Sarah McLachlan can’t watch her ASPCA ads: ‘it just kills me’

My Facebook feed is full of bittersweet stories of animals who were abandoned and abused but go on to live wonderful lives with humans who spoil and adore them. My friends and especially family just love animals. I also subscribe to some “save these animals from euthanasia” pages because somehow I think I might be able to help. So as an animal lover it’s excruciatingly hard for me watch those ASPCA commercials starring Canadian singer Sarah McLachlan. Those sweet cats and dogs, some with visible injuries, look up at you from their shelter cages with their sad hopeful eyes and you just want to cuddle, bathe and feed them. You wonder which ones made it out alive as the music swells. Did that German Shepherd get to sit at someone’s feet by a roaring fire or did he live out his short life in the cold, sterile environment of the local shelter?

In order to save you from bawling during what should be a happy holiday season, I’m not going to embed any of the videos here or mention the song lyrics. If you want to see them, links follow. The one you’re thinking of came out in 2006 and two others which came out in 2008.

It turns out that Sarah McLachlan can’t watch the videos either. In a recent interview with Makers, she said that she doesn’t watch them, but that she often gets recognized for starring in the PSAs, particularly when they were in circulation.

On the ASPCA videos making her famous
I got a whole new audience out of it. I swear I’d be at Target in like Missouri at 10 o’clock at night and I’d be going down the aisle and these two little old ladies would be like ‘are you that dog lady? I love your song.’ Daily this would happen.

How she joined the cause
A friend of mine was on the board of the ASPCA and said ‘he would you mind doing a PSA for us?’ I was free that week… I love animals.

She can’t watch the ads
I have to say it was brutal doing those ads because can you just be a little sadder… it works like a hot damn those ads generated over $30 million dollars for the ASPCA… but I can’t watch them it just kills me.

[From video on Makers, via Jezebel]

I don’t blame her – those videos are so rough to watch. It’s worth noting that the ASPCA is not affiliated with the local SPCA shelters and is instead a separate organization. I tried to research whether ASPCA does good work and I found a lot of animal activist pages saying they suck and do euthanize animals, so I’ll just quote CharityNavigator, which is a neutral charity rating site. They give them an overall rating of 82%, which isn’t bad.

One of my resolutions for next year is to give back to my community, and since I love dogs and can’t get one (I want a dog so badly but I travel too much) I am considering volunteering at the local shelter as a dog walker. I’m worried that I’ll hate the fact that I’m not doing enough to save these sweet animals in need of homes. I’ll never know unless I try, right? Is it stupid to walk dogs when I’m probably just going to adopt one? I’m so looking for an excuse to get a dog.


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102 Responses to “Sarah McLachlan can’t watch her ASPCA ads: ‘it just kills me’”

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  1. JustJen says:

    I can’t watch them either. Nonetheless, one ALWAYS pops up on the TV in front of my elliptical at the gym. I just try to focus on something weird..usually someone in ill fitting spandex is nearby.

    • antipodean says:

      Ill fitting spandex at the gym is a great distraction/entertainment, I find that too, ha ha.

      • ItHappenedOneNight says:

        Haha! Yes! Flying below the radar is my MO too! I also know that SOMEone there is also making a mental note about how “unfortunate” I look! LOL!

    • ItHappenedOneNight says:

      You’re welcome! While I try to avoid spandex all together at the gym, I guarantee that I have been one of the weird ones that you’re concentrating on. I am shameless in my gym attire. It’s my ONE hour to not give a sh*t! LOL! =D

      • antipodean says:

        I have to confess that my own gym attire leaves a lot to be desired, in that I am the one in the baggy t-shirt, and stretchy capri pants. Cutting edge I am not, nor however am I doused in perfume/after shave, and talking loudly on my phone, so I guess most people wouldn’t even notice me, which is entirely how I like it. Nice to meet a fellow gym rat, ItHappenedOneNight.

    • Ol cranky says:

      I read a study somewhere in which it was determined those sad ads may get ASPCA a lot of donations but they actually don’t help shelter/rescue dogs. Instead, they perpetuate a belief that shelter/rescue pets are sad and depressed, and then people can’t bear to have to face such a sad looking animal. I cringe every time someone decides to comment on a pic of one of our adoptables that the dog is sad or looks sad or it’s so sad the dog is in rescue. Those comments put the wrong idea into the head of some potential adopters

      • lunchcoma says:

        That’s a great point. My cats were both from fosters – a formerly feral kitten and an adult cat who used to live with another family – but they were both presented as being happy, well-adjusted animals even though I learned that the older pet has a bit of a sob story. I’m glad I saw the other side of that cat first, because he’s a happy, energetic, bouncy creature. I don’t know if I would have been scared off by a depressing story or not, but I think anticipating a sad animal in need of healing would have really given me the wrong set of expectations.

  2. Jane says:

    I have to admit I cry every time I hear that song now just because I see sad faces of dogs and cats in my imagination. It’s rough….

  3. antipodean says:

    Oh, Celebitchy, you have a mushy heart like me. I fall to bits every time I hear that beautiful song, Arms of the Angels, and you see those huge sad eyes looking up at you. It just breaks my heart. I have to look away. Unfortunately Mr Antipodean is allergic to all animals, really, he swells up and can’t breath, otherwise I would have every one of those fur babies under my wing. It doesn’t help that they played that song constantly after 9/11, it still has those connotations for me too, as does The Cars, “Who’s Gonna Drive Me Home” which they played for Live Aid, and will forever be associated with that in my mind. The power of music, and what it can evoke, is astounding.

    • V4Real says:

      “The power of music, and what it can evoke, is astounding.”

      Yep I agree. In my head I changed the theme song from Sarah’s “Arms of an Angle” to “I want to know what Love is by Foreigner. Or the Mariah Carey version will do as well. I sing this song to my Husky and kitten. Because of me and my family they truly know what love is and I wish the rest of the animals knew what it was as well.

    • Antonym says:

      @antipodean – Has your husband tried being around poodles? They’re hypoallergenic amongst other great qualities (smart, loyal, sweet….) and come in all sizes. My local shelter hasn’t had any poodles when I’ve been there so it may not be feasible to rescue one, but if you’re looking for a furbaby minus allergies it might be worth a try. My little guy was from the litter of a family friend so I didn’t have to worry about puppy mills, I knew where he was coming from.

  4. jugstorecowboy says:

    Try the dog walking! My husband did it when he was stationed away from our family a few years ago and those dogs were so happy.

    • Celebitchy says:

      Ok I will do it! Thanks for the encouragement. I love dogs.

      • saxamaphone357 says:

        My local shelter has a guy that comes in and walks the dogs, and he’ll just sit with them for hours as well. They really need that love and attention. I just started fostering kittens myself, I am on my second group. It’s hard to give them back but very rewarding when you see them getting adopted into a loving home. Anything you can do for a shelter animal is better than doing nothing! I hope you are able to do it!

      • Rachel says:

        CB I walked dogs for over a year at the humane society. I moved farther away, so it’s not as easy to get in now, but sometimes, I’ll go in just to visit and dole out treats. It can be very hard, but mostly, the dogs are so happy about getting out of their cages. Make sure they give you a thorough training session. The place where I volunteered is so overwhelmed, there was NO orientation. They didn’t even tell me where the leashes and collars were! And if they don’t have any harnesses, it’s worth it to stop and buy a couple in different sizes. Some of those dogs have never been on a leash before, or there have been abuse issues, and you can’t put a collar on the dog.

      • ktkntr says:

        Yes, walk the dogs! Our local shelter has too many dog walker volunteers, so a few times this summer I took my kids to a rescue that needed the help. It was great for me, the kids, and the dogs of course!
        Also, it may not be an option where you live, but there are several rural boarding businesses in my area that seem like a great place for a dog to spend a period of time. Lots of opportunities for the dogs to roam and play. The cost would add up quickly but if I wanted a dog in that situation I think it’d be worth it!

