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Pittsburgh's Shelters Full, and Hoping for Change

All three shelters have a “$30 @ 3” promotion, lowering adoption fees to $30 for dogs older than 2, and also have other adoption specials for dogs and for cats and kittens.

When Triangle Pet Services was closed down earlier this month (read stories here and here), they reported the animals in their "care" would be sent to a rescue group elsewhere in Pennsylvania. However, 20 were not moved, and one dog actually died while kept in its cage.

Pittsburgh's three major shelters cooperated in a rescue of those animals and an investigation of Triangle Pet, which had provided services to 58 communities in the Pittsburgh area as well as providing wildlife services to the City of Pittsburgh. This included picking up dogs, cats and other pets plus trapping wildlife and picking up animals hit on roadways. You can read the news stories to hear a little of what horrors they are charged with, and those of us in animal rescue for any length of time heard and even saw much worse than what is reported. Animal abusers can be hard to catch in the act, and Triangle was initially caught for naughty bookkeeping practices of all things, but that led to an investigation by authorities, and an undercover investigation that proved what they were doing with pets pulled from the streets.

The shelters had often visited Triangle Pet and taken animals to their own shelters for services; knowing what Triangle did with the animals, this was truly a rescue. Now the shelters, already full, have taken in the dogs left behind, three of whom were in emergency care for a while after rescue their condition was so serious. Happily, two of the 20 could be returned to their owners. But these extra pets, and shelters have already noted an increase in the number of pets surrendered to them, the lack of Triangle Pet will put even more animals in the shelters.

All three shelters are running a “$30 @ 3” promotion, lowering adoption fees to $30 for all dogs older than 2, to help alleviate the overcrowding, and they also have other adoption specials for dogs and for cats and kittens. Even if you can't adopt you may have room for a foster for a month or two. If that isn't possible, donating money or goods or services will help the shelters to deal with this unending overcrowding.

Whatever you do, you can know that the shelters, and rescue groups as well, are doing all they can to help find homes for these pets and all the others they take into their care, and that an investigation is ongoing.

Read more about this cooperative effort on Animal Friends' blog, Shelters Unite to Rescue Pets from Triangle Pet Control and in the Tribune-Review, Swamped, Allegheny County Shelters Trigger Adoption Deals.

For more information, visit the shelters' websites:

www.ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org

www.Animalrescue.org, adoption fees for dogs over 2 years & kittens are only $30 and adult cats are FREE!

www.wpahumane.org, Cats $10 Senior, $15 Adult, $30 6 mo. to 11 mo.; Dogs (in addition to above) 1/2 off adoption for dogs 1 year and older.

Graphic above provided by the shelters.

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Tyrion Lannister October 17, 2012 at 03:11 AM
Good article BK. I don't think most people understand what leaving an animal at a shelter really means. If people knew the kill-rate of even the good shelters they would be shocked & saddened. Responsible pet-ownership is on the rise in America, and that's a good thing, but we aren't where we need to be yet. Education is key. And understanding that a pet is a life that should not be cast aside like last year's fashion. As human beings, we protect the innocent as a condition of our civilization.
Bernadette E. Kazmarski October 17, 2012 at 05:19 AM
Tyrion, I completely agree and I'm so glad to see the open-door shelters offering things like affordable dog obedience classes as part of the cost of adopting. Pittsburgh's shelters do their best to be careful on both ends of an adoption, when a pet is chosen that the adopters know what they are getting into, and when a pet is brought for surrender, and I know they've actually avoided surrenders by educating people on the spot. The most important lesson is spay and neuter so there just aren't so many pets who need homes. The shelters are at least below 50% kill rate, some of them well below, much better than years ago when it was something horrible like 90% and even 75% just a decade ago. But it's still better than the alternative, dumping them somewhere, which rarely has a happy ending, though people often choose that alternative thinking what they see as certain death in the shelter as worse. Unfortunately for some people a pet is just a possession.
Sandra October 18, 2012 at 12:59 PM
I agree, this is a good article. We adopted our cat from the Humane Society and I don't know what we would do without her. When my daughter turns 13, she will volunteer at the Humane Society. We have also worked with Animal Friends through her girl scout troup to raise money and bring toys and blankets for the animals. It's so sad to see an older animal there who once had a happy life, but was given up due to circumstances like their owner moving into a place that didn't allow pets. Usually people don't adopt older animals, it's heartbreaking.
Sandra October 18, 2012 at 01:09 PM
I was told by a woman who works at Animal Friends that black cats and dogs are also hard to adopt. That also broke my heart. If anyone remembers when Baldwin High School did their musical "Cats", the Humane Society was there with a cat. That was when we first met our black cat Midnight. I noticed she was patient and friendly towards the kids trying to pet her. I knew right then she would be a great pet. The next morning I went to the Humane Society to adopt her. She is so friendly, cuddly and has us laughing so hard every day.
Bernadette E. Kazmarski October 18, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Sandra, you're exactly right--black cats and dogs are often left behind in shelters, especially if you read their statistics. There seem to be a number of reasons ranging from superstition to the fact that they are difficult to photograph and don't stand out in a crowd of spots and tabbies and calicos. I actually have five black cats because they move so slowly in shelters. What a wonderful story of Midnight! Who would think you'd go to a show and adopt a cat? But you never know where you'll meet your new best friend. Best of luck to your daughter, and perhaps she'll choose a career in working with animals. And it is heartbreaking with senior pets, I wish more people would consider adopting not just adults but the ones in the double digits. I've fostered several and adopted one at age 15 who lived to be 20.

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