This letter was posted onto an animal rescue wall on Facebook – it is straight forward and heartfelt… and says in volumes the words and emotions I feel when I think about the drastically sad reality for abandoned and unwanted pets.  I hope you enjoy reading it too and that it fuels your desire to help put an end to pet overpopulation.  Together – we can do it.  Love from The Animal Actionist. xx

I think our society needs a huge “Wake-up” call. As a shelter manager, I am going to share a little insight with you all…a view from the inside if you will.

First off, all of you breeders/sellers should be made to work in the “back” of an animal shelter for just one day. Maybe if you saw the life drain from a few sad, lost, confused eyes, you would change your mind about breeding and selling to people you don’t even know.

That puppy you just sold will most likely end up in my shelter when it’s not a cute little puppy anymore. So how would you feel if you knew that there’s about a 90% chance that dog will never walk out of the shelter it is going to be dumped at? Purebred or not! About 50% of all of the dogs that are “owner surrenders” or “strays”, that come into my shelter are purebred dogs.

The most common excuses I hear are; “We are moving and we can’t take our dog (or cat).” Really? Where are you moving too that doesn’t allow pets? Or they say “The dog got bigger than we thought it would”. How big did you think a German Shepherd would get? “We don’t have time for her”. Really? I work a 10-12 hour day and still have time for my 6 dogs! “She’s tearing up our yard”. How about making her a part of your family? They always tell me “We just don’t want to have to stress about finding a place for her we know she’ll get adopted, she’s a good dog”.

Odds are your pet won’t get adopted & how stressful do you think being in a shelter is? Well, let me tell you, your pet has 72 hours to find a new family from the moment you drop it off. Sometimes a little longer if the shelter isn’t full and your dog manages to stay completely healthy. If it sniffles, it dies. Your pet will be confined to a small run/kennel in a room with about 25 other barking or crying animals. It will have to relieve itself where it eats and sleeps. It will be depressed and it will cry constantly for the family that abandoned it. If your pet is lucky, I will have enough volunteers in that day to take him/her for a walk. If I don’t, your pet won’t get any attention besides having a bowl of food slid under the kennel door and the waste sprayed out of its pen with a high-powered hose. If your dog is big, black or any of the “Bully” breeds (pit bull, rottie, mastiff, etc) it was pretty much dead when you walked it through the front door.

Those dogs just don’t get adopted. It doesn’t matter how ‘sweet’ or ‘well behaved’ they are.

If your dog doesn’t get adopted within its 72 hours and the shelter is full, it will be destroyed. If the shelter isn’t full and your dog is good enough, and of a desirable enough breed it may get a stay of execution, but not for long . Most dogs get very kennel protective after about a week and are destroyed for showing aggression. Even the sweetest dogs will turn in this environment. If your pet makes it over all of those hurdles chances are it will get kennel cough or an upper respiratory infection and will be destroyed because shelters just don’t have the funds to pay for even a $100 treatment.

Here’s a little euthanasia 101 for those of you that have never witnessed a perfectly healthy, scared animal being “put-down”.

First, your pet will be taken from its kennel on a leash. They always look like they think they are going for a walk happy, wagging their tails. Until they get to “The Room”, every one of them freaks out and puts on the brakes when we get to the door. It must smell like death or they can feel the sad souls that are left in there, it’s strange, but it happens with every one of them. Your dog or cat will be restrained, held down by 1 or 2 vet techs depending on the size and how freaked out they are. Then a euthanasia tech or a vet will start the process. They will find a vein in the front leg and inject a lethal dose of the “pink stuff”. Hopefully your pet doesn’t panic from being restrained and jerk. I’ve seen the needles tear out of a leg and been covered with the resulting blood and been deafened by the yelps and screams. They all don’t just “go to sleep”, sometimes they spasm for a while, gasp for air and defecate on themselves.

When it all ends, your pets corpse will be stacked like firewood in a large freezer in the back with all of the other animals that were killed waiting to be picked up like garbage. What happens next? Cremated? Taken to the dump? Rendered into pet food? You’ll never know and it probably won’t even cross your mind. It was just an animal and you can always buy another one, right?

I hope that those of you that have read this are bawling your eyes out and can’t get the pictures out of your head I deal with everyday on the way home from work.

I hate my job, I hate that it exists & I hate that it will always be there unless you people make some changes and realize that the lives you are affecting go much farther than the pets you dump at a shelter.

Between 9 and 11 MILLION animals die every year in shelters and only you can stop it. I do my best to save every life I can but rescues are always full, and there are more animals coming in everyday than there are homes.


Hate me if you want to. The truth hurts and reality is what it is. I just hope I have maybe changed one persons mind about breeding their dog, taking their loving pet to a shelter, or buying a dog. I hope that someone will walk into my shelter and say “I saw this and it made me want to adopt”. THAT WOULD MAKE IT WORTH IT



via ***A Letter From A Shelter Manager*** (2).

Posted by animalactionist

Co-Owner/Founder/Director of Animal Actionist Ltd & Happy Hooves Farm Sanctuary. It's all for the animals.


  1. you are a man with ‘heart and soul’. all animals are born with innocence and to find a good home, fed and sheltered from life’s evils….the human kind! we humans are a selfish breed! breeding our own kind is one matter then to breed a helpless animal is dispicable!! to ALL you backyard breeders, pet shops….take a good look in the mirror! guess where my two rescue dogs are right my bed and under the doona!



  2. I would like to say a big thankyou to you! and for what you do! this article is so sad it made me wanna cry… i too am a huge lover of animals, and it makes me feel sick that soo many of them have to die because they have been left in these shelters, abandoned, alone, and sad! i wish i was in a position to be able to go to my local shelter and at least be able to save a couple of the dogs there. i have a dog already, Jordan, and i love him so much, pretty much to the point that i consider him to be my first child as such! i would NEVER EVER dream of letting him stray, of be given up on and left in a shelter! Ever! as a proud dog owner, it sickens me to think that people just give up on their dogs (and other pets), just because they are animals doesnt mean that they dont have the right to live! i know that if these animals werent destroyed that shelters would be unindated with them, but it still makes me sad to think that there is no other way for these animals to be able to live. Again, i would like to thankyou, for being their voice, and for being honest and detailed. it has certainly got my attention! Best wishes with your future endevours, and please at least give one of those gorgeous animals a hug from me. Kind regards, Sammie



  3. animalactionist 18 Jul, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Thank you both for your lovely words. I just want to clarify that I did not write this piece myself.. as explained at the top of the post, the letter was posted on a Facebook animal rescue page and the author is “unknown”. Whoever he/she is… they have told a very vivid and honest story of how life can be for deserted animals, and I love how they didn’t hold any punches. The truth can be ugly, but we must open our eyes and SEE before we can ever hope for change. May we all keep on fighting the good fight, and may we some day see an end to animal suffering at the hands of humans, in all it’s myriad of forms.



  4. Hi animalactionist, what a brilliant, confronting letter. I couldn’t see a contact email on this page but I wanted to ask you something about this for a publication I’m producing. If you wouldn’t mind emailing me at, that’d be awesome. Thanks.



    1. animalactionist 11 Sep, 2011 at 5:27 pm

      Hi there! Sorry for the delay in responding, I’ve been away for a few weeks. I will email you for sure and thanks for the comments. x



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