Scathing editorial

Rescue director submits scathing editorial about ‘Clear the Shelter’ events

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The director of a German Shepherd Rescue in Orange County has submitted a scathing editorial about the “Clear the Shelter” events which happen locally and nationwide. While some animals do find quality forever homes, there are many dogs like “Myah,” who was adopted during a “clearance” event, only to be returned to the shelter when the resident family dog turned on her.

The following commentary was submitted by Maria Dales:

It saddens me to see OC Animal Care Center participating in the disturbing “Clear The Shelters” trend
that promotes free or nearly free animal adoptions akin to a “Clearance Sale.”
As someone who has worked in the humane arena for three decades, I don’t support the widescale
slinging of animals into unscreened and unqualified homes simply to meet a promotional goal of
“clearing” the facility.

Animal advocates work tirelessly to educate the public about the value of animal lives, and to obliterate the belief that animals are commodities. The “Clear The Shelters campaigns are short-sighted, at best, focusing on reducing the number of animals in the shelter by encouraging impulse adoptions at the low, low cost of $20. Such programs do not screen prospective adopters, and virtually anyone 18 or older who can fog a mirror is incentivized to adopt an animal on the spot in the pursuit of the program goal. A false send of urgency promotes sloppy adoptions simply so that the shelter can applaud itself for the “success” of emptying the facility.

Logic defies the administration’s claims that these programs work. While undoubtedly well-intentioned,
adopters who lack the means to pay minimal adoption fees to add a living, breathing family member are
unlikely to have the financial means to provide proper vet care or training, two critical components of
responsible animal stewardship.

By advocating hasty decisions over thoughtful consideration, the shelter further undermines the efforts of animal advocates (who are, ironically, their very own rescue partners) who strive to match animals to the lifestyles of the adopting families. Surely, here in OC, we can do better than this. While I’m not naïve enough to think that the CTS practice will end anytime soon, let’s at least call these programs what they really are– “Toss-Animals-Out-theDoor-And-See-What-Sticks” programs.

Not a catchy title, but certainly more forthright. By endorsing Volume over Quality marketing campaigns such as this one, our local shelter has reduced itself to becoming the OC Animal Don’t Care Center and it’s truly disappointing.

66 replies
  1. Deborah Dearmore says:

    I totally agree with your comment. If you can’t afford to pay for a baby then you don’t need one. These are living beings not property. Please stop this. That is what these serial l
    Killers are doing. Pretending to want these babies then throw them away or kill them. Stop this bull Shit.

    Reply
  2. Graham says:

    I TOTALLY AGREE that the “Clear The Shelters” is TOTALLY MISPLACED in this day and age!
    It scares the hell out me that ANYONE WITH $20.00 can ‘obtain’ an animal YET CANNOT AFFORD THE care, feeding, etc. for that animal! Many animals are committed to a life of misery, etc.
    A lot of the time, those returned to the SAME SHELTER are better off than others who will die abused, etc!
    You’ll see postings from Rescue Groups who know a “Clear the Shelter” has just happened because of ALL THE STRAYS SUDDENLY APPEARING ON THE STREETS!
    CAREGIVERS can stop this by SPAYING &/OR NEUTERING THEIR PETS!
    Please SPAY/NEUTER NOW – IT IS THE CORRECT ACTION TO TAKE!

    Reply
    • Cynthia Como says:

      Unfortunately we have demented animal abusers out there that stalk Craig’s List and shelters to take dogs and cats that are free and bring home for the soul purpose of abusing them. There was a case where a man in his early 20’s that took a total of (that they were able to prove) 23 dogs and systematically tortured and killed them. He did do in the most gruesome ways! Thats when the uproar started over Craig’s List allowing animals to be sold or given for free on their site. The evil monster was sentenced to a fairly long prison term but that can’t reverse the horrific torture and killing this man inflicted on these poor dogs!

