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An Animal Shelter Vision

Animals have people problems. Currently, animal shelters and rescue organizations are designed to take unwanted animals from humans that want to give the animal up. Usually animals are given up for a myriad of reasons which often include, moving, allergies, military enlistment, divorce, and bad behavior.

Shelters have a variety of ways of determining which animal should be put up for adoption or euthanized due to temperament and space constraints. Some shelters believe in rehabilitating dangerous dogs, some believe in not euthanizing, some believe in keeping animals in kennels, some believe in no kennels. Almost all shelters require the animal be sterilized before they are put up for adoption.

And yet, after all these constraints and regulations, less than 30 percent of animals are adopted out from shelters. Also, shelters handle less than 50 percent of the animals that are actually homeless. In some areas the numbers are greater than that. It makes me ask the question Do animal shelters really work?

Once regarded as the dog catcher and rabies quarantine center, an animal shelter has grown into a safe haven for homeless animals. As with many animal related issues in American society, shelters are out of date. Most shelters are in the process of upgrading euthanasia techniques and kennel quality and care, but they are outdated in philosophy.

Shelter environments are stressful places for everyone involved. Better cages and cheaper sterilization does not change this fact. While it is important to have a clean safe environment for the workers and animals, it does not solve the bigger issue of unwanted animals. Today we compare kill statistics to determine the success rate of a shelter.

I propose a shelter vision to include free dog training, free cat behaviorist counseling, free sterilization and vaccinations, open to all people helping homeless pets. Long lasting programs that enhance the human animal bond. How about a state funded animal community information center in every city. Like a state visitor center only for pets. A place people could go to ask questions, learn proper animal treatment and care. It could be supported by referrals and advertisers, or some other business model I have yet to learn.

I propose we stop arguing whether it is better to have a kill shelter vs a no kill shelter, cages vs no cages, or open admission vs limited admission. I also propose we stop building more facilities that house homeless animals, and turn our attention to educating everyone in our communities about long term pet care and responsibility.

Kirsten Frisch has worked with sled dogs for over 8 years. She has handled dogs in Alaska for mid and long distance races such as the Copper Basin 300 and Yukon Quest 1000 mile race. Her background also includes Veterinary Technician, sled dog rescue and foster, artist, and traveller. You can learn more about Kirsten and sled dogs at http://www.alaskan-husky-behavior.com/

Source: www.articlecity.com