Are We Loving Shelter Pets to Death?

Are We Loving Shelter Pets to Death?

Are we loving shelter pets to death?

9

January 2019

Author and animal advocate Arin Greenwood joins us as we talk through what’s really behind the negativity surrounding free adoptions. 

We need to get honest about what happens when we demonize free adoptions and holiday shelter promotions due to our desire to protect animals from potential cruelty. We also need to get honest about whether or not these emotional responses to potential cruelty are really based in reality.

First, let’s squash the idea that animals are adopted by just anyone during these adoption events. Adoption counseling happens. No one randomly hands out leashes to anyone who walks into a shelter. The animal welfare workers who participate in these events are not irresponsible. They are helping good pets find good homes.

Then there’s the reality of the open intake shelter system. These shelters have low cost and free adoption promotions because shelters are overcrowded and need to get pets into homes. And again, the majority of people are good. The majority of these homes are good and loving.

As Arin points out in the podcast, these promotions aren’t done because animal welfare workers don’t care about the dogs in their care. It’s the opposite. They want to get shelter pets into loving homes and out of the shelter system where there may be no choice but to euthanize them for space.

 

Listen to the episode

Recently, we’ve seen people say that they would rather a dog be euthanized than having him potentially be exposed to abuse. Let’s be clear, you are not a dog advocate if you would rather a dog be euthanized based on an incredibly low chance that it might encounter abuse. 

“The natural end to keeping animals away from people is that they will be euthanized.”

Not only that, your assumption that dogs adopted from these events are more likely to suffer abuse is based entirely in classism. You are assuming that people who cannot afford to pay an adoption fee are more likely to abuse animals. You may not realize that’s the subtext, but it is.

The truth is that you can do all of the home visits and reference checks you want, very few people advertise that they abuse animals and it is highly unlikely that they’ll give you references of people who would out them as perpetrators.

Anyone can neglect or abuse an animal, regardless of whether or not they pay an adoption fee, regardless of their income level, age, health, race or cultural background. Plus, we all know this is a rare occurrence. We all know that the majority of people are good and want nothing more than to love their pet. 

No matter whom you adopt a pet to there is always a chance the dog will return to the shelter or rescue. This happens regardless of whether or not your adoptions are closed or open. In fact, research shows that pets adopted as gifts around the holidays have the same return rate as dogs adopted during other times of the year.

“We need to believe in people and believe in the community and that members of the community can be trusted to love animals”

If someone wants a pet, they are going to get a pet. If they don’t adopt a dog from a shelter, they’ll probably go to a breeder, and odds are it won’t be a responsible one. And if your assumptions about them are correct, that they aren’t ready to adopt one of your dogs, then they aren’t ready to have any dog and they’ll eventually surrender the dog they adopted from a puppy mill/pet store to a shelter. That only adds to the existing problem of overcrowding.

We also know that dogs who leave shelters for a short time tend to be happier. This is why we love short-term foster programs. 

Studies show that dogs aren’t sadder when they leave the shelter for a few days and then come back. All of those Facebook posts to the contrary may tug on your emotions, but they aren’t based in reality.

What the dog knows is that he was away from the shelter for a short time and had a, hopefully, good experience during that time. If we all laud short term foster programs, then why do we tug on everyone’s heartstrings about how sad a dog is to be returned to a shelter? Dogs don’t know the difference.

Again, we’re letting our emotions get in the way. Dogs deserve for us to be logical and truly think about what is best for them vs that raw emotional hysteria that we can be swept up into because we love animals so much.

Whether you disagree or agree, we hope you’ll listen to the episode and give us feedback on why you feel the way you do about free and open adoptions.

Want to be on our podcast to talk about the intersection of animal welfare and social justice? Want to yell at us for our opinions? Email us!

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Breed Discrimination Is Serious and We’re Working to End It

Breed Discrimination Is Serious and We’re Working to End It

Breed discrimination is serious and we’re working to end it

12

December, 2018

In Sioux City, Iowa, officials can take your dog regardless of how well behaved they are. In Sioux City, someone can decide your dog is a “pit bull” and take it from you and kill it. And you have no recourse. We not only call that unscientific bullshit, we also call it unconstitutional. We’ve taken this case to court.

This isn’t the only time we’ve worked to end breed-discriminatory laws or policies. But we don’t talk about that part of our work much, so you probably don’t know all of the cases or situations to which we’ve contributed legal help or research and consultation. 

This week’s podcast episode is a bit of a behind-the-scenes experience. We (Nikki and Regina) had a call with our Executive Director (Stacey) about what we do to effect change and help end discrimination for dog owners. 

There’s some helpful information for advocates here, like the difference between laws and policy. We also talk about why lobbying isn’t a part of what we do.

Plus, we talk about Virginia spiced wine and mystery beer! So, settle on in and listen to AFF staff chat about BSL.

Visit Sioux City Lawsuit for information on our current legal efforts to seek justice for local dog owners.

