Friday, November 19, 2010

Arizona "Shelter" Mistakenly Euthanizes War Hero Dog

In a careless and inhumane act, a pet "shelter" in Arizona mistakenly euthanized a hero dog who had served in Afghanistan.

The outcry that followed in the media--including a full treatment on the front page of the New York Times today and among sympathizers who are mourning the dog Target calls attention to the larger issue of society-wide tolerance for euthanization of animals.

As a society we breed animals as pets, and sell them for a profit, but we also neglect them and abandon them almost as quickly as they are bred and sold. Just today 63 dogs--possibly being bred for sale, were found abandoned near Tampa, Florida.

Target was not used to being penned in all day and got away from her adoptive family in Arizona last weekend. She had protected soldiers in active duty in Afghanistan and was trained at sniffing out explosives, but was not wearing a collar, and did not have a chip or any other identifying marks.

Before the weekend was out, an aid at the Pinal Animal Shelter mistakenly took the dog out as "P.T.S."--Put to Sleep--and killed it.  This dog had received a hero's welcome when she arrived in the U.S. from his war station, and even appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show.

The incident calls into question how it is possible that the "shelter" would allow someone so careless to be working without supervision. But as a matter of protocol, there should have been an extra layer of checks and balances to make sure that adequate steps were taken in identifying the dog for this most critical step, the taking of a life.

But the more disturbing underlying issue is our society's calm acceptance that the other dog --whose life was saved in the mistake--should have also been "put to sleep." What kind of nation are we that we routinely put animals to sleep? And how is it possible that so many animals are in shelters, and need to be "eradicated?" 

Unlike the Pinal shelter, many animal shelters have adopted "no-kill" policies, but must do enormous amounts of fund raising to keep their shelters open to lost, abandoned, and hurt pets. At the time of printing of this blog, we still not had heard back from the Humane Society of the United States as to how many shelters in the U.S. still have a "kill" policy.

Pic: Truman is up for adoption at the NSAL.

Long Island's North Shore Animal League is one of the no-kill organizations that helps rescue animals and find homes for them, including animals from puppy mills, and animals separated from their owners because of large scale disasters such as hurricanes. All of the pictures here of cute dogs are up for adoption at the League.
Puppy mills that breed animals for profit are a huge part of the overstock pet problem in the U.S. For one, the animals they breed take the place of dogs already living who have no home. 

Pic: Panda is up for adoption at the NSAL

They also raise the animals in conditions that are not fit for living creatures.

"Animals are kept in terribly inhumane conditions, where they live in cramped and unsanitary quarters, virtually never leave their cages, do not receive any necessary medical care, and never get any affection or caring human interaction. They have very limited socialization and the poorest quality food. They never have a treat or a toy and have never heard the words, "good dog." They are basically just being kept alive," wrote a representative from the Animal League.

What's more, the mills treat their breeding dogs with little or no consideration, and then toss them away when they are done with them. 

 Pic: Casey is up for adoption at the NSAL

"When they can no longer do their "job" because of age or illness, they are inhumanely put down, abandoned or sold to other mills for as little as 25 cents at auction. They are usually ill, disfigured, diseased or hurt, and are always abused and neglected," says the Animal League. 

If anything, the fate of Target should point to our country's acceptance of cruelty to animals on all levels--in puppy mills, in "shelters" that do not have a no-kill policy, and on the roads, where wild animals are run over by speeding motorists whose next appointment is paramount over all.

Pic: Nina is up for adoption at the NSAL 

One way to help save animals is to insist that your local pet "shelter" adopt a no-kill policy and make an annual donation. But you could also seriously consider before you buy a dog or cat from a store--there are millions of homeless animals waiting for you right now to come take them home.

A candlelight vigil is planned for Target on Dec. 3rd. But make sure you also take action to save the millions of animals still alive today.

You can also see more video on this story from thanks to Stephanie.  You can also join no kill groups like this one.

The lists are endless. Take a look at one more, the Greenville SC shelter. Endless pics of sad animals without homes. 

1 comment:

hillaryaryn said...

thank you for this post. i wish selling animals would be outlawed, as what they're really doing is selling innocent souls.

and yes, so many dogs to adopt right now. breeders should be put out of business. pet stores selling animals should be banned and i hope to soon see the end of puppy mills.

keep getting the message out there, ana banana!