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Hypothetical: Better for an homeless dog to have no home or/and be euthanized OR go to a home that just barely has enough money to feed it,etc.?

Because there is this huge debate at my work.. about if we should let people take an animal if they cant even afford the adoption fee.. Which i get it to some degree. But than again.. there are plenty of great people who care about their animals who can only give them the minimum vet care, low quality food, etc... and than at least that homeless animal has a home.. a family?
The only thing is, what if there is a better home out there for those homeless animals? But who is to say that the better home will ever come, and that they will go to that shelter and pick out that animal? There is no guarantee.. And what about at those shelters where they euthanize dogs by the dozen? Better to have a home like that than to be euthanized? Right? Depends on the dog?

What do you guys all think?

I need more thoughts and opinions before i can come to some sort of conclusion!

Thanks!
 

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Probably depends on the homeless populations each person here has in their area. We have a huge homeless population. Some mentally ill were getting bussed here from Nevada with 3 days worth of meds and that is it. We have illegal alien homeless, druggie homeless, alcoholic homeless and schizophrenic type homeless and lazy young people homeless. Most of the families and non druggies do get support. In general I'd say a dog would be better off in the animal shelter than with the homeless in my area. Many do have dogs, and I just wish I could steal the dogs and give them a better life.

I'd say if someone were very poor, and had little money, but was sober and had a home, even a one room place, they could have a dog here. The SPCA offers dog food for low income persons like some seniors for example.
 

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Probably depends on the homeless populations each person here has in their area. We have a huge homeless population. Some mentally ill were getting bussed here from Nevada with 3 days worth of meds and that is it. We have illegal alien homeless, druggie homeless, alcoholic homeless and schizophrenic type homeless and lazy young people homeless. Most of the families and non druggies do get support. In general I'd say a dog would be better off in the animal shelter than with the homeless in my area. Many do have dogs, and I just wish I could steal the dogs and give them a better life.

I'd say if someone were very poor, and had little money, but was sober and had a home, even a one room place, they could have a dog here. The SPCA offers dog food for low income persons like some seniors for example.
Oh yes i agree.. I would not want a dog to go in a home with mentally unstable people (to the point of not being able to take care of something) or people with drug addictions to the point of selfishness.

But i agree, and some food shelves also have dog food/cat food to give away too.
 

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Ugh...this question posed in a way that shows how much variation there is across the country...minimal vet care and low quality food. That's better than a lot of the adopters who come to shelters in some places!

There are many, many situations a dog could be in that are worse than humane euthanasia. I say that as someone who has been volunteering inside a high-kill shelter where euthanasia happens a lot -- and as someone who has seen the worst that humans can do to dogs. We have one now who was chained up and deliberately starved. She was nearly dead when we got her -- a home like that is worse than death. If you've never seen what true starvation does to an animal, it's ghastly and painful.

Let's frame this the way it is down South---this is a real question that comes up constantly in our public shelter where some advocate for "open" adoptions for free to anyone who wants a dog (something being preached by an out-of-state group that's come in to "advise" the public shelter here on how to "improve"). Here are the things we have actually seen in applications:
-adopt to someone who will keep a GSD year-round, 24-7 outside, on a heavy chain as a "guard dog" (a miserable life for a people-loving GSD--and the adopter who wanted to do this wanted a dog who had previously been a HOUSE DOG)
-adopt to someone suspected of being involved in dog fighting (the fear being they wanted to adopt a bait dog)
-adopt to someone whose method of training on the application is "beat the dog with a shoe" (that's a quote from an application!)
-adopt to someone whose prior animals never saw a vet, even for routine care, knowing the adopted dog will not be kept on HW preventative (in the Gulf South means the dog will get heartworm disease and likely die from it in a few years (a very painful death))
-adopt to someone who has previously given up dogs to a high-kill shelter for reasons of convenience
-adopt to someone known to be a "dog flipper" on Craigslist (for profit) who targets purebred shelter dogs

My list could go on and on. My answer is NO.

In my high-kill local shelter, just FIVE shelter volunteers got the GSDs to "no kill" status by using a rescue-model application, doing home checks, and vet reference checks from within the shelter. Our average time to adoption for shelter GSDs is 12 days. I'm in the Deep South, where shelter kill rates are very high. Don't think it's because we don't have many GSDs in shelters either -- our volunteers saved more then 60 of them this year, in this one shelter!

I have no opinion on other breeds and mutts -- they are harder (esp. pit bulls, who are overproduced in huge numbers). For this GSDs, I know it is possible to get to "no kill" for the adoptable ones (non-aggressive temperament, treatable health issues) while still doing reasonable screening. It takes hard work and foster homes. This shelter had an 80% kill rate just three years ago!