      • ISO says:

        I walked “pound” dogs until I owned my own house at age 45. It really was the best thing for those dogs to get socialized and out in the fresh air, plus it was my exercise. I love this site because I’m such a shelter animal person. I have one FLD (funny looking dog) and one hunting dog who was relinquished because she couldn’t’ abide guns, plus we adopted a burley black senior cat. The loves of my life besides my kiddo! Walking shelter dogs is the -best- way to be part of the solution until you can fully bring home one ( or two) of those babies!!

  5. wolfie says:

    A week ago, I walked in on the commercial, and my 23 year old son was weeping while watching – I love that he is so tender…

  6. lowercaselois says:

    I can’t watch them either. I have a rescue dog and I start thinking about what might have been for him. Best dog I ever had.

    • V4Real says:

      Those commercials are hard to watch and yes I happily give them my money every month. Though I hate that they have to euthanize hard to place dogs. I also donate to Pit Bulls and Parolees. It’s own by Tia Torres and her family in New Orleans and they rescue dogs as well as give parolees a chance at employment. She has over three hundred dogs mostly Pit Bulls. I like her a bit more than the ASPCA because she will not euthanize a dog right away. If a dog seems to be a bit aggressive the ASPCA will euthanize them within three days. Tia gives them a much longer chance because she said three days are not enough to fully give the dog a chance. She has had this one aggressive Pit Bull for three months and she is not ready to put her down as of yet. Her show is on Animal Planet, you guys should check it out.

      • mayamae says:

        I watch Pit Bulls and Parolees too, and pit bulls/Am staffs are my breed of choice. But Tia’s charity has drawbacks as well. Unlike shelters like Best Friends Dogtown, Tia’s dogs live one dog per run. I think it feeds into the misconception that pit bulls are all dog aggressive and cannot get along with other dogs. Dogtown took what were deemed the worst of the Vick pit bulls and nurtured them into loving pets that lived in groups. One of their dogs was mandated by the court to never be adopted out, and even she became a loving and gentle animal. I work in a shelter which gets all its dogs from county shelter death rows. It’s a wonderful place, but there are a few dogs who’ve been there for years. I’m not sure if living your life in a dog run is preferable to death. It probably depends on the dog, but Tia has scores of dogs that have been there for years.

      • V4Real says:

        I’m sure if we looked deeper all dog rescue places have their drawbacks, nothing is 100 percent perfect.
        But I think it’s better than the alternative and I do believe she allows some of her dogs to socialize with others. How else does she know which dogs get along with others. When adoption prospects come along she tries to bring out the pits that socialize well with other dogs if the prospects have other pets. So they might not all be kept in one group but she does socialize them here and there. Also we only see so much on the show and online. And yes she has dogs that she has had for years because she doesn’t feel like death is a better option. If they are healthy dogs, neither do I.

      • mayamae says:

        V4Real, it’s a very complicated question – life in a cage/dog run versus death. There’s one dog in the shelter I volunteer at. He’s been there for years. I call him “institutionalized”. I really think if he were to be adopted it would stress him terribly. He knows the drill and seems to be perfectly content. But he’s also very sensitive to stress, and every time there is a change in the dog population in his room, he gets agitated, especially if there’s some high energy barkers in the group. Obviously, I lean towards life is preferable to death (otherwise I wouldn’t volunteer), but seeing it day after day makes me question it sometimes. And my shelter is a life of luxury compared to county shelters. I live in Georgia, and in some of the Southern Georgia county shelters, dogs are fed en masse. They have to fight for what they get, and if you’re smaller or weaker you’re SOL. They also hose down their runs with bleach while the dogs are in them, leading to ulcers on their feet. Rescue is not for the faint of heart.

    • Jib says:

      I’ve run a dog rescue for 8 years now. I used to be more active, but it takes its toll, financially and especially emotionally. I have 5 of my “rejects” forever. 5 out of 3000 dogs and puppies I’ve brought up isn’t bad. They were all from high kill southern shelters and the stories I’ve heard and saw still keep me up at night.

      Going to spend time with shelter dogs, take pictures, etc., is a great idea. I know the shelter in Henry Co, Georgia is overwhelmed, and could use someone to go in and take pics and spend time with the dogs. They need exposure, as they still kill often, as does Columbus County, Georgia. You can friend them on Facebook.

  7. Dawn says:

    Nope I can’t watch it. I get half way through and I too have to turn the channel. It is all too sad.

  8. bluhare says:

    Me too. And I used to volunteer at an organization that routinely rescued animals from horrible abuse. And yes, I adopted a lot of animals while I was there. 🙂

    What I try to focus on is those animals are the lucky ones. They’ve been rescued; they aren’t being abused any more and someone probably adopted them!

  9. Bearcat Lawyer says:

    There are very good reasons people do not like groups like the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the U.S., and PETA. They raise millions of dollars each year that NEVER help abused or neglected animals. Sarah’s ASPCA ad gives me a rage stroke every time I see it because virtually none of the money you donate will ever make it to a local SPCA shelter!

    These groups also encourage dangerous practices like humane relocation, which is the process of transporting animals across state and national borders to perpetuate the myth that all shelters are overcrowded and ensure potential adopters have a wide selection of animals to choose from. Since the U.S. had relatively lax animal transport laws (Hawaii being a notable exception as it has a mandatory quarantine period), sick dogs and cats have unnecessarily spread illness and put innocent people and animals at risk. Just recently it was revealed that a rescue group imported a rabid dog from Egypt to New Jersey (via NYC) using false vaccination paperwork. Dozens of humans and animals in NY and NJ who had come into contact with the animal had to be informed, and several people underwent rabies treatment.

    So I do not care what Charity Navigator or Guidestar says. I will never donate one penny to the ASPCA and wish celebrities would educated themselves about what it, H$U$, and PETA *really* hope to achieve – namely an end to all animal ownership.

    • V4Real says:

      Wow, that’s interesting. I have my doubts about the ASPCA as well as I said above. They euthanize their dogs too soon. Try Pitt Bulls and Parolees, my favorite place to donate.

      • mayamae says:

        But do they really euthanize their dogs too soon? One thing I really appreciate about the ASPCA is the in depth testing they do before adopting out their dogs. They check for food aggression, fear of loud noises and children, etc. These are things your average shelter just doesn’t do. ASPCA has dog behaviorists on staff and they give excellent medical care. On one episode of the ASPCA show, the ASPCA cops responded to a scene in which a dog had been left chained to a chain link fence. The chain was so short the dog couldn’t lay down, and it had all but starved to death. When they were examining the dog, it gasped, and you would have thought they were treating a human. They cut the dog loose and raced to the hospital. They did a full-blown code on that dog. The ASPCA also has humane agents who have the authority of cops, and who do undercover work in dog fighting rings.

      • V4Real says:

        I’m talking about dogs that they deem aggressive. If they receive what they call an aggressive dog after three days they determine that the dog is too hostile. I don’t think they take into account that the dog might just be scared or untrusting due to what it has been through.

        I donate to the ASPCA but I have my doubts about them for reasons that others on here have already stated. I’m not saying they don’t do any good but they are not perfect either.

      • mayamae says:

        I get what you’re saying. The true problem is pet overpopulation, which is being called a myth by some in this thread.

      • Bearcat Lawyer says:

        @mayamae, again the information provided by shelter and rescue operations in the U.S. themselves proves that the U.S. has a shortage of ADOPTABLE animals. There are plenty of *unadoptable* animals who are sadly warehoused for years on end or euthanized. Rescues and shelters resort to practices like humane relocation and importation of foreign animals to meet the demands of adopters. There has also been a well-documented rise in “retail rescue” operations, groups that hold themselves out as nonprofits or charities devoted to rescuing and rehoming animals but are really in the business of selling shelter dogs and cats and cats and dogs that are retired from mills by charging outrageous “adoption fees.”

