Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Are they qualified?

Animal welfare workers get a raw deal sometimes. Most enter the field because of their love of animals. That is one of the reasons they work long hours, receive little pay and keep coming back every day to make sure their shelter is clean and their animals well taken care of.
Shelters must also depend on volunteers. Volunteers do lots of grunt work for no pay and many times, no thanks, simply for the animals.
Then there are the people who have their own best interests at heart. I call them the "playing god complex" people. These people have a misguided perception in their job. They are not in it for the animals, but for their own self interest. Unfortunately, I know people like this. Also on the unfortunate side, many of these people hold the life and death of an animal in their hands. This winds up being the end of the road for many homeless pets.
What is the difference in an adoptable animal and one that is considered not adoptable? Are the people who decide which ones live or die qualified to make the determination? Are they ill or aggressive, shy and timid or outgoing and rambunctious? Are you going to euthanize an animal simply because it might bite, or it has? Should a cat that hides under a blanket all day be allowed to live or the cat that comes up to greet each stranger that passes by?
One of the biggest complaints about open admission shelters is they euthanize for space. When they become crowded, an animal will be euthanized for available kennel room. Once again, who makes that decision? One of the biggest compaints about no-kill shelters is they cherry pick. They only allow what they consider the most adoptable animals in their kennels and euthanize the rest as unadoptable. In today's economic turmoil, with shelters having to turn away animals due to lack of space, wouldn't it make sense to try and work with all the animals who come in your door and not simply put them down due to the chance of something they might do? When open admission shelters begin doing this kind of cherry picking, it lessens their mission statement and stunts their growth potential. They then become no better than the no-kill shelters they talk about with derision.
It is no wonder workers and volunteers alike are leaving the field, burnt out with compassion fatigue and giving up the fight. As long as the "god complex" people, who are more worried about themselves than what may happen to the shelter animals are allowed to continue, more and more animals will lose their lives simply on the chance they "might do something wrong."
I am glad I am not a homeless animal.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Skunk would agree....... :(