In the first six months of this year, AWLA took in 210 homeless dogs. Here’s what happened to them, juxtaposed against how AWLA’s homeless dogs fared in 2009:
|% of homeless dogs||Jan-June 2010||Jan-Dec 2009|
The jump in the transfer rate is good news, but the other changes are in the wrong direction.
The 71 homeless dogs that AWLA killed in the first half of this year were a mix of “owner-surrenders” (40), returned dogs (8), strays (13), transfers (2), and quarantines (1).
Also among the 71 are “owner-requested euthanasias” (7) for dogs under five years old, including a one-year-old Rottweiler and a six-month-old pitbull. It seems likely that these young OREs were either misclassified or healthy enough to be rehabilitated.
Of these intake categories, transfers had the best chance (88%) of making it out of the AWLA shelter alive, and strays had the worst survival odds (61%). Returned dogs had a low adoption rate but by far the highest transfer rate, implying that AWLA felt some kind of responsibility toward these dogs that it had previously placed in unsuccessful homes.
Because an owner-surrendered dog is not “lost”, and because no statutory holding period applies for these dogs, most of them were never listed on AWLA’s website. Six dogs were killed within hours of being surrendered by their owners. The average tenure for killed owner-surrenders was six days.
While AWLA killed strays at an even higher rate than owner-surrenders, it was compelled to post them on its website and hold them for at least five days first. Some were offered for adoption and listed online for several weeks. Others spent days or weeks hidden from adopters but listed on the “stray or found dogs” page of AWLA’s website.
Here are photos of a few of the stray dogs that AWLA ultimately killed:
Josie: f American bulldog, 3 months
Mocha: f pitbull, 5 months
Rasta: m pitbull mix, 4 months
Neal: m German shepherd mix, 5 months
Pierson: m pitbull, 1 year
Desiree: f pitbull, 2 years
Stucky: m pitbull-lab mix, 8 months
Molly: f chihuahua, 1 year
If “pitbull” seems to be the most common breed of dog that AWLA kills, that’s only partly because AWLA receives a lot of pitbulls. It’s mainly because AWLA uses the term pitbull liberally to describe the dogs it receives (many mixed breed dogs are characterized as “pitbull mix”) and because AWLA kills almost all of the pitbulls it receives.
During the first six months of this year, AWLA received 30 pitbulls. Five were adopted out. Three of these were puppies (and not really pitbulls), one was eight months old, and the lucky fifth was four years old.
The other 26 pitbulls were killed, at an average age of 20 months. Eight of these dogs were 10 months old or younger. The youngest was only four months old. If this isn’t a de facto breed ban, it’s pretty close.
AWLA doesn’t use its website (or Craigs List or Twitter or e-mail or any other form of digital broadcast) to attract prospective adopters and rescue organizations on behalf of the dogs it later kills. As mentioned in a previous post, this may be because pronouncing that “Josie’s last day is Wednesday!” would undermine the image it wants to project to potential donors.
So instead Josie just disappeared from the AWLA website when she was killed on Jan 31, twelve days after she arrived at the shelter.
And because AWLA doesn’t actively promote its on-view dogs, these dogs sit in their kennels for weeks on end while a trickle of visitors passes through the dog room.
Meanwhile, local rescue organizations are staging and publicizing adoption events where the dogs in their foster homes can strut their stuff to the community. And as a result of their efforts, these rescue groups with a fraction of AWLA’s resources are sending more dogs home:
Dogs Adopted Out, 2009
Lost Dog Rescue Foundation: 1,621
Foster programs, adoption events, publicizing the dogs it wants to transfer out — it’s not rocket science. Across the country, the most effective open-admission shelters implement these proven-successful tactics that AWLA continues to ignore.
For Arlington’s homeless dogs, the clock keeps ticking. How many more will die before AWLA starts working harder on their behalf?
Arlington’s Homeless Dogs
August 6, 2010 by shelterhawk