        One more time: my issue with the ASPCA and other national charities like it is that they routinely use images of abused and neglected animals and strongly imply in their donation solicitations that they are deeply involved in the provision of direct care to these animals when the FACTS show that they are NOT spending their money on fostering, shelters, veterinary care, or rehoming services. PETA operates exactly ONE so-called “shelter” in the U.S., a facility which EVERY YEAR has historically euthanized nearly 90% of the animals it takes in. The remaining “lucky” ones are transferred to other shelters or rescues not owned, operated, or funded by PETA for care and rehoming. That does not sound like terribly ethical treatment of animals to me, and it angers me that their marketing manipulates people into donating money that could be better spent by rescues and shelters which actually do the hard work of helping unwanted animals build happy new lives with forever families.

    • KB says:

      They transport animals from Texas to Colorado for adoption quite a bit. Are you saying that’s bad? I always heard Texas had too many strays and they’d actually find homes in Colorado.

      • jugstorecowboy says:

        Yeah, I’m in MN and our shelter dog came from Kentucky. And my husband did his dog-walking in San Antonio where there were tons of stray dogs everywhere. According to the shelter, the warmer weather and less-frequent sterilization in the South makes for more strays. Bringing them to northern states to be adopted isn’t even close to bringing them in from Egypt.

      • Bearcat Lawyer says:

        Groups like the ASPCA, H$U$, and PETA like to claim that we have a pet overpopulation problem. We don’t. We have an UNADOPTABLE pet overpopulation problem. Some abused, neglected, or stray animals are simply not capable of being socialized and trained reliably enough to be rehomed. Sadly euthanasia is really the only option for these poor souls.

        Humane relocation is one of the many ways they continue to push this myth because it keeps shelters and rescues that would not ordinarily have enough animals look full and allows them to cajole people into donating and adopting by arguing that unless someone helps out, these poor little animals will have to be euthanized. But some of those animals should not be adopted out at all. I used to be a rescue coordinator and had to make the sad decision to end some dogs’ lives because it was too risky to find new families to care for them. Our insurance required me to euthanize any dog that had bitten another dog or human and displayed aggressive behaviors because of the risk that we could be sued if the animal attacked after being adopted out. But many shelters just keep transferring the same unadoptable animals back and forth for years to keep up the appearance that shelters are overcrowded and to play on people’s sympathies.

        It is particularly harmful when they swoop in after natural disasters and relocate dozens of “abandoned” pets to faraway places to fill shelters that otherwise would not have adoptable animals. So many legitimate owners have lost their beloved family members in situations like this, and when they find them put up for adoption or adopted out elsewhere, it is virtually impossible for them to get the animals back. PETA is also notorious for “rescuing” animals just hanging out in their yards or on their porches – animals who are well loved and NOT being abused or neglected – only to summarily euthanize them. Since most states consider animals as property and do not allow compensation for emotional attachment, the rightful owners get screwed while these “rescuers” get off scot-free.

        Read online all about their real agendas as well as the appalling salaries their “nonprofit” employees receive. The ASPCA are great marketers. They just are not very good at taking care of unwanted animals.

      • mayamae says:

        Bearcat Lawyer, I’m not sure where you live, but in the world most of us live in there is a huge over population of dogs and cats, and shelters are bulging at the seams. Millions of animals are euthanized yearly, and those aren’t phantom numbers. I volunteer at a shelter with animals exclusively picked from county shelter death rows. Unlike your suggestion that the animals euthanized are unadoptable, here are the facts: death rows are populated with newborn puppies, pregnant females, and dogs with treatable issues like URIs and heart worm. And the vast majority put to death are wagging their tails as they’re dying. They are not aggressive and unadoptable.

      • Bearcat Lawyer says:

        @mayamae, I do not doubt that what you describe is accurate in some parts of the U.S. But the dirty little secret that some shelters and rescues take great pains to hide is that they are “bulging at the seams” because they choose to be. They euthanize possibly adoptable animals because it is easier than doing the hard, tedious work of educating people about low cost spay/neuter services, encouraging responsible pet ownership and proper veterinary care, marketing animals to potential adopters, and rehoming dogs in loving, safe, and appropriate homes.

        For example, North Shore Animal League in Long Island, NY, is notorious for bringing in animals from all over the U.S. and overseas because they have many more adopters than adoptable animals that are surrendered or abandoned. Time and time again, NSAL publicizes a major adopt-a-thon or similar event – often coinciding with some crisis or natural disaster – while glossing over the fact that they would not have animals available for adoption if they did not bring them to Long Island. PETA is another organization which allegedly operates a shelter – a facility that EVERY YEAR euthanizes nearly 90% of the animals it takes in and rehomes almost none itself (preferring to transfer animals to other organizations unaffiliated with PETA for fostering, vet care, and rehoming).

        To make matters worse, some shelters refuse to work with competent rescue organizations which could easily reduce the number of animals that are warehoused or euthanized. When I was the local Cavalier rescue coordinator, both the local SPCA and Humane Society shelters told me bluntly that they would never release a Cavalier to our nonprofit unless MAYBE it was severely injured or near death anyway. Being able to advertise that they had Cavaliers on and their websites was far more valuable to them than the health and long-term wellbeing of the animals because they could get more potential donors and adopters into their facilities and keep all the adoption fees for themselves. In all the years I was the local rescue coordinator, NOT ONCE did any of the privately run shelters ever contact me about helping them to rehome a Cavalier. Fortunately, many of the city and county shelters were quick to call me because they knew our group would take good care of any Cavaliers they released to us and it freed up spaces for other animals. I heard similar stories from other local rescue groups for “desirable” breeds like Golden Retrievers or Yorkies. These private shelters simply did not care if they were overcrowded with animals that could be used to attract adopters or donations.

    • Guest1 says:

      I fail to see the outrage on transporting animals from state to state. The possibility that a sick animal could potentially make humans sick is no greater than a human getting another human sick. Volunteers who drive animals is limited, thousands of humans travel inside and outside the country. I think the higher risk of diseases is obvious. I’m not minimizing your rabbit story but what are the probabilities of that happening in each and every animal transportation?

      • Bearcat Lawyer says:

        No one knows what the probabilities are because there is no national tracking of relocation. But over the years there have been horrible cases of animals being transported en masse and getting infected and dying from preventable diseases like parvo or distemper because vaccinations either were not done, incomplete, or flat out falsified. Moving animals around before their health status is confirmed and they are fully and properly vaccinated against preventable infectious diseases increases the risk that innocent animals and humans suffer.

        It can also have terrible effects on the ecosystem. Brucellosis is just one infection that may have little, if any, obvious effects on the carrier but causes sterilization. It is transferred to live and grow in the soil when infected animals pee and poop. Other animals, like birds, in turn can become infected and die out. And so on. The brucellosis test costs about $85 per animal and takes at least three days for a definitive result. Most rescues and shelters do not test or quarantine for it, but an infected animal can pass it on easily in a confined environment and once the bacteria gets in the ground, it can be impossible to get rid of it.

        Sorry, but I cannot be convinced that humane relocation is worth it.

      • Guest1 says:

        “Sorry, but I cannot be convinced that humane relocation is worth it.”

        And for that, I’m thankful you don’t have a say in it, as far as legislation goes.

        You’re seriously jumping to conclusions. We both are. I don’t see the harm because I don’t have proof of one of these medical outbreaks you seem so concerned about. You also don’t have proof but choose to be inclined in the probability that humans are in danger.

        I’m so thankful for selfless people who go out of their way to transport animals from high kill shelters to a shelter where they might have the chance to be placed in a loving home and a chance at life. All living beings deserve that opportunity. I will continue to support such activities and when I see evidence of danger I’ll make sure to properly lobby for evaluation and if needed restrictions for said dangers.

      • Guest1 says:

        I clicked on the links. Four times in eleven years? Wow, you’re absolutely right. It is an epidemic. Again, we’re talking about from state to state. You’re talking about importing. Such a false equivalency.

