Saturday, June 28, 2008

Dead dogs

Alright enough fun and games, here are some numbers.

Of the dogs that end up at a shelter (1000 shelters surveyed out of approximately 3500 in the US):

15% - 17% returned to owner
23% - 26% adopted
55% - 60% euthanized
2% - 4% other (I suspect this is another way of saying dead)

Stats are from: http://www.americanhumane.org/site/PageServer?pagename=nr_fact_sheets_animal_euthanasia and http://www.petpopulation.org/statsurvey.html from surveys done in 1997.

Ends up what all this means is that 3 to 4 million dogs are euthanized in shelters in the U.S. every year. What does this translate into for worldwide numbers? Who knows and, anyway, stats like these are meaningless. Who the hell understands what it means to have 3 to 4 million dogs put to death simply for existing? It's incomprehensible even for our lovely, giant human brains. And then the numbers get lost in all the statistical noise out there used to squeeze more guilt money out of you to help whatever cause is pulling at your heart strings (unless your heart is out of whack in which case there are charities for that as well). These numbers only tell you the obvious: that the situation is bad.

I try to ignore numbers like that. I try to concentrate on the task at hand, the dog that is in front of me. The majority of people involved in dog rescue feel the same way - at least the ones who last. If you wake up every morning thinking, "Oh I've got 3 million dogs to save today," you'd laugh at the sheer hopelessness of it all. You'd be incapacitated. And then you'd do nothing at all.

Platitudes are inane and don't really have any basis in reality but this adage is one I like because it makes sense to me: Saving one dog may not change the world but for that dog the world has changed.

1 comment:

thespiritdog said...

Hey Fred

Trying to find that video, you mentioned. Saw this and had to tell you what happens to that other 2-4% of dogs.
http://onebarkatatime.blogspot.com/dead-dogs.html

There is a, I think USDA,(US,Gov. agency), permit. That shelters apply for, that allows them to sell, a small percentage of dogs to animal research facilities.

The Spirit Dog ( AL )