The heart-wrenchingly honest letter to all pet owners from a shelter worker

Pets are for life, but it seems not everyone is getting the message, which has led to a pet shelter

Pets are for life, but it seems not everyone is getting the message, which has led to a pet shelter manager writing a letter to all would-be and current pet owners.

The unnamed writer of the letter has taken to social media to say some words about what is happening to pets in shelters, and that breeders and people in the breeding industry should think twice before putting more unwanted pets on the earth.

“I think our society needs a huge “Wake-up” call”, the letter starts. “As a shelter manager, I am going to share a little insight with you all…a view from the inside if you will”.

“First off, all of you breeders/sellers should be made to work in the “back” of an animal shelter for just one day. Maybe if you saw the life drain from a few sad, lost, confused eyes, you would change your mind about breeding and selling to people you don’t even know”.

“That puppy you just sold will most likely end up in my shelter when it’s not a cute little puppy anymore. So how would you feel if you knew that there’s about a 90% chance that dog will never walk out of the shelter it is going to be dumped at? Purebred or not! About 50% of all of the dogs that are “owner surrenders” or “strays”, that come into my shelter are purebred dogs.

The most common excuses I hear are; “We are moving and we can’t take our dog (or cat).” Really? Where are you moving too that doesn’t allow pets? Or they say “The dog got bigger than we thought it would”. How big did you think a German Shepherd would get? “We don’t have time for her”. Really? I work a 10-12 hour day and still have time for my 6 dogs! “She’s tearing up our yard”. How about making her a part of your family? They always tell me “We just don’t want to have to stress about finding a place for her we know she’ll get adopted, she’s a good dog”.

Odds are your pet won’t get adopted & how stressful do you think being in a shelter is? Well, let me tell you, your pet has 72 hours to find a new family from the moment you drop it off. Sometimes a little longer if the shelter isn’t full and your dog manages to stay completely healthy. If it sniffles, it dies. Your pet will be confined to a small run/kennel in a room with about 25 other barking or crying animals. It will have to relieve itself where it eats and sleeps. It will be depressed and it will cry constantly for the family that abandoned it. If your pet is lucky, I will have enough volunteers in that day to take him/her for a walk. If I don’t, your pet won’t get any attention besides having a bowl of food slid under the kennel door and the waste sprayed out of its pen with a high-powered hose. If your dog is big, black or any of the “Bully” breeds (pit bull, rottie, mastiff, etc) it was pretty much dead when you walked it through the front door.

Those dogs just don’t get adopted. It doesn’t matter how ‘sweet’ or ‘well behaved’ they are.

If your dog doesn’t get adopted within its 72 hours and the shelter is full, it will be destroyed. If the shelter isn’t full and your dog is good enough, and of a desirable enough breed it may get a stay of execution, but not for long . Most dogs get very kennel protective after about a week and are destroyed for showing aggression. Even the sweetest dogs will turn in this environment. If your pet makes it over all of those hurdles chances are it will get kennel cough or an upper respiratory infection and will be destroyed because shelters just don’t have the funds to pay for even a $100 treatment.

Here’s a little euthanasia 101 for those of you that have never witnessed a perfectly healthy, scared animal being “put-down”.

First, your pet will be taken from its kennel on a leash. They always look like they think they are going for a walk happy, wagging their tails. Until they get to “The Room”, every one of them freaks out and puts on the brakes when we get to the door. It must smell like death or they can feel the sad souls that are left in there, it’s strange, but it happens with every one of them. Your dog or cat will be restrained, held down by 1 or 2 vet techs depending on the size and how freaked out they are. Then a euthanasia tech or a vet will start the process. They will find a vein in the front leg and inject a lethal dose of the “pink stuff”. Hopefully your pet doesn’t panic from being restrained and jerk. I’ve seen the needles tear out of a leg and been covered with the resulting blood and been deafened by the yelps and screams. They all don’t just “go to sleep”, sometimes they spasm for a while, gasp for air and defecate on themselves.

When it all ends, your pets corpse will be stacked like firewood in a large freezer in the back with all of the other animals that were killed waiting to be picked up like garbage. What happens next? Cremated? Taken to the dump? Rendered into pet food? You’ll never know and it probably won’t even cross your mind. It was just an animal and you can always buy another one, right?

I hope that those of you that have read this are bawling your eyes out and can’t get the pictures out of your head I deal with everyday on the way home from work.

I hate my job, I hate that it exists & I hate that it will always be there unless you people make some changes and realise that the lives you are affecting go much farther than the pets you dump at a shelter.

Between 9 and 11 MILLION animals die every year in shelters and only you can stop it. I do my best to save every life I can but rescues are always full, and there are more animals coming in everyday than there are homes.