        I can post links of humans traveling abroad and spreading diseases but that’ll hardly convince anyone to ban traveling.

    • Ox says:

      I have to disagree about the HSUS. Having worked there I can make very positive comments about the love and commitment they have for animal welfare. They are the ones lobbying Congress to make animal abuse a felony in all 50 states. They are the ones providing their members with information on the latest laws in their states, and organising grass roots campaigns to raise awareness for animal abuse and neglect issues. They also mobilize rescue operations in communities hit by disasters. Please know that they are extremely compassionate people working on issues involving laws and large scale operations to help end the suffering of all animals. 🙂

      • Bearcat Lawyer says:

        I certainly question their ads using Sarah which strongly imply that H$U$ is financially supporting shelters and providing direct care for abused, neglected, and stray animals. The reality is that donations made to H$U$ are NOT going to support local humane societies and their rescue operations.

        I strongly encourage people to donate directly to local shelters and rescue groups as well as organizations that provide free or low-cost vet care and spay-neuter services. There are many reputable smaller charities that do not have the money or profile to attract celebrities to their causes but do amazing work on their minuscule budgets.

      • mayamae says:

        Sarah’s ads are for the ASPCA, not HSUS. So the HSUS should not be held responsible for what Sarah’s ads imply.

    • Guest1 says:


      I too am from San Antonio. Texas has an epidemic of stray animals, unfortunately. The local shelters can barely contain the amount of animals being dropped off. I don’t know where people like Bearclaw think that it is a “myth” that shelters are overflowed and need help moving these animals to non kill shelters. I have witnessed it personally. One story about a rabbit from Egypt being transported to NYC shouldn’t be the determination of hundreds and thousands of animals. Of all conspiracies. I only hope that this false outrage doesn’t mislead someone with well intentions. Lord knows your local animal shelters need all the help they can get and someone spreading fear with no factual basis can’t possibly help any.

      • Bearcat Lawyer says:

        The available statistics prove that shelters and rescues are IMPORTING strays and unwanted animals from other countries to meet the demand for ADOPTABLE animals here. If shelters and rescues were truly overwhelmed with animals which could be successfully rehomed, there would simply be no need to bring in animals from other countries.

        I live in Houston. I see plenty of stray dogs and feral cats everywhere. The local animal control shelter and other privately run shelters ARE overflowing – overrun with animals NO ONE WANTS or which cannot be adopted out due to infectious diseases like parvo or distemper – which is why they are routinely euthanized.

        Unless and until there are better laws in place governing when and how animals can be imported into the U.S. or moved from state to state, I stand by my statement that humane relocation is unwise.

        I never said people should not support their local animal shelters. In fact, in one of my earlier comments (see above) I encourage people NOT to be swayed by the ASPCA’s sappy ads and donate to H$U$. Instead I specifically said people should investigate and support local shelters and rescues who do the heavy lifting of rescuing and rehoming animals on shoestring budgets.

      • mayamae says:

        I used to watch a show that followed an SPCA in Texas and I had to stop. Due to lack of funds, they would euthanize injured animals at the scene. They also talked a lot about the fact that Texas has a horrible problem with road-side zoos and unregulated big cat ownership. The only thing nice I can say is they had a beautiful stable, and gave excellent care to horses. In retrospect, they obviously prioritized the horses and probably funneled funds from cats/dogs.

      • Guest1 says:

        @ Mayame
        Unfortunately that is a harsh reality which is one of the many reasons people volunteer to transport animals to another state at a non kill shelter. So I impose this question on people… If you’re not going to fund national organizations and you’re against animal transportation then what exactly are you doing to help the cause? Other than spreading fear and misinformation, of course.

      • mayamae says:

        Guest1, it’s a conundrum, and I’m not sure what’s motivating the person spreading the fear and misinformation.

      • KB says:

        @bearcat I’m a bit shocked you’re in Houston. I honestly figured you were from a state or city that didn’t have the kind of overpopulation problem we have in Houston. Are you saying that overpopulation of shelters is a myth? I don’t see how you could live in Houston and believe that.

        And feral cats and aggressive dogs are not routinely being caught and taken in to shelters. Do you know how difficult it is to catch those kinds of animals? And when they are taken in, the ones that aren’t adoptable are taken by people working with a sanctuary or put down.

      • Bearcat Lawyer says:

        @mayamae, I do not doubt that what you describe is accurate in some parts of the U.S. But the dirty little secret that some shelters and rescues take great pains to hide is that they are “bulging at the seams” because they choose to be. They euthanize possibly adoptable animals because it is easier than doing the hard, tedious work of educating people about low cost spay/neuter services, encouraging responsible pet ownership and proper veterinary care, marketing animals to potential adopters, and rehoming dogs in loving, safe, and appropriate homes.

        For example, North Shore Animal League in Long Island, NY, is notorious for bringing in animals from all over the U.S. and overseas because they have many more adopters than adoptable animals that are surrendered or abandoned. Time and time again, NSAL publicizes a major adopt-a-thon or similar event – often coinciding with some crisis or natural disaster – while glossing over the fact that they would not have animals available for adoption if they did not bring them to Long Island. PETA is another organization which allegedly operates a shelter – a facility that EVERY YEAR euthanizes nearly 90% of the animals it takes in and rehomes almost none itself (preferring to transfer animals to other organizations unaffiliated with PETA for fostering, vet care, and rehoming).

        To make matters worse, some shelters refuse to work with competent rescue organizations which could easily reduce the number of animals that are warehoused or euthanized. When I was the local Cavalier rescue coordinator, both the local SPCA and Humane Society shelters told me bluntly that they would never release a Cavalier to our nonprofit unless MAYBE it was severely injured or near death anyway. Being able to advertise that they had Cavaliers on and their websites was far more valuable to them than the health and long-term wellbeing of the animals because they could get more potential donors and adopters into their facilities and keep all the adoption fees for themselves. In all the years I was the local rescue coordinator, NOT ONCE did any of the privately run shelters ever contact me about helping them to rehome a Cavalier. Fortunately, many of the city and county shelters were quick to call me because they knew our group would take good care of any Cavaliers they released to us and it freed up spaces for other animals. I heard similar stories from other local rescue groups for “desirable” breeds like Golden Retrievers or Yorkies. These private shelters simply did not care if they were overcrowded with animals that could be used to attract adopters or donations.

      • Bearcat Lawyer says:

        @Guest1 and @mayamae – I am sorry if you feel that I am spreading “fear and misinformation.” That is certainly not my intention. Rather, I am merely providing CB readers with more information about the politics and complexities of helping abused, neglected, stray, and abandoned animals than the ASPCA’s ads could ever hope to convey.

        Personally, I think people should be more concerned about animal charities that pay their executives six and seven figure salaries and seem more interested in hosting splashy celebrity-laden events instead of passing on donations to shelters and rescues that could really use the money to save some animals’ lives. I think people should be worried about whether animals that have not been properly vaccinated or are carrying communicable infectious diseases or dangerous parasites are being introduced into their communities when they do not have to be. I believe people who genuinely love and care about animals should work to end unnecessary euthanasia, increase spay/neuter rates and adoptions, expand low-cost veterinary services, enact tougher animal cruelty and neglect laws, and generally improve the quality of life for animals.

        So I guess we will just have to agree to disagree.

      • mayamae says:

        @Bearcat Lawyer, I think our discussion reveals that we’re both passionate about animals, and it’s a shame to be at odds with each other. I’ve just noticed (in my own personal experience) that people involved with breeding tend to be anti-mutt and anti-shelter. It seems very self-serving, and I really feel that breeding compounds the problem, no matter how ethical the breeder thinks they are.

      • Jib says:

        And the dogs I’ve brought north have all been wonderful dogs, yes, they would have been killed while wagging their tails. I’ve also brought up every breed except for Cavaliers, and thousands of lab, collie, chi, golden puppies. What bs is being spouted here.