      Reply
      • Cynthia Como says:

        Al Smith,I respectfully disagree! The incident I posted is just one of hundreds,u are misinformed about the many,many cases animals who are offered for free on Craig’s List and end up tortured and killed or used as bait dogs in the dog fighting world! Maybe do a little research. After reading ur many comments it’s appears u care one iota about the safety and well being of dogs. Guess u are one of those individuals that view the life of a dog as disposable and if one perishes there is always another to take its place. U come across as someone who has no concern for the life of a dog so I’m wondering just why u are on this site. SMH

      • Kelley says:

        Cynthia, people on Craigslist are not for the most part screening, getting an app filled out, checking a vet reference and getting a copy of a drivers license. Big difference.

  3. Barkley's Mom says:

    I have to agree with Maria Dales, Myah was lucky to be returned to the shelter while some others will be banished to the back yard chained up when they chew something, or just abandoned on the streets when no longer wanted. It’s wonderful if they can “Clear The Shelters” but “Toss-Animals-Out-theDoor-And-See-What-Sticks” is more than likely what is happening.

    Reply
  4. Trisha H. says:

    Totally agree. We have had 2 request to accept dogs that were adopted during the fee event. Both have behavior problems with the other pets in the household. Plus I witnessed a guy returning 2 he got for free. Still wearing the shelter mylars and cheap slip leads. Turn back reason, both sick. 5 days after he got them and both dogs were hanging their heads and had discharge coming from their noses. There is a reason for back ground check, home visit and meet & greets with other dogs. People who turn
    out for free are people who can’t or won’t spent the money to care for the pet.

    Reply
      • Kristie says:

        That’s true, but it doesn’t mean he should turn that back in. He should take care of them. All they need is a round of antibiotics. Not too difficult, unless you just don’t care and never intended to provide medical care. It’s a risk everyone assumes when adopting a shelter pet.

  5. Claire Vinet says:

    Shelters that hold these “clearance sales” boast of their success by citing low numbers of animals returned. This is hardly an accurate measure of successful placement. People taking advantage of these give aways may or may not be able to afford proper medical care for their “sale item” in the years to come. Some of the impulse buyers, no doubt, will have buyer’s remorse and the animal will end up living on the streets or exiled to a life of solitary confinement in the backyard. Some may end up being passed around to others when the initial buyer doesn’t want them anymore. The fates of these animals are wholly unknown to the shelters proclaiming their program’s success since they are only aware of the ones brought back. Animals are living, breathing, feeling beings. As such, they deserve better.

    Reply
    • Kelley says:

      No one has a crystal ball. A person could afford to pay $500 for a dog today and then lose their job and in 10 years the dog gets cancer and needs thousands and thousands of dollars worth of care. Isn’t it better the dog has a happy life for 10 years and then be euthanized for lack of money for treatment than to be euthanized 10 years before because someone might not be able to afford treatment at some point in the dogs life?

      Reply
  6. jeanette says:

    knowing dogs I was very careful when I got my Dobe, four and a half years ago. I wanted a bitch, But I have two spayed Papillons bitches and they are not the greatest little beasts to get along with other dogs.
    my Papillons put my Dobe in his place. also he was neutered at seven months of age, taken to obedience class and the dog park. so he is a pretty socialized boy.
    when you adopt, and you have another dog/dogs at home, you have to be Very careful.

    Reply
  7. jeanette says:

    a few years ago I got a year old Rottweiler bitch for nothing. I took care of her, she was wonderful. not everyone that gets a free animal mistreats it. but there are idiots and abusive folks out there in never-never land!

    Reply
  8. carrie ainsley says:

    I’m sorry but would it have been any better if they paid for the adoption? The same thing would have happened in the end, if the issue was the existing family dogs didn’t get along. At least they tried.

    Reply
    • Merijoe says:

      People tend to take care of what they own and not think of something as “disposable” if the price of that something dents the pocketbook.

      Reply
      • carrie ainsley says:

        With so many pure bred, high dollar dogs making it into shelters that is clearly not always the case. The local dog park regulars assumed I was a rich woman because I have Great Danes and mastiffs, but every single one was a rescue from a kill shelter.