Hate me if you want to. The truth hurts and reality is what it is. I just hope I maybe changed one persons mind about breeding their dog, taking their loving pet to a shelter, or buying a dog. I hope that someone will walk into my shelter and say “I saw this and it made me want to adopt”. THAT WOULD MAKE IT WORTH IT”.

Tell us, have you ever adopted a pet? Has this made you think twice about buying from a pet shop or breeder?

  1. We have adopted 3 over the past 20 years and have never regretted it

  2. Renbury at Bringelly are horrific and the RSPCA has one of the highest numbers for euthanasia…….they are two rescues I will never deal with. I just feel sorry for the poor animals that come into their care.

    • It is not the fault of the RSPCA or the council pound or any of their staff and volunteers that they are overwhelmed with other people’s cast offs. How do you think the staff would feel as another dog and yet another dog are dropped off unwanted. How can they keep more dogs than they have pens. Tie them up to a tree all day?

    • Leone O’Sullivan…The RSPCA have over $1million in assets and yet they euthanise animals that are old or ill, they aren’t prepared to spend any of the money that is donated to them to help these animals. They only want to sell animals that don’t cost them anything but bring them in big money. Renbury is abhorrent, they put cats down at a massively high rate every week as they do dogs. They don’t give them a chance at finding homes, mothers with kittens, cats who are chipped are only given two weeks even though the animals there come from three different council areas. If you lived in one Council area would you think to go to another Council area looking for your animal???? Stop making excuses for them, unless you are in rescue, you know nothing and if you are I find your comment cruel. Animals deserve to be on earth as much as any human is.

  3. Every back yard breeder should be made to read this, along with all pet shop owners.

  4. Yes we adopted our little treasure three years ago. I spent the first six months thinking someone was going to knock on the door and tell me they had been searching for this well behaved little angel and begging for him back. I’m told his breed (Maltese Cross) became unfashionable and there are many like him being thrown out on the streets as he was. Their loss that they obviously never got close enough to him to know what a wonderful little friend he really is ❤️

    • How could anyone consider a breed because they are trendy or fashionable and then just discard it? I moved to my current suburb with a 12 month old Maltese 20 years ago and everyone in the suburb seemed to own one. He was a beautiful companion who comforted me as I inherited him after my hubby died, and he lived to 15 years.

    • When I first brought mine home I had the same anxiety, thinking that someone might come and say it was a mistake and want her back. Now I know she’s here to stay.

    • I know Yvonne, it’s too hard to understand these people, I feel they are a different species.

    • If they can do that to gorgeous little fur babies, I wouldn’t want to be their human child Pam, it’s so cruel. People laugh that he literally follows me everywhere, all day, but he obviously will have anxiety problems for life from being abandoned.

    • Thank you Victoria, I’d be lost without him, I often tell him how grateful I am that he rescued me 😊

    • He’s a gorgeous boy Linda. We have one just like him named Louie. We got him from a woman who was going to kill him because no one wanted him. He was only 7 weeks old. We just love him.

    • I know we would be lost without him now. He’s the best watchdog such a loud bark for a little dog lol.

    • My little guy is a Maltese cross too & from a pet rescue site. He’s been part of our family now for nearly 4 years & thinks he rules the roost. I’m not sure he isn’t correct

  5. This is a most confronting letter. Bravo to the person who wrote it: it all needs to be said and heeded. We adopted our little girl from the pound, surrendered by her previous owners for one of the common reasons: ‘moving house and can’t take her’ then she was taken home by a prospective adopter but returned within the hour because she didn’t get on with their other dog…..really????? after an hour ?????. Anyway it was an ill wind because we fell in love at first sight and she is, at this moment, curled up at my feet. She has enriched our lives in so many ways. Indeed, I had to take Himself to the doctor this morning and we found ourselves apologising to Pip that we couldn’t take her,

    • We think so. she’s outside chasing the tame kookaburras at the moment: she resents the meat we give them. I think they just like to torment her.

    • Yes, Leone; I say goodbye and when I exit the front door I see her peeping under the curtain of the window next to the door and I feel guilty leaving her and yes, I also talk to her: no baby talk though, it was forbidden when my children were babies and so definitely not for Pip.

  6. Presently have I dog and 6 stray cats, would have more if I could afford them, LOL. People should have their animals desexed please. The cats came from a person that breeds cats so the dogs have something to eat, no wonder they ended up at our place.

  7. I’ve always had rescued dogs at the moment I have a corgi cross and a blue cattle dog who is deaf. My dogs are family they come and go as they please except sleep on the bed while I’m on it. Even then they don’t get up till I have put special cover over my bed then they can snuggle into hubby

  8. Heart wrenching letter and absolutely true, we always adopt and they are the greatest animals anyone could want. Please if you want a pet please consider a shelter and make an animal very happy.

  9. That is so so true.All of my animals that I’ve loved in my lifetime have been strays. They are so loving

  10. That is an eye opener alright. if you can read that without having tears in your eyes, you have no heart at all.

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