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Message Subject Over 7 million homeless pets a year, and we still BUY pets?!
Poster Handle Anonymous Coward
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Used to be an ACO at a county run shelter. Here's what happens to the unadopted pets. At that time they used gas to put them down. They were put into a tank & gassed. They were then put into a barrel with the other dead bodies & when full the barrel was wheeled out to a freezer room to await the rendering company's pick-up. The freezer room was a grotesque sight with frozen bodies sticking out of barrels. That didn't work for very young kittens who were put in a metal box with formaldehyde until they died and then thrown into the barrels.

I always thought that the county should take out a billboard and put that sight on it (of the freezer room) as a way to remind people who turned in animals what might happen to theirs.

When I got really depressed I also fantasized about a law that would require people who turned animals in should watch the execution. But, in reality, I realized that they would only dump them on the side of the road then.

Sometimes they didn't die and as the barrel was being wheeled out to the freezer room there would be crying from the bottom. The kennel worker had to dig down to the bottom of the barrel when this would happen to retrieve the surviving animal & would usually go to the director and ask for permission to give the animal another chance. What a horror, hug??? For this reason the state finally outlawed the use of gas and now it is done by lethal injection.

New ACO's are required to watch the kennel worker do this at least once. I almost quit that day until another ACO begged me to stay and help get more adopted. After long days of calls we would come back to office and try to match up "wanted requests" to the animals we had and made phone calls. The other officers didn't give a shit. One said the more we put down then the less kennels to clean in the mornings.

I always felt sorry for the kennel worker. He wasn't the one who put these animals in the position they were in. It was the pet's owner who had. They were the real executioners.

We were only required to hold a stray for 3 days and "turn-ins" could be put down right away. Almost lost my job one day when an owner turning in her older dog so she could go on a 3 week vacation asked me for reassurance that her dog would get adopted out. I said, "No, probably not." She still turned the dog in & complained to the director. I told him I wasn't going to lie to these people when they asked me and yes, the dog was put down after a couple days. People brought their animals in for the stupidest reasons and made you wonder if they had kids and how they were treated.

We had to work with animal save groups and they would only take what they deemed the most adoptable from us. They would also find animals, know the animal had an owner, but still keep them. They figured if your animal was out roaming then you didn't deserve to be a pet owner. I had to go on many calls of "theft" to get animals back to their rightful owners. Some of these save groups are nuts - typical tree-huggers and very judgemental. Others are just nice people who care and accept the fact that we can't find homes for all of the animals.

One came into our office at our lunch time. She ran one of the local save groups. We were eating burgers. She had a fit and asked us how we could care about animals and eat meat. I noticed she had on a leather belt & sandals so asked her what was the difference from eating them or wearing them. She stormed out. I got in trouble for that one also even though she knew that I and the one other officer were the only ones at the shelter who made any kind of effort for these animals.

These groups often make people sign strict agreements and can try to confiscate the animal after adopting out to you for some stupid reasons such as pet was found loose. Well, accidents happen and if it doesn't occur multiple times shouldn't be a reason in my book.

It's a never ending battle and I don't know what the solution is. It would help, though, if most pets were neutered/spayed and not allowed to roam. Also there are too many "breeders". So many breeders are not reputable.

I quit after a few years. It's not a job you can do for long without losing your sanity and your faith in humanity or becoming calloused. I try to help from the outside now a bit.

I don't think it is a problem that ever can be solved. I hope I'm wrong. But every little bit of effort does help the situation.

As far as caring about these animals and not children: I think that people that care about children would naturally care about animals. It's strange to me that people who care about children don't also have a trickle-down, residual effect of caring about animals also (and elderly, disabled, etc. people - all of the helpless and innocents). Of course caring about children should be top priority but why can't they also care about animals? The two just seem to go together.
 
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