Saturday, August 25, 2012

Death Row Dogs

I went to the Waterbury pound this afternoon. They were holding special adoption hours in a desperate attempt to get ten dogs adopted. Only six dogs were adopted, which means they'll have to put some to sleep on Monday. They're open by appointment tomorrow (Sunday), so there's still time to save a life.

Their available dogs can be viewed on and on the Waterbury Dog Pound Facebook page.

Unfortunately, the sad truth is that there are more dogs than there are good homes. Even if all of these dogs get adopted in time, there will be more. Too many people get puppies because they're cute, then abandon them when they realize they're too much work, or not cute as adults. Other dogs get abandoned simply because their owners are irresponsible.

Dogs are supposed to be licensed, but there's no real enforcement. One idea is to do a big sweep in every municipality, going door to door, checking to see how many dogs there really are, and issuing fines for every unlicensed dog.

Entrance to the Waterbury pound on Municipal Road, off South Leonard.

Another idea is to get pet stores to stop selling dogs from puppy mills, and instead offer adoptions of dogs that need rescuing. Puppy mills, for those who don't know, are large-scale breeding operations, where making money is more important than properly caring for the puppies. There is legislation on the federal and state level to regulate breeding kennels, but until the culture changes, there will still be too many dogs.

In Waterbury, the pet stores that used to be at the mall sold puppies, whereas Pet Smart, next to Home Depot, does adoptions through the Rose Hope shelter. These are two completely different types of operations.

By the way, all those cute little puppies and kittens at the pet store? If they don't get sold, they get euthanized. State law requires this be done by a licensed veterinarian, so at least it's done humanely. But it's still done.

Kennels at the Waterbury pound.

Spaying and neutering is another big challenge. Too many people wait too long to get their dogs spayed/neutered, thinking it's all good, they'll make some money selling the puppies. Finding good homes for puppies isn't easy. If the owner of the mama dog doesn't have her registered or vaccinated (which is often the case), the odds are those puppies won't have very good lives.

While spaying and neutering can be expensive, places like the H.O.P.E. Spay/Neuter Clinic in Waterbury, offer low-cost options. If you still have trouble affording the surgery, you do not have enough money to own a dog.

Adopting dogs from shelters is tremendously rewarding. These dogs are at the end of their lives. They've been through rough times, many of them have been abused, many others neglected. They are starved for affection, and they are so appreciative of anyone who is kind to them.

If the Waterbury shelter doesn't have the dog you want, there are other shelters to try. Use petfinder to search the shelters. Try PAWS New England for dogs that have been rescued from death row but still need homes.

The Waterbury pound takes in 50 to 60 dogs per month. The summer is the busiest season, when they take in the most. There are only 40 kennels at the pound (we have former Mayor and convicted child molester Phil Giordano to thank for that; he authorized hiring Worth Construction to build it for a million dollars; I wonder how much of that he pocketed?).

If you can't adopt, but still want to help, there are a couple of things you can do. First of all, share this information on Facebook, and tell all of your friends to adopt from shelters.

You can help the shelter through donations. Financial donations are accepted--call the police department at (203) 574-6961 to find out how, or make a donation online through PayPal.

The pound is also looking for donations of Kuranda dog beds. You can buy one for them online.

I once overhead someone offer my neighbor $8,000 to fight his adult pit bull. My neighbor, fortunately, declined. There's a lot of money in dog fighting, but every pit bull I've ever known has been a sweetheart, wanting nothing more than to be loved and petted and cared for.

If you have a problem with aggressive dogs in your neighborhood, the problem is really with the owners, who have trained them to be aggressive. If you think a neighbor is fighting their dogs, you should report it.

For whatever reason, the trend right now is to own a pit bull if you want people to think you're tough. This leads to ignorant young men adopting or buying dogs for looks. The dogs end up suffering. They've ended up with a bad rep, making it even harder to find good homes for them.

I have a special affection for this girl. She was wandering around my neighborhood this week with a six foot long chain dragging behind her, attached to her collar. If she was good with cats, I would have kept her. She is a total sweetheart. Very well behaved, quiet, affectionate. She thinks she's a lap dog. Somebody, please, give her a good home!

One of the lucky dogs that got adopted today.

The pound is full of good dogs looking for good homes. Please do what you can to help.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice to see accurate information. If someone is in search of a dog to adopt and does not find one in Waterbury, PLEASE look in the other municipal pounds in the state. ALL of the dogs are in eminent danger.