Dog #251018 was found as a stray and held by a Good Samaritan for three days, then after getting into a fight with another dog in the home, was turned into the local animal control facility. A plea quickly went out to local rescue groups to find someone to pull her. Various people offered to donate to any rescue that pulled her to help with her vet fees, and she ended up with over $100 in sponsorship money. Her picture was shared over 220 times and more and more people begged someone to please save this dog.
Today there was even someone who offered to keep the dog until the end of June when she moves out of state, and someone else offered to board the dog if a foster home had not been found by then. However the dog could only be released from the shelter if a certified rescue took her. And in spite of everyone's best efforts and good intentions, still no rescue had stepped up for this dog by the deadline, and she will now be euthanized.
At this point, many people begin looking for someone to blame. Why won't the shelter keep this dog longer? Why won't any rescues step up? The vetting cost is covered and there is a temporary foster home, so why will no rescue put their name on this dog and take responsibility for it? Whose fault is it??
Do we blame the shelter - an animal control facility who is not known for giving dogs any more time than required by law to find a home? If the shelter gave her until Saturday could a rescue be found by then? It's possible. But if they waited until Saturday and still no rescue stepped up, should they give her another week? And what should they do with the dogs who come in between now and Saturday? If all the cages are full, where do they go with the new dogs?
What about the dozens of rescues who routinely pull from this shelter? Why did none of them step up? There were so many people willing to help this dog, so the rescues didn't have to find funds for vetting or a foster home or anything - they just had to be willing to put their name on the dog to have her pulled and save her life!
As one of those rescuers who saw the pleas and still said no, I'd like to tell you why. When the dog is only days or hours from being euthanized, everyone wants to save her life. But then the excitement dies down, another dog comes along, and all of a sudden everyone is clamoring for someone to save that dog. In the meantime, the first dog is sitting in a shelter or a foster home, waiting patiently to be adopted. And waiting, and waiting, and waiting. Several of my foster dogs, such as Juno and Annie B, were pulled from this same animal control facility (I don't always say no!) They also had sponsorship money and people begging a rescue to save them. So now they're saved, but because of their issues, they haven't been adopted. They take months or years to find permanent homes, and in the meantime that takes away foster home space from more adoptable dogs that could be saved.
Dog #251018 was a dog-aggressive pit bull mix. She was not going to be easy to adopt out. In fact, I have been fostering a dog similar to this one for over three years and still haven't been able to find him a home. Ziggy now lives in my basement, with minimal human interaction, because I can't trust him around the other foster dogs I have upstairs. In spite of years of training, earning his Canine Good Citizen certification, attending adoption events, being featured in magazines and new shows, and being shared all over the Internet, he still does not have a home. I am not being picky with who adopts him (far from it), but very few people are willing and able to adopt a dog-aggressive pit bull, and there are so many of them out there already that finding a home for one - especially one that is already "in a foster home" - is very difficult.
|Ziggy the Adoptable Dog|
Do you wonder why the animal control facility would only release dog #251018 to a rescue group instead of an adopter? Two weeks ago we were at an adoption event and a young girl showed up. She had a cute black Husky mix with her that had been about to be put down at another animal control facility near the one where dog #251018 came from. She saved the dog's life, but when she got the dog home, her parents said she couldn't keep him. The animal control facility had not had the dog spayed or neutered, so we took in the dog, got him neutered, heartworm tested, microchipped, and all those other things responsible rescue groups do before adopting out dogs. Then we found him a home with a wonderful family who was prepared to add a dog to their life. He was one of the lucky ones, but so many others don't have that luck. They either end up at another animal control facility (or back where they started) and end up being euthanized, or they are given away and never get any medical care or a home where they are properly cared for. They may end up with owners who aren't responsible and the dog may injure another animal or a human, or the dog may be sold to research or used as a bait dog in a dog-fighting ring. There are a lot of bad things that can happen to dogs, and if a shelter takes a high-risk dog like dog #251018 and gives her away to anyone who wants to save her, she'll more likely end up suffering more before being killed.
So if it's not the rescue group's fault for not saving her and it's not the shelter's fault, who do we blame? Sometimes I'm tempted to blame all the people who say "someone should do something!" but don't do anything themselves, but truthfully it isn't their fault either. And in fact most people DO do something, whether it is fostering, volunteering at a shelter or rescue group, or donating. They are the solution to the problem. So who does that leave?
Do we blame the owner because they didn't care enough about this girl to go looking for her when she got lost? Or maybe they dumped her, figuring someone would find her and give her a good home. Did they know she'd end up sitting scared and alone in a shelter and then be killed? Did they care?
I don't like to blame anyone without knowing the full story - and in almost every case, we don't know the full story - so I'm going to choose not to blame anyone, and instead to focus on finding a home for Ziggy, and all the other dogs that also need homes. I hope you will join me in saving dogs whatever way you can.