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Why are there so many FaceBook cross postings for animals?

  • 1.  Why are there so many FaceBook cross postings for animals?

    Posted 01-31-2019 04:56 PM


    There are many social media posts, especially on Facebook, about dogs who will be euthanized unless someone fosters or adopts the animal with 24 hrs or some time frame.

    With all of the great work Maddie's, Best Friends, and so many other organizations do. WHY ARE THESE DOGS STILL IN NEED?

    1. Are the shelters not working with Maddies' and Best Friends?

    2. Are the dogs in need not matched with rescue groups?

    3. Is there a break down in the communications?

    3. Is there anything can and should be done to help these animals?

    It is very disturbing to see so many animals posted. Let's assume money is not the problem, what is? Are more communications needed, a bigger database? What?

    Thank you in advance. Any advice is appreciated. I would like to know how this problem can be fixed, any help would be great.



  • 2.  RE: Why are there so many FaceBook cross postings for animals?

    Posted 02-01-2019 05:54 AM

    Wow Terri, where to start.

    I am  a very active volunteer and board member for my shelter. We don not do the "posts"s that you speak of but I am aware many do.

    We are blessed by a 97% rate of placement last year for our dogs but have no where near the NUMBERS so many shelters have. Hopefully those who face those daunting numbers will share their feelings with you. I have, however been a very active consumer of literature from this organization, Best Friends, books and other publications.

    Sadly there continue to be areas of our country {and frankly beyond} where the numbers of homeless pets far exceed homes for them. In addition many of these animals suffer "housing discrimination" especially larger and bully breeds further reducing potential homes. As an example an apartment complex near our shelter came under new management and banned animals they deemed "pit bulls"--a number of residents moved to other locations but some surrendered their pets.

    Another issue is that a number of these animals have "special needs"--behavioral problems where they do not always present well to potential adopters or have certain limitations such as needing to be the only dog in a home, not suitable with small children or small pets. 

    It is my understanding these shelters have to euthanize for space--an issue that they and all of us no doubt find heart breaking. 

    Currently there are many hard working, dedicated and very passionate people in companion animal welfare. Low cost spay/neuter programs, foster homes, advocates working to reduce housing discrimination/breed discrimination, education/training and behavioral modification are just a few means to target these issues.

    Another volunteer, foster home, advocate and resources etc are ALWAYS welcome to help continue to address these concerns. If this is something you feel you would like to further pursue I encourage you to start with your local animal shelter!!


  • 3.  RE: Why are there so many FaceBook cross postings for animals?

    Posted 02-01-2019 09:43 AM

    Thank you Susan for your reply I really appreciate it. I wonder if Maddie's and Best Friends help with connecting the FB posts of animals in need with their network?  Thank you also for the amazing work you do for animals.  :-)


  • 4.  RE: Why are there so many FaceBook cross postings for animals?

    Posted 02-01-2019 12:14 PM

    Exactly @SusanRSM, where to start!!

    I hesitate to join this conversation because it could literally be never-ending but, because I represent the opposite end of the spectrum from Susan with a 20% adoption rate at my local (open admission) shelters, I will add some thoughts. First, the answer to all of your questions is yes...there are shelters that don't even know MF & BF exist, there are shelters that don't allow volunteers, don't partner with rescue groups, many breakdowns in communication, lots of things that can & should be done to help. There are places that have no physical shelter, no formal animal welfare organizations; there are people IN rescue that don't believe No Kill is possible. And, it should be noted that some of those posts are used as a marketing tactic to drive donations and create a sense of urgency that may or may not exist (but always assume it is life or death until confirm otherwise). 

    Geography and demographics play a part, too, as lower income, lower population density usually have less access to veterinary care and affordable spay/neuter/vaccinate. And, so, the cycle continues. Money is a are ignorance and apathy. 

    What can be done to fix the problem? You're doing it!

    Learn, advocate, network, mentor, volunteer, apply your specialized skill set to the problem. Also be sure to fully understand the contributing factors in the particular place...some may need s/n/v partners, some may need intake diversion, some may need fundraising....

    A great place to start is the APA! Recipe for Lifesaving: the 12 Ingredients required to reach >90%(Analyze your data, select your ingredients, apply the 3R's)

    GO TEAM!! :-)


  • 5.  RE: Why are there so many FaceBook cross postings for animals?

    Posted 02-01-2019 03:20 PM

    Dear SilverComet thank you so much for joining the conversation and of course thank you for your work.  My tack away from you what I read is that there is no single source of why so many social media posts exist. So my next question or should I say project is: other then what you suggested, what would it take to make sure each of these animals was connected to a shelter, foster, sanctuary, etc.  Aside from the resources, what do you envision as the solution?  What would the solution look like? 

    thanks again


  • 6.  RE: Why are there so many FaceBook cross postings for animals?

