Animal shelters are a huge asset to the communities they serve as well as surrounding residents – and, of course, to the animals. Unfortunately, their purpose and contribution to society are often misunderstood. Here, we explore some prevalent myths about animal shelters and the precious pets inside of them.
1. All animal shelters are directly managed by larger organizations (e.g., ASPCA, HSUS).
False. In fact, according to Ayse Dunlap, Director of Operations for the Cleveland Animal Protective League (APL), which services about 16,000 animals a year, “this is entirely false…there’s no affiliation at all.” Dunlap adds that most rescues and shelters run solely on grants and donations from the surrounding communities, unless they are government facilities (like county rescues).
2. All shelter pets available for pet adoption are old.
False. It’s possible to find pets of all ages in shelters (i.e., puppies, adults, middle-aged, etc.). Ellen Quimper, Executive Director of the smaller rescue (intake about 1,000 a year) Love-A-Stray Cat Rescue in Avon, Ohio (LAS), says she currently has over 20 kittens available for adoption and adds that, on any given day, there are at least 10 kittens available as well as senior pets and ‘regular adult’ pets. Dunlap concurs, noting that the Cleveland APL has 40-50 kittens right now as well as several puppies. “It really depends on the season,” says Dunlap. “This time of year we’re heading into slower kitten season. Winter equals fewer kittens. ” Adding that, “the APL never discriminates for age – we have a 12-year-old dog on the floor as well as a two-month-old kitten. It really just depends on the time of year.” LAS also has pets of all ages, as most rescues make it a rule to not play the age discrimination game – their hearts are too big.
3. Shelter personnel don’t know enough about pets.
False. According to Dunlap, “…a shelter’s workers are generally quite knowledgeable and often the shelter’s greatest resource. You can find people like veterinary technicians volunteering at shelters oftentimes, as well as actual veterinarians, behaviorists, and other animal specialists.” They know the pet’s personality, temperament, likes, dislikes, even the food that the pet prefers. In fact, once you determine which pet you’d like to adopt it’s best to ask what food he/she is currently being fed. Many shelters receive food donations by pet food companies and therefore are best left on the same food until you can consult a veterinarian.
For the complete article on 10 Common Myths About Animals Shelters Debunked, visit petMD.