HomeAnimal RescueCat sheltersvolunteersAngels & Bitches: the real world of animal rescue as I see it

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Angels & Bitches: the real world of animal rescue as I see it — 62 Comments

  1. Of course I helped with this colony, which was relocated to a woman’s house where they could remain outside since the abandoned house they lived in was demolished. The colony also happened to be in the median of a 6 lane-highway. You still did not answer my question as to what YOU do when you find feral cats in the shelters. Funny how one can AVOID a question while continuing to POINT fingers.

  2. I don’t work for a shelter. Go to my Facebook page & you can pictures of all the cats I’ve saved with a rescue that I volunteer for and that is not even half of them. I love them, but I am also realistic. I have seen a feral cat colony near my house live in horridic conditions & multipky due to not being TNR’d or moved. I have also personally cleaned up a hoarding condition, along w/ a friend, and I would not wish that on any animal. I’ve also spent a lot of my own money & treated some extremetly sick cats, who were slated to be euthanized. What do you do when you find a feral at in a shelter?

    • You have a feral colony near your house and you haven’t taken it upon yourself to TNR?
      Please don’t say that it’s not your responsibility, because it is.
      Knowledge makes you responsible.

  3. I must admit, her torrent against us non-pound workers had me upset for awhile, but I am so over it. I don’t do what I do for people, I do it for cats, and don’t have to explain myself when I speak out against abuse and for the cats. She sounded very peta-ish to me; the part about meat eaters and leather wearers is a tactic used by petaphiles to veer off the subject. And I don’t eat meat. And the one pair of leather shoes I own is probably 12 years old.
    And, Dee, there is a “butt” in there either way! 😉

    • Brenda, how much time have YOU SPENT in high-kill animals shelters?

      TNR and low-cost spay/neuter clinics, more foster homes, and more responsible pet ownership comes into play as opposed to humanely euthanizing unwanted pets (what you call murder.) We cannot sit behind a computer and call a veterinarian or shelter worker a murderer when they’re just doing their jobs and the majority who I’ve met are extremely compassionate. Do you or I have the funds and space to provide for EVERY single unwanted animal? Or should we just expect others to do it because giving them to someone else is always the answer? How many of us wear leather shoes or eat meat? Were those animals once healthy animals too? Does this differ because they are not companion animals? Back to companion animals, how could we become part of the solution and NOT part of the problem?
      How dare we sit back and condemn the shelters for cleaning up society’s messes! We can’t change others, but we can help the animals in the shelters and not point. Until anyone can provide for the 9 million animals who are euthanized daily, what other suggestion do you have? I’ve personally spent tens of thousands, put miles on my car, rushed to the ER in the middle of the night, cried and gone without sleep, and yes, euthanized sick fosters because their former owners took the easy route & dumped them in shelters and rescues. Am I a murderer?
      Are the vets and shelter workers who see countless numbers of unwanted animals with a ton of excuse, who clean the cages, pet and hold the animals, stand by the mama animals as they give birth IN the shelter because someone failed to spay/neuter their pet? These workers who fill water & food bowls daily, ensure the animal is treated if sick, work hard to get them off to rescue, NAME the unknown who come in off the streets, and try to make the animals comfortable, all while doing a job that many of us could or would NOT do? Then after showing all of that care and compassion (and yes, getting attached,) must carry that animal off and see them to their last breath because they cannot take all of them home and because NO ONE came to rescue or adopt them!!!!!! How DARE ANYONE sit on their computer throne and criticize. Yes we need to find another way, but it isn’t fair to condemn those who do a job.
      “It is always easier to see a thorn in someone else’s eyes than a dagger in our own!”

      • I visit a high kill shelter often to look at the cat areas, particularly the feral cat area which is less than optimal for any animal, even an iguana.

        Heaven help them if/when I find a feral with an eartip that is scheduled to be killed. In most cases, there has been no check for a microchip. Either no one could be bothered or they were “too scared” to do it. Oddly, no one is “too scared” to insert the deadly needle.

        Heather, I accept that you feel workers are compassionate and caring. Perhaps, some are at the beginning. But, I have found the seasoned workers to be matter-of-fact and nearly dead from the head up. They go about their business as if they are numb.
        Who wouldn’t be with the horrors they see every day?
        But, they keep coming back for that paycheck.

        Many, many things need to be in place, especially in preventing the “dumping” in shelters (hefty fines come to mind), mandatory neutering, TNR ofcourse, temporarily banning breeding, etc.

        It all needs a shake up.

      • Again, Heather, please upload some photos.
        I have a special interest in seeing your high kill shelter, especially the area where ferals are held.

  4. The REAL question is would you have read the article if the word ‘bitch’ wasn’t in the title? Have to get creative to be read these days. Draw a person in…

    • Whatever the title, I always have a look, but the article has to draw me in immediately, this one did!
      If I see a long long complicated one, it gets too much to cope with, my brain is on overload already with cat stuff going on here and worldwide.
      I’m sure all writers know that feeling.

