But, it ended up being interesting (and, of course, no one is making me do the prompt! I decided to research dog pounds because that's the setting of the story I'm working on. I've been to Boston's MSPCA, but that's pretty much my only experience. My Chloe dog was adopted through Adoptalab, a great organization that ships labs from the south (where they are crazy over-bred and likely to be put in kill shelters if they're not bought) to homes around the country. So, here's what I learned:
- In kill shelters, the only acceptable method of euthanasia is intravenous injection of a barbiturate solution by a veterinarian or a properly trained and certified technician. Not acceptable are: high altitude decompression chambers, electrocution, carbon monoxide (except under highly controlled conditions), strychnine poisoning, shooting, and intra-cardiac injections of alert animals. It boggles my mind that someone could think electrocuting a dog to death would be an OK thing to do.
- "Humane society" and "SPCA" are generic terms for organizations that work to protect animals. The names don't mean the shelter is affiliated with anyone or accredited. Each shelter is independently operated, which means that the MSPCA in Boston can be totally different than the MSPCA in Newton.
- Dogs often don't have water in their crates because they get knocked over so often. They also don't have food available all the time, just 2x a day.
- 6-8 million cats and dogs enter shelters each year, only half are adopted. The other half are killed. (According to the Humane Society of the US)
- 25% of dogs in shelters are purebreeds (same source)
- There are between 4,000 and 6,000 shelters in the US (same source)
- A fertile dog can produce 2 litters a year, each yielding 6-10 puppies. In 6 years, one female dog and her offspring can theoretically produce 67,000 dogs!!! (same source)
- Black dogs are the least likely to be adopted and most often killed. Experts guess this is because they don't photograph as nicely as lighter dogs, they "look scarier," and they have negative/spooky connotations. Winston Churchill called his depression a black dog, for example. And the phantom dog in Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of Baskervilles was black. Some people also have this odd idea that black dogs are more aggressive.