    • Cat says:

      I have read all of your posts, and you seem like a shill for PETA. Please no one pay attention or heed this poster. Her information is fabricated and her agenda one of death for shelter pets. PETA euthanizes more animals than it saves by far.

    • Ol cranky says:

      thank you for not only knowing but helping to spread the truth!

    • Jib says:

      I’ve brought thousands of dogs from the south to NY. There are no adopters in many southern areas, especially rural ones. When I started in 2007, Greenville, SC had an 87% kill rate of the 21,000 dogs and pups that came in annually. And that was a good one!!! Some had 96% kill rate. Boxes of pure labs brought in because no one would buy them were brought right into the back and put right in the gas chamber because there’s no wait time for owner surrenders. Moving these animals saved their lives. I’d move every single one again.

  10. Vampi says:

    Same. I can’t even watch the GE commercial with the sad, homeless, abused “idea” muppet. Gets to me.

  11. QQ says:

    me Neither! me and my bf studiously mute for the time we think it’ll do and don’t look at the screen while hugging our respective rescues til it’s over LOL

  12. Sam says:

    I appreciate the commercials, but I always feel like they’re addressing a symptom of the problem. They also don’t address the vast majority and most serious of animal abuses, which is the agricultural/meat system.

    Yeah, I know, I’m a wet blanket, but somebody’s gotta say it. Adopting a shelter animal is nice and lovely and cool, and I’m not going throw shade on people who do. Seriously. The issue is that we need far, far better laws that actually restrict breeders. Right now, almost anybody can become a breeder and simply treat the animals however they wish. Now, I am not 100% anti-breeder. Sometimes, a purebred cat might be a necessity (my sister is huge cat lover with serious allergies and a friend who runs an ethical breeding program hooked her up with a Russian Blue, which is hypoallergenic, and they do great). But breeding needs to be seriously restricted.

    We also needs stronger laws when it comes to animal abuse. First, we need stronger sentences. Serious animal abuse needs to result in jail time, even for a short while. We need to send a message that it’s not acceptable. I also support animal abuse registries, similar to those for sex offenders. I favor it because, by and large, most animal abusers will, at some point, escalate to people. Thus, tracking them would probably be helpful for law enforcement and other agencies.

    Now, here’s where I will probably get unpopular. Domestic animals, while they get abused, are not the major targets of abuse. Most pet owners are decent and at least try to care for the animals. The most brutal abuses take place in the meat industry (and the egg and dairy ones too, to some extent, but they’re a topic for another day). If you really, really want to make an impact on animal cruelty, stop eating meat. That’s it. And don’t bother with “happy meat” – Google it sometimes to see how by and large, happy meat isn’t. Besides, even if it is really “happy” during it’s life, it still have to die to feed you before it’s time – which isn’t very nice.

    So, yeah, that will probably make me unpopular. But I feel like it’s important to say. People have a natural affinity for animals, which is why the ads hit home. But people should understand that there’s a ton more you can for animals beyond adopting a single one. And it’s really not that hard to do, very often.

    • Bearcat Lawyer says:

      Responsible breeders are not the problem. Restrictions on breeding only hurt responsible breeding operations as irresponsible ones just pack up and move to a place with less oversight.

      Irresponsible, uneducated owners are a much bigger problem. It’s simple economics. Irresponsible breeders prey on people who want a particular kind of dog or cat RIGHT NOW. They would not create a supply if the demand did not exist.

      • Sam says:

        The problem with that is that even the most responsible of breeders have to do things to survive that are not necessarily great for the animals.

        Breeding is expensive. So for except the wealthiest among them, who can finance the lifestyle themselves, have to sell to stay alive. And selling means compromising. While you may want to only sell to individuals who are best suited to the breed, ultimately, losing a sale can mean losing your business. And make no mistakes, it is a business.

        The other routine problem with breeding animals is that largely, today, breeding is done on grounds of appearance. Do you ever stop to wonder why so many purebreds have notable health issues? That’s not natural, by and large, Breeders today often make their money through shows, and if you want to show animals, you need to breed for appearance to create the most “standard” appearance possible. And that means selecting mates not based upon health, but on looks. Which is why so many breeds now show adverse health effects. My family had a Bengal cat for years, which is a breed that is not naturally occurring that was created for appearance’s sake. But he had a heart condition that is extremely common to the breed, and which emerged because of breeding selectively for appearance over health.

        In addition, you’re not exactly correct about demand driving supply. The breeding industry is fairly notorious for creating demand through things like dog and cat shows. Aren’t you aware that each year, whatever dog breed wins the AKC show experiences a sharp spike in demand? because people watch it and see the most beautiful examples of the breed and want one. And most breeders are happy to sell them. That’s an example of the industry creating it’s own demand through a presumption of exclusivity. It’s like what De Beers did – by basically acting like something is in high demand, you can acting create the demand.

        For me, breeding needs to be heavily restricted. The most effective way would be to curtail the creation of “designer” breeds and to permit breeding for the preservation of naturally occurring breeds (like Russian Blues, which were not bred, they exist on their own in nature). It would also go a great to mandate that animals being sold for non-breeding purposes (so basically as pets) must leave their breeder neutered – that would impose an additional cost that would de-incentive constant breeding.

      • mayamae says:

        Sam, I agree with you. Breeders, even those most “humane”, are definitely part of the problem. And I absolutely detest the belief that an animal’s worth is tied to its perfection – as breeders and dog shows seem to perpetuate. And IMO, breeders could care less who adopts their dogs. Shelters make adopters sign contracts requiring dogs/cats to be returned rather than rehomed or abandoned. Considering the number of full-bred dogs in shelters and breed-specific charities, breeders do not adhere to this standard. I can only assume it’s because they would have to reimburse for the dog, and they are unwilling to do it. And beyond this, breeders slowly destroy a breed as they adhere to ridiculous standards of beauty, including docked tails, cropped ears, and more important issues such as respiratory issues and hip problems.

      • Bearcat Lawyer says:

        I belong to my local AKC Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club. I sometimes show Cavaliers in conformation. I lobby local, state, and national legislators on animal welfare issues on my own time and at my own expense. So, yes, I am well aware of what you are writing about, but I disagree with your arguments.

        Responsible breeders do NOT merely breed for appearance or to win shows. They breed for health, temperament, and structure and because they love their animals and want them to have successful, long lives. They do not breed solely to produce animals for sale, and when they sell animals they have brought into this world, they carefully vet purchasers and protect their offspring from being resold/rehomed, bred, or exhibited in competitions through strict contracts, microchips, and limitations on registrations. The truth of the matter is that NO responsible breeder would ever knowingly allow one of the animals they bred to be surrendered to a rescue or a shelter, and many U.S. based breed clubs require their breeder members to remain responsible for every animal they produce FOR LIFE. Many of the responsible breeders I know LOSE money every year because of careful health testing and selective breeding of their animals. And they will not sell an animal to anyone who has not done their homework or does not appear to understand the responsibilities that come with animal ownership.

        People would do well to steer clear of anyone who turns a profit from animal breeding. Irresponsible breeders cut corners and do not take the same care in producing and raising animals for sale. Those of us who have worked in rescue call these idiots our suppliers. They rush to produce litters of popular or desirable animals for uneducated buyers who think introducing a pet into their lives is the same as going to the mall to buy a new pair of jeans. They want an animal and they want it NOW so they find someone who is willing to sell them one, no questions asked. These producers have no problem dumping their old, sick, or retired animals on shelters or rescues and do not care what their buyers do with the animals. Those purebred animals you see in rescues and shelters do NOT come from responsible breeders who belong to reputable breed clubs. They come from the Amish, animal mills, and large-scale for-profit commercial breeders as well as owners who failed to commit to their animals for life. People like this deserve every bit of your contempt and scorn. (They already have mine.)

