Deena needs a foster or adoptive home

Deena is a 4 year old lab mix who came from Georgia along with six puppies and her baby daddy. Deena is friendly to all, including dogs and people, and she showed no interest in cats. She is adoptable or fosterable from GA to CT and places in between and nearby. Interested people should email jen.vargas@bigfluffydogs.com for more info.

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Lucy Layne needs a home

Lucy Layne is a 9 year old chow mix. Her owner surrendered her to us when she could no longer care for her. Lucy is a quiet and scared little girl and she needs the right home. Lucy needs a quiet and calm home without children under 14 and without other dogs. Lucy does not much care for other dogs as she has spent her whole life as an only. She is a very sweet girl and needs a place where she can just decompress. Lucy is adoptable from Georgia to Connecticut and places in between. Interested people should email cookie@bigfluffydogs.com

lucy layne

Monty the Saint Bernard mix is adoptable or fosterable from VA to CT

This is Monty, a one year old, very bouncy and active Saint Bernard mix, probably with hound. At just shy of 100 pounds, this is a big puppy. Monty is learning to walk nicely on the leash with a Walk Your Dog with Love Harness which we highly recommend. He is a nice sweet and very goofy dog, but he is big and all over the place, so no kids under 10. Unless your kids are super sturdy or play Australian Rules football. He is sadly very prejudiced against cats. Monty can be adopted or fostered from VA to CT. Email liz@bigfluffydogs.com.

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Heathcliff is adoptable from GA to CT

This sweet 6 year old boy is a small Great Pyrenees who weighs in at under 70 pounds which is practically microscopic for this breed. Heathcliff’s owner died and he came to us a matted mess, so he lost his long hair, but it will be back.  Heathcliff is great with people of all ages. He can be OK with other dogs, but needs slow introductions. He’s been a lone dog for a long time and he is a bit scared of new dogs. Dog savvy cats are OK. Interested adopters or fosters should email jen.vargas@bigfluffydogs.com.

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Neve needs a foster

Not quite 7 weeks old, Neve is a lab mix. She is in the Nashville area and needs a foster for the next few weeks. Interested adopters should fill out a foster application at http://bigfluffydogs.com/foster-application.htm and then email amy@bigfluffydogs.com. Sorry kids, she’s not adoptable until after 2-15-15. Stand by.

neve

Adeline needs a foster home

Not quite 7 weeks old, Adeline is a lab mix. She is in the Nashville area and needs a foster for the next few weeks. Interested adopters should fill out a foster application at http://bigfluffydogs.com/foster-application.htm and then email amy@bigfluffydogs.com. Sorry kids,  she’s not adoptable until after 2-15-15. Stand by.

adeline

Nicholson needs a foster

Not quite 7 weeks old, Nicholson is a lab mix. He is in the Nashville area and needs a foster for the next few weeks. Interested adopters should fill out a foster application at http://bigfluffydogs.com/foster-application.htm and then email amy@bigfluffydogs.com. Sorry kids, he’s not adoptable until after 2-15-15. Stand by.

nicholson

Why the No-Kill Movement Isn’t ready for Prime Time*

Fans, let us talk honestly. I am going to take an incredible amount of flack for what I am about to write, but it’s time someone interjected some sanity into the discussion about the no-kill sheltering movement. I am here to do that because it doesn’t work. Before anyone loses their minds, I’m not saying it can’t work, just that it currently does not work and it can’t work until there are some serious shifts in attitudes about how we care for animals.

First, the history. The guru of this movement is Nathan Winograd, who at one point in his career was a shelter director. Mr. Winograd had an ephiphany one day that shelters could become “no-kill” simply by deciding not to kill animals and thus a movement was born. It’s a nice idea and it might in the future have some meaning, but for now, I think Mr. Winograd is simply wrong and he is promoting a very unrealistic utopia that can’t exist given our current conditions. It can’t work now and it didn’t work so well for him according to some critics who point out that by refusing to euthanize animals in shelters to make space for new ones coming in, his solution was simply to stop taking in new animals until some left. This begs the question of what happened to those animals turned away?

Those wanting to educate themselves can read all about it here: http://www.nokilladvocacycenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/nokill101.pdf. This is the step-by-step on how to do it according to Mr. Winograd. Basically, it boils down to do everything but do not kill the animal. The problem is that the equations he sets forth as the basis of his plan are simply not based in reality because his underlying base assumption is there is no pet overpopulation problem. With all due respect to Mr. Winograd and his movement, that’s bat shit crazy talk at least here in my neck of the woods.

