Queensland, wake up.
If you have ever surrendered a pet to a shelter or bred (even ‘accidentally’) & sold/given away puppies & kittens without being a licenced breeder with papered purebreds (backyard breeder) – you should be made to work in the a big animal shelter or pound for just ONE day. See if you can handle the outcome of your shitty behaviour. Maybe if you had to see your failure through to the end, actually take responsibility for your actions and kill the animals yourself, you would think differently – instead of telling yourself ‘he’s a good boy, someone will come for him, and at least I didn’t dump him on the road’ – they won’t come for him, and stop justifying what you’ve done just because you could have done worse. That’s like saying ‘well I stabbed the guy but I mean – at least I didn’t shoot him!’. Your pet was fucked the moment you apparently decided his life was too inconvenient for you to worry about, and each litter you create causes the death of pound animals in your area and it’s time you woke up to that fact. If it wasn’t for backyard breeding and animal dumping, people would turn to rescues to adopt pets from instead of turning to the internet where they are handed out like balloons at the EKKA to whoever responds first to the ad. ‘To good home only’ – yeahhh for free/cheap when you haven’t done a yard inspection, discussed their health treatment plans, haven’t desexed it and can’t know if they will ever be vaccinated etc… good effort mate but let’s leave the proper rehoming to the pros… you go get back on the couch now.
Maybe if you worked for these places just ONCE you would start working with rescues, go through the ads on Gumtree and help these animals find homes, and encourage your friends to get their pets desexed and raise awareness. That puppy you’re too stupid to train, that cat you ‘can’t’ keep; those litters of puppies and kittens that you ‘accidentally’ had – will likely never walk out of the shelter they’re dumped at. ‘Oh but it’s a purebred, and he’s SUCH a nice dog!’ HA we actually laugh at this stupidity – 25% of all dogs in shelters are purebred and if your dog is so nice why are you discarding it like a piece of used chewing gum. It won’t be so nice once it’s been in the shelter environment, trust me. Here is some info on what happens in MY area – the Toowoomba region.
In the face of what we are referring to now as a ‘homeless crisis’ with unwanted pets, in steps the small rescues – like mine, and many others out there who do incredible things. Off our own backs we scramble to ‘put a save on’ anything we can that is on death row in pounds. We run desexing campaigns. We take in surrenders so that they never reach the big corporations. It crushes the little guys that run them, eg I can’t remember my last haircut and my car loan is $6,000 behind because, well the rescues don’t stop coming – but we know we make a huge difference and it is what we live for. While I salute each large shelter out there for their efforts – I can not thank the little guys enough. We do it without the media supporting us. Without the donations. Without the publicity and government support. We run this gig ourselves and with our own small bands of supporters and vigilantes who get shit DONE, son. We cut as much of the supply to council and big shelters as possible. But why CAN’T we just leave it to the big guys? Why are we all in such a panic and screaming at people to ‘adopt, don’t shop!’ and desex?!
While the public is kept happy with positive news being screamed at them from large shelters like the RSPCA, it is no wonder people continue the way they do. But lets see what’s really happening here. The RSPCA Queensland state in their 2012/2013 annual report that 76% of all cats and dogs received were rehomed. That is; 29,771 came in, and only 7,727 were euthanised. So a 76% outbound rate all up is a pretty good number, right? Hmmm well not if you were to really look at it. Almost 8000 healthy Queensland animals dead in our biggest shelter organisation, NOT including all the animals put to sleep in pounds before the RSPCA was even offered them.
7,802 or 26% of the incomings for RSPCA Queensland, were council pound transfers. Unless pound staff are compassionate (and can get away with it) and will hold animals over for the RSPCA ‘picking day’, animals are put to sleep once their time is up. All councils have rules on how long they can hold them for. In the Toowoomba Region, a microchipped or tagged animal gets 5 days, and unchipped or untagged gets 3 days before the council will ‘endeavour to rehouse’ before it ‘may be’ euthanised. Your abandoned pet is confined to a small cage with other barking or crying animals on all sides – the noise of despair is deafening. It will eat, sleep and shit in the same two metre square cell. It will be depressed and cry constantly for the family that abandoned it even though they don’t fucking deserve it. If your pet is lucky, there will be enough staff to take him/her for a walk. If not, it will simply get food slid under the door and its waste sprayed away with a pressure cleaner (which is terrifying, cold and loud).
