Animal Welfare Professionals

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  • 1.  Shelter Overcrowding

    Posted 09-15-2022 05:42 PM
    Hey Friends,

     I know that this topic is common and an issue we are all dealing with no matter if you work in the shelter, private vet practice, corporate owned vet practice, volunteer or a person who has started a rescue. We all have dealt with and/or are dealing with overcrowding in some capacity.  I often times rack my brain trying to figure out ways to solve this issue. I often wonder if the answer is to hire more staff, pay more, offer more resources and programs, advertise and market more. As I was spending time thinking about the issues some of the shelters here in Atlanta face I started to realize that maybe if we started to advertise to the communities that the animals come from then we may have better luck with clearing the shelters. I will take the time to explain why I feel this way but  I will warn you this may be one of those things that people are afraid to talk about.

    In the shelters in/around the Atlanta area the shelters are overcrowded and mostly full of pitbulls. Most of the pitbulls in the shelter have cropped ears and tails that have been docked through some kind of "home remedy" and if I am being honest it makes these dogs look less than appealing because pitties are associated with aggressive behavior and having those alterations only feds into that stereotype. We all know that pitbulls are most commonly associated with black men and majority of the pitbulls that are in the shelter come from black communities or what some may refer to as the hood or the ghetto.  What I have noticed is that the animals come from the black communities however that is not really where the shelters offer resources and education so the cycle continues. Animal control gets a call, they out to the scene and confiscate the dog and then the owner just gets another one. 

    I have often wondered why is here very little education and resources offered in the black community and other communities that are underserved ? if the shelters are filling up with animals from these communities wouldn't it make sense to go back into those areas and offer help and resources so that we can get the animals out of the shelters and back into the communities that they came from? Wouldn't it be better to offer these communities help and resources so that they can keep their animals in their homes.   I have noticed that sometimes organizations tend to look down on people who come from these communities instead of embracing them and pouring resources into those communities so that those same people can come in and not only help us clear the shelters but help keep them clear because they have been given education and resources to be able to do better because they know better. 

    I think of this often because from my experience here in this area that the rescue and other organizations tend to only advertise and market to certain types of people who live in more financially stable areas instead of to the people who really need their help. This is just my perspective and my opinion based on my experience. I look forward to hearing everyone's thought's on this.

    Marissa Reid
    Assistant Practice Manager
    Blue Pearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital

    Access To Care Specialist
    Clinic Management Specialist

  • 2.  RE: Shelter Overcrowding

    Posted 09-16-2022 07:35 AM
    Beautifully stated Marissa, and I agree with you that this is at the heart of so many of the challenges facing the Animal Welfare community. 

    Until we find some meaningful ways to shift our attitudes and our behaviors toward communities who have historically been invisible to sheltering organizations we will continue to struggle to optimize the well-being safety of the animals we care about. 

    Becky Stuntebeck
    UCD Koret Shelter Medicine Program