Just a thought for all the critics out there….If you do nothing to improve the world around you, your opinion of those who do is irrelevant. STEP UP OR STEP OFF. That is all. (picks up soap box)- Amy Viskocil, Happy Haven Farm & Sanctuary

True words were never spoken, especially coming from a rescue advocate who’s out on the front lines helping animals daily (please visit her sanctuary site linked above for more info on animals she’s helped save). The people who crosspost on Facebook and otherwise actively network deserve thanks for their efforts, not the heavy criticism so often launched against them by those less involved in the effort.

I recently had to keep my temper in check on a Facebook crossposting group because of a series of most unhelpful responses to a crosspost I contributed about an urgent death row dog. One respondent launched into a hateful tirade making accusations of the pound causing a Nazi-style holocaust, as though the people working at the shelter could read her responses.

It’s easier to hide behind a computer or phone screen and make nasty comments than it is to proactively do something. Can’t adopt or long-term foster? Here’s what you CAN do:

  • Share with as many crossposting groups on Facebook as possible, you never know when the right person might spot your post
  • Contribute to a fund for boarding or consider starting one to buy the pet more time
  • If the animal needs a safe place until a prospective adopter outside your area has time to come and get them, consider being a temporary foster
  • Consider driving the dog or cat at least part of the way if they need to be transported

Remember: posting abusive comments DOES NOT HELP. Volunteers, not the shelter staff, do the posting and sharing to help get these animals saved. Not only are the shelter staff unlikely to read such comments, repeated comments of this type tend to make them less cooperative towards volunteer rescuers. If you want these animals in pounds saved, your action is what matters, not your opinions.

To the Proud Owners of “Money Dogs”

After having seen several urgent pregnant or nursing dogs shared to urgent networking groups on Facebook this week, I decided it was time to address this issue. If you’re one of those people that owns “money dogs” that you allow to have litters without any regard for sound breeding practices or ensuring that they go to good homes, you’re a direct contributer to many perfectly good dogs being killed in pounds.

  • If you have to resort to advertising at low prices in the paper, attempting to sell in a parking lot, or online trading post/classified groups, you weren’t prepared and are risking having the pups go to bad homes. Be smart, place them in responsible homes, and use your funds to fix your dogs.
  • If you breed your females for years on end, without a break, you’re asking for trouble. People who care about their dogs as anything other than a commodity don’t do this.
  • If you’ve never heard of dogs having genetic defects, sorry, you shouldn’t be in the breeding business. Your “beloved” dog’s offspring could end up with serious health issues.
  • Are most of your dogs “designer” breeds? Guess, what, even intentionally bred mutts still end up in high-kill pounds.
  • Do your puppies go off to whoever pays up without doing a home check or references? If you have any concern for these puppies as anything other than a cash crop, think about the possibility they may have gone to a psychopath that intends to harm them.
  • Are the puppies you’ve allowed to come into the world going to genuione forever homes, or do you even care? These innocent lives didn’t ask to be brought into this world, and you have a responsibility both to make sure they go to good homes and be willing to take them back if things don’t work out.

Not ready to take on these responsibilities? Don’t breed your dogs – there are too many sitting on death row as it is without your directly or indirectly contributing to the problem. Stop expecting rescue groups to step in and fix the overpopulation problem in your home you’ve helped create.

I know many of you may be lost causes who only care about the money, but for those of you who do give a damn, please take these words to heart.


A Rescue Crossposter Who Sees Too Many Precious Lives Lost


Animal rescue crossposters see the same thing all the time: someone in a distant state decides they want to save an animal on death row that could be more than a day’s drive away that could have only a few hours. For all their good intentions, this could lead to the animal’s life hanging on a willing taker who would require a home check with a distant rescue and expensive transportation if they aren’t willing to drive or fly to the location to get the animal.

Here are the things NOT to do if you see a death row pet in a distant state you want to save:

  • Don’t continually address your questions to the crossposter instead of the page that posted the photo – 9 times out of 10, the person who shared the information isn’t affiliated with the shelter or rescue organization. They, like you, are a concerned citizen that wants the animal to have a chance at adoption. For Facebook posts, click on the animal’s picture to see the original post from the shelter advocacy/rescue group.
  • Don’t expect extensive information on behavior – Not all shelters do behavioral testing to see how they are with other animals or children. Generally speaking, don’t expect this information to be known if it isn’t already listed. When crossposters have to keep adding notations about how they aren’t the contact person, this takes up time that can be spent networking.
  • Don’t expect a free animal and free transportation – Pulling animals from shelters involves vetting (vaccines, spaying/neutering and sometimes microchipping) and transportation to other areas isn’t without cost, either. If the rescuers who pull animals from the shelter have transport options, please consider helping out with the costs.
  • Don’t discount pound animals in your own area – There’s nothing wrong with helping contribute to the costs to get an animal in a distant area rescued while ultimately adopting an animal in your own area.

