Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ashes, OTIs, and Pit Bulls: Saturday at the Shelter

I hauled dogs for transport to off-sites today.  The dedicated young woman who coordinates the off-sites at PetsMart Portifino was fuming about kittens.  Right now, about 40-50 kittens (most too young to be weaned) arrive at the Shelter each day.  We do not have enough space or care available at the Shelter for this many babies and ourdedicated fosters are juggling anywhere from eight (a couple of litters) to 30 kittens in a last-ditch effort to save as many as possible.

The Shelter was in full swing for euthanizations this week and the young woman was there when the staff was emptying the incinerator used to consume the bodies.  The young woman gave me a hard look as we were going off her transport list.  "I have a new idea for publicity," she said.  "We should bundle the ashes from the incinerator into little baggies and hand them to each person who comes to turn in kittens."  I had to agree it would be an eye-opener for our clients.  "And it is recycling, too," the volunteer added grimly.

The Shelter Rescue Coordinator has been valiantly trying to place the uptick in OTI (Owner-Turn-In) animals.  We're getting an inordinately high number of healthy, middle-aged, well-socialized pets coming in as surrenders.  The major reason?  People are moving and say they can't take their dogs.  The Rescue Coordinator has a name for it:  "They're moving to the State of No Dogs."

We've got a new Pit Bull Rescue Group to help us deal with our wonderful Staffies and Pibbles!  Guardian Pit Bull Rescue may not be the biggest outfit in Rescue, but they are heroes to the dogs they pull from the Montgomery County Animal Shelter.  The big Staffie pictured above is a perfect example of the kind of dog our volunteers would like to save, but the kind that are harder to place under the County guidelines.  Guardian Pit Bull had a comprehensive application form for interested prospects to fill out--one more suited to the needs of these dogs than the Shelter's boilerplate form.

-*- Photo courtesy of M.H.


  1. I think there's a lot of us living in the state of can't afford the dogs. I, for one, would be/have been homeless with my dog before I moved somewhere where I could not take my dog. I know I am not alone. Then and now, however, I didn't have children to take into account.

  2. GSP--I know that times are tough. I was talking to my Mom about this and she said the Food Pantry in Bulverde, TX, where she volunteers, has started handing out dry dog food to help stem the flow of surrenders due to lack of funds.

    Sometimes, though, it's that owners don't want to take the time to make the arrangements to move their pet.

    We don't have the capacity to hand out food at the Shelter. I wish we could sit with the owners and ask, "Is there a way we can help you keep this dog?" and if food or basic vaccines were the issues, then provide assistance. Oh, well, maybe in the future...

  3. Ugh. The ashes are a very good, if gruesome, idea. Maybe they could be used for a PSA somewhere? My library used to have monthly displays before they remodeled - fifty or so bags of ashes, a few collars and toys scattered around, and a huge "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON'T SPAY AND NEUTER" sign might get the point across.

    I looked at your flicker sets - I LOVE your daughter's steampunk getup! I like that it's subtle - she could leave off the goggles and the gun, and it's be perfectly appropriate (and still interesting) as everyday clothing. I love it. It's great that you're supportive of her alternative fashion adventures - my mother would have flipped. Tell her to keep on rocking the world. :-)

  4. Sorry to hear this. Our volunteers are overwhelmed by calls at this time. They spend hours on the phone talking to people asking how we can help them to keep their animals. Sometimes they are behavioural and the person just doesn't know how to deal with it. Sometimes it's financial - we've given bags of food to people in the past if they've had a hard month. This year we have been very limited at the number of kittens we can take in. Two of our foster homes that normally foster litters have opted out this year due to other cats they are already fostering!

    I hope it gets better ...


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