I am a "remote" volunteer for a shelter near New Orleans--a shelter that ran
without power or inside water for 18 months post Katrina.  Yet with a lot of
work, a tiny, very committed staff, very little money, we managed to keep
the euthanasia rate down to below 15%.  There were several keys--not the
least of which was that we did massive publicity (on internet & local
papers) for every animal from the moment they came into the shelter.  We had
a decent rate of return on strays & established a nationwide network of
fosters & adopters & small rescues.  We could tell you what happened to each
& every animal that was flown out & we publicized those outcomes.  Animals
who went to breed rescues were vetted, s/n, & hw treated if needed.  We
learned a lot of lessons the hard way & I can not only tell you the
successes but the ones we missed...  We didn't do big transports but sent
out one or two animals at a time to selected fosters, pre screened adopters,
small rescues.  Cats were the hardest of all & we needed to do a whole lot
better for them.  We had no "secrets"--every animal that came in was photo
listed & the director didn't worry that someone was going to ask about an
animal that ultimately had to be euthanized.  We got equipment for a surgery
room donated & managed to do low cost s/n for community pets & s/n treatment
for the shelter animals.

Sadly, a new director came in & it all fell apart.  Our approach was very
non-traditional way & we had a core of very hard working volunteers
scattered all over the country.  That level of involvement was a lot more
than most shelter directors can handle...

But throughout our work, I can remember railing at all those pups & kittens
that came in without moms, all those pregnant moms who came in cause they
"accidentally" got pregnant, all those pets that suddenly became
"inconvenient" and on and on.  Working in a municipal open admission shelter
is one of the hardest jobs in the world & we reward those workers with
little pay and lots of finger pointing.  

Christiane Biagi

-----Original Message-----
From: felvtalk-boun...@felineleukemia.org
[mailto:felvtalk-boun...@felineleukemia.org] On Behalf Of Kim
Sent: Saturday, April 10, 2010 9:03 PM
To: felvtalk@felineleukemia.org
Subject: Re: [Felvtalk] on shelters and rescues

Very well said!  Unfortunately, very true here in VA, too.  And, also,
unfortunately, very sad.  I also have a big problem with owner surrenders
and owners who see no need to spay and neuter their pets and let them have
litter after litter to become someone else's problem because the owners take
no responsibility.  Kitten season is heartbreaking to me!

"...Saving just one pet won't change the world....but surely the world will
change for that one pet..."
The top ten reasons to spay and neuter your dog or cat were killed in a
shelter today.

-----Original Message-----
From: felvtalk-boun...@felineleukemia.org
[mailto:felvtalk-boun...@felineleukemia.org] On Behalf Of LauraM
Sent: Saturday, April 10, 2010 8:15 PM
To: felvtalk@felineleukemia.org
Subject: Re: [Felvtalk] on shelters and rescues

I have actually had rescues ask me - or our shelter's volunteers - to pay
(out of our own pockets) to alter and combo-test cats before they take them.
Do they reimburse us? Of course not. We finally told one rescue that we were
not wealthy people and we just couldn't do it. They will not pull from us
unless we pay to have the cats vetted, then they sell those cats for $150
and pocket every dime. Now that's a crappy rescue. There are some baaaaad
shelters here in GA. I won't mention any names, but there are several I've
heard of that IMMEDIATELY take owner surrendered animals to the back and put
them down. Those pets never even get a chance to be adopted. It may be
different in other areas of the country, but most GA shelters have high
euthanasia rates relative to adoption rates. There are no no-kill county
shelters in GA; to label a shelter as "bad" because they are forced to
euthanize is just unfair. Nobody wants to do it; everyone is miserable and
snippy and cranky on euthanasia day, even the ones who have to take
antidepressants as a result. We only euthanize one day a week, our director
puts down as few animals as possible, and some days we've been back at
capacity by the end of the day, the turn-ins are so bad. Intakes are high -
several times we've had 30 or so owner-surrendered animals come in within
just a couple of hours. Adoptions are slow, nobody wants  cats or larger
dogs, only small dogs, puppies and sometimes kittens (mostly at
Christmas). Just today we had 8 cats turned in - one is diabetic and was
surrendered because the owner didn't want to pay for insulin shots.
Pathetic. She just kept screaming at me, "I can't afford to take her to the
vet! I can't pay for it!" I charged her a $40 euthanasia fee - we will try
to get that cat out of there, but that owner needed to pay for something.
One day somebody turned in 15 cats because they were moving. It's so
discouraging, they keep coming in and coming in, and we've been getting
pregnant cats and kittens like crazy over the past 2 months, and this kitten
season will be a bloodbath. This is the time of year when I have to imagine
a zipper over my mouth because I get so fed up with these people, nasty
stuff just slips on out. 
Our director will not euthanize cats with FeLV and FIV. We adopt them out.
He knows that I have cats with both and he knows that they can have a great
quality of life. Sorry for venting, I just get tired of being told - from
both the public and from people in rescue - that "you kill animals there."
If they have a solution for dealing with all the so-called strays and owner
surrenders and accidental litters, we would be happy to hear about it. 

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