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« Cumberland, BC repeals their Breed-specific law | Main | Running Free »

June 21, 2011


Christie Keith

I was so furious at the stupid thing I couldn't even formulate my thoughts... great job here, Brent!

Mary Ullmer1

Great read, Brent. I plan to share with a few people who ought to see this.

Nathan Winograd


I've found that people who enter shelters with a particular "breed" or "type" of dog in mind can be easily educated with good customer service and walk out with an altogether different dog, one who matches their lifestyle. And given our low return rates/failed adoption rates and the kind of letters we received from adopters, they love them dearly.

Sadly, too many "shelters" don't do this: they don't provide good education, they do not give good information on dogs in their custody, they don't make the match. As a result, people walk out empty handed.

In S.F., for example, people who lived in tiny apartments and row houses without big yards used to think they needed a "small" dog because they lacked "space." I can't tell you how many people left with a big dog once they saw how much energy some of those little ones had, compared to our big, lazy couch potatoes, which is really what they wanted.

But even if most people--80% of potential adopters--get their animals from somewhere other than a shelter, we could still zero out the killing of animals being killed but for a home.

As we've seen, even communities with very high intake rates can adopt out all the savable animals of what we've been told for too long are not "desirable" animals, you know, all the garbage they peddle about the difficulty of adopting out big, black, run of the mill dogs. They are saving them. And Leslie should have known better.

In fact, she did. I spoke to her at length a number of years ago when she was doing research for her article.

Hanna at Dog Products

I tend to agree with Nathan. Shelters and rescues should have someone on hand to not only educate but to also guide potential adoptive parents through the process of selecting the animal which best suits their lifestyles and meets their needs.

I recently went into a shelter to look for a long haired Chihuahua because I thought they were the cutest. A volunteer on the premises asked me a few relevant questions and pointed to a naked mutt of a medium size. The moment I looked into his eyes and he into mine, we were in love.

I will be forever thankful to the volunteer who practiced good PR skills to gently convince me to adopt a dog that I wouldn’t otherwise.


Good post. I was hoping someone would take this on and refute some of the misconceptions she got into as the article went on.


Very good post, Brent. Excellent analyis.

At the request of Animals Best Friends (ABF) in Independence, MO we recently met a mother and son at the dog training club. they'd purchased an American Bulldog pup from Petland, which is odd, since Petland usually only sells little guys. To make a long story short there was NOTHING wrong with this puppy. In fact, he was wonderful and better behaved than any puppy I ever owned (except the Catahoula Dog). The owners simply didn't have a firm enough hand with him. Part of our job needs to be guiding people when they get a dog and it isn't like the other dogs they've owned (or maybe they've never owned a dog). They aren't all Lassie in a different suit. Part of our responsibility has to be to help people keep those dogs in their homes, and sometimes the effort is minimal.

ABF's biggest fear was the owners would get rid of the puppy, because he was STILL INTACT at four months of age and someone would breed him. The owners' vet refused to neuter him before nine months of age (good for him!) My biggest fear was them trying to find a home for an out-of-control, full-grown American Bulldog - with or without testicles.

This is a little OT, but something very interesting happened yesterday at my agility class. The instructor, who has Aussies, works with another friend of ours on photo shoots for ad campaigns. They were looking for a litter of mixed breed puppies for an ad - the client wanted a litter of mixed-breed pups! She wondered if anyone knew of a litter of mixed-breed pups. Well, no - not since about 1987, although my sister rescued a mixed-breed dam with a litter three years ago in the St. Louis area (she thinks the bitch was dumped by someone that lost their home.

Our instructor had checked with local shelters in our area of town - nothing. I suggested looking in the paper. She'd looked in the paper and on Craigslist - nothing. I told her the AKC has admitted a bunch of breeds lately that look like mutts to me - perhaps she could see if anyone had a litter of puppies from one of those breeds? I also suggested finding a litter of Catahoula pups, which tend to all look different. Our Catahoula did a lot of ads because he didn't look like a recognizable purebred.

Oddly, I guess this is a sign of progress.


one more thought on the "No Suffer" movement. I think we definitely need a "No Suffer" movement - FOR THE OWNERS. Municipalities, states, and unincorporated county areas need to ask themselves, prior to passing an ordinance or law, "Will this cause NO SUFFERING for pet owners?"


When does willfull ignorance become negligence? Some of these items are matters of opinion...but #6 is outright fraudulent. The best part about it is its SO wrong that she's made herself look like a fool...