I thus don't accept the premise of the hypothetical -- at least for this breed.
 

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dogs dont recognize money. A homeless person is often a better owner than a millionaire. Probably one of the worst case scenarios is a shelter who keeps dogs in cages instead of rehoming them.
 

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I know there is a very strong feeling of "every dog deserves a chance or a second chance or a third chance." I don't know how many times I've read threads about a dog that's bitten someone more than once and there are still people defending this dog and saying its the owners fault and that in the right hands the dog would be fine, just would take some time to rehab.

Well knowing how crowded shelters are, and how rescues generally function...those types of places can't handle problem dogs. Why spend $10000 (counting someone's salary/time and also real resources) trying to rehab a single problem dog, taking up the space for possibly dozens of normal dogs that would move in and out of the shelter within days? I get it, every life is important, but at some level, isn't saving 10 dogs better than saving one?

Anyways...I don't know how I feel about a family that can barely afford minimal care getting a dog. To a family/person that has to worry about every dollar they spend, is $20 a month on food, and possibly a $100 vet visit a year really a good decision? Couldn't that $340 go somewhere else to maybe help that person get a better job or get into a better situation where that dog is more affordable and smarter to own? And this is nothing against those living paycheck to paycheck and investing all their discretionary income into their dogs...I get it, people do it, but I just don't know how "smart" it is to do that. I guess if you're spending your last $20 on dog food, I would wonder what happens if that $20 isn't there one month? Who is going to get to eat then? The last thing I would expect is someone to not buy food for themselves just to feed their dog...
 

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I know there is a very strong feeling of "every dog deserves a chance or a second chance or a third chance." I don't know how many times I've read threads about a dog that's bitten someone more than once and there are still people defending this dog and saying its the owners fault and that in the right hands the dog would be fine, just would take some time to rehab.

Well knowing how crowded shelters are, and how rescues generally function...those types of places can't handle problem dogs. Why spend $10000 (counting someone's salary/time and also real resources) trying to rehab a single problem dog, taking up the space for possibly dozens of normal dogs that would move in and out of the shelter within days? I get it, every life is important, but at some level, isn't saving 10 dogs better than saving one?
To basically paraphrase something Jean Donaldson wrote... Dogs that are like this have usually been failed by their owners several times.

Usually the first time by not teaching the dog bite inhibition when it was a pup or stopping that process by taking the pup away from his siblings and mother at too young an age.

The second time is when they fail to socialize the dog to stressors they find uncomfortable.

The third time is when they fail to inoculate against behaviors like this through management, things like item trades, or food bowl games to minimize or stop what are essentially normal dog behaviors.

And the fourth is when they finally put the dog in that situation where after all of this it feels the need to bite to protect itself.

On top of all that they dump the dog off on the system which is already massively overburdened and is essentially in triage mode. They basically **** dogs like this to execution. It isn't euthanasia at that point. The dog isn't getting a merciful death to avoid painful life, it is being killed because of unacceptable crimes against humans, and given all the times the humans failed this dog it isn't fair at all.

So yeah the reality of the situation is yeah it is easier to save those 10 than to put effort into that 1, but I can definitely see why some people would put energy into that 1.
 

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I really don't think there's a perfect answer. Some dogs are better off euthanized; my family dealt with one that was put down due to mental issues at only 3 years old. It hurt our hearts deeply but she was better off away from her inner demons. We gave her everything: training, food, shelter, and love and it wasn't enough to help her so no I don't think it's enough in some cases to have all the worldly things available to them.

I do see both sides. There are many reasons to euthanize and none of them are pleasant, but I don't see it as a cruel thing, sad yes in most cases, but not cruel. If the dog is suffering then there's a time you just have to steel your heart as best you can and do it, no matter how badly it hurts you. If the dog is happy and decently cared for then why fix a problem that doesn't exist.
 

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I deal with a lot of pet owners, and I'll tell you this much: some of those pets would be better off with a cash-strapped owner who truly cares for them, than they are in the well-off home they are ignored in--not to mention pets in shelters!

I was once homeless, no money. All I had was my dog. Many people would probably say I shouldn't have a dog I couldn't afford. But I took care of that dog, she ate before I did, went everywhere I went, played Frisbee every day, and we kept each other warm at night. She was my best friend, sometimes my only friend. I made a lot of mistakes with her as she was my first dog, but she was resilient and forgiving and loyal.

Eventually I got back on my feet, got a job, bought a house, and that dog lived out her golden years in the lap of luxury. She lived to be 16 years old.

