Pursuing the Perfect Dog Shelter


Is Your Dog Shelter a Haven or a Hell?



Anyone who has visited a dog shelter or dog pound may well have become concerned as to the condition of the dogs in the facility, the conditions the dogs are living in and the administration of the dog shelter.



If you have ever had these concerns, here are a few tips on how best to proceed. The ultimate goal must always be to better the care and living condition of every dog that is brought to the dog pound or is living under the care and control of the dog shelter for any period of time. While idealistic, we must always continue pursuing the perfect dog shelter.



Dog Shelter Dos and Don’ts


Stay Calm and make an effort to work with the shelter to address any concerns that you may have. Many dog pounds are under staffed, under financed and have limited resources. You may find that the dog pound is open to suggestions and help to improve conditions that the dogs in their control are experiencing.



Learn Learn and learn some more- Before making a complaint that a certain condition is unacceptable, get the facts. For example, if your dog is lost and you go to a dog shelter to look for him, you may be interviewed before going though the dog shelter proper. This may seem like waste of time. Why are they asking you all these questions .? You just want to find your beloved dog, right?



Well, the dog shelter staff may actually be protecting you and your dog by asking you a series of questions about your dog.



Here’s what one dog shelter had to say:

Those looking for a lost dog must provide a description, date, and location where the dog was lost. This information frequently eliminates many dogs in the dog shelter from the lost you will naturally want to see. It also prevents those with unethical reasons for looking at dogs such as a “buncher”., from viewing a dog then claiming that dog as his/her own.



We discussed this problem in our article Federal Law May Protect Stolen Dogs , which can be found on our site.



The unethical claimant may want the dog for a pet with no concern as to the dog’s rightful family that may be hunting for the dog. Or, as in the case of “bunchers”, the claimant may want the dog because they believe they can get a good price for that dog from a research facility.


These research labs use dogs for medical and other experiments. Using dogs as caged experiment animals is a cruel fate, and one we hope will be outlawed by legislation.



If the dog pound employee believes the potential dog claimant is not the true guardian of the dog, additional proof may be required such as medical veterinary records or family photos.



So, in many cases, what appears to be unreasonable may in fact be appropriate and proper to protect the dog and the rightful dog guardian.



On the other hand, many shelters do have unacceptable and inhumane conditions that are prevalent. If you believe that a problem exists, here are a few tips on a course of action.



Is the Dog Shelter run by the County or Privately.- This is important to know if a true problem needs to be addressed. A complaint to the county may be of little help if the shelter is privately run and vice versa.



Communicate and Listen- Depending on the true hierarchy of the dog shelter you should address all concerns to the individual in charge . Do this in a reasonable and polite way. You will get little cooperation after a rant and name calling session. Document your concerns in writing wherever possible. Get as many photos as you can of the problem condition and keep a record of everyone you speak to, their title, and the time, date and place



Be an Advocate-If, after you do your research and communicate with the person in charge, you find that conditions which need to be corrected at the dog shelter are ignored, you may want to go further. Start a group of advocates for a change in condition at the dog shelter. Develop a clear list of objectives based upon research and facts which you uncover. Contact your local government officials, dog rescue organizations and the media for support. The dog whose life you may save or enhance while at the local dog shelter will be grateful for your calm, assertive advocacy.



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