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Old 03-11-2012, 08:02 AM
Location: zone 5
7,147 posts, read 9,080,559 times
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I don't want to spam the forum, but I'm hoping to get some responses. I wish I could put a thread in each of the New England states but I guess I'll just have to put it here.
Those of us who work/volunteer in animal rescue in most of the country face a rewarding and at the same time very discouraging task.
Those of us who work at open door shelters put everything out there to keep euthanasia numbers as close to 0 as possible. Even a shelter that does off-site adoptions at stores almost every weekend, has a low-cost spay-neuter clinic, offers behavioral assistance, free food assistance, networks on facebook, recruits as many fosters as possible, is unable to place all animals.
Those who work at no-kill shelters know that more animals are turned away than are taken in. Many of these owners will then turn to the open door shelter or dump their pet by the roadside.
Then we have the New England states. They import unwanted animals from other states to fill the need of those wanting to adopt a dog or cat. There are not enough animals locally to meet the demand.
I have tried to research the reason for this online without success.
I know low-cost spay/neuter is unavailable in some parts of the country, but in other areas where it is available, it is underutilized.
Where I live it is much less expensive to license a neutered pet than an unneutered one, but an awful lot of people don't license their pets anyway.
Puppy mills are very prevalent in certain states. Is breeding more heavily regulated (and those laws enforced) in New England?
I would love to get some answers here. It just doesn't seem to make sense that there would be such a contrast between different areas of the same country.
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Old 03-11-2012, 08:08 AM
Location: zone 5
7,147 posts, read 9,080,559 times
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Of course, if non-New Englanders have some insights, I'm not trying to shut you out! Answer away, even if you're just guessing. We really need to figure this out.
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Old 03-11-2012, 10:30 AM
Location: Mostly in my head
17,851 posts, read 42,295,211 times
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One answer might be the type of hunting prevalent in NE. Field dogs are common in the South and there is an abundance of hounds. From what I have read, hounds are taken to NE.
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Old 03-11-2012, 03:25 PM
112 posts, read 169,268 times
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It doesnt make any sense to me either, maybe they pull from other states cause the dog population there is already low and people are starting to want dogs in the area. I cant think of anything else either for it seeming like its already perfect there
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Old 03-11-2012, 10:13 PM
Location: North Western NJ
6,498 posts, read 14,678,431 times
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i worked in a shelter in Connecticut...
and unfortunatly i must say we "imported" many dogs both from southern shelters and from the sato program...
why "unfortunatly"?
because our shelter was full of dogs just sitting there waiting for good homes from our own area, and they were bringing in dogs from other places that were being adopted faster than any of the dogs we'd had brought in as owner surrenderes or picked up as strays.
we had a kennel packed full of wonderfull dogs, and they were constantly being passed over for the ones brought in from other places, the "poor sato puppies" and the ones they picked and choose form shelters in the south ect...
it was literally as if the shelter "whent shopping" for new desireable dogs each week when their own dogs wernt going out the doors fast enough.

now i HOPE this isnt the case for all new england shelters...
but in ours at least, it wasnt that we were "lacking" in dogs, it was simply the ones we had wernt deisrable enough so theyd bring in new stock from other shelters to keep the "turn over" moving.

the attitude towards dogs is definatly different in new england, that much i can say...
i wonder if its a money thing.
low cost spay/neuter and vacination clinics are MUCH better advertised, and the education and push to spay/neuter is deifnatly more prevalant, not to say you dont see plenty of BYBS advertising on craiglist and in newspapers, but generally these breeders dont get the kind of coverage (or welcome) they seem to here in TN at least.
and puppys from petstores are so increidbly expensive that most people will do eveyrhting they can to "rehome" them themselves rather than turn them to a shelter, so money invested might play a part...

im also fairly certain that shelters in new england get MUCH better funding, mostly from private sources...theres alot more money in the new england area, and alot of shelters rely on private contributers.
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Old 03-12-2012, 07:32 AM
Location: zone 5
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Sad about the situation in your old shelter. People do romanticize certain things, don't they.
I went on petfinder and put in a couple of random towns in northern New England, and the first rescues that came up had only imported dogs. I have a feeling I'll never figure out how this works.
Thanks for the info, foxy!
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Old 03-12-2012, 11:13 AM
Location: Floyd Co, VA
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S2C, This is a complex issue and I can't give you all the answers but will try to provide some of the picture.

I'm in the rural south and our local pound has just 12 dog runs and does not take cats at all. The humane society that I'm a member of is a foster based group and we generally have about 20 dogs in foster care among 5 to 7 members. As one gets adopted we pull another to take in to foster care most of the time.

Every few days a member goes to the pound to get pictures of any new dogs that have come in, either as strays or as owner surrenders. Those photos get posted to our website, our Facebook page and we also send out emails to a number of rescues and transport coordinators in hopes of finding local or long distance adopters for them. All the dogs are marked urgent since we don't know from day to day if the pound will fill up and so both space and time are limited for those dogs.