      • I’ve learned on long and complicated ones to space out into more paragraphs. It really has helped. I’ve learned people will read of abuse, but they also like happy endings like the reunited articles. They like articles where children are nice to pets, but also where they abuse pets. Go figure. We’re a screwed up society.

        I also do a lot of family articles where members of the family go to jail over food fights. Yes, seriously. 2 men locked up a few weeks ago over an okra dispute.

  5. This was a very good article. I like the line where Elisa talks about being in a cage and a rescuer fighting for her life. There is a lot of drama and fighting in rescue, whethere it is over finding someone to foster or where money goes. I think there is one aspect missing that needs to be addressed in another thread-internent “trolls,” criticize shelters & shelter staff who euthanize, calling them murderers, etc, cross-posters, and rescuer directors & volunteers who refuse to foster yet guilt everyone else into doing it. You also mentioned the Julianne Westburry’s who claim to love cats, but let’s also mention the phonies & dumpers who leave cats w/ the Julianne Westburrys and then point fingers. We also need to address the subject of humane euthanasia for sick and dying animals, which many no-kill rescues & shelters refuse to do, while money is still sunk into the animal while it suffers needlessly, which is also a big subject of fights amongst rescuers. Some know how and when to let go & others (usually not the ones with the animal in their care,) throw fights and criticize. I’ve saved Rescuers also spend a ton of their OWN time and money. Their personal relationships also suffer. While the rescues do such good work, we are also battling against an irresponsible, quick-fix, throw-away society who also refuses to see the “real deal.” How many times have WE RESCUERS been told “I can’t watch those commercials, I have to change the channel.” Maybe we need a follow-up, mini-series to this article called “The Dark Side of Rescue.”

    • To be honest I can’t be sure that the UK is no-kill throughout the country. We don’t have the same sort of cat shelter set up like America. Cats Protection are definitely no-kill in that they only euthanize with vet approval. The RSPCA has a poorer reputation these days. I don’t know what their policy is currently. I’ll check tomorrow.

      It is strange but in the UK we never discuss no-kill and the large number of cats killed at shelters as is regrettably the case in the USA. It just does not happen like America. That is not to say it never happens. It is not discussed. It is not an issue in the same way that declawing is a non-issue in the UK.

      Your question has prompted me to see if I can do an article on this tomorrow.

    • I can only speak from experience of the shelters we support, but of course I’ve heard many rumours of the RSPCA killing healthy animals. Whether it’s true or not I can’t say and I can’t read that link right now as to take any more on at present would finish me off. There is too much cruelty going on to cope with, after fighting for animals for almost 50 years things haven’t improved much at all 🙁

    • I had read that article too, Brenda along with another that estimated the killing of healthy pets by the RSPCA to be one per hour for 2012.
      Not great, but still better than here.

      • We in the UK appear to be less transparent than Americans. For example Los Angeles openly publish their euthanasia rates on the internet. Not all cat rescue organizations do but nearly all the discussions about cat rescue and euthanasia on the internet centers around American cat rescue. We should at least commend some cat rescue organizations for being open.

  6. I think that most assertive women are a mixture of angel and bitch, beauty and beast.

    I’m not really bothered by being called a bitch. There are worse descriptions. Jimbo/Woody showed us that.

  7. I think the way people perceive what a bitch is can be generational. If I overheard someone talking about me and I was called a bitch, I would not take it as a compliment. I know it has lost some it’s hard edge meaning, but when I was growing up it was meant for a caustic, mean spirited, bitter acting woman that no one wanted to be around. It had much less to do with being strong willed. In short, it was a nasty acting person that others avoided. The term is used very loosely nowadays.

    • I agree that “bitch” means nasty woman. Sometimes nice women have to be bitchy to get the job done 😉

      I believe I am reasonably nice but I have to be tough and a bit nasty sometimes because we live in a rather nasty world.

      • Yes me too, I hate being nasty but some people need to experience a taste of nasty when nice doesn’t work!

      • Yet dog doesn’t mean a nasty man does it! I’ve heard young people saying about someone they don’t like because she’s not ‘trendy’ ‘She’s a dog’
        I don’t think the names of animals should be used to describe people as it demeans the animal.

    • I remember when you couldn’t say the word on network television. It’s lost some of its edge and the meaning has slightly changed.

  8. I like the Term being Strong Willed. As I do believe in any Animal rescue you need to be like that or at least strong. Like Being a Head Person and a heart Person. As i think if your too Feeling it would Pull at your heart Strings. I would be Horrible in Cat Rescue cause I’d want to rescue them all. I do think your got to think Realistically when it comes to rescue. Was reading a horrible story here in NZ. Where some Useless Idiot lured a Kitten into a trap then killed the Animal its caused Outrage and it just goes to show Abuse happens anywhere and anytime around the world. Im sorry if that Offends I just wanted to say we do have just as bad cases here. THis happened in Christchurch.

    • Sadly there are cruel people all over the world. I really think there are two species of humans, those who have the right to be called humans because they are humane and those who are just evil monsters disguised as humans.

