Shelter Staff Blackmailed into Taking Animals

Have you ever heard of shelter staff being blackmailed to take in animals that a person wishes to give up?

This has happened to Sue Sewell, Chairman of Hull Animal Welfare Trust, Hull, UK. Her rescue center is full or almost at capacity and therefore sometimes she has to turn people away.

Sue Sewell

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The staff say that they are being emotionally blackmailed into taking kittens. One visitor threatened to put four kittens into a bin bag unless the rescue center accepted them. Shockingly bad behaviour, I’d say.

“On Friday, a lady told us she’d put her cat and four kittens in a bin bag if we didn’t take them in.”

Sue Sewell said that pet owners are becoming increasingly abusive when told that the shelter is at capacity. This is an unpleasant trend. It reinforces what we already know: the irresponsible people who are more likely to abandon unwanted kittens to shelters are also more likely to be unpleasant. The problems that we have with pet ownership are caused by a minority of people.

In another related UK pet story, a survey by MSD Animal Health found that 77.5% of cats in the UK are not vaccinated against illness. Personally, I find this a surprising statistic.

Another statistic hints at the reason behind the high percentage of unvaccinated cats. Eighty-six percent of pet owners said they would vaccinate their pet if a disease was present in the area where they lived. This is a risky decision because it may be too late to vaccinate. Vaccinations are meant to be preventative measures. Perhaps they don’t understand vaccinations.

The stats indicate to me that people want to save on veterinary expenditure and risk the health of their cat in doing so. Often pet owners are unprepared for the true cost of looking after a companion animal. The failure to spay and neuter resulting in unwanted kittens (as shown in this article) is another example of how irresponsible people force the burden of their misdeeds on others at shelters.

This is a profound problem in society as it undermines the whole process and concept of the domestication of cats and dogs.

Sue makes a plea in the video to cat owners to neuter their cats.

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

21 thoughts on “Shelter Staff Blackmailed into Taking Animals”

  1. My parents have lived next door to a vet clinic for 50 years and needless to say quite a few of our cats have more than likely come from there when gutless humans dump them there at night.3 of our 4 cats were strays.2 of them were young kittens and the other was about 2 years old when they decided to become part of our family.all my cats are desexed,microchipped,vaccinated and are dewormed and have flea treatment regularly. If I couldn’t do that for them I would feel that I have failed them.cats need health checks just as we do and if its good enough for us its good enough for them.if everyone that adopts a cat has them desexed asap these shelters wouldn’t be over run with cats and kittens and no one would have to be abused or blackmailed.the fault is totally on the pet owner for not being responsible and all it takes is missing out on a few luxuries in life to have a desexed,healthy cat..

  2. This happens for the very same reason that people practice TNR. They don’t have the strength of heart required to end the life of an unwanted animal so they just dump the problem off on others and “let nature take its course”. They don’t care how those cats die so long as they suffer to death out of sight — they get to blame anyone but themselves for how all those cats suffered to death.

    You need only look to yourselves to see why it happens. You support the very same values and behaviors in yourselves and others. You’re just as despicable and reprehensible as those you blame for the problem.

    1. You are wrong again. You are saying that responsible cat caretakers are the same as the small minority who are irresponsible which is clearly stupid. I think you need to think more clearly and express you ideas more precisely.

      1. And you refusing to face-up to reality and facts is precisely why this is going to keep happening. ๐Ÿ™‚ YOU perpetuate the problem! You ARE the problem! Until you start to promote responsible pet-ownership you can blame yourself for every dead-cat article on the internet. Your fault! ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. No, Jim.
          You are a perpetrator of vermin birds who keep me awake, leave droppings on my car and porch, and generally annoy the heck out of people who don’t want nests in their trees.

          Even though my first line is to protect cats, you have no idea of how many neighborhood children I stop from using slingshots or BB guns to clip off birds or how many adults I prevent from taking brooms and swatting bird nests to the ground.

  3. My local rescue run their shelter from home and their gardens are open to the public at the weekends so people can meet cats available for adoption or visit the long-term permanent residents. They regularly have people threaten them with violence or use emotional blackmail to pressure them into taking their unwanted animals. Since they operate from home, they routinely wake up to discover animals have been “dropped over their gates”, abandoned by their owners in the dead of night ๐Ÿ™

    In the U.K. there really is no excuse not to have your pet neutered, because there are numerous charities who can assist with those costs. I’m coming to the conclusion that everyone (except for registered and licensed breeders) should be legally obliged to neuter and microchip their pets.

    Some feline diseases are more common in certain regions of the U.K., so I think that a lot of people may not bother vaccinating their pets unless they become aware of an outbreak of disease in their neighbourhood. Whether that is due to the cost or fear of vaccine related problems, I don’t know. I think that a lot of people are uneducated about things like cat ‘flu and dismiss it as a simple cold. Perhaps if more people understood the dangers of these diseases they might be more inclined to vaccinate?

    I’m surprised at the estimate that 77.5% of cats in the UK are not vaccinated. That does seem exceptionally high. Do we know if ferals and strays were included in those numbers? Was feedback included from vets working for animal charities who provide low-cost/free vaccinations, or the P.D.S.A. who require owners to vaccinate in order to qualify for free vet care?

    I have my cats vaccinated because I’d rather be safe than sorry. As someone who never received any childhood vaccinations due to my mum’s concerns, I did grill my vet about the potential risks. He told me that in his entire career he’d only ever seen 4 cats who suffered from vaccine related sarcomas, but he’d seen hundreds of cats die from infectious diseases.

