A picture of at least seven dead dogs strewn on the floor has gone viral. The picture was posted on Facebook by an inmate named Chad Winchester who posted it with the comment, “This is what I came across at the dog pound in Modesto. Thoughts?” (Here is one link to the photo on Facebook.”
He also wrote in comments: “And over in the corner behind the table was a few smaller dogs.” and “Well i opened up the door to go in that room to mop the floor (its the ER room). But as you can see they must have just got done putting those down”
The photo is allegedly of the room in the Stanislaus Animal Services Agency where dogs are killed. Many are outraged at the disrespect that the picture seems to show toward the dogs. Others fear that those who relinquished their dogs to be killed might be upset seeing the body of their dog this way.
No one has answered the question about why multiple deceased animals would be left in the same room. Ethical and other standards for killing dogs and cats indicate that there should not be previously killed bodies of animals in the same room in which the killing is taking place, nor should live animals witness the killing of other animals. The shelter needs to address whether they adhere to that ethical practice, which is not indicated by the photo.
The shelter posted on their website:
“We have received an overwhelming number of calls and messages for support of Animal Services expressing their concern and disbelief that an inmate in our community thought it was okay to post a picture on Face Book disrespecting deceased dogs and their owners. The picture is disrespectful to the families of these dogs and was posted purely for shock value. Dog owners come to us to humanely euthanize their pets as a service we provide to the community. We do humanely and compassionately euthanize pets that are ill, injured, or unable to find a new home.”
The picture, according to those who work in the Stanislaus shelter, was taken by someone on work release who entered a room that should have been locked. Whether or not he should have taken and posted this picture, it should cause concern about the number of dogs and cats who are killed each and every day in shelters. Not necessarily in “evil” shelters (although there are plenty of shelters that are not as humane as they should be), but in shelters where they simply can’t deal with the vast numbers of dogs and cats abandoned and unwanted by their owners.
Dogs and cats are dumped at shelters, left in rural areas to die, abused, given away to abusive people, and otherwise not cared for. Shelters try to clean up the mess that irresponsible people make. Responsible people spay and neuter their animals. They provide medical care and heartworm preventative for them so that they don’t get sick. But many, many others don’t believe in spending one extra nickel on their animals. “It’s just a dog,” they say.
And the result of that attitude is clearly seen in this picture. Miami Dade Animal Services in Miami, Florida, claims to be a no-kill shelter. Yet in one three-day period this month, almost 100 animals were killed. Imagine not the seven or ten animals in this picture, but 96 cats and dogs piled up — dead.
Does there need to be change in this country to stop the slaughter of dogs and cats? Yes! But until puppy mills are closed and people responsibly spay and neuter their animals, that won’t happen. And ugly scenes like this one will continue to be seen across the country. Those of us who don’t live in this county don’t know what the shelter does or does not do to find homes for all the animals that arrive at the shelter. Those who do live in that county should get involved. Volunteer at the shelter. Take pictures of the dogs and cats and post them on Facebook. Offer to foster for a local rescue. All these activities save lives.
Get involved on a local level. No matter where you live in this county, there are animals in need. Foster a dog or cat. For a week — even that could save a life. Networking dogs is another way to save lives. Remember, on Facebook, hitting the “share” link is what saves lives, not just clicking on “like.”
So is Chad Winchester a hero or a villain? He certainly made sure that those dead dogs are being noticed, and that people are thinking of the dogs being killed in shelters. And that’s a good thing — no matter his intentions.