Want to be on our podcast to talk about the intersection of animal welfare and social justice? Want to yell at us for our opinions? Email us!

The Individual Animal is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and wherever you listen to podcasts.

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Community Focused Ideas to Help Shelter Pets Find Homes for the Holidays

Community Focused Ideas to Help Shelter Pets Find Homes for the Holidays

Community focused ideas to help shelter pets find homes for the holidays

27

November, 2018

It’s that time of year again! TIme for Jingle Paw Rock! Never heard of Jingle Paw Rock? We haven’t either. Literally just made it up. We make up a lot of wacko ideas for adoption promotions in this podcast. We even got some inspiration from 1960s/1970s key parties – Yes, we’re talking about swingers. Confused and possibly disturbed? Listen to the episode to find out what we mean!

We also chat about our some of our favorite things we’ve seen this year, like the viral Grown Ass Adult Dog campaign and a pupper and her human dressed as Taco Bell.

We also tackle the semi-controversial topic of “are pets presents?” (We’re prepared for hate-mail. Come at us, ‘bro.)

All of the ideas in the podcast have one thing in common: They are all community focused. They’re about making your shelter an integral part of your community and a place people love to go.

Got other ideas? Let us know! Oh, and take a shot every time Regina says “like” and you’ll be drunk before the 15-minute mark.

Want to be on our podcast to talk about the intersection of animal welfare and social justice? Want to yell at us for our opinions? Email us!

The Individual Animal is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and wherever you listen to podcasts.

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2 + 10 =

P.O. Box 624
Bangall, NY 12506
845.868.7559
info@animalfarmfoundation.org

Episode 4: An Interview with Ken Foster, Author of City of Dogs

Episode 4: An Interview with Ken Foster, Author of City of Dogs

Episode 4: How do our relationships with dogs affect our relationships with each other?

13

November, 2018

Dogs are individuals and so are their people. The new book by Ken Foster, City of Dogs, explores the unique relationship between dozens of New York City dog owners and their best friends. 

We talk with Ken, who is also the Community Pets Program Coordinator at Animal Care Centers of NYC, about what it means to build a relationship with a dog and how those relationships affect how people connect with one another in a bustling city.

The stories have heart, but also give us a glimpse of the realities of life in the big city. There’s poverty, privilege, loss – but most importantly there is love.

The book also features some of our dogs from our PAWS of Purpose prison program. We talk with Ken about what the program means to the inmates and to the dogs, as they teach each other lessons in life skills.

You can buy Ken’s book on Amazon.

Want to be on our podcast to talk about the intersection of animal welfare and social justice? Want to yell at us for our opinions? Email us!

The Individual Animal is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and wherever you listen to podcasts.

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Episode 3: How Social Constructs Influence Our Relationship With Dogs

Episode 3: How Social Constructs Influence Our Relationship With Dogs

Episode 3: Social Constructs, Breed-specific legislation, and companion animals

30

October, 2018

Welcome to episode 3 of the Individual Animal, a podcast about animal welfare and discrimination.

Today, we talk with Donald Cleary about how social constructs affect how we relate to dogs and in turn, how that affects how we relate to each other. Some of you might be surprised by a few things, including that moral panics about dogs extend beyond dogs labeled “pit bull.”

Don has an impressive bio, which we get into in the episode. What we don’t touch on is that he’s a co-author of the U.S. Department of Justice manual “The Problem of Dog-Related Incidents and Encounters,” and of “Co-occurrence of potentially preventable factors in 256 dog bite-related fatalities in the United States (2000–2009),” a comprehensive study published in 2013 the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

We also reference The Relevance of Breed in Selecting a Companion Dog by Janis Bradley, which you can read here. And for anyone interested in a comprehensive look at how social constructs have affected “pit bull” dogs and their owners, Bronwen Dickey’s book Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon is a must-read.

 

Want to be on our podcast to talk about the intersection of animal welfare and social justice? Want to yell at us for our opinions? Email us!

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New Episode: We Call Bull On “Pit Bull” Awareness Events

New Episode: We Call Bull On “Pit Bull” Awareness Events

We call bull on “pit Bull” awareness

23

October, 2018

Welcome to our podcast of awkward openings! This week, Nikki and Regina are talking about one of our least favorite topics: “pit bull” awareness events.

Society has evolved and dog advocates must evolve with it. When we don’t, our efforts end up having the opposite effect than what we intend them to have.

We know this is probably going to make people angry because it’s a total WTF thing to hear from an organization like ours. If this episode makes you uncomfortable that’s probably a good thing.

So grab a beverage, take a few swigs, and settle in to hear us chat about the undercurrent of racism and classism in breed discrimination and learn some better ways to advocate than with misguided awareness campaigns.

Listen to the episode:

Learn more about #Itsbullawareness:

Watch our PSA and visit itsbullawareness.org for more tips on better dog advocacy.

Want to be on our podcast to talk about the intersection of animal welfare and social justice? Want to yell at us for our opinions? Email us!

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