Finding a home for a shelter dog is not a unique situation, but it shouldn’t mean we should ever become complacent. Animal shelters are overcrowded; dogs and cats are left out on the streets abandoned, others are surrendered by their owners, and some sadly become the victims of seizures, domestic violence, dog fighting, and puppy mills, but isn’t each life still important – no matter how many are taken in everyday by shelters throughout the country?
One especially tragic story concerns a purebred Saint Bernard named Barry who was brought into the Inland Valley Humane Society and SPCA located on 500 Humane Way in Pamona, Calif. sometime in late August 2012. Of course a beautiful St. Bernard will drum up a lot of attention on social media sites; after all Facebook has become a major conduit for animal rescues, shelters, humane advocates, and people all over the world spreading information and availability of animals in dire need.
Barry’s photo and description quickly spread through the pages of Facebook, and even though the dog was friendly and gentle to adults and children, Barry was listed as being aggressive towards other dogs. Dogs have had much worse problems during their initial evaluations and still have been placed in appropriate homes, but sadly Barry wasn’t afforded the same consideration.
According to the shelter, Barry’s chances for adoption suddenly became very limited, but nonetheless social media lit up with animal lovers and humane supporters from all over the country trying to find a suitable home for Barry before it was too late. It’s sad to report even pure bred dogs are euthanized regularly at animal shelters right along with their mixed breed relatives.
Barry was euthanized by the shelter because they contend they had kept Barry longer than mandated by law, and his time to be adopted had run out. Volunteers, however disagree, and state a rescue organization for St. Bernards was willing to help, and in addition an adopter from out of state had stepped up for Barry. The volunteers just needed some additional time to procure funding and arrange transportation.
Many people who worked tirelessly to find a home for Barry cried when they heard the news he had been euthanized. Many wanted proof that he was tested with other dogs, and volunteers still want to know why Inland Valley Humane Society and SPCA aren’t more “adoption friendly?”
Inland Valley Humane Society said there were no adopters ready to help Barry, and no one ever notified them of any pending adoptions. Volunteers still disagree.
The real tragedy is that dogs and cats die because of a lack of communication. Even one death is a shelter failure, because isn’t every life worth saving? Isn’t it time shelters showed more consideration and improved their communications? Barry didn’t have to die.
Rest in peace Barry.
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