I'm planning to start a new feature on my blog - the Sunday Scoop. Just like Wordless Wednesdays and Flashback Fridays, the Sunday Scoop will be a regular event, and each post will share with you some aspect of rescue.
For my first Scoop, I'd like to share with you something that has been talked about a lot recently in my area - shelter requirements. One area shelter was told by the Missouri Department of Agriculture that they are temporarily restricted from euthanizing animals. For a shelter that euthanizes 50% of the animals that come in the door, this is quite a problem. Last year of the 3,827 animals received, they only adopted out 372 of them - less than 10%! Fortunately there are several rescue groups that pull pets from that shelter, but its still not enough. Over 1,900 pets were euthanized there last year. And although they are temporarily restricted from euthanizing pets due to not having a veterinarian on site, the pets that are left there will just continue to suffer.
I recently read an article on Petfinder.com that shared the minimum requirements for dogs in shelters. Basic things - like each dog should have a bed, and toys. Dogs should be allowed rawhides for chewing to relieve stress. Dogs should be able to go outside daily. They should be able to come in and acclimate to a home-like environment daily. They should be given one-on-one attention - those available for adoption should be petted, and in direct human physical contact for at least 20 minutes each day. While this is important for any shelter, it is especially important for no-kill shelters that keep animals for longer than a 5 or 10 day holding period. Many shelters in my area do not meet these minimum requirements. And the dogs are the ones who suffer.
But as sad as this is, there is hope on the horizon. St. Louis County Animal Control is building a new shelter for the animals, and it should be complete by next year. In the past ten years, St. Charles County, who took in 4,160 animals last year, has gone from an 80% euthanasia rate to a 20% euthanasia rate. They have a great shelter, with workers who really care about the animals, and a director who does everything she can to get the animals into good homes. They also have a great volunteer group there. One volunteer not only goes there five days a week to work with the dogs, but he also brings shelter dogs to offsite adoption events each weekend to try to find them homes. His level of devotion to these animals just amazes me. I hope that with shelters like St. Charles County's Pet Adoption Center, the other shelters in our community will learn from them and make changes for the better.