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Community Problem Report: Dog abandonment and shelters The University of Texas at El Paso RWS 1301 October 25, 2015 Sofia Herrera


Dog abandonment has become a common problem around the world. Most of these dogs ends in shelters, waiting for someone to adopt them; sometimes the waitings are longer, they can wait months, or even years to have a new family. The most common reasons the people leave their dogs in a shelter are "Lack of training, lifestyle changes, moving, not enough time for a pet, cost of dog ownership (Pajer, 2015).” Furthermore, there are two kinds of animal shelters, the ones that kill the animals if they are not adopted, and the others that are the "no-kill". The United States has a serious problem with unwanted dogs. The dogs that are abandoned, experiments lots of feelings inside them, they know they can trust anybody, and when families adopt them, they require for a lot of patience and love, then the dog will feel more secure. Dogs have feelings too, they only want to become a part of a family.

Keywords: Dogs abandonment, Animal Shelters, Rescue Dogs.


According to the Humane Society of the United States every year between 8 million and 12 million animals enter shelters, and as many as 5 million are killed because there are no homes for them. The United States have a serious issue with the unwanted dogs. However every year they discuss about whether unwanted dogs should be killed or not. All around world, animal shelters are overflowing with dogs that are in need of good homes. When a dog ends up in a shelter, it is not their fault. These dogs are abandoned for many reasons. Owners didn't think all the cares that a dog requires. Dogs needs attention, patience, and love. Having a dog it also requires to buy them food, and other stuff; and because the owners didn't have patience, time, or the extra money to buy stuff for their dogs, they prefer to leave them in a shelter. There are also more reasons of why dogs ends up in a shelter. This report will cover the main reasons of why dogs ends up in shelters, information about why people abandon animals, animal shelters, dealing with rescue dogs and their abandonment issues, and a case of a dog abandonment.

Main reasons of why dogs ends up in shelters There are many reasons of why dogs

Main reasons of why dogs ends up in shelters

There are many reasons of why dogs ends up in shelters; they didn't ask to end up in a shelter, the owner simply have their own reasons of why they can't take anymore of their pet. According to Cesar's way website, the reasons dogs end up in shelters are: Lack of training, lifestyle changes, moving, not enough time for a pet, cost of dog ownership, health issues, biting, too many animals in the home, allergies within family household, strays and rescues. The first reason is "Lack of training." Dogs do not come trained. They need leaders who are willing to put rules, boundaries, and limitations. There are dogs that needs more training than others, but this problem can be resolved with dedication and patience, but it is necessary to spend time with them, and teach them commands. The second one, "Lifestyle changes". People getting divorce, having a new baby, losing their job, or encountering difficulties with their health, are the most common reasons of why dogs end up in shelters. For example, the people that just lose their job, prefer to remove costs, and one of those costs are the "dog", so they prefer to leave them in a shelter. The third one, "Moving". When people decide to move from their old house to a new one, sometimes they decide to start there new life without their dog. The most common reasons are because they want to keep clean their new home, if the home is rented maybe they don't accept dogs, or if the person is moving with a roommate, and the roommate doesn't like dogs or have allergies, they prefer to leave them in a shelter. The fourth