        Moreover, every responsible breeder I know has a waiting list of potential buyers, not because they artificially manipulate the market but because breeding, whelping, and preparing a quality animal to be someone’s forever pet takes time and dedication. They want to remain involved with these animals and their forever families for the rest of their lives. They insist that their animals be returned to them at ANY time if the owners cannot take care of them and ensure that they do not end up in a shelter or with a rescue group. Many of them also spend countless hours and donate money to support rescues that help protect and rehome animals bred by irresponsible producers. I know. I was the local Cavalier rescue coordinator for several years. Caring breeders helped me time and time again with raising money, grooming, transportation, medical care, training, and fostering because they love and care about EVERY Cavalier, not just their own. They freely shared their knowledge, contact, supplies, and love of animals to help me prepare many Cavaliers for their forever homes and happy lives – even though they got NOTHING in return except some cuddles and nose licks from the dogs. On the very rare occasions when an owner surrendered a dog that turned out to have been bred by a club member breeder, EVERY SINGLE TIME the breeder immediately took the dog back and paid our rescue operation for all costs associated with the surrender. We are extremely lucky to have these breeders as resources, and I and my fellow rescuers are forever grateful that they have our backs.

        So, yes, there IS a difference between responsible, competent breeders and jerks who pump out animals to make money or for other misguided reasons. I just wish more people realized this instead of prejudging all breeders.

      • Sam says:

        You should see below for what I wrote about the Cavaliers. They are considered among some animal welfarists to be among the great tragedies of breeding. Vets estimate that almost all current dogs have some degree of a condition called Mitral Valve Disease, which shortens their lifespans and is the most common cause of death among them. It didn’t exist in appreciable numbers until they were bred competitively. I’d presume that you know this, since you seem so involved with the breed, but you don’t bring it up. They are also notorious for high rates of Syringmyelia, which is a brain mutation that causes pain ranging from mild to excruciating and often paralyzes the dog. Currently, over 90% of Cavaliers have the mutation and around 30-70% experience the symptoms of the condition. Again, a disease that became common because of “ethical breeding” that selects for appearance over health. And please don’t try to tell me that they don’t all do this. The conditions are way too widespread for that. If only the unethical ones did it, we’d still have a population of them without these diseases, but the estimates show that nearly all of them do. At this point, given how sick they are, it would be logical to argue that the continued propagation of the Cavalier breed is unethical and an act of abuse. Why not stop breeding them as is and try to identify the few healthy ones left and try to rehabilitate the breed into better health? Something tells me it’s about not screwing with the bottom line.

        You keep saying “they’re not all like this” but you don’t provide any evidence. Breeding is an industry to prioritizes a certain appearance within the breed and actively selects for it. I have never encountered a single breeder who did not consider appearance in selecting the breeds.

        And again, you’re dodging the major question – if some breeders are ethical, then why don’t they welcome tighter restrictions? Their major lobbying organizations fight tooth and nail against and restrictions when they come up at any level. If they’re so ethical, why not welcome them?

      • Bearcat Lawyer says:

        Again, Sam, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. The public perception of the health conditions allegedly plaguing Cavaliers is very different from the reality. Yes, it is true that all Cavaliers alive today descended from six dogs that survived World War II in the UK. As a result there does seem to be an increased incidence of MVD and SM due IN PART to genetics.

        However, out of the hundreds of Cavaliers that I have met and many dozens that I know personally, I have seen exactly ONE who had a definitive diagnosis of SM. ONE. It simply is not all that common. But when a case is confirmed, it gets a lot of attention because of how quickly and painfully SM can progress. No competent Cavalier breeder EVER breeds a dog which has SM or is suspected of having SM. In fact, many flatly refuse to breed dogs which appear to have small skulls or Chiari malformations which are correlated with SM even if the dog is otherwise healthy. It is simply not structurally appropriate.

        I have also seen plenty of Cavaliers who live long, active lives but never even get diagnosed with a heart murmur or develop mild murmurs in old age but never progress to MVD or heart failure. And I have seen lots who do develop MVD and later congestive heart failure, including a rescue dog who adopted me and a rescue I rehomed. Yet the overhwhelming majority of Cavaliers who have MVD and/or CHF are older dogs, and quite a bit of research indicates that the conditions are not purely inherited. Plus, MANY breeds of dogs will develop heart problems as they age, not just Cavaliers.

        I watched two of my rescue Golden Retrievers suffer long and painful declines due to hemangiosarcoma. To be honest, I will take MVD and CHF over cancer ANY DAY as a way for my dogs to leave this earth. There are many terrific drugs and dietary and supplement regimens for dogs with heart problems that can allow them to maintain a good quality of life for a long time. The rescue dog who adopted me was at least 8 years old and in severe heart failure when he was surrendered to me. Thanks to a prompt diagnosis and excellent veterinary care (shout out to Texas A&M Small Animal Clinic!), he lived nearly three great years and was active until the bitter end. I have heard countless similar stories from other Cavalier owners who did their homework and took care of their dogs.

        Not all breeders oppose restrictions. They are already regulated by the breed clubs to which they belong and by the local and state laws where they operate. What reputable breeders oppose is being lumped in with and treated like commercial breeding operations or puppy mills. For example, IIRC U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations for large-scale breeding operations require each animal to have a separate fenced, cement pad kennel of a certain minimum size if the animals are outdoors. Similar rules exist for indoor crates or pens. No competent Cavalier breeder in the world would ever agree to that. Cavaliers are sociable pack animals and bred to lounge around in groups on furniture and soft dog beds. So, yes, they oppose restrictions like these that do not benefit their animals while adding significant extra expenses.

        But here are a few questions for you too: have you ever actually attended a dog show? Have you ever spoken at length to any breeders or exhibitors or been to a breed club meeting? Or do you just get all of your information from extremist screeds?

    • bluhare says:

      You aren’t unpopular with me. While I was volunteering at the rescue operation I shared an office with three rescue chickens from a “humane” cage free operation. They were all bald from picking their own feathers out because they were still jammed in there and were debeaked etc. They just weren’t in battery cages.

      • Sam says:

        The problem with “humane” operations is that the terms are really badly defined. One of the bigger ones is “cage free” or “free range.” When the consumer hears that, they picture chickens wandering the outside, happy as can be. In reality, it simply means the chickens need to have “access” to the outside. So the rancher simply puts a tiny little door in the coop that the birds will almost never get through. But they can then claim their chickens are from “humane” conditions. So that’s “happy meat.” The terms they use, however, are almost totally unregulated. Only “organic” has an actual meaning from the USDA. So basically, everybody is trying to get into the loopholes. It boggles my mind.

      • mayamae says:

        There are farm animal charities, but so many people simply don’t care. One of the problems (as exhibited in the Miranda Lambert story yesterday), is the people who scream, “but what about ……”. So you can’t care about the suffering going into fur if you wear leather. And you can’t care about farm animal abuse if you eat meat. It happens in every single story involving vegetarianism, and it’s a bait and switch argument. People don’t want to hear things that make them feel bad about themselves. Instead, they shift the target to others. Personally, I’m a lacto-ovo vegetarian, so according to some on this site, I’m a hypocrite if I consume eggs or dairy products, use leather, eat honey, or wear silk. They don’t understand that the point is to minimize the impact we make which causes suffering in animals. It’s all or nothing to them, and frankly, they tend to be in the nothing category.

      • Sam says:

        Mayamae: I think you’re correct in that people tend to feel like there’s always more to be done. But that’s because, frankly, there is. But it’s also about being honest with people and showing them how to be the most impactful. Saving a shelter animal is awesome and I won’t shade a person who does it. But facts don’t go away just because people dislike them. And the facts are that the vast majority of abused animals are those raised for meat and other products. If a person is truly invested in ending animal abuse or not partaking in it, the biggest single thing they can do is to forego meat in their diets. That’s not an argument, it’s a factual statement. Do we stop saying it because it might discourage people? No, I don’t think so. What I think discourages people is immediacy. I get that most people can’t just quit meat because they’ve been raised on and it takes a while to transition and find satisfying foods that don’t contain meat. I stopped eating pork very quickly, but beef took a few weeks. Chicken and fish took over a year. During that time, I was finally able to explore a huge diversity of meatless foods and now, I genuinely feel no urge for meat (except during pregnancy). But just because a lot of people can’t doesn’t mean we should stop bringing it up. That just concedes defeat.

