates.

He claims that "while intakes are higher than at the height of the pandemic when many of these facilities were closed, they remain below pre-pandemic levels."

He claims that there has been an "epic failure of journalism to accurately report on this topic".

And this is the problem as he sees it: these stories have allowed shelters to avoid their responsibilities. It's allowed them to continue with, in his words, "shoddy practices by pointing the finger of blame outward".

In other words, the shelters can blame a mythical super-high intake of animals to cover up their inadequacies.

But the truth, he says, about shelter overcrowding and killing shelter animals unnecessarily lies in the fact that the shelters are "making pandemic-related closures permanent". And there are no "offsite adoptions [and] appointment-only adoptions."

In addition, he blames the shelters for a "lack of public access hours (evenings and weekends, and [a] failure to implement robust volunteer, foster, and rescue partnerships."

As I say, Nathan Winograd, is America's best expert on animal shelters in America and he is the number one exponent of the no-kill shelter policy.

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Saturday 9 September 2023

Animal shelter is heartbroken at the prospect of splitting up mum and daughter cats but should they be?

The news media reports that staff at an animal charity in Warrington, Warrington Animal Welfare, say that they are going to be heartbroken if a mother and daughter duo, Isobelle and Phoebewho have lived at the shelter for a considerable time, are split up. 

The pair are aged four and two respectively. They say that they are the longest staying shelter cats at their rescue and if they can't be rehomed together there may have to be split up and rehomed separately.

Animal shelter is heartbroken at the prospect of splitting up mum and daughter cats but should they be?
Isobelle and Phoebe at Warrington Animal Welfare. Photos by the rescue.

But if they are rehomed separately the staff at the shelter would be upset. But I question whether they should be upset because in the natural course of events, daughters and sons of parent cats become independent at a certain point in time. 

In the wild, they would leave the natal range and find their own home range and thereby find their own home. They would become independent at a certain age after their mother had shown them how to kill prey and bring it back to the den.

So, my argument is that splitting up mother and daughter is not such a big deal as the shelter staff think it would be. I don't think the daughter would be particularly upset and neither would the mother unless there is a particularly close bond between the two for whatever reason but that, I believe, is unlikely.

You get a similar story with siblings. Some people think that siblings should stay together at the shelter and be rehomed together. But the truth is that if they are adopted by somebody before they become fully independent, when they become independent, they might start fighting each other. You can't automatically presume that siblings will get along well. They might but they might not.

Tuesday 15 August 2023

Grand jury's scathing report of Orange County Animal Care, California rejected by BOS

A board of supervisors (BOS) is a group of elected officials responsible for overseeing county government. In Orange County a grand jury investigation of Orange County Animal Care (OCAC) in California has uncovered inhumane conditions but the BOS have rejected the findings.

They also revealed the killing of shelter animals despite there being empty cages and turning volunteers and adopters away by refusing to end pandemic-era closures. 

The OC Animal Care Shelter located in Tustin, California on June 17, 2023.
The OC Animal Care Shelter located in Tustin, California on June 17, 2023. Image: Hannah Okamoto / VOICE OF OC

That information comes from Nathan Winograd. In addition, I can report from the Voice of Orange County website which states that Orange County officials dispute the grand jury report on increased kill rate at the shelter.

The grand jury came to a majority finding that the county-run animal shelter needed to update policies such as increasing visits for residents.

And they found that the shelter has been euthanising animals at a higher rate than in previous years.

This latest report is part of an uncomfortable line of scathing reports; five over the past 24 years.

The latest report came out early on this summer and it echoes calls in the community to reopen OC Animal Care to the public, to reinstate trap neuter and release (TNR) programs and to reduce kill rates.

Nathan Winograd is critical of the BOS, whose role I mentioned in the opening sentence. I'm told by Nathan Winograd that the BOS passed a resolution disagreeing with almost all of the findings and recommendations. 

Among the many "breathtaking claims in its rebuttal, the BOS stated there is no link between refusing TNR and killing cats-even as OCAC does that very thing".

