Authorities arrested a Florida woman after video footage showed her shoving an apparently emaciated dog into the trunk of a car—but the animal shelter also let the dog down when it turned them away.
Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey stated on the department’s Facebook page that officers charged the woman with felony abuse of animals. She had allegedly asked the Brevard Humane Society to either take in or euthanize the sickly looking dog. Employees turned her away, claiming that the shelter was full and refusing to accept the clearly neglected animal.
When authorities made the arrest, Sheriff Ivey claimed that the dog was emaciated and in poor health. The dog was last reported to have eventually received care at Brevard County’s animal care center.
What if no one had caught this woman? How often do shelters turn away animals at the door only for them to suffer a fate far worse than a peaceful death?
There’s obviously no excuse for throwing any animal into the trunk of a car. But animal shelters fuel such crimes when they erect barriers to admitting unwanted animals, including surrender fees, waiting lists, and other misguided and downright dangerous “no-kill” policies.
More and more shelters are turning animals away for lack of space and refusing to accept sick, elderly, or unsocialized ones—or any cats at all—because taking them in hurts their “saved” statistics. When shelters make it difficult (or impossible) for people to do the right thing and bring in unwanted cats and dogs, they put the animals in grave danger.
— PETA (@peta) February 22, 2016
Many animals who are refused help by turn-away facilities are dumped on the road, in the woods, in the yard of the local “cat lady” (aka “hoarder”), or into the custody of some other unscrupulous person. Some don’t even make it out of the animal shelter’s parking lot.
Take for example this story of a 6-week-old male kitten in Florida: Reports stated that he was in critical condition after a publicly funded animal shelter turned him away—simply because the couple bringing him in hadn’t made an appointment. Surveillance footage showed that after the shelter turned them away, the couple left the kitten in the parking lot. He was found hours later with a crushed skull, which he sustained when he was run over in the lot. He later died from his injuries.
Animals must be able to depend on shelters to serve as their safe haven.
There should be no waiting lists, no surrender fees, and no excuses. Dogs and cats are more than numbers on a balance sheet—they’re vulnerable, sensitive living beings who need our protection.
If your local shelter has adopted harmful practices and started implementing restrictions or turning away animals, please speak up! The basic steps are simple: Document your experiences, gather support, and make your case. Your involvement can make a world of difference to the companion animals in your community who need you the most. Click the link below to learn how you can help, and follow the links in each section for useful sample statements and letters.