The Dog Liberator™

The Dog Liberator rescues abandoned dogs throughout the Southeast. Based in Central Florida, this non-profit organization fosters all of their dogs in a home environment. Founded in 2009, all dogs are fully vetted, spayed or neutered prior to adoption. The Dog Liberator focuses in rescuing the herding breed, which consists of Border Collies, Shepherds, Sheepdogs, Aussies, Collies, and Deaf/Blind Dogs.

Should Abortion and Euthanasia be a Form of Birth Control?

Should Abortion and Euthanasia be a Form of Birth Control?

Posted by Andrea Rigler: Dog Lovers – Please read this – and share it. Full term aussie puppies aborted instead of being allowed to be transfered to approved rescue. Details below.

Saturday a friend of mine send me photos of a red tri aussie in Hillsborough County Animal Services that was pregnant and ready to give birth. Immediately we go on the phone to be first on the list of rescues that would take her and whelp and raise the puppies until they’re ready to be adopted. While this was going on, we were calling our puppy fosters and lining up the team to be ready to receive the momma. Saturday afternoon we hear that she’s expressing milk so the babies should come any day now and we expected them to be full term. We were also informed that she had a stray hold in place until Wednesday May 25th.

We left several messages for the Rescue Coordinator and didn’t receive a response on Saturday before the end of the day. So Monday we called again first thing in the morning. The rescue coordinator said that their policy is that no pregnant mother can be released to anyone, not even rescue. That they do not want any more puppies in this world, regardless if they’re full term and/or if a rescue is ready to adopt both mother and puppies.

This just didn’t make sense to me – to abort a whole litter of puppies from a healthy mother to a rescue that is fully capable of raising and adopting them and their mother. So we started brainstorming ways we can make this work. HCAS doesn’t have the proper equipment to abort full term puppies, so we were informed by the rescue coordinator that she would be transfered to the Humane Society instead of rescue, to be aborted and spayed before the puppies were born. This was supposed to happen as soon as her stray hold was fulfilled – Wednesday morning. We were then going to follow the HS van to the HS prepared with vet letters of recommendations, a copy of our 501c3, info about our foster and her experience to whelp and raise a litter of puppies, testimonial letters from our adopters, etc. We pulled together our team and started to gather all of the pieces and hoped we could make this happen.

If she were to give birth during her stray hold, before being spayed/aborted, the Humane Society would back out of the transfer and she, and her litter of puppies, would be released to an approved rescue – at least 2 of which were lined up to take her. So there was a window of opportunity and we were hoping she’d go into labor before Wednesday.

Tuesday morning the plan was for our rescue friend in the area to go back to the shelter, and search her again for any ID and a microchip. If they were to find a microchip, the shelter would have to hold her an additional 5 days for the owner to pickup and surely in that time frame, she would give birth. I followed up with our contact at the shelter Tuesday morning, and got devastating news. Volunteers at the shelter witnessed people from the Humane Society taking her from her kennel on Monday afternoon and transporting her. She was taken 2 days prior to her stray hold being fulfilled. Was she taken early to prevent her giving birth to the puppies so they can be aborted? Why else would they break their own rules of not releasing a dog to anyone until the stray hold date?

We immediately called the HS, and they had no record of the dog, or of any other dog that came from HCAS on Monday’s transport – that they were all likely in surgery and will not be posted to the system until the next day – Wednesday. She was moved 2 days early and was likely undergoing surgery on Tuesday morning to abort the babies. All of this happening a full day before her stray hold at HCAS was fulfilled.

This morning (Wednesday) I checked the Humane Society website and she’s listed as on the adoption floor ready to go home with her new family – spayed – one day after her full term puppies were aborted. It is done.

If the reason stated for not allowing a pregnant mother to be released to rescue was that that was their “rule”, why is it ok for them to break another rule and release a dog to the Humane Society 2 days before stray hold was fulfilled?

I understand their rule – they don’t want any more puppies brought into this world as long as they have adult dogs in their shelter that are not being adopted. I can understand the black and white of that rule.

However black and white is a archaic way to operate an organization, especially an organization that’s responsible for the lives of animals, and preserving those lives. If no rescue had stepped up for momma aussie, and no one wanted those puppies, or even if a rescue stepped up but wasn’t equipped or suitable to care for a litter of newly whelped puppies, I could better understand their decision. I’m not interested in debating the viability of full term puppies, and at what point it would be appropriate to abort a pregnant momma’s puppies. I don’t want that to be the discussion here.

I believe we can make a difference from the loss of these babies.

I’m fighting for a change to the rule. For them to allow some gray into the black and white approach to shelter care. It’s simply logical to allow a rescue to take a momma dog and her litter of puppies if the following guidelines exist and are met:

The rescue is 501c3

The rescue has letters of recommendation from veterinary offices

The rescue has experience successfully whelping litters and adopting the puppies from that litter and the mother as well

The rescue can provide testimonials from their previous adopters and their experience of working with that rescue

The rescue has a website or web presence (like petfinder) that can be visited to see how the dogs are marketed and the marketing practices of that rescue can be seen first hand

The rescue requires and provides contracts for each of their adopted dogs, taking full responsibility for those dogs if the new owners can no longer care for them, requiring them to be returned to the rescue and not a shelter

We fulfilled each of these requirements but we weren’t given the opportunity to show that. She was taken 2 days early. Cut open at full term and babies aborted – fully viable puppies that we would have whelped, raised, loved and adopted to deserving homes.

