It’s very simple – 4 words – to save a life – and there are a number of terrible words that explain why rescue is necessary:
Breeding factories operated by people who put profit above the welfare of dogs. In a constant attempt to keep profits high and expenses low, dogs are housed in shockingly poor conditions with improper medical care, and are often very sick and behaviourally troubled as a result. Female dogs are isolated for the sole purpose of breeding over and over again for many years without human companionship and with little hope of ever joining a family. When their broken bodies are no able to churn our puppies, breeding dogs are simply discarded—either killed, abandoned or sold.
Animal cruelty generally falls into two categories: neglect, or intentional cruelty (Read more). Neglect is the failure to provide adequate water, food, shelter, or necessary care. Veterinarians, rescue workers, and shelter workers regularly see examples of neglect such as starvation; infestations; hazardous confinement; and other horrors. Sadly, neglect and abandonment are the most common forms of abuse towards dogs.
Equally disturbing is the brutality of intentional cruelty, involving deliberate physical harm or injury inflicted on dogs as in the cases of dog fighting. Unfortunately, abuse is difficult to prove and Canada has one of the oldest, most outdated animal cruelty laws in the developed world.
Canada has a companion animal overpopulation issue. Shelters across the country are at or near capacity to care for the animals that are brought to their doors. Just one female dog can birth up to 21 puppies a year! Unfortunately, too many people don’t make the responsible decision to spay and neuter their pets due to the cost of surgery; lack of clear and accurate information; lack of proximity of veterinary services; and corresponding issues of transportation. Read more here.
Reliable numbers are lacking, to say the least. Sources estimate at least 600,000 dogs in Canada are euthanized every year (read more) . In the United States, an estimated 2.7 million cats and dogs are euthanized yearly. The methods 5 by lethal injection – considered the most ‘humane’ but the lead-up to the procedure induces intense fear and the injection itself causes pain.
- Gas Chambers: Less like a chamber, more like a dark, cramped box from which reeks from the death and waste of it’s previous victims. To economize, animals are packed inside and often begin fighting out of fear and desperation. The terrified animals scream for a way out, clawing at the walls and then begin convulsing before they lose consciousness. Losing consciousness is a sweet release; for those less lucky, they are still conscious while its vital organs begin to shut down.
- Gun Shot: To many animal workers, a properly aimed and delivered gunshot is considered a humane method of euthanasia. However, all the factors have to be precisely aligned – calibre of gun, angle of the shot, and target in order to provide an instantaneous kill. More often, the procedure goes terribly wrong causing horrible pain and suffering to the animal.
- Heart Sticking: A barbaric means of euthanasia requiring a syringe to be forcibly pounded through the chest wall and several layers of muscle into a dog’s heart. In the best cases, a needle violently penetrates the dog’s chest to deliver sodium pentobarbital, an acidic fluid, into its heart. In most cases dogs are not sedated, making it incredibly difficult to administer the injection effectively as the lungs and the heart are constantly moving as the dog struggles in a shelter worker’s arms. When done improperly, as it is more often than not, the heart stick injection misses the heart and punctures the lungs and causing them to fill up with fluid in addition to the spread of the burning acid being delivered by the injection. To make matters worse, the procedure has to be repeated until the sodium pentobarbital is properly administered. In every case, it is a VERY painful way to die.
Dogs that are not euthanized are often sent to no-kill shelters where the animals are caged for weeks, months or years and they risk psychological damage, physical damage, illness and dying of loneliness; the dogs often don’t get the medical attention they need as shelters are often underfunded and understaffed.
The numbers are no less shocking than the words…