At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, OC Animal Care suspended most of their walk-in services and introduced an appointment system in its place. And they also suspended the "catch-and-release" programme for community cats. I suspect that that is a reference to TNR programs for stray and feral cats in the county. Note that they suspended the program and didn't terminate or cancel it.

If it suspended then surely it can be reinstated?

I'm told that the kennel areas at the shelter are still mainly off-limits to the public except for a 2.5-hour period on Wednesdays and Saturdays when certain kennel areas are in fact open to the public.

The grand jury claimed that the adoption appointment system is restricted and it prevents potential adopters from viewing the animals easily. The county disagrees with those claims.

Animal advocate Sharon Logan commented in saying that the "themes" of the grand jury reports are always the same namely "lack of leadership and high euthanasia rates".

Logan is a local animal rescuer who, remarkably, successfully sued the county shelter over the shelter's euthanasia practices in the past.

The shelter is open to the public for five hours a week since the Covid pandemic. An Orange County resident, Margot Boyer, has started a petition to urge the shelter to entirely reopen the kennels to the public. The petition has surpassed 23,000 signatures.

She is pessimistic about the grand jury report because she believes that nothing will happen but at least the report was made which is more than what the BOS are doing.

Saturday 5 August 2023

17 cats mysteriously died on the way to a veterinarian from a San Bernardino County animal pound

17 cats mysteriously died on the way to a veterinarian from a San Bernardino County animal pound
Rescue cats. Image supplied.

NEWS AND VIEWS: This is a report from Nathan Winograd to me in an email. It is very disturbing. Nathan Winograd is America's greatest advocate for the No-Kill movement in animal shelters. He tells me that staff at the Devore pound (animal 'shelter') in San Bernardino County, California, USA, say that 17 cats on the way to a veterinary clinic mysteriously died. But there has been no explanation. 

No one believes the claim. Nathan Winograd hints in his email that the cats were killed deliberately because this particular pound has a record of killing animals unnecessarily.

He says that Devore staff routinely and systematically kill animals. And according to rescuers Devore killed 35 cats including young kittens in three days.

RELATED: Nathan Winograd’s No Kill Advocacy Center Reviews US Statistics on American Shelters.

Rescuers have accused the pound of the following:

  • Routinely mislabeling friendly cats as “feral” to kill them because it does not have a community cat program;
  • Allowing healthy cats to get sick because of poor protocols and filth and then killing them, even if the condition is treatable;
  • Killing pregnant cats so as not to foster or provide veterinary care;
  • Killing entire families of cats — mothers and young kittens together; and,
  • Not providing prompt and necessary medical care “leading to suffering and even death.

And when rescuers complain about these unnecessary killings, the administrators of the pound retaliate by killing animals that the rescuers have offered to save. It seems extraordinary. This report indicates that there is a complete breakdown in the way this pound is managed.

And the pound is managed by Brian Cronin. And Winograd also reports that Cronin has been the subject of complaints dating back decades. For example, in 2006, it is said that he returned an abuse dog doused in gasoline and set on fire to the abuser who was awaiting trial at the time. This caused worldwide condemnation.

Winograd also accuses the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, who oversee the pound, of allowing the long-term neglect, abuse and killing of animals and the pound.

Tuesday 16 May 2023

Whimpering dog dragged to euthanasia room at city pound in heartbreaking viral video

This is a classic story of an animal pound killing a dog who did not have behavioral issues but it was claimed that he did. There is a petition on change.org which explains it all (relevant extracts below) and The New York Times covered this. 

Nathan Winograd writes about these events all the time. There are still 'shelters' in the US where they have poor policies and management on dealing with dogs and which ones to save and rehome and which ones to euthanise (kill). 

The Pitbull breeds are branded bad almost automatically based on their appearance when the decent thing to do would be to assess each dog based on their behavior and even if it is not optimal whether it can be remedied by basic socialisation and training.

Screenshots from the video below plus NY Times' headline. Thanks New York Times.