The Toowoomba RSPCA visits the Toowoomba pound once or twice a week to pick what they will rehome, but as with every shelter their selections have to be made based on kennel availability, behaviour, and what vet work has currently been done ($$$). Unfortunately anything that jumps up too much, anything sick, aggro, undesirable or anything that needs a lot of vet work likely won’t be taken and will be euthanised immediately unless someone else like the AWL can help (which is rare as they face the same struggles). If your dog is big, black, a working breed (kelpie, collie, cattle) or any of the “pigging” or “Bully” breeds (pit bull, rottie, mastiff, wolfhound, arab etc) it was pretty much dead when you walked it through the front door or left it in the pound. Those dogs just don’t get adopted. It doesn’t matter how ‘sweet’ or ‘well behaved’ you think they are. YOU don’t even want the fucking dog, what makes you think anyone else will?
Strangely enough, the record of council euthanasia for the Toowoomba region isn’t available to the public – probably because they know the figures would shock and disgust the public. All that they have available is the happy endings – the successfully rehomed animals that the RSPCA got from them. So you’ll just have to trust me when I say, the numbers are huge and yes, the RSPCA does an amazing job ON WHAT THEY CAN GET THEIR HANDS ON… but what about the rest. Why are all these animals dying? Why are they in the pounds and shelters in the first place and why is RSPCA, the first stop for rescue from the pound in my area, having to say no because they’re having so many direct surrenders?
Besides people who don’t properly identify their pets with microchips or name tags and therefore can’t be called if their animal strays, often people simply can/will not pay pound release fees. After that, the wilful surrenders come with these most common excuses: “We are moving and we can’t take it.” Really? Have you actually TRIED to find pet-friendly accommodation, or is this just a convenience thing? Or “The dog got bigger than we thought it would”. How big did you THINK a Bull Arab would get? “We don’t have time for her”. Really? I work a 12 hour day and still have time for my 3 dogs! “She’s chewing things and escaping but we have a massive yard, she’s untrainable”. Really… Lock yourself in your bathroom and never, ever leave. Do you think you’d maybe get a bit bored and start breaking shit/want to run away? Take the dog to the fucking park once in a while you muppet.
So your dog stays in the pound until its time is up and the RSPCA can’t take it, or develops some behavioural issue or illness that comes with a death sentence. So. Euthanasia isn’t as sweet as it is in those YouTube memorial videos. You don’t need to be a qualified vet to do it. Often the animal is pushed onto a table, held down and injected while struggling. It will ‘fall asleep’ while panicking, crying, twitching, and sometimes defecating on itself. Then the corpse is put in a garbage bag and stacked in a freezer with all the others. What happens next? Cremated? Taken to the dump? Rendered into pet food? Used for the schools to dissect and experiment on? You’ll never know and it probably won’t even cross your mind.
I work against these pointless deaths every day. I hate my job, I hate that it exists & I hate that it will always be there unless you people make some changes and start educating yourselves and the public. Do your homework, and know exactly what you are getting into before getting a pet. These shelters and rescues exist because people just don’t care about animals anymore. They’re disposable. Animal shelters are an easy way out when you get tired of your dog (or cat), and when you drive off smiling because you ‘did the right thing’ by surrendering your dog to a small rescue just because WE don’t euthanise – just think of this. Your dog (most likely not desexed, vaccinated, chipped or wormed) is going to personally cost me $500 of my hard earned wage to get adoption-ready and you probably didn’t even give me its leash or bowls when you dumped it on me, much less a donation – thanks. Then I have to beg, plea and harass my friends into fostering it until hopefully, one day I can get it a home with an owner who will likely not pay more than $150 for it.
My friends are sick of me begging, my family is sick of me begging, my boyfriend is sick of me crying over it and I’m sick of living in a fucking shambles because all my money and time goes into cleaning up your mess. I have seen my rescue friends break from the stress, and I have been close myself… but guess what? Tomorrow I’ll do it again. And the next day. Until all you backyard breeding, animal-dumping little fucks get a GRIP and cut the crap. Because unlike you, I get it. I know what will happen to your pet if it goes to a pound or large rescue organisation. It IS up to small rescues like mine. We ARE the difference. We pick up the slack that the big ones can’t. WE are the change and we need you to get on side.
If you can’t adopt, foster. If you can’t foster, donate. If you can’t donate, volunteer. If you can’t volunteer, educate.
Go forth and desex, PLEASE.
(www.ndn.org.au for discounts!)