Relinquishing an Animal to a Shelter
Taking an animal to Pima Animal Control Center (PACC, also known as “the pound”) or the Humane Society of Southern Arizona is not always the best choice. They are almost always full, and they kill over 19,000 of the animals they take in each year. PACC is so overrun with unclaimed pets, that they screen potential adopters very lightly.
Shelters and humane societies were created to care for stray and abused animals. They weren’t meant to be a drop-off for people who don’t want their pets anymore. Shelters, on average, take in 100 new animals or more each day. Let’s face it: there won’t be enough good homes for all of them. Even the best shelters can’t boast much more than a 50% adoption rate. Only the youngest, friendliest, cutest and best-behaved animals are going to be adopted, if they don’t contract a contagious disease first.
By Arizona law, stray animals must be kept 72 hours for their owners to reclaim them. They may not be destroyed until that period is up. Animals given up by their owners aren’t protected by these laws. They may be killed at any time. Shelters don’t want to kill all these animals but they don’t have a choice. There just isn’t enough room for all of them. If the cages are full, which they typically are, chances are your pet, the one that gave you unconditional love and companionship, will be taken straight back to the euthanasia room. No second chance. No better home. No one to rescue him or her. Just an undeserved ending because you didn’t think ahead.
Being purebred won’t help your companion animal’s chances of adoption either: a surprisingly large percentage of the animals in many shelters are purebreds.
If your companion animal is old, has health problems, or a poor attitude toward strangers, his or her chances of adoption are slim to none.
You should also be aware that if your dog is medium sized, muscular, and has short hair, Pima Animal Care Center will not most likely not put him or her up for adoption at all. If a dog appears to be part pit bull (that is, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, or Staffordshire Bull Terrier), relinquishing him or her to PACC is an almost certain death sentence. A pit bull over four months old is as good as dead when it walks in the door at PACC.
Sending your companion animal to a shelter in hopes that he’ll find a good home is wishful thinking. Remember, no one is looking for him or her. It’s more likely that you’ll be signing your companion’s death warrant. A shelter is your last resort only after all your best efforts have failed.
If you have an ounce of decency, you will, at the very least, keep your companion until you find him or her a good home, no matter how long it takes. It’s the least you can do for someone who loves you unconditionally.
For a true story about animals relinquished by their owner to a kill shelter, read My Animals Need A Loving Home!
Instead of relinquishing your animal to a kill shelter, please contact us to see if we can admit the animal into one of FAIR’s placement programs.
About “No-Kill” Shelters
You may have heard about “no-kill” shelters that euthanize only very sick or very aggressive pets.
There is only one “no-kill” shelter in Tucson, The Hermitage, and it takes only cats. Obviously, no one wants to see their animal killed, so the demand for The Hermitage’s services is high. The Hermitage is forced to turn away many cats because they’re almost always full. There are no “no-kill” shelters for dogs in Tucson.
If you can’t get your animal into a no-kill shelter, please contact us to see if we can admit the animal into one of FAIR’s placement programs.
About “No-Kill” Rescue Groups
No-kill organizations and rescue groups are under-funded and over-crowded as well.
The most frustrating part about running a rescue group are the phone calls from people wanting us to find a home for their pets. Callers are sometimes sad about giving up their pet. But they’ve already decided that it has to go. They don’t want to hear solutions or suggestions. They don’t want to spend money for a trainer. They don’t want to look for another place to live that will accept their pet.
They want a place to dump their pet that will help them feel a little less guilty about their decision. They ask if there is a rescue group they can give their pet to. Often times, the answer is no. There are very few rescue groups in Pima County looking for animals to take in. They’re up to their eyeballs in dogs and cats. Every spare penny goes to take care of them. Every moment of a rescuer’s free time is spent caring for them.
Dozens of compassionate volunteers in Pima County work full-time jobs and then go home to take care of a house full of foster animals. Their own animals and human families need attention, too. They go to the pound and try to save some of the animals from the trauma, noise, commotion, and the grief of being abandoned by someone they love. They find strays on the street, former pets roaming the neighborhoods looking for a friendly face to save them.
These rescuers often spend their own money to rehabilitate these animals and then keep them in their homes for months, searching for a permanent home. Some adopters balk at spending $79 or more to adopt one of these rescued animals. But the price doesn’t begin to cover what is actually spent on them. It’s just a small donation that helps give the animal a monetary value, because we’ve learned that people often take better care of things they pay than things they get for free.
If you can foster your own animal until he or she is adopted, please contact us to see if we can admit the animal into one of FAIR’s placement programs.
About Breed Rescues
Breed rescue services are small, private groups run by volunteers dedicated to a particular breed. Most of them operate out of the volunteer’s home. Like no-kill shelters, demand for their services is high, so high that your animal may be turned away for lack of room. A breed rescue can still help you place your companion by providing referrals to persons interested in adopting him or her. You’ll have the most success if you follow the rescue service’s advice and are willing to do your share of the work to find a new home.
If your animal is a purebred, contact the Coalition of All Breed Rescues of Arizona, (480) 874-2511. You can also try the American Kennel Club, (212) 696-8390, or the Cat Fancier’s Association, (732) 528-9797. Rescues don’t always have room for another animal, but they may have suggestions for solving problems or may know about someone who is looking for an animal like the one you have.
If a breed rescue can’t take your purebred animal, please contact us to see if we can admit the animal into one of FAIR’s placement programs.