Money isn't what makes a good pet owner. As long as the owner cares for the pet, takes responsibility, and gets its needs met, many dogs will be a heck of a lot happier living with a poor person that spends time with them, than they are languishing in a shelter, or thrown in the backyard of a nice big house and ignored.

Veterinary care is expensive, but there are low-cost vaccine clinics, spay and neuter. There is Care Credit for emergencies. In this country, pets do have a safety net. I'm not saying that poor people who can barely feed themselves should be getting a bunch of animals, but most of the homeless around here have dogs, and they all look pretty healthy, good weight, etc. Possibly in need of grooming, but when you have a hammer all you see are nails.

The problem is weeding out the bad owners whether rich or poor. There are just as many bad rich owners as there are bad poor owners, so adoptions should be granted on something other than income, IMO.
 

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I deal with a lot of pet owners, and I'll tell you this much: some of those pets would be better off with a cash-strapped owner who truly cares for them, than they are in the well-off home they are ignored in--not to mention pets in shelters!

I was once homeless, no money. All I had was my dog. Many people would probably say I shouldn't have a dog I couldn't afford. But I took care of that dog, she ate before I did, went everywhere I went, played Frisbee every day, and we kept each other warm at night. She was my best friend, sometimes my only friend. I made a lot of mistakes with her as she was my first dog, but she was resilient and forgiving and loyal.

Eventually I got back on my feet, got a job, bought a house, and that dog lived out her golden years in the lap of luxury. She lived to be 16 years old.

Money isn't what makes a good pet owner. As long as the owner cares for the pet, takes responsibility, and gets its needs met, many dogs will be a heck of a lot happier living with a poor person that spends time with them, than they are languishing in a shelter, or thrown in the backyard of a nice big house and ignored.

Veterinary care is expensive, but there are low-cost vaccine clinics, spay and neuter. There is Care Credit for emergencies. In this country, pets do have a safety net. I'm not saying that poor people who can barely feed themselves should be getting a bunch of animals, but most of the homeless around here have dogs, and they all look pretty healthy, good weight, etc. Possibly in need of grooming, but when you have a hammer all you see are nails.

The problem is weeding out the bad owners whether rich or poor. There are just as many bad rich owners as there are bad poor owners, so adoptions should be granted on something other than income, IMO.
+100!

Not much to add to this post. Thank you.
 

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dogs dont recognize money. A homeless person is often a better owner than a millionaire. Probably one of the worst case scenarios is a shelter who keeps dogs in cages instead of rehoming them.
There's a homeless man who sits on the street corner here with his mixed dog. He has a sign that says "Will work for dog food." He always has the dog sitting next to him on a rope under the comforter he uses for his shelter/coat. I bought him a small bag of dog food. Although he's homeless and the dog probably doesn't get vet care, the dog looks happy and well fed. I think he's a better owner than the yahoo down the block from me who keeps his pitbull on a chain outside year round on a chain with nothing more than a piece of plywood for shelter and some handfuls of food thrown on the ground.

*-*Summer*-*
 

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I think if they can't afford the adoption fee but could provide it a nice loving home with food and shelter and some vet care then they should be required to volunteer at the shelter to earn the dog.
That way the shelter has additional volunteers and it's not just handing a dog over for free. Or even, XX hours equals so much $ towards the adoption fee. If you have to work for something you value it more than if it were just given to you.


A good pet owner isn't based on how much money a person has but how they treat their pets.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I deal with a lot of pet owners, and I'll tell you this much: some of those pets would be better off with a cash-strapped owner who truly cares for them, than they are in the well-off home they are ignored in--not to mention pets in shelters!

I was once homeless, no money. All I had was my dog. Many people would probably say I shouldn't have a dog I couldn't afford. But I took care of that dog, she ate before I did, went everywhere I went, played Frisbee every day, and we kept each other warm at night. She was my best friend, sometimes my only friend. I made a lot of mistakes with her as she was my first dog, but she was resilient and forgiving and loyal.

Eventually I got back on my feet, got a job, bought a house, and that dog lived out her golden years in the lap of luxury. She lived to be 16 years old.

Money isn't what makes a good pet owner. As long as the owner cares for the pet, takes responsibility, and gets its needs met, many dogs will be a heck of a lot happier living with a poor person that spends time with them, than they are languishing in a shelter, or thrown in the backyard of a nice big house and ignored.

Veterinary care is expensive, but there are low-cost vaccine clinics, spay and neuter. There is Care Credit for emergencies. In this country, pets do have a safety net. I'm not saying that poor people who can barely feed themselves should be getting a bunch of animals, but most of the homeless around here have dogs, and they all look pretty healthy, good weight, etc. Possibly in need of grooming, but when you have a hammer all you see are nails.