      • Cynthia Como says:

        Carrie,how right I are! In the shelters I have volunteered in there are pure bred dogs of every breed available! I will forever be %100 in favor of adopt not shop!

      • Kelley says:

        Cynthia, please tell me which shelter you work at that has purebred Coton de Tulear and Otterhound puppies available. I’m willing to travel to get one.

      • Cynthia Como says:

        Kelly,I don’t blame u!!! I’m in Ohio and out of the three shelters I volunteer in I have never seen not one of these! The only time I’ve seen one up and personal is that a neighbor of mine has one. What a beautiful breed! Have seen plenty of Chi’s,Maltese,poodles,Yorkies,Great Danes,Irish Setters,Pugs,Bull Dogs…..I could go on and on. The point I was making is that many pure breeds come thru shelters and u can get on a wait list for a specific breed and can be contacted if the breed u desire comes into the shelter. As for the breed u are wanting I must say I’ve never yet seen one surrendered or picked up as a stray. Can’t blame u for wanting one,they are so adoreable and so beautiful!

    • Cris says:

      The issue isn’t the dogs not getting along. It’s a possibility with any adoption. The issue is that sizeable adoption fees make people think twice about getting that extra animal(or any animal at all). There is a cost associated with the decision. When there are no fees to adopt, people don’t think that decision through. The person has nothing to lose by taking an animal back or letting it loose on the street when problems occur. With sizeable adoption fees, there is the consequence of losing their money if they don’t carefully think about the decision to adopt an animal.

      Putting animals “on sale” lowers their inherent value to the person “purchasing” them. If people are going to lose money making any kind of purchase, they’re gonna think twice about what might happen after the purchase is made.

      Reply
      • carrie ainsley says:

        So if lowering or removing the fee makes them more willing to try, I am ok with that. It’s a chance for some of these dogs they wouldn’t get otherwise. It needs to be OK to try.

      • al smith says:

        you cannot have it both ways complain that people who buy at a pets store pay too much and people who buy at shelters pay too little..

  9. Linda Jacobs says:

    I for one disagree. I am retired looking for a small dog. At $350.00 I might as well go to a breeder. Don’t know where these people are located but in Illinois there are forms, questions and house checks even when its clear the Shelter. What about these shelters that rather than discount the price will kill the dog or cat. Is this suppose to be humane?? I am surprised by these people with there dissatisfaction. By the way where are you located? I would love to get a dog for $20.00 especially with no questions or forms to complete.

    Reply
    • Kathryn Smith says:

      The ‘Clear the Shelter’ events are nationwide – not always the same dates; but there is usually a fair amount of advertising.

      Reply
    • Kristie says:

      Linda, there are lots of city, county and other municipal shelters and humane societies where you can get free or cheap dogs. Part of what the $350 you are loathe to pay goes to is making sure that you have a healthy animal and providing support to care for the hundreds and often thousands of animals that pass through that organization’s doors. To see it as paying for JUST “your dog” is short-sighted. When you pay $350 to a breeder, you are putting money in their pocket for their trip to Hawaii. They are breeding their dogs as a source of income or play money.

      When you pay $350 to a GOOD rescue group, you are getting a dog that has been tested, is healthy unless otherwise disclosed, and again, your $350 goes to a CAUSE – saving other abandoned pets.

      So then let’s look at all the paperwork. When a group spends time, heartache and money caring for these animals, they want the dogs to go to a place where they will be treated with love and care. I sure as hell do not want any of our dogs being sent to a home where they are dumped in a back yard or pen for life. BUT… With our application process, it’s as much as providing service TO the adopter as it is for the dogs in our care.

      Again, I think you’re a little short-sighted on this one. When we get an application, we are looking as much to provide a service to the adopter as to the dog. Maybe the little dog you want to adopt is a terrible fit for you, but you think it’s so cute. Well, we are going to explain to you that this dog needs a level of exercise and space that you may not be willing or able to give. Maybe you put on your application that you would like a laid back lap dog that enjoys a nice stroll each day. Maybe you have grandchildren that you need to make sure this dog can be minimally social with.

