One non-descript black dog single-handedly caused a ripple of concerned outrage that spread all over the country and beyond this week.
Kasidy is the dog behind the story, a dog that was taken to Young-Williams Animal Center in Knoxville last weekend and dropped off like 50 or so others that come through the door every day. The very pregnant mixed breed girl quickly became a story that spread over social media sites faster than shelter workers could handle incoming calls and emails.
Why were so many concerned over this dog in particular?
For whatever reason, Kasidy’s story pulled at the heartstrings of animal lovers everywhere who feared for her life and the unborn puppies she carried. Every portrayal of Kasidy’s situation held more or less of the whole truth. One story that circulated was that the puppies would be aborted, even though they were full term.
It is common practice for shelters to either euthanize pregnant dogs upon entry or spay them, essentially removing the puppies and euthanizing the babies prior to birth. After a three day period, the shelter had the right to make whatever decision they thought best.
The reason dogs are not granted the opportunity to give birth at the shelters is based on the bigger picture.
According to shelter administrator Dr. Blackwell, “When we go into the maternity business, if we were to do that, and, frankly, give these pups a chance because we isolate them and so forth, I can guarantee you we will have killed way more animals as a result of that because they were not allowed to get in, because there is no space at the inn.“
Every day, rescues are called upon to save pregnant mothers or litters of young puppies before they are euthanized. Not only does keeping nursing babies at a shelter put other animals at risk (space), but the chances are very good that young puppies with immature immune systems will catch a myriad of diseases.
In Kasidy’s case, she was granted reprieve when a local rescue stepped forward to take over her care and allow Kasidy to raise her family.
But the issue remains. This is not an isolated situation, but one that is a social epidemic. Pregnant animals enter shelter every day. Pregnant animals are spayed or euthanized every day. Pet owners decide they don’t want their pregnant animals EVERY DAY.
It would be wonderful if we lived in a world that opened their hearts and homes to every homeless pet, pregnant or not. But as Young-Williams employees know, that is a dream far from reality.