WARNING: Graphic Images - Heartbreaking images have shown the reality faced by animal shelters on a daily basis.
“This is just one euthanasia day in one shelter,” Animal Reality Exposed wrote on Facebook along with two images of several dogs lined up after being euthanised at a US shelter.
It isn’t clear which shelter the undated images were taken at, however the organisation shared the sad images to encourage people to adopt from shelters instead of buying dogs from pet shops or breeders, as well as taking the step of desexing pets to prevent unwanted litters.
“These dogs were once pets. They were the products of ‘accidental’ or ‘I want my baby girl to have her own puppies’ litters.
“They were the ‘free to good home’ puppies posted in every online yard sale group. All of them had a story, and none of them deserved to have their stories end like this.
“Shelters cannot kill what they never receive, so please, we are begging you, spay and neuter your pets,” Animal Reality Exposed continued.
The reality of euthanising shelter dogs is not limited to American shelters. As pets are lost, surrendered or rescued from animal cruelty, shelters often become overwhelmed with cases and resort to euthanasia for a variety of reasons.
The RSPCA website states it “reluctantly accepts that in certain circumstances euthanasia of an animal is unavoidable due to health behavioural or legislative reasons”.
RSPCA’s report on animal outcomes shows that between 2018 and 2019 they received 33,862 dogs and while the majority were reclaimed by their owners or rehomed, 4,308 dogs were euthanised - a number which has been declining from previous years.
The biggest reason the RSPCA reported for euthanising dogs in the 2018 - 2019 period was for behavioural reasons, followed by medical issues and legal reasons.
No kill shelters
No kill shelters are doing their best to make sure the amount of dogs euthanised each year in Australia continues to decrease by rescuing the dogs deemed unfit for rehoming and working with them to rehabilitate and find their forever homes.
Dog behaviourist Raphaela volunteers with Victorian no kill organisation All 4 Paws and believes all dogs can be saved.
“We had one dog that was about to be put down in Ballarat recently, the dog was deemed aggressive and we have had her about a month or so and have been working with her, she still isn’t ready to be rehomed but she is absolutely a completely different dog.
“We have seen so many dogs deemed aggressive and once they go through our network, they are completely different dogs and able to find a home,” Raphaela told Yahoo News Australia.
The cost and time it takes to rehabilitate a dog and find a new home takes its toll on the organisation, which runs solely on donations and fundraising to keep the programs running.
Raphaela estimates it can cost a minimum of $800 each week to rehabilitate a dog bought to All 4 Paws with behaviour issues and that doesn’t begin to cover their food and medical needs.
“We need at least two to six months depending on the severity of the behaviour and to spend between 10 to 20 hours each week with the dog,” she said.
Five weeks ago a male mastiff cross arrived at All 4 Paws. Raphaela said he was riddled with medical issues - an ear infection, a lump in his neck, skin issues, severely malnourished and with ears “like cauliflowers”.
He was constantly trying to steal food and would jump on the kitchen counter no matter how many times he had been fed.
After spending time with Raphaela he has gained weight, learned to behave and stolen the heart of his carer who has officially adopted him.
“Kobe still has three to five months to go to get his skin back to normal and although he unfortunately lost all his incisors and his bottom canines, he is not bothered at all,” Raphaela said.
Kobe is such a success story that he is even part of the team at All 4 Paws, helping volunteers to assess the temperament of other rescue dogs.
Being able to rehabilitate a dog that has been otherwise written off as aggressive or ready to be euthanised is a feeling that the volunteers at All 4 Paws live for and it’s what keeps them going.
“It’s rewarding and it highlights that a lot of dogs being put down don’t have to end up like that. Animals deserve to have a full life just like humans and under the right education and guidance any dog can bloom,” Raphaela said.
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