There is nothing happy about this story and I hate to tell it but the hope is that it will stop one person from making a disastrous mistake. Last week a lady pulled over at the curb, handed me a flier. She and her ten year old daughter were out looking for their dogs, missing since the middle of June. There were two of them pictured (a Jack Russell Terrier and a Chihuahua). I promised to watch out for them and call her if I found anything. The next day I went on Nashville Petfinders to see if anyone had found them. There was one post there about a Jack Russell Terrier that seemed possible so I scanned the flier and sent it to the guy who posted. Saturday morning he e-mailed me back and said that the Jack Russell had led him also to a lost Chihuahua (the second dog). He had taken them to Animal Control on the twenty third of June. It was now the second of July and Animal Control was closed for the three day weekend. Both of us called the owners and happily reported that the dogs were there and she could pick them up when they reopened on Tuesday, eight business days after their arrival. Eight.
The owners had gone to Animal Control the day before they were dropped off. There was no one at the intake office who said, "Oh hey there was a woman here yesterday looking for these two dogs.." There wasn't a log book anywhere with her flier or her phone number in it. There was no rogue volunteer out reading messages stapled to telephone poles.
There was only a mom driving a little girl around door-to-door, showing people pictures of her dogs and hoping each new face they encountered would have have the answer; maybe have seen the dogs trotting through a neighbor's yard, just moments ago.
Both dogs passed the behavior test. It was the flaky "mange-like" skin condition that garnered them a death sentence (again - eight business days after their arrival) Before the family was able to get there, the two were killed. Everybody cried.
Here is the lesson:
1. Microchip your dog
2. Never take a dog to a kill shelter (Hint: it isn't shelter if they might kill you)
3. Act quickly and be relentless if your pet disappears
4. Change the law in your area to protect against such things.
Sadly, we've been raised to think that sometimes bad things have to happen for the good of our public welfare, social policy etc. Random euthanasia a.k.a. slaughter of less than perfect pets only happens because we allow it to. Animal Control here in Nashville kills 30-60 animals per day.
5. Spay/neuter your pets.