    Posted 02-04-2019 12:36 PM

    Hi @TerriD

    Thank you for the compliment on my post, for inviting additional discussion on this topic and, most importantly, for believing there IS a solution. At the risk of complicating this issue further, I will add that the animals most at risk are the ones we DON'T see...never posted, no advocates, the only records of their existences being intake numbers and kill dates (if they ever enter a sheltering environment at all).

    And, no, there is no single source of social media posts but there is a single reason: panic. As mentioned, 80% of animals at shelters in my service area rely on rescue for survival. Every week there are kill lists published which triggers begging for rescue placement, foster homes, pledges, shares, likes, etc all of which is further complicated by social media algorithms controlling who sees what & when. And, with 80% in need, the resources are consumed much more quickly than replenished. In the last 5 years here, there has been no meaningful reduction in intake nor has it been addressed. This cycle repeats weekly for us and I'm sure shelters with similar demographics (rural, low-income, higher than average per capita intake rate) share our dilemma. And, even with the myriad of posts from all manner of advocates, many still don't benefit from social media. An animal control in our state just killed a cat and her neonate kittens for lack of space. Anybody reading this would have found a way to get them out if we had known; for that AC, it was just another day of killing cats. 

    What does the solution look like? From my perspective, it requires transitioning "dog catchers" into animal welfare professionals. And the transition will require participation from all directions -- governing agencies, current advocates, future advocates we create, media, public policy.The tools needed to achieve No Kill are widely available and not particularly difficult to implement but I don't see them reaching "the front lines" of struggling municipal facilities because many of the decision makers in these facilities are ignorant, apathetic and hyper-focused on daily minutia. That is not intended to insult  -- although some in these positions should not be in them -- but to create awareness that many in positions of authority over animals do not meet the "compassionate director" standard. It's very difficult for some people to break the "this is the way we've always done it" mentality. New ideas can be interpreted as criticism; add to that the emotional nature of animal rescue and it's not unusual for an "us vs. them" mentality to surface. Many volunteers have been banned for asking questions and are too afraid animals will suffer the consequences to enforce their constitutional rights. Moreover, ACs generally answer to Departments of Agriculture that are primarily concerned with population levels and administrative record keeping. We still have municipal ACs that don't allow public adoptions (??!!).

    Some unfortunate examples:

    A shelter manager that I was assisting/mentoring recently quit after months on the job because Department of Agriculture required training where she was forced to learn how to kill a dog. The dogs were provided by a "shelter" near the training. As I'm sure you are aware, depression & suicide rates are very high in animal welfare. She got out before it consumed her. I sincerely doubt the Department of Agriculture provides equal training on enrichment programs, community outreach, foster programs, etc. So, those who "survive" longer than a few months become desensitized to the killing, a broken system perpetuates and an advocate is lost. [I was unaware this training took place but our group is investigating]. 

    A few years ago, I had an animal control officer tell me that she "hoped the animals kept coming in because it was job security" for her. 

    One of our own volunteers recently told me that spay/neuter prior to adoption "wasn't helpful". (Our local facilities rely on adopters to comply with s/n/rabies law).

    A shelter employee complained to me that she had to drive "all the way to (a city 15 miles away)" for the holiday party; Same employee refused to allow an adoption return for a dog that was found abandoned a few days later. 

    Last year, a repeat dog fighting offender was finally convicted after 107 dogs were found on his property. Suffice to say that the conviction would have been less likely had agencies other than the local AC not been involved. 

    I'm sure we all have similar experiences but the point I'm trying to illustrate is that many areas are decades behind in animal welfare best practices and the people in authority will never take the initiative to ask for help, attend a No Kill conference or implement life-saving alternatives. And, while I understand donors want to ensure their funds are put to the highest & best use, many grant funders will not support "friends of" type organizations. In many places, it's the "friends of" that are the only No Kill voice. 

    I apologize for the feared this is a conversation that will not end until the killing does. The only way I can think of to simplify my answer to your question about the solution is to say that the "dog catcher" transition may benefit from the "divide and conquer" approach. The No Kill tools are logical and have been proven enough times that objections can be overcome. Force No Kill concepts into the conversation at every opportunity...advertising, legislation, state-required training, prevalent in all phases of animal welfare...perhaps No Kill conferences could be held more frequently in strategic geographic locations and be required training through local governing authorities... perhaps funding for No Kill training in strategic geographic locations as many municipal agencies will not cover the cost for staff or volunteers...

    The transformation will not come soon enough for this audience but, eventually, those who are hindering our progress because of their ignorance and apathy will come to see that No Kill is not optional. <3




  • 7.  RE: Why are there so many FaceBook cross postings for animals?

