Los Angeles, California – Shelters across the nation are overflowing with homeless animals – the majority of which were discarded like a worn out pair of shoes. Los Angeles is not immune to this sad fact.
Shelters are struggling on a daily basis to make room for incoming animals. With each passing day, the probability that shelter animals will live to see another day decreases significantly. It is extraordinarily rare that an “unadoptable” animal will make it out of the shelter alive.
Animals that are deemed “unadoptable” varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and from shelter to shelter. Absent an untreatable condition due to some injury or illness, “some shelters deem feral cats or specific breeds unadoptable.” Source With respect to canines, if a shelter does not discriminate based on breed, shelters will deem dogs unadoptable if they “pose a public health hazard,” or are “vicious” – that is, they would pose a danger to the public. Source
But, what about those animals who don’t fall within any of the categories? What criteria do shelters use to determine whether an animal is worthy of saving, or adoptable? For animals that do not meet the definition of either category – “unadoptable” or “adoptable” – they fall into a “gray area.”
The sad fact is, no matter how humane a public animal shelter is, when more animals enter their doors than are being adopted, what are they to do? Try as they might to save the unfortunate animals who wind up in the public shelter system, some must die – which includes both the “unadoptables” and the ones that fall into that “gray area.”
Such is the case of Sinder, a Newfoundland-mix who was brought in to the West Los Angeles County Animal Services as a stray.
Lisa Arturo, a volunteer at the West Los Angeles shelter, met Sinder the day after Christmas. Arturo shifted her focus to the animals in ISO because, as she put it, “they never have a chance to get out.” This is where she met Sinder. Suffering from a skin condition and yeast infection, Sinder lost most of his hair. He was tested twice for mange and scabies. Both tests came back negative. The vet is not sure what is causing Sinder’s skin condition, but he was given two medical baths and his hair is now starting to grow back – but, much too slowly. Concededly, Sinder is not a dog most people would deem particularly appealing to the eyes (although animal-lovers would argue that account).
Overcrowded and in desperate need to make room for the incoming, the shelter had scheduled Sinder to be euthanized on the 26th – the day Arturo visited him in the ISO. The reason? It would take too long for his hair to grow back and be adoptable to the public. In other words, Sinder is ugly. [fn1] Sadly, his loss of hair – through no fault of his own – got him placed in the “unadoptable” category. Although Arturo describes West Los Angeles Animal Services as “kind and forgiving,” tough choices must be made when the supply of animals in shelters with limited space is high, but the demand by the public to adopt shelter animals is low.
Sinder came precariously close to his life’s end. In fact, he was in the back and ready to be euthanized. Crying, Arturo begged the staff to give her five days to network him. The shelter was sympathetic and granted Arturo her wish. She left Sinder that day with a kiss and a promise that she will do her best to save his life. Arturo is making good on that promise by doing all she can to get him out of the shelter system.
Despite Sinder’s outward appearance, Arturo describes him as “unbelievably sweet, friendly to people and dogs, and very happy and playful.” Furthermore, his skin condition is not affecting his appetite in any way. Arturo says that Sinder has a very hearty appetite.
Sinder is a dog that any animal-lover would define as not just “adoptable,” but “highly adoptable.” Despite his lack of hair and skinny body frame, he is adorable and worthy of saving.
Sinder has only until December 30th to be adopted. If you are interested in adopting Sinder, please contact Lisa Arturo at email@example.com. You can also contact West Los Angeles Animal Services at (310) 207-3266, or visit the shelter at 11361 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, California 90064. Sinder’s identification number is A1362018.
For Update #1, click here.
For Update #2, click here. (Sinder is safe.)
fn1 – Not wanting to mince words, “ugly” is a term this author used, not the shelter. That being said, lets call a spade a spade. That’s exactly what they mean.