      • mayamae says:

        @Sam, I absolutely agree with you. But sometimes I feel being a vegetarian is worse than a child molester to some people. And when I said some people are always pointing the finger that you don’t do enough, I’m referring to those who do nothing at all. I’m referring to those who say they happily wear fur, but lay in wait for someone to state they don’t eat meat. Then they righteously point their finger at the fact that you wear leather and call you a hypocrite. It can be exhausting.

    • mayamae says:

      @Sam, one of the most effective things they’ve done in fighting animal abuse, is linking it with a precursor to violence against humans. So many people couldn’t care less about what animals suffer, but worry about lack of empathy and budding serial killers.

      And as for farm animal abuse, most don’t care unless we’re talking about mad cow – something that wouldn’t have been a problem if cows weren’t made to cannibalize the brain/spinal cord of an infected cow. I used to live next to a dairy farm. In the course of one day, I watched a cow slowly suffer and die. The progression of standing, then down on two forelegs, in obvious agony with fluid dripping out of her mouth. It bothers me to this day, and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it. I also witnessed a calf laying in the filth, underfoot a herd of cows. Some think that dairy cows are better off than beef cows, but they’re so wrong. And this was a small local dairy farm, not a factory farm.

  13. chick b says:

    Celebitchy, when I moved to a new area I was looking for a local charity where I might be able to volunteer; I signed up through Petfinder at the time and started working once a month at an animal shelter. I also worried that I would feel it wasn’t enough, but my first day I had to attend an adoption day with Benny (a pit bull mix). Benny had been at the shelter for 13 months and was adopted a few weeks after our adoption day together. I took it as a sign. I had to quit volunteering three years ago due to health issues, but my bichon poo (adopted from the shelter ten years ago after being rescued from a kill shelter) never leaves my side.

    Everyday kind human contact makes such a difference for all the animals. If the shelter has a deep bench of trusted volunteers I believe it makes a real difference. And yes, every time you volunteer you will want to bring a dog home with you!

  14. Redd says:

    I use to volunteer at no-kill shelters and later a city animal services, and came out on the other side of the euthanasia debate.

    Here’s what happens: someone no longer wants their adult cat. They call a no-kill shelter but because there is such a low demand for adult cats, there’s no room at the inn. (During kitten season, 9 times out of 10 this is the case.) So, what happens to that animal? Sometimes nothing, the pet owner is forced to reconsider relinquishing their pet. Sometimes the cat ends up neglected, as a stray, or worse. People occasionally dump their unwanted animals out of cars! Stray cats are caught and used at bait animals for fighting g dogs, too. City animal services at least gave every animal that wasn’t horribly sick or dangerous a chance at adootion, but because if the overwhelming lack of homes for certain animals (cats, pits, older dogs) they did humanely euthanize for lack of space. I came to understand that unwanted pets are a supply/demand issue, and that euthanasia is by far not the worst outcome. By sometimes imposing too many restrictions on adoptions, no kill rescues and shelters can bottleneck the placement of adootable animals, and their low intake is not nearly enough to cope with the tide of unwanted pets.

    I’m not up to date, but the ASPCA used to research the issues that plague shelters like reliquishment, overbreeding, etc, and they give grants to community programs . I think they designed the cat personality test? They gave $ to a local group that supports urban pet ownership designed to help keep animals out if shelters.

    • mayamae says:

      Something that’s not talked about much are the laws that allow some research facilities to seize animals from shelters in some states. I can’t imagine a fate worse than that. Being abandoned by your people, and then dying in a research lab.

      • Redd says:

        Yes, they can even receive funds for this. (Shelters are funded by municipalties and aren’t always funded enough to meet community needs.)

        A long time ago I read an interview with a veterinary student who was working on creating a curriculum that reduced use of live animals. Their school had collected animals from the shelter system and she noticed many knew verbal commands like “shake paw”, obviously had been pets, it was really heartbreaking.

      • Jib says:

        Yup, in the south. And the animal control officer at Robeson, NC was caught illegally selling the dogs to labs. That was just one of the horrible things he did. He was also heart sticking without anesthesia, which I found out when I filed a FOIA. Other shelters make selling to labs for research completely legal.

  15. Robin says:

    The ASPCA does one animal welfare thing very well, and that is their Animal Poison Control Center. It is staffed 24/7 by veterinarians who specialize in toxicology and are available by phone, and it can be a tremendous resource for veterinarians and the public alike.

    For the rest, meh. They are NOT a shelter and they do not generally work with local shelters. If you want to see your donation money do some real good, please find a shelter or rescue in your area that could use the money.

    HSUS is just as bad, and they, like many other “charities”, pays ridiculous salaries to their executives. They DO do some good work with raiding puppy mills; I volunteered with them after one raid and ended up adopting one of the dogs. But they, like the ASPCA, are NOT shelters and the vast majority of the money donated to them does NOT go directly to needy animals, and I think it’s despicable that groups like this use celebrities and sappy songs to deceive people.

    I also support the rescue networks that were set up after Hurricane Katrina, some of which continue to this day. I volunteered at a Mississippi shelter after the storm, when their governor allowed out-of-state veterinarians to practice in Mississippi, so long as we only did emergency work. Every animal that left on a rescue network from “my” shelter was properly examined, dewormed, vaccinated, and photographed and described in case owners came forward later. There are definitely health concerns involved, of course there are, but considering the number of animals who are killed for space in shelters, many of whom are killed by heartstick injections or in gas chambers…

    • mayamae says:

      Something else the HSUS did (I’m not sure if they still do), is offer rewards to those who tip off dog fighting rings, and it results in a conviction. Dog fighting is notoriously difficult to fight because the fighting sight varies, and they come and go quickly. On this topic, the ASPCA cops have agents who work undercover in these dog fighting rings.

  16. Dragonlady sakura says:

    The commercials in combination with the beautiful song make me weepy like a baby. My fur baby was a scrawny stray when I met her. My elderly neighbor feeds all the stray animals every day and my kitty would come up to me and rub my legs after eating. Sadly, out of the seven cats she was feeding, four were hit by cars. Then one day my favorite kitty came to my house limping and bleeding and I ran her to the vet. After a ridiculously high vet bill, I knew I couldn’t put her back outside…hasn’t left my house since.😏

  17. Ox says:

    I don’t believe there is such a thing as responsible breeding. There is a cat and dog over population issue. No doubt about that. I have spent a lot of time in places where no one spays or neuters their animals and it takes no time at all for a kitten to become a grandmother of 100.

    Bearcat, i agree with you about donating to smaller local shelters, but someone has to advocate for animals in the world of politics. They need and deserve the skills and voices of everyone able to help their cause. 😀

    • Bearcat Lawyer says:

      I have no problem with them advocating for animals. I do not agree with some of their proposals, but I am all for increasing the criminal and civil penalties for animal abuse and neglect.

      My issue with groups like the ASPCA, H$U$, and PETA is that much of their marketing and solicitations strongly implies that the money raised from donors will go to the direct care and protection of abused, neglected, or unwanted/stray animals. Their publicly available financial reports indicate that this is simply NOT true. These groups thus siphon off donation dollars which might otherwise go to the real heroes: shelters and rescue organizations that actually foster and rehome animals and provide low-cost veterinary services.

