3. Targeting the Breed, not the Deed
Some cities and communities have enacted what many animal lovers say is unfair Breed Specific Legislation (BSLs), targeted at mainly pit bull and pit bull “type” dogs. These laws direct animal control and those running the municipal shelters not to allow such dogs to leave the facilities alive, even if the dog shows no signs of aggression and passes temperament tests.
When a representative from BADRAP, a pit bull rescue in San Francisco, was driving across the country with the dogs rescued from Michael Vick’s fighting operation, and stopped at a rest stop in Arkansas to walk each one, she was approached by a concerned motorist who advised her, “Do not let the police see you with those dogs, they will confiscate them.”
Many city municipal shelters that are in cities with BSLs will not even turn over targeted breeds to rescues.
4. Selling Pets to Research Laboratories
We all know animal research labs exist, but they’re experimenting on mice and chimps, right? Wrong. Research facilities use dogs and cats in painful experiments. According to the Humane Society of the United States, a group of people who make money selling to research labs, known as “Class B Dealers” for the license they obtain, but some of the dogs and cats that end up in research facilities come from animal shelters.
The North Utah Valley Animal Shelter in Utah was one shelter that was supplying many unwanted pets for research to the University of Utah. A woman learned that instead of being adopted, the dog that she turned over to the shelter had been sold to the university. The university has now suspended its practice of obtaining pets from animal shelters. According to the ASPCA, only 14 states have made it illegal for shelters to sell unwanted pets for research.
5. Exposing Healthy Animals to Potentially Harmful Diseases
Any shelter manager at a well-ran, clean facility will tell you that incoming animals need to be isolated from the general population to ensure each pet is healthy. Unfortunately, not every shelter is well-run or clean and not all shelters have the space to quarantine new arrivals. If new arrivals are not quarantined, cats may contract Distemper, Feline Infectious Peritonitis, Feline Leukemia, parasites, ringworm or other worms. Dogs may contract Distemper, Parvo, Coronavirus, Canine Bordetella (Kennel Cough) parasites (including mange), ringworm or other worms.
If you do inquire about the local shelter's pratices including animal research and disease prevention, it can't hurt to quote the great philosophers if you run into a brick wall of bureaucracy.
As Voltaire said, "There are barbarians who seize this dog, who so greatly surpasses man in fidelity and friendship, and nail him down to a table and dissect him alive, to show you the mesaraic veins! You discover in him all the same organs of feeling as in yourself. Answer me, mechanist, has Nature arranged all the springs of feeling in this animal to the end that he might not feel?"
--By Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell
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