Luke is a young pit mix who is loved by the staff at the Edgecombe County pound (Tarboro, NC). He is young, handsome, loves people and gets along great with other dogs–basically what many potential adopters are looking for. Unfortunately for Luke, he’s also exactly the kind of dog who gets killed regularly in places that call themselves shelters (and worse, in the gas chamber at many such as Edgecombe).
According to the poster of the photo: “The shelter loves him but they have to kill him, via gassing by Tuesday.” This is the heart of the problem. The Edgecombe pound does not “have” to kill this dog. The director and/or staff are CHOOSING to kill this dog. Saving this dog would be as simple as the pound director saying “We are going to find an alternative to killing this dog” and then assigning that task to staff, who might find a foster home, double him up in a run with another dog-friendly dog, get him to more off-site adoption events, get on the phone to rescue groups, etc. They can do it, and not just for Luke, because it has been done. There are step-by-step instructions.
But the Edgecombe pound chooses to kill animals. Lots of them (1,157 dogs, or 81 percent, and 1,129 cats, or 99 percent in 2010). And so they are going to gas Luke to death because that is what they do. Meanwhile, rescuers all over eastern NC are crossposting this guy like crazy, feeling sick and guilty because they haven’t been able to save him yet.
The poster of this photo says of the Edgecombe pound: “Their adoption rate is so low they don’t even worm or give vaccines to the dogs as they come in. HOWEVER, everyone is in love with Luke and wants to save him, so we had shots given Saturday.”
I’ll leave off the rant about how not giving vaccines upon intake is basically choosing death over life to focus on the issue of adoption rates. Perhaps Edgecombe’s adoption rate is low because they advertise their animals with photos like this:
Maybe Edgecombe’s adoption rates are so low because they are only open Monday-Friday from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm, when kids are in school and most working people are at work. I don’t know much more about the Edgecombe pound, but just speculating: maybe they don’t get the dogs to enough offsite adoption events, maybe their staff are rude to people, maybe their facility smells bad or is depressing. There are a lot of possible reasons people are not adopting in droves from Edgecombe, but there’s one thing for certain: they are things the pound director could do something about.
Instead they kill. In short, if the director and staff of the Edgecombe pound really wanted to avoid killing Luke, they only have to choose to save him. And if they don’t choose to save instead of kill, maybe it’s time to put someone else in that job.
*Yes, I know there are actually two photos in this post.