Blog: Finding My Voice

A Failure to Communicate

Posted on October 26, 2011 at 11:55 PM


Unseen they Suffer, Unheard they Cry, in Agony they Linger, in Loneliness they Die! ~Author Unknown

Dogs and cats died in shelters yesterday. Pleas were sent out asking people to help, to share, to cross-post, but the messages weren’t sent far enough, fast enough, or wide enough to reach the people who might have been able to help. At the moment I can’t bear to think of how many poor creatures were killed. I failed them; you failed them; we failed them. They were at shelters that don’t adopt out to the public, at shelters that are constantly overcrowded due to high intake, and at shelters that kill just because that is what they do every day or every week.

     At the moment I feel only sadness, but soon that will turn to anger. Why were these animals in shelters? Some were turned-in by their “owners” who knew or should have known that surrendering their dog or cat would probably result in a death sentence. Some of those who died were strays. Why didn’t the humans who previously fed, sheltered, and presumably cared for them make an effort to find their lost animals and bring them home? Shame on those poor excuses for humans who left their dogs and cats to die. Their actions were irresponsible, thoughtless, and, as far as I am concerned, criminal. By leaving their dog or cat at a kill shelter, they were an accessory to murder. Their photos should be plastered on telephone poles and pinned on bulletin boards in post offices where they post the “wanted” posters. Their names should be published in newspapers and posted on the internet. They should be held accountable for their actions.

What part of “Thou Shalt Not Kill” don’t you understand? Stop abandoning your pets at kill shelters - Keep your pet for life! ~Author Unknown

Innocent lives were lost yesterday and more will be lost today. These dogs, cats, kittens, and puppies are in unfamiliar places and suffer stress, fear, and loneliness before they are “humanely euthanized” - a nice euphemism for killed. Their “owners” are unaware of the moment when these poor helpless creatures take their last breathes...and probably they don’t care. Unfortunately, my rant will not be seen by the people who need to hear the truth. Their irresponsibility has caused misery and death...and they will feel no remorse while you and I lose sleep over those we couldn't help.

     Animal shelters are enablers. They allow the irresponsible people in our society to dispose of animals without having to get their hands dirty. Some shelters make it convenient for irresponsible people to dispose of their unwanted dogs and cats by providing night “drop off” boxes. Those who are too lazy to drive to the shelter can allow their dog or cat to run loose or wander off. Someone will eventually call animal control if the dog or cat isn't killed by a car, predator, or miscreant who takes pleasure in harming animals.

When I tell people that I have a website to help animals, they usually ask me questions and I am ALWAYS astounded at how naive, uninformed, or oblivious the average person is about animal overpopulation, shelter overcrowding, and euthanasia. Many people don’t know the difference between a kill shelter, no kill shelter, and low kill shelter. They are unaware of the number of animals that are killed each year in shelters or the methods used to dispose of society’s unwanted. Many people don’t realize that the majority of kill shelters have a minimum hold time for stray animals or that owner surrenders can be killed immediately.

"What we've got here is a failure to communicate." ~The Captain/prison warden and Luke (the prisoner) in the movie “Cool Hand Luke.”


     One of the reasons we are constantly and continually confronted with the problem of shelter overcrowding is our failure to communicate. First, the victims - the animals who are being abandoned and left to die - can’t speak. They must rely on humans to communicate for them. Second, even with the internet, sites like Petfinder and Death Row Dogs, and 1000’s of people posting, cross-posting, sharing, and emailing, we are often unable to communicate the message to the people who are able to help - rescuers, adopters, and sponsors - within the small window of time often alloted to death row animals. Third, we aren’t reaching the people who need to hear the real message. If you are reading this, I am preaching to the choir. You are probably already aware of the problem and are doing something about it.  The people who fail or refuse to spay/neuter, who cannot or will not make a lifelong commitment, and who view animals as commodities to be sold, given away, or disposed of like inanimate objects are the ones who need to be educated and “converted.”  

     If more people were made aware of the facts, maybe more lives could be saved.  We need to speak for those who can’t speak, advocate for them, and educate others about their plight.  So, before you go to bed tonight, do something to help an unwanted animal: send an email, cross-post, share on Facebook, sponsor a shelter animal, volunteer to drive a leg of a transport, make a donation to a rescue, offer to foster, convince a friend, neighbor or family member to spay/neuter their dog or cat or to rehome an unwanted animal instead of dumping them at a shelter or on the one small thing that will make tomorrow a better day.

Now take my hand and hold it tight.

I will not fail you here tonight,

For failing you, I fail myself

And place my soul upon a shelf

In Hell's library without light.

I will not fail you here tonight.

~ Dean Koontz




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