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Week Five:
September 28, 1998 - October 2, 1998

Working with Shelters

Day Two

Subject: Re: CLASS: working with shelters
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 12:46:27 -0500

One thing that is a source of sensitivity in Kill shelters is that often Rescue people have the attitude that they are "rescueing " FROM the shelter!!!!! Most often these people feel that, even if they have to kill them in the end, they saved them from a much worse life and death, of starvation, car accidents, etc. It is insulting for them to hear us say "I rescued him from such and such Animal Control."

First I'd like to mention that this is how I met Janine. I was the shelter worker, she the rescuer! Janine was the first *outsider* who treated us animal control employees as an equal to her. She helped educate shelter workers on certain topics and I'd like to believe that we educated her as well [G]. She was there to lend a shoulder for us to vent - when needed - and never condemned us for doing our job. Most importantly, she became a friend to many of us .... not just someone who appeared several days a week to *save these dogs from us*. Florida's loss is Louisiana's gain, 'cuz Janine is sorely missed around here!

Paula Page

Subject: CLASS:Yes I am an officer.
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 13:53:18 EDT
From: Jeff Dunaway - Gcac1718@AOL.COM

Yes, I am an officer and I have read a lot of posts on this. I also coordinate a lot of rescues from our shelter. The following is something that I have always liked and wanted to share it.

I Am Your Animal Control Officer

I am your Animal Control Officer. I am not the dreaded "dog catcher" or the "murderer" you call me.

I'm not the one who allows your pets to breed, then dumps the unwanted puppies and kittens on roadsides and in shelters. I'm the one who must find the tiny animals before they die of starvation, exposure or disease and, as an act of mercy, exterminate them.

It hurts me to be forced to kill hundreds of thousands of animals each year, but because of your irresponsibility, I have no choice.

I'm not the one who abandons unwanted animals on the farm roads, telling myself some friendly farmer will surely take them in and give them a good home. But I am the one who picks up the frightened animal who waits in vain for its beloved master, wondering why it has been abandoned. I am the one who must help that friendly farmer trap, tranquilize or kill that animal because it has begun to roam in packs with other abandoned hungry animals, killing livestock, fowl and game.

I am not the one who breeds and fights dogs in the name of "sport." But I'm the one who fights the breeders and participants, and must pick up the dead and dying animals that have been left behind.

So, remember the next time a stray dog bites your child, your trash is dumped and scattered, your pet is lost, stolen, poisoned or hit by a car, and it is the Animal Control Officer you call not the "dog catcher."

The next time your pet is picked up, or you are cited for neglecting or abusing it, remember that I am only trying to get you to fulfill your responsibility to your pet, your neighbor and yourself.

Do not scorn me. Respect me, for I am the product of your irresponsibility. I love animals, and I care.


Subject: Re: CLASS:Yes I am an officer.
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 11:09:14 -0700
From: sanya - sanya@LIPS.COM

This essay is posted at our pound...I get choked up everytime I read it. I can't think of a less rewarding job than being an ACO and have a great deal of respect for those who've found it to be their calling. Thank you for what you do for the animals.

Rescue Individual - mostly terriers

Subject: Re: CLASS: Yes I am an Officer
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 13:36:45 -0700
From: Ginnie Klein - ginniek@MINDSPRING.COM

Th following is from a page of a calendar that I just can not throw away. It is now 10 years old and still on my refrigerator. It was written by J.E. Thorngren of the Santa Cruz, California SPCA:

Eye to eye, trust and sorrow
Breaks my heart as on the morrow
To sentient beings wanting but to live
Death is the kindness that I give
If only it were mine to do
Life and Love I'd give to you
The task performed as if by rote
A painful lump forms in the throat
It makes me angry; mad as Hell
Unwanted life, please, sleep well.

Ginnie Klein

Subject: Re: CLASS: working with shelters
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 13:42:56 -0500
From: Dixie Davis - dixie@FLASH.NET

As a person trying to start a rescue, my question(s) would be why would a shelter want to work with rescue groups?

Most shelters are *at* the overfull point constantly. They have to put dogs down on a regular basis.

I got a corgi from the Austin city/county shelter. He had a bad eye (dry eye), had hot spots for which they had shaved him (thus he looked funny) and they said he had low bite inhibition (After bathing him, lightly squeezing his one testicle--he was a cryptorchid----and pulling ticks off him, I have yet to confirm the low bite inhibition) and they thus decided he was not appropriate for them to put up for rescue. They don't have the time or resources to work with him. They're already putting dozens of dogs to sleep every day. However, they were willing to let me take the dog and spend the time to work with him. As it turned out, he's the easiest adoption I've had. This one couple *loved* him, and he has gone to a home where he will be pampered and spoiled from now till death, presumably at an advanced age.

A lot depends on what the personalities of the shelter folks are like. We've been very fortunate to get a new person in charge of working with rescue groups. Even though I just do Corgi rescue, she's willing to let me rescue just about anything if I can place it in another rescue or a good home. Mainly, she wants to be sure that rescue groups are firm on spay/neuter, and screen potential homes prior to placement. She would love to see more dogs rescued and given a chance to live, as opposed to being put to sleep because they simply don't have the space to hold them all.