      Is $350 too much to ask to make sure that your grandchildren are safe and that you have the companion you want versus the one that will be bouncing off the walls because you live in a condo with no yard space?

      Please understand that GOOD rescue groups provide service to BOTH the adopter and the dog. It’s about making sure it’s a good fit. For me, I would be disappointed if a potential adopter didn’t want to fill out paperwork to make sure this would happen. It means they are going to get a cute dog that might act a certain way in that initial meeting, but that won’t necessarily behave the way they want at home. The rescue possesses the knowledge about a dog that you need to make the right decision for both you and the dog.

      It concerns me that people don’t think that is something worth an investment of time and money, especially when it goes to a good cause and supports the homeless dogs in the care of that program.

      Reply
  10. cheryl says:

    I think it is interesting that people will literally line up to get a pet when it is free…but when discounted or even full adoption fee they do not look for an animal. While I agree there are some good, maybe even great adoptions at these types of events, but I think it is like many things that are free….people will wait in line so they can try something out….that is the concern, it’s free, so what the heck, I can try it and I haven’t lost a thing if it doesn’t work out….how is that good for a pet…Further, often there is a “mob mentality” that happens with these types of events…people just join in because it’s a happening and they have nothing to loose, but the adopted pet do. And is the welfare of the pet the entire reason shelters are in this business. If it’s all about a shelters “stats”, and becoming No Kill at any expense, especially the adopted pets expense…then I think it may be time for some changes in how those shelters think about the animals that are depending on them. I would much rather give a dog a humane way out than see that dog languish at the end of a chain, day, after day, after day, until that dogs spirit dies. Or see a cat turned out on it’s own when the newness or the adrenaline rush of the “clear the shelter event” wanes…. because we all know, “cats can fend for themselves”…NOT! I agree, I feel this is impulse “shopping” at it’s worst…..and more than impulse, mob mentality. Free or nearly free is NOT for me…..I know many believe some life is better than no life, but I do not…I have seen the result of some life…..I would imagine if the dogs/cats in some of these situations could tell us they would opt for no life if this is the life I am relegated to. I hope this is a passing trend in our shelters…while it may make those in shelters feel better….I think many animals will end up suffering for it…..and in my opinion, that is not what shelters are here for. I hope the animals best interests are put first…..even when hard decisions must be made. Thank you for speaking up Maria Dales…..I think you encourage others to do the same.

    Reply
  11. slv says:

    My thoughts exactly. I was concerned that potential adopters would not screened thoroughly. At least this family brought Myah back instead of dumping her somewhere. I think this event needs to rethought carefully. There must be a better way….

    Reply
  12. Merijoe says:

    You go Maria Dales, these precious ones are not disposable tissues, just another way for pounds to clear their inventory quickly like a used car lot.

    Reply
  13. Helen says:

    Agree totally! Dogs are not clothing, when you get tire of it, throw it away, or if it doesn’t fit return it. Shelters must do their due diligence on the potential adopter. There’s no point adopting out dogs and then have the dogs returned to the shelter.

    Reply
  14. Duree says:

    Finally! Words from a intelligent, articulate, experienced, realist. It is the real world. The rescue I work with even does a GPS check on potential adopters home addresses. There is a supervised meet and greet with the dog(s) in the current home. No guarantees. But to punt puppies/dogs to new homes is ludicrous. Final point no guarantee they don’t go to a dog fighter’s camp.

    Reply
  15. Tony Roberts says:

    Statistics show there is not much of a higher return rate than when there are normal fees. The shelters are full, the rescues are full. The only alternative for these animals is death.

    Clear the shelters is much better, isn’t it?

    Reply
    • audrey says:

      Can’t rely on statistics. Many pets are not always returned, but, left abandoned. As someone stated above. I would rather have a dog humanely PTS than being used as dog bait and/or abused.