Big Fluffy Dog Rescue is a no-kill rescue. That sounds great, but even a no-kill rescue like us has to euthanize dogs for health and temperament. We have a responsibility to the animals in our care to make sure that they are healthy, happy and well and if they are not healthy and we can’t fix them and they are suffering, we euthanize them. This is never, ever without pain for any of us. We also euthanize for temperament. If a dog is unsafe and cannot be rehabbed, then we have a responsibility to never place a dog that we know is vicious. Rescues cannot simply warehouse vicious dogs as it not safe for those running the rescue and housing the dog nor is it fair to a dog to be warehoused in a small run its entire life. We euthanize vicious dogs and every rescue should, even though we grieve for having to euthanize the dog. If a shelter refuses to euthanize sick dogs or dangerous dogs, how does that help the dog suffering in pain or the dog who will live its life in a tiny pen, never with contact because it’s too aggressive?

All this is to say we are not an open-admission shelter where you are required by law to take every animal that shows up at the door. We can say no and we do when we don’t have room. Shelters by law don’t have that option. Some of the no-kill people simply solve their problem of overcrowding by not taking in any new animals. This means those animals turned away don’t get a shot at adoption, and they frequently die on the side of a road, end up shot to death by angry farmers pissed that they are harassing livestock while they are starving, or they die from predator attack or disease. This is not OK. The other option is warehousing in cramped conditions. That is also not OK. Sadly, this is the result 99% of the time in the shelters I have seen that have adopted the no-kill mantra.

Recently, we had a run-in with a no-kill group who tried to get us to take in a dog that tried to bite multiple people and we refused. They actually lied to us about the dog’s history, simply to get us to get it out of the shelter because it was taking room they needed. We told them the dog was dangerous and should be euthanized. They refused. They actually told one of our people that so long as the dog was alive, they didn’t care where it went. This is appalling. There are fates worse than death and fans, I have seen them. Until you have seen a dog’s lifeless body lying decaying in a pile of its own feces in a crate where it died alone and unwanted or you have picked up a starving dog who has been on its own trying to survive as best it could lying in front of you dying from gunshot wounds, you have zero street cred to tell me that I am wrong. When dogs do not have a place that they can at the very least receive food and shelter, the people who own them will do horrible things to be rid of the responsibility. That is a fact.

So what happens when the no-kill movement takes over an actual shelter? The Bradley County TN SPCA got the contract from the local government to run the local shelter after a bitter fight and announced that they were going to be no-kill back in the summer of 2014. Guess what happened? People complained that their calls for help with animals went unanswered and this is how the animals have been living:

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I am not OK with this. Worse, here’s what one of the people who contacted me had to say about his experience in the shelter as a volunteer:

They claim to champion the humane treatment of animals, but I have seen conditions and cruelty that are mindblowing. Animals sitting in their own waste in small crates for 16+ hours is not unusual. Aggressive dogs are being warehoused for months due to “no kill” and being handled by inexperienced volunteers – dogs who then bite people in the shelter and attack other animals. I’ve seen dogs being restrained with makeshift devices for no discernible reason, immobilized in their own feces for hours on end. I’ve attached a couple of those pictures here from this past week so you can see what I’m talking about. I’ve also shared my concerns and pictures with the Sheriff’s Department, but they claim to be unequipped to deal with anything like this.

This, fans, is the face of no-kill in the rural South. I’ve seen it now in dozens of shelters across the South and the results are horrific. Take a look at our Magnolia dogs, the Brinkley dogs and the most recent ones we took from the local Tennessee shelter. The politicians claim that conditions may be “less than ideal”, but it’s all for the dog’s “benefit” because they don’t get euthanized. Sure, they’re alive, but they are miserable, caged animals living in squalor with no hope of a day with the sun on their face. Is this what we want? I dare say it is not. I invite anyone to come with me to a shelter where the dogs live with no hope in squalid conditions and tell me this is a good result.

The fact is that no-kill is not possible until and unless the pool of available animals is at or near equilibrium with available resources. In the South, the population of dogs far outstrips the human population and there’s no chance of that changing until and unless people get serious about spaying and neutering companion animals. Mr. Winograd has said there is no pet overpopulation problem, but I would doubt he could hold that opinion if he spent a week with us in the South where the dog population outstrips the human population 10 to 1. That’s a fact, kids, and barring a cultural earthquake where the local population and the governments in charge make a dent in the supply by requiring spay and neuter, no-kill can never, ever work. The supply is out of whack to demand and if there’s one thing that always holds true, where you have too much of any one thing, it has zero value on the open market.

Say a prayer for the dogs, fans. Bradley County SPCA has announced that it will end it’s no-kill policies on January 1 and they blame it on everything but the real cause. Too many dogs means not enough homes and not enough homes means dogs will die or live like they have been above. I sincerely hope the Bradley County Commissioners see this and act to end it before January 1. These dogs are living in squalor and it’s not OK.

*At least here. I make no representations about other parts of the country, but I have my doubts as to how it could work in urban areas with dog overpopulation problems.