Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Will Shame Work?

This photo by M. Harris of Montgomery County, Texas, Animal Shelter is new this week. I don't know whether to cry or use inappropriate adult language.

This was posted on Harris's Facebook page (here) and has already garnered more than a dozen comments. Some people suggested putting up a second sign showing adoptions. Harris's response to that was, "Then they'd only see the adoption number and [think] this would be a great place to 'rehome' their pet." Unfortunately, I agree with her.

While this sign offers a dose of reality, the fact is that the ones most emotionally moved by the number will be those who are already struggling to reduce the intake through fostering and rescuing. The Pollyana part of me begs to differ, but the cynical side of me doubts seriously that the average client who wants to surrender (or turn in) a pet will be moved to reconsider things. What do you think?


  1. I agree with you. People who are dumping their pets have no conscience. I say that knowing there are som e cases where circumstances might force REHOMING. I can't think of any that justify dumping a family member at a shelter. Not if you've been a responsible pet owner.

    41?!!! wow that is scary! And very very sad...

  2. Wow. Great post. While I want to believe that people would turn away and give their kiddo a second chance after seeing this sign, the reality is probably quite different. I agree that those taking notice of the sign will be those already doing their part for animals. Tough question, really. I think they should keep the sign. If it helps to change one person's mind, then it's worth it!

  3. The money and time spent to put up that vindictive, counterproductive little screen and keep it updated could have gone toward something a lot more positive.

    There are plenty of people who have legitimate reasons to bring an animal to a shelter for re-homing. Making them feel bad does nothing to help animals, and those who are truly "dumping" animals won't care, anyway.

    And what about people who come in to adopt. Why aren't they trying to encourage THEM by posting adoption numbers instead?

  4. Why wouldn't that encourage adoption? For a moment I thought that was the purpose- "We have 41 pets so far in here today, we'll almost certainly have someone for you!"

  5. I've been away from the blog due to family conflicts, but am now back on board.

    I appreciate the comments on this post. A month later, and I still have mixed feelings about it.

    I agree with CyborSuzy that the sign has a vindictive subtext, however, even for "legitimate" surrenders, our open-admissions shelter is the worst place to bring a pet.

    I'd like to know what constitutes a "legitimate" reason for surrender. I'm not being snarky. I'd like to know.

    I like "Simba's" response--not only does our Shelter have 41 pets, we generally have about 500 (cats and dogs, kittens and puppies) available at any given time, not counting the dogs that go to rescue groups shortly after arriving at the Shelter.

  6. OH, so agreed. OSPCA will happily tell you how many animals they adopted last year. Euth statistics are a dirty little secret. I want to know EVERYthing, not just the good news...


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