      Reply
  16. susispot says:

    I cringe every time I hear of one of these events. I know that animals will suffer. Not all, but too many. Please promote spay and neuter programs instead. Now that is the answer.

    Reply
    • Kelley says:

      There are plenty of spay/neuter programs. In my opinion the next step needs to be charities that help with large unexpected vet bills. The number of animals who are euthanized for financial reasons is about as many as are killed in shelters each year.

      Reply
  17. Les says:

    This attitude is why you get rescues where no potential adopter is ever good enough. Perhaps the problem isn’t with low cost adoptions or the financial ability of the adopter to pay vet bills but with the screening process and policies used by shelters and rescues participating in clear the shelter events. Don’t crap on the events because the ones you participate in do a bad job placing animals with responsible adopters.

    Best Friends animal society has low cost adoptions and will adopt a dog out to “anyone over 18 who can fog a mirror” . Thats because their goal is getting animals out of shelters where they would be euthanized and into homes. They understand things dont always work out, so Best Friends also says if the dog doesnt work out for any reason bring the dog back. The manner in which low cost adoptions are done and by who is part of the equation. To label all low cost adoptions and clear the shelter events as “throwing dogs out and seeing what sticks” is insulting to groups that do great work helping save animals, and insulting to people who care greatly about animals and are trying to get them into homes.

    You know that shelter workers and volunteers hearts break when an animal they have adopted out is returned. I doubt you can find a shelter that has a clear the shelter event that wants to have any animal cone back.

    Best friends has done more to help animals get out of shelters with their policies (which dont insult potential adopters) than many other rescues ever will.

    Sorry if I don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars to some pet nazi loony who has to inspect my home in order to adopt one of “their” dogs ( which is insulting) because I might live somewhere they deem unsafe for a pet. Unsafe can mean anything from having a swimming pool to having a messy house, to god knows what, none of which may be valid reasons for denying an adoption.

    Reply
    • al smith says:

      right you are ..perfect shelter Nazis is the perfect term especially when you read the comments that say death is better than a home

      Reply
  18. Linda Szymoniak says:

    I’m glad this has been brought to light. Even the ASPCA adopted out something like 400 animals in a single weekend last year, and I find myself wondering just how many of them actually found good forever homes. If even one dog or cat adopted out like this ends up in an abusive situation (for lack of reference checks, home visits, and follow-up), it’s one too many. I know we want to save them all, but to be honest, I’d rather see an animal humanely euthanized over being put into a situation where they are going to be used as a bait dog or abused in other ways. No animal deserves to be placed with the wrong people. Having a national-level DNA list could go a long way in keeping some of the worst abusers from being able to adopt even at these events, but they could always send a friend or family member in to adopt for them.

    Reply
    • al smith says:

      shouldn’t that be the other way around.. if 399 find great homes that is a great thing and killing is rarely better than living

      Reply
    • Kelley says:

      Most municipal shelters do not do home checks at any time as they just don’t have the staff. Sometimes exceptions are made for bully breeds.

      Reply
  19. Nancy Raymond says:

    ‘Clear the Shelters’ is nothing more than a lousy attempt to get rid of animals to ANYONE – there is no assurance that these animals will get good homes, God only knows what happens to these poor animals who are victims of some so called ‘shelters’ whose lack of concern about where these animals go is deplorable.

    Reply
  20. Goldie Goodwin says:

    This is a very good article. And I have often cringed at the thought of these events. I know there are good people in the group of adopters. But so many get adopted out on the spur of the moment and when reality sinks in, they are returned, abandoned, given away to equally unsavory homes, or worse — become victims of abuse. I don;t have the answer but clearing the shelter is not the right answer

    Reply
  21. Kathryn Smith says:

    I would like to see shelters follow up on these placements — say 6 months+ post placement; and if the dogs are chipped prior to placement, the shelter needs to be listed as an ‘alternate’ contact so that if the animals shows up in another shelter the placing facility can be notified.