KMK - it kid you not, in KCMO's public safety committee hearings all proposals are put on a sheet that have 3 core questions answered. One is "Is it good for the children?" I wonder how it was filled out when they passed BSL/MSN..."Taking Timmy's dog and killing it for having balls is beneficial because _______"


"Is it good for the children?", LOL!

Speaking of killing dogs, Independence, MO has that on all of their city crap as well.

I must agree on #6 to some extent - there should be MORE focus on stopping the intake, and by that I mean we need to work to change bad ordinances and policies. The shelters in this area that are trying to adopt their way to success without doing anything about policies that put the animals there in the first place just make me crazy.

We certainly need to be looking at keeping pets in their homes. I've had people call me and tell me they needed to place a pet - only to discover they had a problem with the pet that was easily solved or managed.

I used to get a lot of calls from the shelter in Topeka, KS - is it called "Helping Hands"?. Some volunteer would call me and tell me the city had taken a pit bull from someone and then they would cheerfully tell me, "But we can adopt it out to a rescue outside the city".

then I would reply, and NOT so cheerfully, "Uh, if it's a dangerous dog, why is it okay to give it to a rescue?", to which they would reply, "Oh it's very friendly".

then I would ask them (in a very unfriendly voice) if it ever occurred to them to take their tush to City Hell and change the ordinance. Finally, someone did just that in Topeka!

It just makes my head hurt when cities write their BSL ordianances and allow rescues to take the dogs outside the city. HUH? Excuse me, but I thought you were banning them because they're dangerous. Well heck, we can certainly stop jail and prison overcrowding, not to mention save a lot of court costs, if we just tell rapists, murderers, child molestors, drug dealers, etc., "Okay, we're arresting you, but we're going to hand you over to a Criminal Rescue, and they're going to take you to another city/state. Raise your right hand, place your left hand on this Bible, and promise you won't come back here!"


Re: the "No Suffer" movement - I was reading this to my husband earlier and I told him, "I think we need a No Suffer movement" and he raised his hand, LOL. He agrees - a "No Suffer" movement for the OWNERS.


"there should be MORE focus on stopping the intake, and by that I mean we need to work to change bad ordinances and policies."

I would like to see this specific issue (repealing/opposing bad policy) specifically listed as a tenent of the No Kill Solution. But it IS a part of the equation if you dive further than the bullet points...just because some people stick their heads in the sand about it doesn't mean its not a part of No Kill. Again, I agree more emphasis is many animals are entering the shelter because of bans on breeds/tnr, low pet limits, msn and just crappy ACOs in general? - hmmm, looks like a good research project for Brent!

I'm sick of people hiding behind "well if we stand up about this they may take the contract somewhere else and kill more animals". The general public is done with the killing and not too many cities are stupid enough to take a contract from a beloved, successful shelter and start the mass killing again. That time has come and gone...

Adrian Meli

Brent, great post. I thought your responses were very thoughtful and more relevant than the original points. People should seek more feedback and be more practical rather than dealing in absolutes as you point out. We should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good as a close friend of mine said.

Adrian Meli


MichelleD, you wrote: I'm sick of people hiding behind "well if we stand up about this they may take the contract somewhere else and kill more animals".

I guess we could turn that around and respond with the standard Animal Rights reply, "Well, dogs and cats will have to die, but it will be for the GREATER GOOD".

I'm kidding, of course. Kinda.

In addition to people not tolerating the killing, as you pointed out, I also think we're reaching a point where it's going to become more difficult for every Tom, Dick, and Harry to just open a shelter and bid on a contract. That happened with some regularity 15 or 20 years ago (most efforts didn't have long-term success, for a variety of reasons), but it's going to be more difficult now with state regulations that will become increasingly more stringent, not just for breeders, but for shelters, both public and private.

I suspect once shelters establish a good volunteer base and get the trust of the public, the public will not stand for a city trying to give a contract to an unknown entity simply because they support stupid policy.

I hope I see this in my lifetime, and I suspect I might. If anyone had told me 25 years ago that in the year 2011 I would no longer see a bunch of mixed-breed litters in shelters, there would be a shortage of small dogs in shelters, and shelters in other parts of the country would be importing dogs from overseas I would have said "no way". One other big change - we never get students in obedience class with intact mixed-breed bitches. I think it's been ten years since I gave the "don't bring your bitch in season to class, but please bring yourself" speech.

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