The problem is weeding out the bad owners whether rich or poor. There are just as many bad rich owners as there are bad poor owners, so adoptions should be granted on something other than income, IMO.
Freestep your post really stood out to me, because you have actually been there. Thanks for sharing about your previous situation. You sound the like the prime person i was thinking of in my head when i thought i would let a dog go to a homeless person or poor person.
I agree with it, there ARE plenty of good and bad owners, rich or poor. In fact our most recent abuse case happened with a homeless man- and we are still in court with it..
I know for our shelter, we don't do vet checks, we don't call landlords, we just look at what they put on their application and ask a few essential questions- that usually go in one ear and out the other i find.. And we are reading what they wanted us to see.

Magwart, when i first posted the question i guess i was thinking about adopters that come through my shelter, and i live in VT, USA. But it defiantly changes a lot when it becomes a world wide debate. And down south in US, is in itself, a whole different story than where i live.

Thanks for your replies everyone, of course it just opens up more debate for me, which is good! And i agree with what Shade, said there is no perfect answer.
 

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I was pretty hesitant when I got my first dog directly from the pound/shelter. I was out of work. I was renting. (an unlovely house in dire need of maintenance but in a fairly good neighborhood.) I had fenced the yard myself. My previous dogs had just died and the vet expenses had been pretty high. I drove a very beat up VW. I knew you had to fill out an application & I wondered what they would think.
I did have the money for the adoption fee (it came with a free vet visit, discounted spay, etc.) I looked at several dogs in several shelters. This one I found when I was out of town for a job interview. Didn't get the job but I got the dog which was the better deal!
The pup lived to be 15, moved to two other states with me, went on many long walks and many road trips. She got vet care and food. And a lot more.

Many of our walks took us past people who had owned their homes for years. Their dogs languished in their yards night after night.
 

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It's really regional.

In our area, a friendly, healthy, and reasonably well-behaved dog of any breed other than a pittie can find a good to great home. For pitties, unfortunately, there's just a massive oversupply and limited demand, so they are at risk of euthanasia even if they're totally nice dogs. But for just about any other breed, this dilemma does not really exist -- that's why we have the ability to bring up dogs from other regions and find them great homes here.

So we don't need to settle for homes that are just barely acceptable, because the dogs will find good to great homes eventually.

But that is certainly a luxury that not everyone enjoys.

Honestly, if I lived in a region where I could not send my own foster dogs to the very best homes around, I think I'd burn out pretty darn fast. It hurts to spend time, money, and emotional energy on a dog, and then watch it go to a home where that foundational training will be wasted and your careful nurturing of the dog's ability to bond will go neglected. I wouldn't be able to do it.
 

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Difficult question. I and some friends have gone through tough times the last few years when things were really bad with the economy. I always made sure my dog was fed and I never even really thought about it. I know my friends feel the same way. Having said this, I realize there are others who would not do the same. Personally, I think it is better to give people a chance with the pup.
 

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I have also been homeless with a dog and a cat and I was pregnant. They always came first. They had food, water, and lots of love. Got on my feet and they were always with me. I don't think money determines a good owner. I do think that every dog has a right to a home filled with love. No dog should be abused or used for dog fighting. I do think that every dog deserves a chance and I respect people that put everything into a "problem" dog, because it is not the dogs fault to begin with. I have two dogs that came from the same over crowded kill shelter. I feel blessed to have them and I am glad I got them. Both of my dogs had a good chance of being put to sleep and I cringe at that thought. Misty my oldest was brought back to the shelter 3 times within 8 months and to this day(8 yrs later) I have no clue why. She is smart, sometimes to smart for her own good. It did take her a long time to get potty trained, but we've got that down pat now. And Midnite was not doing well in the shelter. He was very anxious and that anxiety almost was the end of him. Again not his fault, he is a working line GSD that was locked in a cage 24/7 for a couple months. He also needed some work and I am glad I put the time in with him. I would do it a million times, if it meant saving a dogs life.
 

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There's a homeless man who sits on the street corner here with his mixed dog. He has a sign that says "Will work for dog food." He always has the dog sitting next to him on a rope under the comforter he uses for his shelter/coat. I bought him a small bag of dog food. Although he's homeless and the dog probably doesn't get vet care, the dog looks happy and well fed. I think he's a better owner than the yahoo down the block from me who keeps his pitbull on a chain outside year round on a chain with nothing more than a piece of plywood for shelter and some handfuls of food thrown on the ground.

*-*Summer*-*
I love that, i always donate pet food, along with good quality winter jackets, mittens and hats. Its so important to help out were you can, even if its a simple can of dog food or a soup of some sort :)
 
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