If you can do something to help, please act quickly and always remember – sharing is caring.


It’s a set of lists that nobody likes the idea of a shelter or rescue having, but it is necessary: Do Not Adopt, and Do Not Foster. What do these lists mean for the rescue community?

In short, they are lists of people that organizations will not adopt to or allow to foster their rescue animals. Some of the most obvious cases include:

  • Abuse or torture, including involvement in fighting
  • Neglect, including denying proper medical attention
  • Known animal hoarders

However, there are some lesser-known offenses that are red flags that are easy to overlook. Some of these include:

  • Adopters who did not fulfill the rescue contract conditions
  • Supposed adopters who acquire animals solely as low-cost breeding stock
  • Adopting an animal on behalf of someone else, including a minor
  • Batterers or sex offenders, who could possibly also pose a risk to pets
  • Renters with a history of owner-relinquishing animals when moving
  • Prior adopters who have relinquished an animal to the pound instead of contracting the rescue

When rescues or shelters have such rules in place, they are not doing so to be mean. They are trying to protect the animals from further abuse or neglect, as well as ending up abandoned.

Many local rescues share their DNA/DNF lists with each other to help provide better protection. In addition, many will also share this information with people tryuing to adopt out animals privately.



A recent ForceChange petition asked for stronger penalties against a person who skinned and decapitated a cat. Many were shocked to find that this incident happened in the UK, where the humane movement had its roots, rather than in the US.

The sad thing is that shocking incidents involving torture happen all over the world, including developed countries. As in the US, local magistrates and parliamentarians often don’t regard animal torturers as a threat to human safety.

There are no hard statistics on how many animals are tortured and abused worldwide. However, people who care about animals need to band together and recognize cruelty in all its forms for the threat it is to society.

Many don’t do petitions because of the privacy and unwanted email issues. However, letters addressed to lawmakers with documented proof of the larger threat that torturers pose to society in general.

If enough people who care about animals band together, we can help ensure that leaders stop turning a blind eye to these cruel acts. Try to locate activism-related groups on Facebook as a good way to get started.

A lost dog

Several years ago, well before the advent of Facebook crossposting groups, I recall reading a comment on a pet rescue site where a woman was, in effect, boycotting her local pound because of their euthanasia rate. She stated that she would never “support them” and would only support a well-known national group that takes donations.

I’m going to be painfully blunt here: people like the woman mentioned above do far more harm by refusing to help pound animals and only supporting national groups, which have a very different focus. All she’s doing by supporting other groups is helping animals that are outside her area while pound animals in her community continue to die.

Here are some very blunt facts:

  • Pounds euthanize largely because of a lack of space, the government agencies in charge not cooperating enough with rescue efforts, and a lack of involvement on the part of citizens
  • A municipal pound is a government-run and funded animal control agency, not a non-profit shelter that any donations actually support
  • With few exceptions, a local humane society or SPCA does not have any involvement with animal control issues, but many of them are actively involved in efforts to get “death row” animals pulled from the shelter
  • Refusing to support rescues that do shelter pulls does nothing to change shelter policies and actually hurts the animals facing death
  • Supporting national humane groups has little to no impact on animals in your local pound

Please realize that local rescues who do work tirelessly to pull these animals from the pound have nothing to do with euthanasia or other shelter policies. They are volunteers every bit as concerned as you are about the animals.

Rescues rely on volunteers, including crossposters who share on Facebook and other sites, who never receive a cent. Volunteers share your anger, frustration, and in many cases, tears when innocent animals don’t make it.

Rather than boycotting the pound, reach out to those making the effort to get the animals out. If no such group exists, consider starting one – be part of the solution, not the problem.

All too often, pets get adopted from pounds, only to be returned. In many of these cases, the reason for them being returned to death row is something that can be overcome. Here are some suggestions for the most conmmion issues:

  • Patience is key – your new pet may have to adjust to living in a house for the first time or being around other pets
  • Keep everything low-key, as many animals from such settings have been abused and have fear issues
  • Use crate-training to housebreak dogs, and, in the case of cats, ensure they have a large, well-filled litterbox
  • Separate your pets while eating, because animals freshly out of a shelter might be hungry
  • Give your pet time to adjust to their new sleeping area
  • If conflicts between your pets get that serious, instead of returning the animal to the pound, contact a no-kill rescue for assistance