This dog was Maverick. It was reported that he bit his owner but we don't the veracity of that or the backstory. We do know that police Officer Teng stated he had no trouble with MAVERICK, and seemed surprised and taken aback to hear that he had been killed by NYC ACC (New York City Animal Care Centers). Workers at the shelter said Maverick showed “serious aggression,” — leading to its decision to euthanize him.

This is taken from the Change.org website petition to:

Pass New York CAPA and Stop the Killing of Healthy and Treatable Shelter Animals!

“ACCORDING TO THE [NYPD] OFFICER WHO DEALT WITH MAVERICK…

Officer Teng stated he had no trouble with MAVERICK, and seemed surprised and taken aback to hear that he had been killed by NYC ACC. Officer Teng said the son in MAVERICK’s family brought the dog who was wagging his tail out to the police car and MAVERICK hopped right into the back, and rode calmly with Officer Teng without incident to the Precinct, where he remained calm and friendly until ACC later picked-up MAVERICK. Officer Teng stated that only the father of the family had ever had a problem with MAVERICK, who had bitten the father once before. Officer Teng clearly described a dog who was not unmanageable or vicious in any way, and was not, and did not need to be restrained at any time the Officer was with what he also described as a friendly and calm dog.”

WARNING - SOME MIGHT FIND THE VIDEO DISTRESSING.


The video is not great quality because it was poor in the first place and I videoed it from my computer screen. Sorry if that has infringed someone's copyright but needs must in the interests of justice and decency. It is good enough to get the message. It is distressing.

Cindi Lyn who started the petition writes on Change.org:

A horrifying video was recorded on Thursday, May 9th, 2019, at the New York City pound in Manhattan. The video shows a 'euth tech' attempting to block the view of a rescue volunteer who bravely kept recording as uncaring ACC employees dragged a frightened dog named Maverick to the kill room. Maverick seemed to sense his fate and resisted his killers by lying down, showing no sign of aggression.

Saturday 15 April 2023

Dog fan falls for a tiny rescue cat 'down a leg, two ears and a tail' but full of love and personality

This interesting looking small cat was bred in China and adopted by a couple in America which is very unusual in itself. It looks like the Chinese breeder is creating Chinchilla Persian-like dwarf cats. She is called Mochi. It is the first time I have heard of a Chinese cat breeder exporting internationally from the country where they eat domestic cats in the south.

Mochi
Mochi. Image: Instagram (Greg McDouglas).

Mochi has become bit of a star because of her unusual appearance. And that has come about because of a very severe illness she suffered after she arrived in America. She developed ischemic dermatopathy. 

My understanding is that this was an autoimmune response which attacked her body leading to widespread inflammation which further led to necrosis in parts of her body. That's why her ear flaps were amputated and her tail. She also lost the paw of one leg

But, of course, it hasn't slowed her down one bit. She's made a full recovery and is flourishing in a home where she is deeply loved. The power of love is immense.

Mochi ended up in a shelter where she spent two months recovering.

A Boston couple, Greg and Natalia, were thinking about adopting a rescue cat and they hit the jackpot in adopting Mochi. That "jackpot" description refers to the possibility of them becoming celebrities vicariously on social media because sometimes interesting looking cats can become quite famous on social media.

Mochi in her nice home
Mochi in her nice home. Image: Instagram.

Greg McDouglas and Natalia have taken super care of her. When she arrived, she weighed 2.5 pounds as a tiny kitten but has grown to a healthy 4 pounds in weight. It is a very nice home. You can feel the love.

She is infectiously cute and people love cuteness. Greg is appreciative of the luck he had in being able to adopt Mochi. And Mochi is appreciative of the luck she had in being adopted by him and his partner.

Apparently, they were selected by the shelter because they had no kids or pets and they were young adults. That's an indication of the kind of profile that you might have if you want to be selected by a shelter to adopt a shelter cat.

The shelter by the way is the MSPCA Angell shelter in Boston.

Tiny rescue kitten with a big personality 😺
Down a leg, two ears & a tail but full of love. Link to Instagram page.

The video doesn't work very well but you'll get the story just fine.

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