  9. Being called a bitch is an insult to us here in England, to us it means a nasty person, not a dedicated person.
    Thankfully as we don’t have kill Shelters we don’t have to worry about ‘pulling’ cats to save their lives and for that I am truly thankful.
    But we do work hard to support our local cat Rescues, we collect food and bedding and we donate as much money as we can to help them and we raise funds for them too.
    What gets to me are the people who say why do you care so much about animals when people are more important and are in need too. I suppose you could say I definately turn into a ‘bitch’ then lol
    What they are too stupid to realise is that those of us who care about and help animals, care about people too and help them when we can!
    I’ve dedicated my life to animals because they need me but a person only has to say they need me and I would help them too.

    • Being called a bitch is an insult to us here in England, to us it means a nasty person, not a dedicated person.

      Agreed of course but when men are nasty and successful in business they are considered effective and ambitious. I wonder if the word bitch is a bit sexist.

    • Call a woman a bitch in the area I live in and she’s just as likely to take it as a compliment. I’m very careful to just watch most of the shelter action rather than posting. I’ll post a YAY when an animal is rescued and that’s about it. There’s a lot of drama on some of the threads.

  10. Thank you for the depth of your story. It opened up my eyes a bit! I’ll admit i do not do the Facebook thing, but other than that, how would an average joe find out what is going on at the various shelters in one’s own area? Sounds like its more to this than meets the eye a lot of time. It’s something that interest me. I have time and transportation. I just want to do what the greatest need is. I want to be an angel, but i have been bad lately. I’ll work to regain my title i hope. =) Oh, also, about the foster thing. Can a person do that very short term. Maybe even a matter of a couple weeks?

    • Yes! Animals die because a foster needed for 2 weeks can’t be found. Most shelters have Facebook pages. That’s a good place to start. I keep up with Greenville County Pet Rescue since my cats came from there.

    • My local independent rescue do fantastic work for cats. It’s run by a dedicated husband and wife team, who haven’t had a single day off in years.

      They don’t use Facebook, but they do have their own web site and quarterly news letters for regular supporters. I prefer to donate to them because my experiences with some of the larger cat rescues have not always been positive. I was told by someone who attended the AGM of a well known cat rescue they were shocked to learn the charity had only spent 25% of the funds allotted for neutering and spaying on doing that. They were not given a satisfactory answer when they queried those figures, so for me I stick with supporting smaller, local rescues now.

      • Once again I agree. We should choose cat charities wisely to get best value for money. There is a segment of the cat charity “business” who do it for business purposes rather than as a means to help cats.

        • My only exception is The Paw Project. They are one large organisation I do trust and am happy to donate to whenever I can.

          You’re right though Michael, we do have to be careful choosing who to support as the public face doesn’t always match what goes on behind the scenes.

  11. You have ABSOLUTELY got to dig in to my latest case. It had to go on Examiner because I’m doing constant updates. I may be able to do a piece for PoC once it’s all over and done, but from the photos I’ve seen at the house, this is a hoarding situation. THIS is a fine collection of angels and bitches commenting following the article. The rescues had to fight the state police to be able to save the cats. The meek and mild never could have pulled this one off.

    • Way more bitch than angel. You can remind me of that one day when you bail me out of jail for defending a cat. Of course the cats at home think I’m an angel…

      • If there are way more bitches than angels is that because the rescue business is pretty tough? Must be. There is a hidden competitiveness in cat rescue it seems to me. The public profile is of do good volunteers saving cats.

        • Julianne has done major damage to rescues and shelters in my area. People are very distrustful of a lot of rescues. Pledges toward cat bail as well as to help medical cases is way down. There’s no telling how many cats her actions will kill in the future. Another upsetting trend now is people are returning adoptions like the shelter is a discount store and the pet a sweater.

          • Great article Elisa. I also am interested in understanding this “trend” where people are returning adoptive pets. I am seeing this mostly at the shelter level, but it is also happening more and more with animal rescue groups. In the past few months alone I’ve taken back 2 fosters who were adopted as kittens and then returned once they turned a year old. This also happened recently with two cats that were adopted. People feel like heroes when they “save” an animal, yet think nothing of returning them after a week or even a few days. Don’t they realize that with a shelter this can mean instant death? They may also have prevented a chance for a real committed adopter to come along.

              • A trend indicates an increase or pattern, yes certainly they lack empathy and compassion. As far as fosters go they are not the issue or to blame for owner returns to a rescue. Every foster I know is empathetic or wouldn’t be fostering. When a cat is returned after adopted from a high kill shelter they are just killed, very different from being adopted from a reputanle rescue where they have a safe foster to go back to. My question was more in the increase in owner returns, which means more than what it used to be.

  12. This is an interesting topic for because it is about the characters of the women (mainly) involved in cat rescue.

    Strong willed women with character and mental strength can be described by other women and men as bitches. It can, however, be a type of compliment.

    The world needs strong-minded women who eschew the conventional role of women which includes them being objects to satisfy men.

    Certainly cat rescue needs some bitches to shake things up and to tell it the way it is.

    I like strong-willed women. Of course sometimes the word “bitch” means nasty. That is another thing.

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