    Reply
  22. Kelley says:

    Sorry, but no. An important component of Clear the Shelters is that *screening remains the same.*. So they are not in fact being put out the door with no screening. Money doesn’t equal screening and I don’t think many people are stupid enough to go to the shelter, fill out an application, and give a copy of a drivers license to get a bait dog. Someone commented that clearing the shelters is not the right answer – so killing is? So proud of all the shelters who participated. Every day should be clear the shelter day. Also, there will be a certain number of animals returned no matter what screening is done. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the pet and ensure a better placement next time.

    Reply
    • Mark says:

      Kelley seriously? I’m sure there are those that have adopted dogs from shelters to be used as dog bait. It happens. You really think they’re that stupid to admit it. Not hard to conceal one’s motive when adopting a dog for bait.

      Reply
      • Cynthia Como says:

        I WILL ALWAYS BE OPPOSED TO SELLING ANIMALS ON CRAIGS LIST,ALL ANIMALS! I JUST HAVE READ WAY TOO MANY HORROR STORIES TO COUNT,ON THE NEWS,ON RESCUE SITES,FROM VETERINARIANS AND FROM DOGS OWNERS WHO ADOPTED FROM THAT SITE! THEY VIEW ANIMALS AS OBJECTS,AND NOT LIVING BEINGS. FOR ME THE RISK IS JUST TOO GREAT,THEREFORE ITS A RISK THAT SHOULDNT BE MADE

      • Kelley says:

        I have a really hard time believing someone who wanted a dog for bait would go to a shelter, stand in line, fill out an application, give vet and personal references, and give a copy of their drivers license when planning to get a dog as a bait dog, as opposed to going on Craigslist and getting a free dog with no questions asked. I’ve been in rescue a long time and you just are not going to make me believe someone is going to do all that when they can get one from Craigslist without doing ANY of that.

      • Cynthia Como says:

        Mark,EXACTLY!!!!!!!! This I have witnessed first hand many,many,many times! I will say if u can’t provide the basic necessities…..food,safety,and vet care it’s best to not have a pet until u can. Love is very important but it must accompany being able to feed,keep ur pets safe,and provide basic vet care. If u cannot do these things it’s unfair to the pet. And I’m sorry but these needs should always trump the desire to have a pet! Putting ur wants before the needs of a pet is wrong and will always be wrong!

    • Tara says:

      Also, for the argument of free shelter events vs craigslist, think of how many of these cats and dogs adopted at the CTS events end up for free on craigslist later on when no longer wanted 🙁

      Reply
      • Kelley says:

        In that case we should kill them all. I see animals on Craigslist that were paid for that are being given away free. Most of the time people do this because they care about the animal and don’t want to take the chance on the animal being killed at the shelter. If your community is no-kill (mine is – Austin) the new owners will not have that worry if they need to return the pet to the shelter. Also keeping in touch with adopters is really helpful

      • Tara says:

        I’m certainly not saying that – I agree some do find good homes (and maybe those hesitant to adopt give it a shot during these and fall in love), but not worth the risk to me for all the others. Unfortunately, most of the “no-kill” shelters are not actually no-kill – there’s a lot of loopholes that allow for euthanasia, though they don’t share that information with the public. Our shelter network here also states they are no-kill, but they are not. Giving an animal on craigslist away for free without any rehoming fee is super dangerous (though I’m sure some do it because they just don’t know any better and they think they’re doing the right thing). Those looking for bait animals, or even worse, frequently look through those pages and are experts at appearing like good homes.

        If someone is planning to adopt anyway, and just waiting for a day like CTS because they want to participate, that’s one thing, but if an adoption fee is the thing stopping you from adopting a cat or dog, then you should definitely wait – food, vet bills, etc are going to cost so much more than a one time fee. In addition, if an impulse adoption because of being free, and if the individual/family isn’t prepared for the responsibility and commitment that comes with adoption (just oh! cute! and free!) these cats and dogs may wind up right back where they started and euthanized (or future cats and dogs euthanized to make space for the returns), or just dumped. On top of that, there are also just some really bad homes out there that rescues turn down for adoption for a reason – I’m curious as to how many people actually get turned down at the CTS events – I doubt it’s many.

