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  1. I was at the Animal Control shelter in San Diego about a hundred years ago (well, the 90s) adopting Ariel. Two little kids in San Diego had been savaged by someone’s pit bull and the city was attempting a ban on the breed.

    A thuggish looking young man was attempting to adopt a pit bull. The Animal Control officer wouldn’t let him. It was a fascinating thing to watch. She KNEW he was going to use the dog to fight. Finally, the guy got mad and left. The AC officer was furious. “Here, look at this,” she said to us and handed us a notebook that was filled with photos of humans who’d been savaged by their own dog. One was of a woman whose eye was sewn shut and half her nose was gone. “Cocker spaniel,” she said. “Cocker spaniels do more damage to people than pits. I don’t see cocker spaniels being outlawed any time soon.”

  2. Thank you for bringing to a wider audience, what happens when a dog is placed into a shelter, usually through no fault of its own. I am wondering about one point you raise. Microchipping is “supposedly” mandatory here in the UK but there is a gap in the system whereby if the dog is lost, abandoned or given up, there seems to be little onus upon a vet to actually check the microchip against any standard records. Do you think that microchipping, which I understand isnt mandatory in the US, will help to reunite dogs with their owners or, at least, allow the authorities to trace where the dog has been? Will there be state wide or country wide databases for the dogs once they are chipped?

    1. Microchipping isn’t mandatory here and I don’t necessarily know how each microchipping company works. I do know that the microchip company our rescue uses allows the adopter to register their microchip number, but the rescue is still on record, so if they don’t and the dog becomes lost, we can usually help reunite it with its adopter. Microchipping could truly help reduce the number of dogs in shelters because lost dogs with chips could be reunited with their owners, so most rescues and many shelters do use microchips. I believe when a lost dog’s chip is read at a vet or shelter, the reader gives the number and the company who created it and then the company who issued it is contacted for the owner’s information. (I could be totally wrong -this is my assumption based on the few lost dogs I’ve been involved with and my own experience with my lost cat)

      1. Thank you. It’s interesting in that whatever system is in place in any country, there are always loopholes. If you had a mandatory chipping requirement, with the owner having to provide their address details even if they move house, this would help. Surrender of a dog (or cat) would then require the shelter to amend the records and once the dog (or cat) is rehomed, the new adopters details are placed into the register. However this takes a single entity to administer the register, an organisation such as the American Kennel Club for instance and they will plead that they have enough to do and wouldn’t have time to undertake such a task. If the dog is lost or stolen and subsequently recovered, the chip could be checked against the national database and then duly returned to the registered owner.

        The microchipping could take place when the dog is still a puppy and this would close the loophole of many of these pernicious “back yard” breeders who have no time for the welfare of the dog generally and look only to profit from the misery of their animals. The difficulty here is the ability to track these individuals who will be hiding their activities from as many of the enforcement agencies as possible.

        In the UK, there are some schemes run by some of the better known rescue organisations to get the dogs microchipped for free and this seems likely to help. There are way too many puppy farms which operate without control or regulation. There are also far too many puppies smuggled into the UK, usually on the back of the latest Crufts winner being announced and people deciding that this is the dog for them (until they get bored with walking, feeding and cleaning up or when the cute little puppy grows into a full sized dog and takes over.

        1. I guess I’d hoped it was better on the other side of the pond for dogs – more enlightened. Sorry to hear this. In the end, no matter the people, I suppose it’s always the animals who suffer because they don’t have a voice or a vote.

          1. I dont know if we are more enlightened here compared to any where else in the world. There are good people everywhere who try to look after dogs, to expose cruelty, try to bring bad conditions to the greater public knowledge and to try and ensure that we have something of a voice. It seems to be those in power who try to save face with proposing ideas, statutes and bills for parliament or congress, and then who lose their way when something else arises.