Most likely one of the saddest days for any pet is losing his home and the familu he has loved from the moment that special bond was formed. Wednesday was no different at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Animal Care & Control near Monroe, North Carolina as animal advocate and shelter volunteer Teresa Tucker shares the heartbreaking influx of owner surrenders just days before one of the most celebrated summer holidays. As told to Teresa by a fellow rescuer, their story begins as shared on social media:
“THIS IS WHY ANIMAL RESCUERS HATE HOLIDAYS! Today is a surrender day before a holiday. The line at the shelter has been steady all morning. The giant schnauzer you see (pictured) is being surrendered for anal sac issues. I started talking to the lady after introducing myself and after the front desk explained how full they are:
Me: What’s going on, why are you surrendering?
Her: He has an anal sac issue
Me: Have you seen a vet?
Me: Have you tried putting him on an appropriate diet? High fiber?
Her: I tried switching him to Rachel Ray.
Me: That’s not going to fix it. Would you consider trying another diet?
Her: No. I had to buy a new couch when he shot out the nastiness during a seizure.
Me: Oh, he has seizures. How often?
Her: I don’t know because I’m not always home.
Me: Weekly? Monthly? Quarterly?
Her: Quarterly. Are you going to take him or not?
Me: I don’t think I can find a foster very quickly with it being a holiday weekend.
Her: Well how much just to put him to sleep?
Me: Ma’am, that’s not necessary. These are fixable issues. Has he seen a vet?
Her: My sister works for the American Cancer Society
Me: I’m sure he’ll be okay here at the shelter
Her: Why? Can’t they just put him to sleep?
Me: Ma’am, I’m done here. ”
And the stories continued. Next came a woman who brought in two cats she told the shelter staff she “found” at the gym. Reluctant to show any identification and acting as if she had an important appointment she was missing, it only took a moment to spot both “stray” cats wore collars, and the woman happened to have a carrying crate at the gym. After doing some social media digging, a volunteer knew the cats were not strays.
Yet the morning continued with little compassion from other heartless owners. An owner surrendered his senior dog because his pet was “old and ill.” Although the shelter told the owner, the dog would most likely be euthanized, the man showed not a drop of emotion. And as the rescuer was preparing to leave after only an hour (two more hours left to surrender pets), a man holding a pit bull had grown tired of waiting in line, and as he walked out of the door of the shelter, he stated he was just going to “let the dog go.” It was suggested the man return to the information desk and tell the staff what he planned to do, and maybe they would be able to assist him quicker.
Tragically, the majority of the pets surrendered were pit bull types, cats and senior dogs. Pet owners are urged to be responsible; spay and neuter. Commit to a life long relationship with your canine or feline friend, and don’t desert them in their most vulnerable time of their lives. Perhaps skip the lattes, skip a restaurant dinner or even one pair of shoes or a designer purse, and when it’s time to say goodbye, be there with your companion and reassure him that he is loved.
Finally, a personal message from this rescuer to all of the pet owners who treat their loyal four-legged companions as an inconvenience during the summer holidays. If not for the selfless volunteers who visit the shelters whenever they are able, the statistics of the Humane Society of the United States citing about 2.4 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs—about one every 13 seconds—are put down in U.S. shelters each year would likely be much higher.
“I was only there for an hour today and there are still 2 more surrender hours to go,” the rescuer lamented. “Knowing we can’t help because we are also inundated with returns (aka surrenders) and those dogs are taking spots that could have allowed us to pull more, just plain sucks. Next time you pick up a foster or need to utilize animal control, please go out of your way to thank these folks, bring them cookies or snacks, etc. Most importantly, continue to educate your friends and family that animal control is not the enemy. They only exist because these people do, and we live in a disposable society where people get rid of pets because they have vacations coming up.”
Don’t shop for your next best friend, adopt from a shelter. Spay and neuter. Report suspicions of animal cruelty, and be kind; be the gentle hand that tells a frightened shelter dog it will be alright as they go gently into the night with a glimmer of hope and a wagging tail. The rescue person at the shelter was there to try and save dogs and to offer possible solutions and alternatives.
The schnauzer has since been rescued and will be receiving appropriate medical help.
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(Photo via Teresa Tucker on Facebook)
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