        It’s something that I feel like is meant to look great on paper, and some do find good homes, but if you really dig down, isn’t a good idea. I feel like there must be better events to hold that could help more with an overall solution – I’m not sure what, but this just isn’t the right way. I honestly wish everyone would just spay and neuter so shelter overcrowding wasn’t even a thing.

      • Kelley says:

        Tara, if there are no-kill shelters that aren’t actually no-kill, they need to be exposed. The no-kill shelters I know of ARE no-kill and work very very hard to remain so. I’d love to see your data that “most” are not no-kill. Municipal no-kill shelters must release their kill rate to the public under FOIA requests, though most do it anyway.

      • Mark says:

        Tara not true. No-kill shelters are just that no-kill. Some will be euthanized for medical issues when there are no other options after seen by a vet and some for severe aggression when adoption would not be ideal. No-kill shelters have a 10% rate of euthanizing per year. I worked at a non-kill shelter. You really need to do your research.

      • Tara says:

        I’m not saying its true of all no kill shelters, but I have volunteered with a true 100% no-kill rescue for almost 10 years and have had contact with other no kill shelters over that time. I am speaking from first hand experience (see above). I used to believe they were no kill, but know that’s not always the case. They have the best intentions though, again, not coming down on them for it. They work hard to get everyone a home. But someone should always ask questions before relinquishing an animal and assuming they will be guaranteed safe. I can’t wait for the day when all, and not just some, are truly no kill. If yours is, that is awesome and I commend them. Again, all on the same side here with the same goals.

      • Tara says:

        It’s first hand knowledge unfortunately – I’m sure I could find the stats if needed, but in the past, I’ve been directly in contact with our no-kill shelters on a few cats that others have dropped off. Most of the no-kills shelters really truly try to be 100% no-kill, it’s not like they’re trying to run a scam. Unfortunately, in many cases, it’s for “adoptable” animals only. The term “adoptable” can vary from shelter to shelter. This could be as simple as their age, if they act too shy or act out from being scared in the shelter, or if they catch a simple URI. One of the cats I was assisting someone with was moved to “the back” out of public view, which is an automatic danger zone (and yes, the shelter confirmed she was at risk of being euthanized) – we had to continually follow up and place a “last resort hold” on her, meaning the shelter had to give 24 hours notice and a last chance to pick her back up before euthanizing. I wonder if the stats published only reflect that they were able to place 100% of “adoptable” animals. I always recommend to anyone relinquishing their pet to ask if a shelter or rescue is truly no-kill, and if they say, if “adoptable” to ask what that means. We’re on the same side here – we both want to see animals get good homes. I truly hope the shelters in your area are completely no-kill, but it’s always worth making sure <3 <3

      • Tara says:

        I’m just saying there must be a way to find a good middle ground, between free and the other extreme, while still finding good homes. I agree with your comment to another poster about promoting programs to help with vet bills, and I would also love more free spay/neuter programs to be in place.

  23. Larkin Vonalt says:

    I guess you’d rather see them dead. I worked with rescues for nearly 30 years— but finally gave it up after I couldn’t take anymore emotional “furbaby” bs. It’s okay if poor people have pets. There are programs to help with spay-neuter, low-cost vaccine etc. Not everybody has to meet your arbitrary criteria in order to be a fine owner of a dog or cat.

    Reply
  24. Dale says:

    Not all participants in Clear the Shelters just hand out animals to anyone with a pulse. Many shelters and rescues – like ours – do all of the pre-screening in advance so that approved adopters can participate. Other shelters go through their entire adoption process with anyone who walks through the door – and people line up hours before the shelter opens (Irving, TX for example). Yes, there are many shelters who do exactly what you’ve described and I’ve been at a high volume urban shelter in FL the day after one of these events when there is a line for people who want to return their adoption from the day before.

    The concept is good – but each individual shelter needs to ensure that the animals in their care go to qualified adopters.

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