Friday, September 2, 2011

Wrong or Right?

Every article I read about the influx of dogs and cats at shelters blames the "irresponsible public" and their inability to deal with the bad economy. While I do not deny there is a significant economic problem in this country, I have to wonder if this argument created a problem that did not exist previously.

I am unaware of any study that looks at intake rates at targeted shelters and at the socioeconomic status of those who drop off animals and claim it's because of the economy. Until there is, it's mere speculation why some shelters are seeing an increase in dogs and cats being abandoned.

Your thoughts?

On a tangential note, look at this article. It is about the Paulding County Animal Control and its problems with more unwanted animals ending up at their shelter. It's pretty depressing until you get to an interesting program they offer on Tuesdays, "But shelter officials are working to encourage more adoptions by hosting a new event, Save a Life Tuesdays"

Animals scheduled for death on Wednesday are offered for adoption at a significantly reduced fee of $10 on Tuesdays.

I liked the idea until the part about guilt-tripping people into feeling like if they don't adopt an animal, they might as well be signing their death certificate. It's the problem I have when I see people constantly posting about "WILL DIE TOMORROW SAVE HIM/HER!" as it puts the onus on people like you and me rather than on the shelter system that should be finding homes in constructive, positive ways. Researchers that study effective messaging note that guilt-based messages often have the opposite impact on the general public.

So while it is wonderful that 11 animals were adopted, I would wager that if they changed the program's public intent to "Save a Life Tuesdays - Awesome Adoptions for Only $10", they would adopt just as many - if not more - animals than if they told people it was because those animals would be killed the next day.

And why are they killing these animals at all? If they are adoptable, then they are adoptable and should not be killed. That seems like a no-brainer.

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