    Posted 02-02-2019 05:00 AM

    Solutions begin with collaboration and that is not an easy word to implement into action for some people - - not just in the rescue world.  The other word is accountability ... ie shelter animaks count.  I'm with PAAS in Vinita, Oklahoma,  We're a transfer, Pets for Life....soon to be spay/neuter clinic operation.  We began out-of-state transfer from desperation.  We now have 25 + Oklahoma municipal shelters/foster-based rescues as partners.  2018 - we transferred 1,500+ to Dumb Friends League and "fixed" 1,000+ pets in our area.  Following an agreed upon set of rules is the first big challenge.  Not everyone chooses to do that to save lives - - which is frustrating to me.  The animals have no voice - - we are their voice - - and they want a home.  

    Had we not become a transfer station, we would have faced massive euthanasia - - and it would have been ongoing.  The Pets for Life program changed the mindset of area veterinarians who were resistent to "spay/neuter clinics".....they're now our biggest supporters.   

    When some people say they "won't/can't work with an organization because they don't agree with everything they do - - my response is "I don't agree with everything my family does....sometimes I've discovered I don't agree with what I said last year ... but I meet in the middle with my family (and hope they'll do the same with me) - - - as for changing my mind - - I've done a lot of that and wonderful things have been accomplished.  "We've always done it that way" will stop the fastest moving train and the best rescue program


  • 8.  RE: Why are there so many FaceBook cross postings for animals?

    Posted 02-03-2019 03:53 PM

    Thank you so much Kay not only for your response but for the amazing you have done to save so many lives.   How does a Transfer operation work? 



  • 9.  RE: Why are there so many FaceBook cross postings for animals?

    Posted 02-04-2019 04:42 AM

    Terri - - we have 15+  Oklahoma municipal shelter/rescue partners.  They come in a rotational basis for transport every Tuesday night to Dumb Friends League in Colorado.  Dumb Friends League (DFL) sets the protocols and everyone follows them.  We're a Colorado PACFA certified organization.    Here's a video that captures the magic of what we do.  Since late 2015 - 4,000+ dogs (some cats) have made the trip.  2018 - we saved 1,500 who made the trip.The average length of stay at DFL before adoption is 4.5 days.    Our PAAS Vinita Facebook page will frequently show dogs getting unloaded - and then learn they were adopted before their picture made on the DFL website.  Here's a video done by the Denver Post about our program.  It's been amazing/rewarding/and truly a life saver for homeless Oklahoma pets.



  • 10.  RE: Why are there so many FaceBook cross postings for animals?

    Posted 02-04-2019 12:24 PM

    This is amazing! How wonderful to know that something so simple as moving the dogs and cats to Colorado can save so many lives.  (Note: I am sure it was a simple process to make it happen.)  Thank you to all who are involved. 


  • 11.  RE: Why are there so many FaceBook cross postings for animals?

    Posted 02-04-2019 03:10 PM

    What an inspirational story!  Just goes to show that where there are big hearts with determination and energy, everything is possible.  Thank you for giving the dogs (and cats) wonderful new lives.  



  • 12.  RE: Why are there so many FaceBook cross postings for animals?

    Posted 02-05-2019 03:00 PM

  • 13.  RE: Why are there so many FaceBook cross postings for animals?

    Posted 02-02-2019 07:15 AM

    From what I know, there are shelters who post these share the animals for which they need help. The goal is for *rescues* (groups with more foster homes, specialized skills, etc., not individuals thousands of miles away) to pick which animals they can work with and arrange for an agency transfer. I used to think that these are some type of emotional blackmail postings, but I learned that I was quite wrong. Last year, I attended a presentation by NYC-ACC (New York City Animal Care and Control). They are a large open-door (with 24/7 intake) municipal agency.  NYC-ACC puts out their urgent lists every night as a tool to quickly communicate with other groups. And, from what the presenter said, these postings have contributed to increasing live outcomes considerably. The shelter requires that animals go to qualified rescues, from what I recall. 

    On Facebook, I often see that people indiscriminantly share these posts out of region, and thereby add to this sense of urgency and crisis. I am not convinced that is a very useful choice. On the other hand, I have also seen dog friends share breed-specific requests to reach people in their network. 


  • 14.  RE: Why are there so many FaceBook cross postings for animals?

    Posted 02-02-2019 10:32 AM

    Thank you so much Steffi.  From what I am learning, these posts do help, but because of so many cross postings it causes a lot of noise which MIGHT cancel out some good results.  If you find more information or people who might have more information please send my way.   I am working on this project for a foundation who wants to help reduce the noise and insure all of the animals posted find safe homes.