Treatment of Animals in Animal Shelters
An animal shelter is a facility that is used to house stray, homeless, unwanted, or abused
animals. They provide care and treatment to animals in need of protection, and reunite lost pets
with their families. When necessary, animal shelters provide a humane death for unadoptable
animals. Today‟s shelters range from single rooms with multiple cages to ultramodern facilities
with amenities that might rival some hotels.
The luxury features, like music and waterfalls serve to reduce the stress to the animals in
the facilities and make the shelter an inviting and positively viewed place rather than a
depressing one to be avoided; therefore, increasing the chances that the animals at the shelter will
find a new home. Of the
almost 74 million dogs and 91
million cats that share our
homes, 18 percent,
respectively, came from an
animal shelter. The chart on
the side shows that forty
percent of animals in animal
shelters are euthanized and
sixty percent are adopted yearly; of the forty percent euthanized there are about sixty percent
dogs and seventy percent cats. There are between three and five thousand animal shelters in the
United States, with an annual intake of five to seven million animals.(Pet Statistics,web).
English III – 3
14 October 2012
Animals in Shelters
The first animal shelters were created in New York in 1894 shortly after the first anti-
animal cruelty laws were approved. At first, the laws were just to prevent the harming of labor
animals, but the Humane Society rallied to have it also include cats and dogs. By 1888, 37 of the
38 states at the time passed similar laws. By the 1960s, the humane society switched to focusing
on adoption of cats and dogs, rather than just protection. All in all animal shelters are very
positive and beneficial facilities; however when not properly run they can be a nightmare not
only for animals but for humans too (Eades).
Animal shelters are a place of second chances. There are a lot of requirements in order to
have a well-run animal shelter. Also, the euthanasia methods have to be at most humane. When
animal shelters are run properly they are wonderful and very convenient. They help thousands,
even millions, of animals every year find a place they can call home. It is never easy to hold such
a responsibility like animal shelters do; but the basic seven requirements to have a successful
animal shelters will help.
The first requirement is to have a spay/neuter system. Whenever the animal arrives at the animal
shelter the shelter should either spay or neuter the animal on spot. This will actually reduce the
amount of animals born that have no home to go to, which will reduce the amount of animals
that end up in shelters. Spaying and neutering is a very good idea because it helps prevent having
future dogs and cats that will have no home and end up feeling scared, alone, and unloved.
Actually the cost of spaying and neutering a pet ends up being less than the cost of raising
puppies or kittens for one year (ASPCA Pet Statistics, web). The cost of the operation will be
included in the adoption fee.
The second requirement is to make sure the animals have veterinarian health care. Having a vet
take care of the animal will ensure that upon getting adopted, the animal will be healthy and
happy. Usually animal shelters don‟t allow the animals to be adopted unless they have been
looked after and taken care of by the vet that works there.
The third requirement is shots and vaccinations. A round of shots should be given to each animal
before getting adopted. The shots usually cover any type of diseases the animal might have
gotten from roaming around, such as bacterial, intestinal etc. also, it would cover life threatening
sickness such as parvo and other things of that nature. This would be included in the adoption fee
as well (Anne Carole, web).
Next is to have a clean facility, some people when seeing an animal in a dirty shelter will want to
get the animal out of there as soon as possible. However, some people like to see the shelter have
nice clean cages, unsoiled play areas, and a nice atmosphere. Having dirty and not so pleasant
living conditions will often cause the animals to have bacterial issues in life (Good vs Bad
Animal Shelters, web).
The fifth requirement is to have someone who is more than happy to work with these poor,
homeless animals. A pleasant and kind staff is more than significant in a shelter full of
vulnerable animals.In fact most animals are very impressionable, almost as if they have a sixth
sense. Some can sense the moods and emotions of humans, so having a happy worker makes the
animal happy as well. Animals will always reflect the spirit of their owner, and sometimes that
starts at the shelters (What Makes a Good Animal Shelter, web).
Number six is to have ASPCA visits; it is very good to get the ASPCA involved with your
shelter (Eades). The ASPCA makes visits country wide to help out the animal shelters by going
in and checking the place out to see if it meets basic standards. Their main concern is that the
shelter has the animals as their first and foremost priority. They also help assist the shelter with
advice, materials, and resources.