    1. Michele, the figure of 77% does seem too high. I’ll see if I can find some other statistics to verify that figure. I am shocked that your local shelter regularly suffers threats and worse to force them to take in animals. This is terrible. In the UK, there is an underbelly of bad people behaving badly and we know that they exist. Some of them regrettably have a pet when they shouldn’t and they mess around with the good people who are caring and concerned about animal welfare. It is a reflection on UK society generally.

      1. Some people should never be allowed to have pets because they have no interest in their welfare. These are the people who view animals as disposable once they have become an inconvenience or the novelty has worn off.

        Like many others, my local rescue operate T.N.R. programmes and they’ve spent years raising funds to build their own veterinary clinic. They heavily promote neutering, but even that suggestion meets with abuse from some people. They’ve even had people decline their offer to pay for neutering and then months later have the cheek to ask for help with re-homing the mother cat and her kittens.

    2. Hoping that the stat isn’t correct too. I doubt that strays or ferals were included, because they’re pretty much nonexistent in the UK from what people write.

  4. Sandra Murphey, No. CA, USA

    Michael, I was surprised that your vet recommended no vaccinating Charlie because “he (Charlie) lived in an area where lots of other cats were vaccinated and therefore there was a reduction in the possibility of contracting a disease”.

    This seems like an assumption, unless he had actual statistics to back it up. Maybe, it had more to do with his feelings about the harm that vaccines can do.
    If so, he was a rare vet.

    I don’t recall you mentioning what Charlie died of.

    1. I was surprised too at his advice. I was against vaccinations if they could be avoided. I took his advice. I think he knew the area well enough to assess it accurately. But it was very uncommercial of him to suggest no vaccination. He may have known me from the internet and PoC and didn’t want to get involved in a discussion about it.

      Charlie died of a tumor behind his right eye.

  5. I could relay so many horror stories about people who call a rescue group saying that they will drown or shoot litters if someone doesn’t come to get them.

    I guess that it never occurs to these idiots to just stop the cycle by neutering.

    I’m amazed when kit litters are dropped on my deck every Spring and Fall without the mother. Some have been as young as 2 weeks old. I can’t understand why anyone would do that. They don’t get their cats spayed and just dump the litters twice a year (here, much to my dismay). I want, so much, to catch them; but, they are wise to my cams and steer clear of them. All I ever pick up are hands depositing them one by one.

    1. It seems, that you have the same problem, therefore, in the USA about blackmailing shelters to take cats in. This had never really occurred to me until I read about this particular case in the UK. It seems to me to be very bad behaviour by people who simply are not thinking straight and not thinking about the welfare of the cats that they are producing or allowing to be produced.

      There are a lot of stupid people and ignorant people out there and I hate to say that but sadly I believe it is true despite the fact that there are still a great many decent and good people as well, thankfully.

  6. I also factored in additional cost in time and funding for my cats, who were planned wanted and loved from day one. And like many other responsible pet stewards and caregivers,I had no intention of opening my door to more than I had room for. My neighbors do not spay or neuter cats nor give any medical care. As far as they are concerned; cats are self sufficient and should be kicked out to door to live free[ right nice ideal if we lived in a ‘Utopian World’.

    I resent them even being alerted to the simple fact that I care; because then they try to take advantage.
    As long as I or those other like kinds exist, People who are lazy and apathetic and ignorant and abuse animals thru neglect or worse, can continue to remain uninvolved and shift their guilt to the next available parasitic host.The innocent victims are the abandoned strays & the good samaritans. Eva_

  7. I’m not surprised at this. I’ve always factored in the cost of having an animal companion. It has never occurred to me to take an animal to the shelter because I couldn’t afford vaccinations or vet visits.

    1. I think, perhaps, that there are more people in the UK who are not that good at looking after cat than we think.

  8. Sandra Murphey, No. CA, USA

    I’m also surprised at the high percentage of unvaccinated cats. I wonder if this is due to economic reasons or other reasons, like distrust of vaccines. I also wonder what the stats are for diseases that come from not being vaccinated…like rabies, distemper, and others. Are these disease rates higher than places with higher vaccination rates? Most shelter cats are given vaccines prior to adoption, and our shelter provides a certificate for free vet wellness exam.

    Neutering and TNR should be the focus of donated funds, because these actions work at solving the problem.

    In the case of “shelter blackmail”, those cats may end up euthanized, but at least they won’t suffer at the hands of a cruel individual.

    1. My gut feeling is that it is for economic reasons mainly. There may also be an element of distrust about vaccinations because they have been overdone in the past. There are quite a lot of what I would call careless cat owners in the UK who don’t try and do the right things.

      That said, a good veterinarian that I used at one time said that my cat did not need vaccinating because he (Charlie) lived in an area where lots of other cats were vaccinated and therefore there was a reduction in the possibility of contracting a disease. Set that against the fact that vaccinations can cause health problems and he decided that there was no need for a vaccination.

      However, I still believe that most cases of not vaccinating cats are due to the usual reasons, which is failing to take proper responsibility.

      1. LOL!
        Not sure how any vet could determine that most surrounding cats are vaccinated and, therefore, Charlie didn’t need to be. We are talking about London. Right? A very large city. And, this vet is aware of every niche and cranny of it, in such detail, that he/she could determine that?
        I hope you wrote off that vet.

        1. He is actually a good vet! I was surprised. I lived quite near to the surgery and probably knew the area generally and decided that bearing in mind Charlie’s age etc.. that it was okay not to vaccinate.

          Charlie’s age was a factor because there is no need to vaccinate over and over again when a cat only travels around 40 yards form the home and is around 10-12 years of age.

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