one, "not enough time for a pet". People 's live are busy and having a dog requires making time to properly care for it. Everyone can have a dog, but not everyone give them the properly care. One of the main reasons that dogs end up in shelters is that their people get busy and start to prioritize other things above the dog, thus neglecting its needs. The fifth one, "Cost of dog ownership". Having a dog required to have money. Vet bills, boarding, buying food, toys, and grooming are things that dogs need. When people realize that having a dog is expensive, they leave them in a shelter. The sixth one, "Health issues". Old dogs and dogs with injuries and other health-related issues require more money, time, patience, and attention than healthy dogs. When that happens, there are people that prefer to get rid of the dogs versus continue to care for them. The seventh one, "biting". When a dog have bitten a member of the family. Instead of taking care of the dog behavior with specific training, they prefer to leave them in a shelter. The eight one, "Too many animals in the home". When there are many animals in a home, it can happen that they fight between them, and that can be a problem. The owners prefer to leave the aggressive pet in a shelter instead of asking a professional for help. The ninth one, "Allergies within family household". When a member of the family have a allergy because of the dog, they prefer to go to the easy way, and leave the dog in a shelter, when they can actually treated themselves with specific medicine for allergies. Last one, "Strays and rescues". There are people that rescue dogs from the street and give them temporary home, but when they can't take care of them more, they live them in a shelter, hoping that someone will adopt them. Furthermore, as stated before, there are many reasons of why dogs are abandoned. A lot of dogs came to shelters, but the most that touch the heart of everyone are the "owner surrenders", these are dogs who had a home and lost it. According to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), moving and behavioral problems, are the most common reasons of why dogs are abandoned. PETA (2010) says that “Moving is a typical excuse of leaving their dogs in a shelter”. Pajer (2015) agrees, stating that "Moving is the third most popular reason of why dogs end up in shelters." However, many of the paperwork of each dog in the shelter said: "No space in new home for dog" or "New

landlord does not allow dogs". But all too often the move is just an excuse. One study showed that more than half of the people surrendering animals because of moving also report behavior problems. In other words, the move often isn't the real issue. Also, PETA (2010) states that "Behavioral problems, are another common reason of why dogs are abandoned.” Pajer (2015) agrees saying that “ Behavioral issues, for instance, can typically be traced back to the way in which their former caretakers handled them.” Biting or aggression in dogs are very common in behavioral problems, and most of this problems can be resolved, but people may lack the knowledge or commitment needed to do the work. When they give a dog with an aggressive behavior in shelter, they can adopt them, but there are probabilities that the new owners will return the dog because of their bad behavior. These kind of dogs needs help, like more attention, and specific training for the owner or from a professional. The most important job in a animal shelter is to reduce the number of abandonments through outreach and education. Shelters can help to educate adopters about the commitment involved in being an animal caregiver. People surrender for their dogs because they think it's the only possible solution, they prefer to take them to the shelter to end the problem; but actually they can ask for help to professional people.

For Animal Shelters, Two Paths.

Dozen of dogs are abandoned each year in shelters. There are two kinds of shelters, the "no-kill" and the other one who kill the animals if they don't adopt them. These dogs have two possibilities, to have a happy ending or not. When these dogs touch someone's heart, they wind up in new homes. If not, their lives can be in peril. In Washington, the debate about whether unwanted pets should be killed or not is played out every year. The United States have a huge problem with the unwanted dogs, there are overpopulation of them. Every year between 8 million and 12 million animals enter shelters, and as many as 5 million are killed because there are no homes for them. In six years, one female dog and her offspring can produce

as many as 67,000 dogs. ''We realize that our nation's shelters are overrun with unwanted animals,'' and “We feel that pet overpopulation is a situation of serious concern” state American Humane Association. There are many dogs, but not enough homes. Lynda Foro, founder and president of the nonprofit organization Doing Things for Animals, state ''My guesstimate is that there are probably 3,000 no-kills out there,'' and "adding that there are about 6,000 organizations in business to help animals or solve problems of homeless animals.'' During the 1980's and 1990's, the no-kill shelters grew in number and popularity, because they were raising money by promising that no healthy dogs or cats would be put to death. Now, things are different, municipal animal shelters, have responses that it is impossible to house and feed all the unwanted dogs in the country, because there are so many and is actually impossible. The animals who are not adoptable because of behavior problems or because they do not adjust to confinement must be put to death.

