Animal Shelters where established in the U.S. as a solution for the thousands of animals found as strays on the streets. Animal cruelty also increased with time and soon the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) was founded in 1824 in England by Henry Bergh. The SPCA was originally founded for strays but they also took in abused animals as animal cruelty increased. Soon after there was an issue of overpopulation, the shelters began to formulate a number of ideas to help control it. The best ones were to start neutering animals and to start educating the public. By educating the public they were more aware of how to take care of their pets. The thesis of my paper is to explain the causes and effects of the animal being in such horrible conditions at animal shelters. I will also explain how the conditions that some animal shelters are in are a form of abuse. Shelters should find ways to get more adoptions and better shelters could contribute to a better place for animals.
The SPCA was soon followed by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in 1866 by Henry Bergh. Bergh was viewed as an hero toward animals since he fought so hard again animal cruelty. Both the SPCA and ASPCA were primarily formed for horses. They later turned their attention to dogs as well which was followed by cats and birds. They protected lost and homeless animals from suffering from the cruel killing of dogs by clubbing at that time.
They later founded shelters that took in unwanted dogs that either were given up by owners or found as strays. As well as taking in injured dogs, unwanted puppies, or dogs seen as a risk to the public. This is where adoption of dogs first started. With the ASPCA's help dogs were attempted to be re-adopted and if they were unwanted or unsuited for another home, they were kept at the shelter.
The majority of shelters in the United States will only hold dogs for a certain length of time while they attempted to re-adopt them or find their original home if they were lost. If the dogs aren’t re-adopted, no owner claims him or her, or the time period is up, the dog would be killed. Some shelters are no-kill shelters, and will hold the animal until it finds a home or dies on its own. There was a movement in support for no-kill shelters that started in the 1980s, where an animal is not killed unless it is dying, disabled or unsuitable for adoption.
Over the last 100 years, shelters have attempted to educate the public about the benefits of having their pets spayed or neutered as to prevent more puppies or kittens being born and then letting them later be abandoned. Pet overpopulation has been held responsible on irresponsible owners who will not neuter/spay their animals. The problem is mostly from owners breeding females and bringing unwanted puppies into this world. Casual breeding produces 70,000 puppies and kittens every day, with only 20% of them receiving homes. The rest are euphonized, killed in traffic accidents, or die through disease or abuse. Responsible breeding is done rarely and only to enhance breed traits. Even then, purebred dogs also end up in shelter.
Dogs enter shelters for a number of reasons, which include being surrendered by their owner, caught as a stray, found injured in public, or seized. The reasons dogs are surrendered to a shelter because the owner doesn’t have space anymore, behavior issues, animal population, animal health, animal characteristics, not having enough time for the pet, allergies, a pet-child conflict or a new baby, being an unwanted gift, or divorce, death, traveling, or moving. Canine control officers mostly remove dogs from the streets to reduce the number of attacks on people and rabies outbreaks. The goal of the humane societies at that time was to provide quick and painless death for the large number of animals that were in the cities. There aren’t many organizations or programs that help to capture them and find them a home. Since anesthesia wasn’t invented until the late 19th century, spading and neutering animals were uncommon since they were considered as more heartless than killing the animal.
Behavioral problems is one of the highest reasons pets are surrendered to shelters, and these problems can be biting, aggression towards people, escaping from the house or yard, destructive behavior, disobedience, problems with other pets, aggression towards animals, urinating or defecating in the house, or being too loud.
Not all animal shelters are the same. Fortunate homeless and unwanted animals end up in the hundreds of open-admission animal shelters that are staffed by professional, caring people. At these facilities, frightened animals are reassured, sick and injured animals receive treatment or a peaceful end to their suffering, and the animals' living quarters are kept clean and dry. Workers at these facilities never turn away needy animals and give careful consideration to each animal's special emotional and physical needs. To be able to offer refuge to every animal in need, open-admission shelters must euthanize un-adopted and unadoptable animals. The alternative turning them away—is cruel and leaves the animals in grave danger. Many less fortunate lost or abandoned animals end up in pitiful shelters that are nothing more than shacks without walls or other protection from the elements, where animals are often left to die from exposure, disease, or fights with other animals.
So-called "no-kill" or "turn-away" shelters, which are supported by supposed animal rights activist Nathan Winograd, have the luxury of not euthanizing animals because they turn away needy ones whom they deem unadoptable. Many keep waiting lists, which compromise animals' safety by leaving them in situations in which they are clearly unwanted. Where do these unwanted animals go? The lucky ones will be taken to clean open-admission facilities that have responsible policies about euthanasia and adoption.
But many animals who are refused by turn-away facilities are dumped on the road, in the woods, in the yard of the local "cat lady" (also called a "hoarder"), or in the custody of some other un-scrupulous person. Some don't even make it out of the animal shelter's parking lot.
In June 2005, for example, a Pennsylvania man who tried to surrender his dog to a no-kill shelter was told that he would have to make an appointment to return two weeks later when the facility might have room. The man grabbed his dog, got in his pickup truck, and left. At the next intersection, he threw the dog out of the truck and ran over him, crushing the dog beneath his tires. Shelter workers, who wouldn't help the dog before he died, collected the dog's remains.
Animals who are accepted into no-kill shelters may be warehoused in cages for months, years, or the rest of their lives, becoming more withdrawn, depressed, or aggressive every day—further reducing their chances of adoption. Conditions at some no-kill shelters are criminal.
PETA's undercover investigation at a North Carolina no-kill shelter called All Creatures Great and Small documented that animals were suffering physically and emotionally as a result of ongoing, systematic abuse and neglect. In addition, the investigator observed that dogs, cats, and other animals were frequently left to languish in constant confinement, deprived of veteri-nary care, and subjected to a multitude of other atrocities.
No shelter that truly cares for animals should ever turn its back on an animal in need, even when that means taking in animals that are diseased, badly injured, aggressive, or elderly. These animals have little to no chance of being adopted or helped by anyone else, but a responsible animal shelter should at least provide them with a painless release.