Lastly animal shelters should definitely do an adopter screening;this mean that the shelter checks
to see if the adopter is the best possible person for the animal to go to. Such as, if a cat doesn‟t
like dogs then it shouldn‟t go to a home where there is a dog, or if a dog is scared of men
because of an abusive past, then it should go to women who have gentle arms and more free
time. This also suggests that the animal shelter to do background checks on the adopter, checking
if he/she has a criminal record or anything that could jeopardize the animal‟s safety (Sherwood,
Euthanasia is a widely controversial topic. Some think it‟s inhumane and wrong for
people to euthanize an animal that can‟t find an owner;while others believe it is the proper and
right thing to do in this case. More than often, if an animal is severely sick and/or cannot find a
suitable owner, then the animal shelter will put the animal down. Not to be cruel but just to put
the animal out of its misery and send it to a better place. Mostly animal shelters will choose to
euthanize the animal by a lethal injection; this has proven to be the most effective and benevolent
way to put down the creature (Sherwood, web).
Some might think that animals that come from animal shelters aren‟t as nice and well
behaved as the ones who are bred and come from a home, but there are in fact many benefits
from getting a dog from a shelter versus getting them from a breeder or anyplace else.
One of these many advantages would be,costeffectiveness. There are many ways of getting an
animal, but getting one from the local animal shelter is actually a good way to save
money.Studies show thatthe majority of pets are obtained from acquaintances and family
members. Twenty-six percent of dogs are purchased from breeders, 20 to 30 percent of cats and
dogs are adopted from shelters and rescues, and 2 to 10 percent are purchased from pet shops
(ASPCA Pet Statistics,web).While breeders do offer good genes and a pure bred animal the cost
of getting that animal is usually very high, ranging in the thousands ofdollars. This often makes it
hard for a family to afford an animal from a breeder. At first it may seem a good idea to get a
„free‟ animal from a friend or in the ad of a local newspaper, but in the long run there will
actually be a lot of costs in getting a „free‟ pet. Expenses such as vet visits, shots, and
spay/neuter fee, which, as explained, is usually included in the adoption fee (What Are The
Another benefit is training; pets that have been in a shelter will come at least semi-trained. While
at first they may make a few mistakes, because of the stress of being moved and adjusting to a
new place, they will quickly learn how things in the household are and adapt fairly quickly. On
the other hand, getting a cat or a dog from another person does not always guarantee that they
will be trained bathroom-wise, which could lead to a mess to clean up, and unnecessary
frustration with a new pet. Training doesn‟t just include potty trained but also a few tricks. Some
shelters take the animals out to play and while doing so teach them a few simple and basic tricks
such as sit and shake (What Are The Advantages, web).
Getting an animal from the animal shelter will usually ensure a very social pet. What this means
is that animals from animal shelters will already be “socialized” and will be comfortable with
people and other animals. Every day the workers at the shelter take the animal out of its cage and
play with it for a certain amount of time. Having a dog socialized is very significant. Upon
receiving daily human interactions, the animal will not be as hostile around people and will
choose to love and trust them instead (What Are The Advantages, web).
One last benefit is just in general saving a life. When rescuing an animal from a shelter it
automatically grants the title of a hero to the animal saved. All of the animals in the shelter just
want someone to come and give them a permanent home. Also, if the animal doesn‟t find a home
within the certain allotted time the animal shelter will euthanize them assuming they will never
get a home. So getting a dog or cat from an animal shelter will literately save their life. Between
three to six million animals are euthanized in shelters across the country each year; so when you
adopt an animal from a shelter or rescue group you literately save a life (What Are The
What are bad animal shelters? They are animal shelters that are not doing their duties of
taking proper care of the animals they are housing. There are no cut and set guideline for
judging whether an animal shelter is "good" or "bad." These terms are highly subjective,
depending on the individual looking at the shelter. One person might feel a "bad" shelter
euthanizes animals when space runs out, despite the shelter being well kept and following local
laws; another might find this perfectly acceptable.However, not every organization claiming to
be an animal shelter has the best interest of animals in mind. More often than not it is not
uncommon for the good animal shelters wind up taking and rehabilitating animals rescued from
As stated above animal shelters are more often than not a facility that saves animals and
promises them a second life with someone or someplace better. It is a sad fact though, that not all
animal shelters are as they claim to be. There have been many cases where the animal shelter
ends up being a place of torture and fear instead of the rehabilitation center it should be. There
are actually a few helpful ways to determine if an animal shelter is either a “bad” or “good” one.