      I must respectfully disagree with you about breeding however. I know plenty of caring, competent, professional breeders. Many of them are deeply involved in animal rescue and welfare as well – not because the animals they brought into the world need to be saved but to be a safety net for the animals who are bred by irresponsible, uncaring, incompetent breeders and dumped on unwitting buyers and shelters. Just last year Cavalier King Charles Spaniels breeders around the world banded together to raise over $300,000 in a matter of weeks to buy over 100 dogs from an auction in Missouri. They did this to keep puppy mills from buying and mercilessly breeding these dogs. ALL of the dogs bought at auction were turned over to Cavalier rescues, spayed/neutered, vaccinated, treated for any underlying medical conditions, and are being rehomed with new forever families. Some may argue that they did this out of their own self-interest, but ultimately their love of these dogs and their commitment to the breed and responsible breeding practices prevented 103 dogs from dying in puppy mills and producing thousands more puppies to suffer in the same conditions.

      • Ox says:

        Yes, i agree that the large animal welfare organizations should certainly not advertise as though they are local shelters. In my four years at the HSUS i never once entered a shelter except as a volunteer. I can’t, however, believe that their work should be demonized. I worked in Companion Animals, but three cubicles away was the Wildlife group with three employees. There was a wildlife program coordinator, a wildlife expert to help constituents and the legal department wade the political waters, and a full time undercover investigator who visited circuses and puppy mills.

        We will have to disagree on the subject of breeding. My sister bred Jack Russels and now breeds French bulldogs. They are loved but she seems to follow the current dog trend. Grrr.

        May I ask about your comment up thread where you wrote that animals are being imported?
        Best wishes 😀

      • Sam says:

        The problem is that breeders are the main engines driving demand. Animal shows, which breeding organizations create and sponsor, are among the largest engines driving demand. Breeders today are also heavily pushing into the “designer” animal markets and moving away from preserving naturally occurring breeds. Think about it – a century ago, Bengals, Toygerr, Labradoodles, Maltipoos – they didn’t exist. Breeding created them. And since most designer breeds are selected for appearance as opposed to crossing for hybrid immunity, they tend to not be very healthy. But still, they make them.

        It’s funny you should mention the spaniel thing. You know why demand for them shot up, right, and why there were so many of them to buy in the first place? Because in the last decade or so, largely due to the pushing efforts of the AKC and several wins in some shows, the Cavalier breed has grown in demand (notice how it was a breeding organization that helped created that demand). And, oh, let’s mention how the Cavalier is actually notorious for it’s bad health – especially it’s heart. It’s actually estimated that almost all Cavaliers suffer some degree of mitral valve disease, which comes from generations of them being bred for appearance over health. Which you know, springs from constant “ethical breeding” that selected for such conditions because they wanted to preserve the appearance over the good health of the dogs. The Cavalier is actually considered one of the tragedies of modern breeding by a lot of animal rights supporters precisely because the breed is now so disease afflicted.

        I’m sorry, but if a breeder is genuinely “ethical” then they should welcome increased oversight and scrutiny of the industry and agree with what most animal welfarists argue. But their lobbying organizations repeatedly go against further regulations. So I’m sorry if I find your arguments a bit unconvincing.

      • Bearcat Lawyer says:

        @Sam – we will have to agree to disagree then.

        FYI…the public perception is that mitral valve disease affects almost all Cavaliers because it is an inherited (genetic) condition. This is simply not true. While it is true that Cavaliers seem to be peculiarly predisposed to murmurs and mitral valve problems, research has proven that mitral valve disease and congestive heart failure that sometimes follows the disease are multifocal illnesses. Genetics only plays a small part in determining whether a Cavalier – or any other breed of dog – will suffer from these problems.

        However, I will agree with you that designer dogs like Maltipoos or Goldendoodles are tragedies. I have seen many of these dogs who seem to have gotten the worst traits of both breeds. And I always laugh when someone tells me they have a “purebred Goldendoodle” or somesuch. These dogs are not purebreds; they are cross breeds or mixed breeds. Just like any other mutt.

        I should also point out that I have owned all different kinds of dogs throughout my life: mixed breeds, strays, adoptees from rescue groups, and yes, purebreds. I believe people should have the freedom of choice to decide when and how to introduce animals into their lives. I am also not opposed to conformation shows and performance events as they have been great bonding experiences for dogs and humans, nor am I against animals serving in assistance, therapy, and public safety roles. Yet if you carefully review the written and oral statements of many of the top executives of the ASPCA, H$U$, and PETA, their ultimate goals are to eradicate all private animal ownership, to mandate veganism, to eliminate training and use of animals for K-9 and assistance roles, and to end all breeding. Frankly, I would not want to live in that world.

      • Jib says:

        I bet you’re a breeder of Cavaliers. I’d bet my mortgage payment.

  18. Ox says:

    I would just like to point out that animal welfare issues require more than kind hearted people adopting them. Animals need political advocates who can go to the state capital or Capitol Hill, armed with research and statistics, and argue on their behalf. I know politics is unsavoury but it’s one of many ways that animals are helped. We must implement a multi pronged approach.

    • Bearcat Lawyer says:

      I do that actually, in my free time and on my own nickel. But one of the reasons it can be extremely difficult to get politicians interested in animal welfare issues is that animals cannot vote. Many are also afraid of attracting unwanted attention from animal rights extremists on both ends of the spectrum if they speak out or sponsor legislation. Lobbying can be intensely frustrating work, but I keep doing it because a lawyer is supposed to give voice to the voiceless and seek justice for everyone – not just humans.

    • Jib says:

      People need to go to their local governments in the south a demand mandatory spay/neuter. If your dog gets pregnant, your license fee is $500. If you get the dog spayed, the fee will be reduced. Paying for animal control officers who go,around and check the license can be paid by the fines. My tax dollars go to house and kill millions of dogs in poor states. It makes me sick. The southern states refuse to address this issue. And I’m not even talking about the dog fighting rings allowed to flourish – my rescue partner in Newnan, Georgia once found a dozen standard Poodles tied to,trees, waiting to be used in dog fighting.

  19. NeoCleo says:

    I have tears in my eyes from just reading about her ASPCA commercials. But I agree that they are important for generating financial support.

    I lost my cat and had to visit the local shelter to look for her. That was 15 years ago and I’m still traumatized by the suffering I saw.

  20. iseepinkelefants says:

    I fast forward through them BUT I did start a recurring monthly donation when I had my American bank account. I don’t have it anymore but for a while they did get donations out of me thanks to that ad and despite me refusing to watch it.

    I volunteered as a dog walker when I graduated high school. The Humane Society is where I volunteered. It just felt good to be able to take them on long walks and get them out. Sometimes they just need human socializing too.

  21. Nouveau says:

    “and since I love dogs and can’t get one (I want a dog so badly but I travel too much)”

    Good on you for being responsible about it. I can’t handle those shelter photos. People treat animals like toys. They’re not. They need as much attention as any child. And people who don’t get their animals desexed attract bad karma.

  22. meg says:

    jim gaffigan has the joke in one of his stand up specials when talking about this ad, ‘this is a little heavy handed isn’t it sarah? there are still kids starving in africa right?’

  23. teehee says:

    I think the human neglectissue is the real issue, not the “sad” animals. Animals cannot feel self-pity or feel sorry for themselves. Only humans do this (which comes from a belief of deserving more/other). It bypasses human greed to focus on the feelings of an animal….

  24. teehee says:

    And I have to say it— there are too many restrictions and judgey controls on adoption of pets. It takes zero effort or care to just buy a pet, whereas to adopt one you are treated as an abuser and neglectful idiot until lengthily proven otherwise. And each home is different– you have no way of knowing how to prove yourself competent or compliant in advance, because they each make up their own restrictions. I have tried a few times, and am vehemently disappointed with the process and have given up- to adopt a pet instead of buy. I will stick with quality breeders and even “rescuing” pets from the store. It doesnt matter to ma where it comes from, it still deserves a good home.

  25. NcSark says:

    I love stories that illustrate people’s compassion. My hope for 2016 is that the love and compassion people have toward dogs and cats will extend to all animals, particularly the ones we eat. Cows, pigs and chickens have as much capacity to suffer as dogs do and loving animals should include all of them, not just the ones we know as pets.