In VA the state law says that in order to adopt from a municipal pound the adopter must reside in that county or one that adjoins it. (Weird rule, I know but it is what it is.) Any individual outside that area must work through us (we pull the dog and take legal custody) and complete our application process. Any rescue that is interested we pull the dog, do what ever basic vetting they ask and then figure out the transport of the dog from us to them. Yes, we check out any rescue and make sure, as much as possible, that they are a legitimate organization. We've sent dogs as far as Maine and Washington. Some of them give us some money to help cover our costs, others have given us the entire adoption fee (especially if the dog comes to them fully vetted) and then there are the rescues that do not help us cover any of our expenses and we are, in effect, subsidizing those groups.

I think that throughout much of the south, especially the more rural and poor areas there is still some cultural resistance to spay/neuter and money also plays a part in the problem. In the past few years we've seen good growth in the availability of low cost spay/neuter and increased grant money coming from foundations for this purpose. We have a once a month program and we book about 20 - 25 critters each month. There are many who still believe that old notion that "it's good to let a dog or cat have one litter" and so don't fix until after they have done so.

True story: At a recent rabies clinic a woman brought two small dogs to get vaccinated, neither of them fixed. She explained that they wouldn't mate because they were brother and sister and anyone who reads their bible knows that is a sin. Yeah, we have a longs way to go in educating some folks.

In Virginia the licensing fee for dogs is set by the state and it is $6.00 for fixed dogs, but only $10.00 for non-neutered ones. Why so low? There are enough people who have large packs of hunting dogs to have an influential voice with the legislature and they do not like to fix their dogs because they want to be able to breed the good ones and also because many feel that an altered dog is not as good a hunter. I don't have any stats on the matter but I believe that in many communities the fee for unneutered dogs is often much higher than for those that are fixed. So people are more likely to spay and neuter their pets if the difference in cost is so much higher.

Here's a link to what it costs in my old community of Oakland, CA

City of Oakland - Licensing Information - PetData

Quite a difference between fixed and unfixed fees.

Progress is being made in my community and I think throughout the south as fewer unwanted, unplanned kittens and puppies are born but the rate is still too high for them to all be absorbed (adopted) into local communities, thus they go on transport to areas that don't have such a high ratio of births to human population of potential adopters.

The controversy is that in areas that do import dogs (and cats) there are critters in the local pounds that the rescues are not taking, primarily because the ones available are not what the public is looking to adopt, often pit bulls or pit mixes or large breeds that do not meet size limitations imposed by rental housing restrictions or they are not young puppies and so many people think that even a slightly older dog that is at the pound must have "issues" and if they start with a puppy they will not have problems. HA!

I hope this long post has given you some insight about the issue and that you feel it was worth the read.
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Old 03-12-2012, 11:58 AM
Location: zone 5
7,147 posts, read 9,080,559 times
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It was definitely worth the read, Zugor, thanks. I've been trying to figure this situation out since I first became aware of it, and I'm understanding a little better. Our problems here aren't as bad as the south but still pretty overwhelming. Our shelter can usually get the non-pitties adopted out, or pulled locally. But half our dogs are usually pit bulls or pit mixes. Our adoption rate for them is fantastic compared to the average, but if only we could save them all. And the cats are a tougher situation yet. And I know many, many animals are getting euthanized daily in Chicago, practically in our backyard.
Our spay-neuter clinic is very busy and sometimes draws people from far away, but it doesn't make a dent. Everywhere I know of has a large discount for licensing neutered vs. unneutered dogs, doesn't seem to matter. I know much fewer animals are euthanized today compared to say the 70's, but we really need to get better still.
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Old 03-18-2012, 08:56 AM
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I'm from New England (Mass and currently in RI). My local shelter doesn't import dogs but I know some that do. I definitely don't have any answers for you but I do have a few thoughts.

There are definite hoops to jump through to adopt a dog from a shelter. I'm not sure how it compares to other areas but I remember them wanting to meet all members of the family, see vet records for other pets in the family, and there were a lot of questions.

There is a cultural attitude against purebred and puppy mill dogs. I can only think of one person I know who go their dog from someplace other than a shelter. This same attitude carries over to getting pets spayed/neutered and since most are coming from a shelter they have to be spayed/neutered. I assume it something similar to the positive attitudes about recycling and green initiative here. So I would guess there are less dogs and more people willing to adopt.
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Old 03-18-2012, 09:29 AM
Location: Floyd Co, VA
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One thing I did not mention is that we would send far fewer dogs on transport to other groups IF ONLY we had more people willing to foster here.

For me it's especially heart breaking to know that my hs has the financial resources to save more critters, we just don't have the people who are willing to take them in for a short time as we work to find great local and regional homes for them.

That's not to say that we are rolling in the money but we could most likely afford to save another 50 or so critters a year if we had the people. That might not sound like many to those of you in more metropolitan areas but in 2010 (the last year I have stats for) our county pound euthanized 56 dogs. They don't take cats so the hs is the only resource for them and we generally around 50 in foster care since it is a bit easier to find folks who can and do foster 3 or 4 cats.

I must confess that I'm really sick and tired of having people tell me they couldn't foster because it would be too hard for them to give them up. It can be sad, and sometimes the tears do flow but I'd rather cry a few happy tears when that foster gets adopted than to think that some nice dog at the pound is going to spend it's last days on earth in a small run 24/7 and then be killed and put in a big plastic garbage bag and taken over to the adjoining dump since the pound and the "transfer station" are both on the same county owned piece of land.

So far I've managed to hold my tongue but I think those days are over and the next person who tells me that is going to get an earful.
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