Frustrated with local animal shelters


I feel so bad seeing all these shelters overflowing and people urging others to adopt. But at the same time I’m also a little frustrated with the shelters. But not for the reason you may think. Most people are upset with shelters because they have to euthanize animals. I wish this didn’t happen but I know it is not the workers fault and their jobs are extremely hard. My frustration comes from how hard some of the shelters make it to adopt their pets. I completely agree they need to make sure the animals go to loving homes, but some of their requirements are eliminating a lot of good homes for the animals. I had this happen to me with 3 local shelters. As much as I’d love to give some of their animals a home, I’ve been told I don’t meet their requirements or would be an “unfit home”, so I don’t even try anymore.

Growing up my mom always said it was better to adopt a dog than buying from a store or a breeder. And I agreed. So many needed homes. We actually never had to try and adopt from any local shelters; we always managed to have strays show up, or people contact us asking if we could help with an animal they had found in need of care. I also worked at a local vets from the ages of 15-18, so I would come across pets there needing homes.

While growing up, all my cats were indoor and outdoor. We loved having them inside but if they wanted out, we let them out. We lived in the country on 15 acres so they loved being outside playing/hunting.

My husband and I owned 3 acres in the country, so I was expecting the same lifestyle for whatever cat we adopted. I quickly learned that was an “unreasonable expectation” and considered an “unfit living situation”. The first shelter I spoke to asked what the cats living situation would be. I explained they would mostly be indoors but if they preferred to be outside I’d let them do that too. I explained we lived on 3 acres so if they wanted to be outside and be mousers that would be great. The lady was super nasty and told me if they ever did a home visit and saw the cat outside, they would take him/her back. Another shelter was the same way: the cat was indoors all the time or they would take them back. This didn’t make any sense to me; if the cat had a loving home and was happy, why would you take them from that and put them back in a cage? My husband suggested I just didn’t adopt a cat and maybe see if anyone had any barn kittens they would like to re-home.

A few months later we came across a posting for a pit bull puppy desperately needing a home. This was a different organization than the 2 I reached out to for the cats. I called to ask about their adoption process and rehoming requirements. The main thing that stood out is we would be required to have a fenced in yard because of her “breed”. I explained to the lady we lived in the country and most country homes don’t have fenced in yards. I told her we also currently had an American Staffordshire Terrier, and I didn’t see why she/that breed would be required to have a fence anymore than my lab mix. I made sure to explain the dogs were indoor with us all the time, Kenneled inside while we are at work and only ran around outside when we were out there to watch them. She said that didn’t matter; due to the puppy’s breed she was required to have a fenced in yard. I’m assuming it’s bc she was considered a bully breed. I was upset at this point and asked “isn’t that breed discrimination? Given the living situation here couldn’t you maybe re-evaluate that rule?” The lady told me “that is the requirement and if you cannot meet it you cannot adopt” and hung up the phone. I was really upset with this. I know they have rules and requirements in place to ensure a good home, but we really would have been a great home. And they weren’t even going to consider us.

Out of frustration I made a FB post summarizing those situations and expressing my frustration. I was surprised with the amount of people from my area that had similar experiences with the local shelters. Multiple families that I also know would have been great homes for pets were denied for reasons that didn’t really seem to make sense. Yet we all always see those shelters post regularly how full they are and how badly they need people to adopt. All of us know they have their rules/requirements to ensure the pets go to great homes, but they make it almost impossible to actually be able to adopt.

I know it’s a controversial subject and I will most likely receive a lot of backlash, but it’s a situation that has been frustrating me and I had to get it off my chest.