We have a window of opportunity here. We can’t save every dog, and most of the time, we save one at a time. This is a chance to transform how things are done – and potentially save hundreds of lives of unborn babies that are very much wanted by rescues like ours and deserve a chance at life. The shelter director retires in one month. If we can bring attention to this matter, we can push for a change to the rule that the new soon-to-be-director could support.

We fought for days to save this momma and her babies. We met nothing but resistance and rules from the shelter. That is how things are done. Black and white. Please share this story. We can make a difference.

Read the Facebook comments on Andrea’s Post.

Read Rescuing the Rescuers Article written by Lisa Colangelo.  “The bill, unveiled by Assemblyman Micah Kellner last week, would make it tougher for shelter officials to bar rescue groups from taking these unwanted cats and dogs.”

You can friend Micah Kellner on Facebook.

Summary: Andrea’s article is well-received.  We do understand that shelters and pounds are not the cause of the animal over-population problem, owners are.  Owners who fail to spay/neuter, who do not microchip and/or reclaim their pets, and owners who carelessly allow their pets to breed are at fault.  However, the reasoning for the abortion was because there are too many animals at this shelter, and they can not allow more animals to be born on their watch.  Clearly, tiny puppies are more attractive therefore more “adoptable”, thus taking away an available home from the other animals waiting at a shelter.  Every puppy that is adopted forces a shelter or pound to euthanize an older dog.  But should cute white fluffy poodles, darling dachshunds or adorable jack russell terriers enter the shelter, would they be euthanized because of their adoptability?  Any cute  small dog is more adoptable than an older dog.

When we found out that Katie was pregnant, we did not abort her puppies.  Katie’s puppies, whelped by Lynne Deal, and her pups did not jeopardize the adoptions of our adult dogs that were in our rescue at that time.

Lynne Deal stood ready to receive this female Aussie, hoping to whelp her puppies as she did Katie’s puppies.  When we heard the news that they had been aborted, we shared a deep sadness.  This Red Aussie female was adopted by a good Samaritan.  She will be transported to Lynne Deal, she will recover from this ordeal, and be available for adoption shortly.

Ironically, most shelters and pounds have a greeting on their phone that directs you to an extension or number to dial “if you want to report animal abuse” .  But what if it’s the shelter/pound that you are calling that is conducting what we consider abuse?

Please Spay & Neuter

05/26/11 3:00 pm Update: Amazing Grace has been transported to Lynne.  She is said to be very small, and not an Aussie at all.  Lynne strongly believes that she is a petite Border Collie.  She has a gorgeous coat, that is not matted.  She does not appear to have been a stray for very long, because her condition is amazing.  Lynne describes her as being someone’s pet because she is right at home in Lynne’s home and with her pack.  She is also not phased at all about Lynne’s cats.  We will continue to provide updates of Grace on her own page when they are made available.

4 thoughts on “Should Abortion and Euthanasia be a Form of Birth Control?

  1. So sad, wonder if the shelter people would want their babies life shorted just because the world is over populated? These dogs have just as many feeling as we do. Hope this lady finds a loving home!! I support TDL in all they do for these wonderful companions!

  2. I understand the shelter doesn’t want more pups in the world, but this dog and her pups, in my opinion, wasn’t theirs to abort. Her owners had 2 more days and what would they say if the owner came forward? “Sorry about that, we aborted the litter.”

    Additionally, I understand that sometimes, when a dog comes in, it is almost impossible to tell that she may be pregnant. This was not the case here. She had a big ole belly and was producing milk. The puppies were viable. Meaning if labor was induced or a c-section performed, it is likely they would live.

    I truly hope the new director will hear us and realize that when a rescue is here, and willing to not only take the mother and the babies but provide every one of them with care and quality homes, they should be given a chance.

    In New York they have proposed “CAARA — the Companion Animal Access and Rescue Act” which would help rescues save dogs and prevent shelters from baring them if they are qualified and the animal is safe to adopt out.

    If only we didn’t need paperwork to make people do the right thing…. To Grace, I am so sorry honey. My heart breaks for you after carry those pups all those weeks only to have them taken away. We love you honey, I’m so sorry.

  3. I was sick to my stomach after reading that. I sent a letter to that ‘shelter’. Don’t worry. Although it was seething with anger it was appropriate.

  4. i just came across this story, I’m shocked. I had NO idea that dogs were even considered for abortion. Yes, I am very aware of the animal over population and work towards helping animals with donations, participation in organizations and adopting rescue dogs for the past 20 years. I wasn’t quite clear – but did this article state that the Humane Society is the group who aborted her puppies? If so, I am beyond disappointed. Ill pass your page onto FB friends.

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