Animal Rescue: Pet abandonment is a Major issue

One case of pet abandonment is the one of "Major" the St. Bernard. Major's story touched the heart of many people, he is an example of pet abandonment. Major was found tied to a tree with dog food scattered just out of his reach. This is an example of animal cruelty, because without food, he will probably died. The video shows Major being grateful with their rescuers, he looks very happy. Also because of this, Major was exposed to dangerous, he was tied, and with the food scattered just out of his reach. It could get the attention of any animal, and because that he was tied, he couldn't defend himself. When the rescuers found Major, they saw this like a miracle, because Major could probably be dead if nobody found him. It was a miracle that they found him alive. According to shelters, these kind of pet abandonment happen too many times. They used these pet abandonment cases to alert pet owners, that there are more options. Ask for help instead of leaving a dog alone. Now, Major is enjoying his time in humane society, he become one of the most favorite

dogs from the staff. Sadly, "75% of the animals that came to their shelter, were abandoned just like major", explain the shelter. Not all the abandoned dogs are found healthy like Major, there are also dogs that requires more health attention than others. The Humane Society Shelter also explain that there are other ways instead of abandoning a dog. They offer help to the people that needs to find a new home for their dog, abandoning a dog is not good.

Dealing with rescue dogs and their abandonment issues

Many rescue dogs have in common that they have abandonment issues. They experiment feelings inside them; nobody knows the exact feelings that these dogs have inside them, but they tried to show us how they feel. Some of this dogs were just abandoned for their owners and never returned. At the time they were abandoned, they feel that they cannot trust anybody. All the dogs depends from their owners. This is a very hard phase for them, they requires specific cares, giving them patience and love and show them that they are in a forever home, and that nothing bad will happen to them again. With time, the dog will feel more secure.

Betty B. is a woman that adopted a senior rescue dog. She explains her experience with this dog, the name of the dog was Sam. “Well he attached himself to my husband instantly when we got home. The first time my husband left for a meeting, when I let "Sam" out to potty he saw the pickup was gone and it was the saddest thing I have ever seen. Sam was so confused that he circled the house on a dead run looking for my husband. After a couple more times he learned to feel secure when only I was home.” said Betty B. After 30 days, "Sam" was adapted in their new home. Betty B. describes Sam as "Wonderful dog!". In order that Sam was adapted, Betty and her husband gave him lot of patience, and now, they are very happy with Sam. Most of the time, rescue dogs spend short time in foster home until they are adopted, because there are no space in shelters for more animals. However, many of these dogs have been abandoned several times, and because of that, these dogs become more insecure and also

they have issues in trusting humans. As stated before, these kinds of dogs requires more attention. Another common issue that a rescue dog can experiment is that most of the time they may feel scared, because they don't want their new owners to leave them alone or they just not want to leave their foster home, they may think they could be abandoned again. However, there are special trainings and treatments for abandonment dogs. The training is to leave the dog alone for one minute, then return, leave the dog again for two minutes, then return again, continue like this for at least 15 minutes. Doing this procedure for at least some weeks, and the dog will feel more secure. This takes time and patience. The treatments for abandonment dogs are offered in many places, there has also been success with acupressure and acupuncture for dogs.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Dogs abandonments happen too often, there are two types of dog abandonments: The owners that abandoned them in the streets, woods, or other places, and the ones who leave them in a shelter. There are reasons of why dogs ends up in shelters, the most common of them are because the owners are moving, or because the bad behavior of the dogs. There are solutions for all that, the shelters also offer help. Furthermore, there are two types of shelters, the "no-kill" and the other one that kill the dogs if they are not adopt. There are overpopulation of unwanted dogs, this is a huge problem in the United States. There are many dogs in shelters that sometimes they prefer to kill them, because nobody are adopting them and also because the overpopulation is immense. Having a dog requires many things, like money, time, and patience. When someone doesn't have the time to take care of a dog, they are moving to another house, or another reason, that's when dogs ends up in streets or shelters. Experts in dogs recommend to think all the needs of a dog before adopting or buying, a happy dog requires attention and love. Dogs can't speak, they need us in order to survive. Also, another solution is to encourage people to spay and neuter their dogs, so there will be fewer unwanted puppies.


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Misciagna, V., (2015, April ). Animal Rescue: Pet abandonment is a Major issue. Retrieved from

Wentzel, J., (2014, January). Dealing with rescue dogs and their abandonment issues. Retrieved from