Cleanliness is one way in determining if the facility is properly run. Whenever the shelter is
uncommonly and unusually dirty it is not only harming to the workers but can cause many
bacterial infections to the animals as well. Things such as having feces on the floorand grimy
walls are all things that point to an unhealthy shelter (Sherwood, web).
The most common form of abuse is when the animals suffer from malnutrition. Malnutrition is
defined as when an animal is not getting enough of the proper nutrients for its species. This can
be due to an animal not receiving enough food, not getting the proper kind or brand of food, or
due to parasites or other health problems in the pet. If the shelter doesn‟t have enough money or
just lacks the motivation to keep the animals well fed then seeing the animals skinny and weak
should not come as a surprise (Sherwood, web).
Another commonly found fault in animal shelters is the physical abuse of the animals. Now and
then there will be cases where animal shelters intentionally and fatally abuse the animals they are
supposed to be taking care of. The amount of abuse can be as small as striking the animal once or
twice or full blown beating the animal out of frustration and impatience. This is obviously the
worst form of abuse there is. When beating an animal, the vital organs could be stricken at any
time and cause internal bleeding or organ failure. Not to mention animals are much smaller than
humans so getting hit probably hurts them more than anything (Sherwood, web).
There is another type of abuse that happens in animal shelters, that type of abuse is the improper
use of euthanasia methods. Usually the shelter will resort to this when the animal is either sick,
dying, or just cannot seem to find the forever home it was looking for. Although sometimes the
shelters will euthanize in a cruel ways, such as gassing, not sedating properly and even shooting
the animals. Whenever the animal shelter gasses the animals, they throw them into a tank or
room and turn on a gas that is supposed to kill them instantly but instead causes the animal pain
and suffering. Whenever they euthanize by injection the shelter is supposed to first thoroughly
sedate the animal so it doesn‟t feel any pain, which is most accepted and chosen, but some of the
shelters decide to not take such a humane approach. Instead they just barely sedate and let the
animal suffer. There is also in some cases where the shelter will shoot the animal. With all the
modern and safe ways to put an animal down, shooting is most cruel and unnecessary (Eades).
Sometimes in an animal shelter that is lacking its financial needs, will occasionally sell the
animals to research facilities. This means that instead of giving the animal another chance to find
a good home and somewhere where it will be happy the shelter sells it to a researcher who will
induce pain by performing experiments that could potentially kill the animal. This is just as bad
as abusing euthanasia methods because using an animal as a test monkey is honestly merciless.
In conclusion animal shelters can either be very positive or very negative for both
animals and humans. Positive because they provide second chances for animals and give them a
place to stay and live until they find a permanent loving home. Nevertheless there are shelters
that instead provide a harmful frightening place for animals and operate a horrible facility.
Animals are very delicate creatures that deserve as much love and attention as they can get.
Having bad animal shelters isn‟t really something that can be prevented, it just happens
whenever there is an owner who just doesn‟t care about the animals. Be that as it may, if an
animal shelter is recognized as a bad one, calling animal control or the police is about as much
there is to do.
Ann, Carole. "Animal Shelter Facts." n.pag. eHow.com. Web. 31 Oct 2012.
Eades, Debbie. Every Rescued Dog Has a Tale: Stories from the Dog Rescue Railroad.
Lulu.com, 2007. Print.
"Pet Statistics." ASPCA.org. N.p.. Web. 14 Oct 2012. <http://www.aspca.org/about-us/faq/pet-
Sherwood, Rena. Good Vs. Bad Animal Shelters n.pag. eHow. Web. 28 Sep 2012.
Tumbarello, Elizabeth. "What Makes a Good Animal Shelter." n.pag. eHow. Web. 28 Sep 2012.
"What are the advantages of adopting a companion animal from a shelter or rescue
group?." littlebuddies.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Oct 2012.