News from Las Vegas: Why adopt Search and Rescue dogs when you can buy them? »
Mike from Occupied Las Vegas sent a couple of photos of some adorable, adoptable dogs living at Lied Animal Shelter! This is Crosby. He has a 20 percent chance of not being euthanized!
Mike also sent us some information about a new fun way the U.S. government is helping promote dog-breeding! He writes,
As you probably know shelter dogs are commonly used in Search and Rescue work. They have been used successfully at Ground Zero, the recent Haiti earthquake, and, oh fuck it, here’s a list. In fact a dog named Sonic was rescued from Lied and is now working with both the Dallas, Texas Fire Department and FEMA. Recently the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) decided to BUY 3,000 dogs from BREEDERS at a cost of $4,000 EACH. On any given day there are an average 260 dogs available for adoption at the Lied “Adoption Bungalows,” many of whom meet the breed, weight, temperament criteria to be a candidate for Search and Rescue testing; 80 percent will not find homes. They euthanize 80 to 100 dogs a day here.
I don’t have to point out the madness of a government agency paying $4,000 for a dog, while cash-strapped municipalities bear the cost of euthanizing clearly qualified animals on the other. I have been unsuccessful in trying to contact DHS to get information on how to submit candidates for their program. Sorry to be such a bummer, but I’m hoping Vegansaurus can use the power of its mighty bully pulpit to help get this changed. I’ll bet Rocket Dog Rescue has a couple of candidates right now too. Sometimes the very qualities that get a dog kicked out of his home, like hyperactivity and obsessive toy-playing, are the very qualities that make a great SAR dog.
A couple of weeks ago I enlisted the help of a former Department of Defense Navy procurement employee who speaks fluent Governmentese. She located the phone number of the Customs and Border Protection Canine Center in Front Royal, Va. and spoke with Tim Spitler. He stated that although they had used shelter dogs in the past, their legalstaff has stopped the practice of accepting rescue dogs until they can come up with a way to do it legally, because it constitutes a gift to a federal agency.
I’m guessing the shelters would be happy to charge DHS the $4,000 if it would help them satisfy their financial regulations. I was at the Animal Shelter yesterday and there were a half-dozen Lab mixes who met the criteria for the DHS Canine Program. Crosby has the intelligence, high energy and personality to make a great service dog, but the very boldness and hyper-energy that make him such a great candidate freaked out potential adopters.
So what can we do? Obviously, we can contact our government officials to tell them that allowing hundreds of dogs to die every day because of a legal loophole is fucking disgusting. Every patriotic reader can agree to that, regardless of where you stand on animal rights.
Look at all the adorable dogs on Mike’s Flickr page. How many of them could be living the American Dream right now? They should be given the chance to turn their innate qualities into gainful employment, just like everybody else. Why can’t they have it? Would it be so hard to write some kind of shelter dog acquisition policy? Even dog-haters can agree that saving government money is a net positive.
Tell everyone you know about this problem, and get them to contact their officials and representatives, too. If “everyone you know” are all jerks, just send them this photo of Crosby, and ask how many of them think it’s acceptable to let him die because legal issues are complicated. COME ON.