This is the response we all should have about the animal shelter. We should proudly declare that our shelter, the one we fund with our money, is so damn good, you can bring your dog or cat - for whatever reason - and expect a good chance at placement.
No, I am not talking about this as a meaningful solution. Nor am I suggesting irresponsible behavior be ignored. We need to address all of the reasons why people feel compelled to drop animals off at shelters.
But when I was faced with a young woman and her friend's 4-mos-old puppy, the result of backyard breeding (literally), I didn't feel the fate of this puppy was anything but good if he went to the local animal shelter. I suggested she let her friend know about some local agencies that do low cost spay-neuter, and why it's important to castrate a companion animal if you can't keep them away from other intact animals.
The thing is, though, my local animal shelter? It has a 98% adoption rate for both dogs and cats. Ninety-eight percent! For every ten animals who enter my local shelter, 9.8 make it out alive! That is freaking awesome.
This is what every shelter should be like. No one should fear bringing their animal to the shelter. No shelter should fear a person bringing an animal to the shelter. Shelters should deter folks with education as well as behavioral modification opportunities to PREVENT people from dropping animals off. But if that doesn't work, if all else fails, dogs and cats should be safe when they enter the shelter system. Done and done.