The shelters don't make money on adoptions. The local one is $61, which includes a certificate for spay/neuter. The limiting factor is the number of people willing to adopt adult dogs from the pound. They can keep the cream of the crop, the young, pretty, well-behaved ones, and release the rest to rescue. BTW, when this shelter does put a dog up for adoption, they won't release to rescue (unless rescue adopts) until 3 weeks after they've put the dog up for adoption. If it hasn't been adopted in 3 weeks, they will release it to rescue. So they do keep the highly adoptable dogs for themselves, but frankly, I'm not screaming about it. I've got my hands full as it is. I offer support and advice to all those adopting corgis though.

Dixie Davis
Austin Area Welsh Corgi Rescue

Subject: Re: CLASS: working with shelters
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 15:55:08 EDT
From: Janine Peters - NenePeters@AOL.COM

First I'd like to mention that this is how I met Janine. I was the shelter worker, she the rescuer! Janine was the first *outsider* who treated us animal control employees as an equal to her. She helped educate shelter workers on certain topics and I'd like to believe that we educated her as well [G].

******Paula, LOL! I sure did learn a lot from you all! I also know how hard you all worked for the animals and that Roxie, who had the main job of euthing the animals, did it so gently and kindly that that was the way I have always figured it should be done! They went with their heads cradled and stroked. Sometimes the love and gentleness they got from you guys at the shelter were probably the best days of a sad and horrible life!

I got to help with a few, but never could feel "better" than the work and love you guys put into the critters! It is NOT easy at all!

And thanks for the kind words-- I sure do miss you all down there, but there are some great folks here too!

Janine Peters
Now of Dry Prong, Louisiana

Subject: Re: CLASS: working with shelters
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 17:58:17 -0400
From: Grannie Annie - grannie.annie@SHORE.NET

Hi Paula and List,

One problem we have run into in Massachusetts is just after we spend time getting friendly with ACO's and Shelters/Pounds, the person or persons move on [hopefully to better jobs] and we have to start all over again. It takes time for the trust to build up and then we loose that friend as in your case, Paula. I wish Janine had moved to MA!!! That would have made it easier for us.[VBG]

Paula, my heart goes out to you and all the other AC employees. Talk about a thankless job!!! The turn-over is warranted.

In doing rescue here in MA, we try to get the dogs out of the shelters/pounds ASAP. It is said that one empty cage in the pound/shelter saves two lives.....the one Rescue takes out and the one that is able to take the cage.

In MA, there are too many shelter/pounds that refuse to deal with any Rescues based on the bad experiences they have had. Hence the need to build trust. Let's hope that classes like this one will educate rescuers to do a better job getting dogs out of the shelters ASAP. I know, I'm still learning.


Grannie Annie email: grannie.annie@shore.net
New England Old English Sheepdog Rescue, Inc.
Home Page: http://www.shore.net/~neoesr
Hotline: 781-259-8173 Fax 781-259-0720
NEOESR Inc., 49 Stonehedge Road, Lincoln, MA 01773

Subject: Re: CLASS: working with shelters
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 19:54:47 -0400
From: Dawn Sullivan - Dmsulli@ibm.net

Hey Class - This is my second day, and I'm fervently trying to read the posts and the archives to catch up on what I missed! I am in MA too, but I haven't had the same experiences as Annie. All of the shelters I have sent intro letters to, I've called back in a couple of weeks to get a contact name and make sure they've received my letter. So far, I haven't had anything but good responses! I have been able to go to a few in person, and they seem even friendlier! I wonder if it's where I am vs. Annies location?

Another thing that I found was odd was the ACO posts...I don't see them as bad guys, I see them as comrades! I've visited the ACO's in neighboring towns and have great response from them too! LOL - Am I doing something wrong?? LOL

Dawn Sullivan
Internet Miniature Pinscher Services

Subject: CLASS: working with shelters
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 22:35:43 +0000
From: Pam Bishop - dobra@pe.net


I've found one of the best ways to present yourself to a shelter is to look and act as professional as possible. When you go to a shelter, be clean, not "dressed up", but clean and decent looking. Act professional. Introduce yourself. "Hi I'm Jane Doe, with Mid-Cities Lab Rescue". Hand them your business card. Mine have my logo (a friend did it), the name of my rescue (there's two of us) and my phone number, city, email and website.

I've also done brochures on my rescue group (yes the two of us) and one's on my breed(s) too. I bring the same packet that I mail out to prospective adoptors. I ask who should I be talking to. When I call on a dog that I'm coming to pickup, I get the impound number and cage number so I can give that when I get to the shelter. Make things as easy as possible for them. I have a checking account for the Rescue and that helps make me look better too. I want them to know that I'm in for the long haul. I'm dependable.

I even have magnetic signs on my Aerostar that have the rescue group name and my phone number. My pardner has the same on her vehicle with her number. Impressive when the "fleet's in". :-}}} I love seeing the two vehicles parked next to each other at a Pet Fair, etc. We will cover a lot more about this in the week on Promo's and Advertising and Fund Raising.

You can also have T-shirts made with your rescue name on them. Today you can do them on our own computer. Make the iron on kind. You can have hats and grooming aprons, etc. made up too.

Look good and act nice when you go to a shelter. Make a good first impression. It can make a difference.

dog rescue

End of Day Two

Day Three

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