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« A retrospective of Hurricane Katrina -- Part 1, the Trip Journal | Main | The long-term impact on pets from Hurricane Katrina - Part 3 »

August 31, 2015


Tired Caregiver

It's things like what happened to those poor dogs that has really opened my eyes to just how broken the system is. I always bought the line that no shelter *wants* to kill and that the public is to blame for every death. But so very many 'shelters' don't even *try* to adopt out animals. Or they set so many roadblocks that people go elsewhere. Or they don't bother to post photos. Or they have bad hours. Or they would rather see an animal dead then in a home that isn't perfect in every arbitrary way.

Or or or.

Such shelters increase the pressure on those that *do* do everything they can to adopt animals out. Yet both good and bad shelters blame the public instead of a broken system that allows a shelter director to give half effort and take no blame for the outcome. Those dogs deserved so much better, and it breaks my heart that people like you tried so hard to help them only for the system to let them down in the end. A irresponsible owner can negatively affect *maybe* a few dozen pets in their lifetime if they bred a few litters. A lazy shelter director can negatively affect *thousands* why are we spending so much time ranting about the public instead of fixing the shelter system?

I'm sorry, I know this was long and nothing you haven't heard before. It's just that stories like this remind me that however far we've come, we've got so much further to go. I just wish everyone was focusing their efforts where it will do the most good, but so many don't even realize that the shelter system has been basically manipulating them all this time.

Again, I'm terribly sorry that those dogs you tried so hard to help ended up with people that didn't share your generous spirit. And I'm so very happy that so many dogs *did* have someone like you and the other volunteers in their corner when they needed you the most.

Dianne In DC

Thanks for the updates. I think things are changing for pit bulls. The Washington Humane shelter automatically put down pit bulls until fairly recently. Now the VP and head of ACA Scott Giacoppo regularly attends the no kill conferences and has even stepped up as a speaker. They have gone from putting down 65% of dogs to live adopting out 85%. And the director Lisa Lafontaine has her very own pit bull. I am very proud of the work they do and the journey they have taken since I first volunteered in 2008.

PS my aby rescue friend was at Lamar Dixon too. Her name is Cynthia(Cindy) Cash and she is also active in greyhound rescue. She has a small cattery called Absolute Abyssinians, where she has Dobies to socialize the abys.

pitbull friend

Thanks for this, Brent. It's too easy to forget how bad things were even 10 years ago, and how much progress there has been since then.

Dianne in DC

PPS Scotlund Hasley was the CEO of the Washington Animal Rescue League (WARL) and personally rescued a number of dogs, brought them back to DC, and adopted them out. All of them.


Pit Bull Friend -- yes, it's amazing how much progress we've made over the past 10 years. It's sometimes hard to recognize it, but when I think specifically to 10 years ago, it was a very different time.

Dianne, all of the progress in DC is amazing and I applaud everyone for the changes. I know there were individual people who did a lot of great work helping the dogs post Katrina, and some groups that were able to take small numbers and safely adopt them out -- but there were a lot of dogs that ended up not so lucky.

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