Save Unadoptable Animals From Death

Target: Matthew Bershadker, CEO of the ASPCA

Goal: End the needless deaths of thousands of dogs and cats labeled unwanted.

The need for new adopters at animal shelters is endless. Often times it can seem like a losing battle when it comes to finding homes for cats and dogs. Shelter workers should be focused on finding homes for all of their animals. Unfortunately, dogs and cats termed unwanted aren’t given the extra help they need to be adopted. Black dogs and cats, seniors, and dogs with feared breed traits are all up against unfavorable odds when it comes to being adopted.

Animal shelters across the country should devote their resources to creating a program that would increase the publicity of unwanted adoptable animals. These programs would focus on making these animals more visible to the public. The shelters could take a few of the animals and make them spokespeople for the shelter. The public would then have positive interactions with the animals they once ignored in the shelters. It would also increase the chances that other dogs or cats seen as unwanted would be adopted. Many people go into shelters looking for young animals while senior pets, which make great companions, are passed over. Not everyone knows the benefits of adopting a senior pet. Shelters should be allocating resources to giving these senior pets the publicity that they need to find homes.

Increasing the visibility of these unwanted animals would increase the adoption rate and decrease the percentage of animals euthanized. Many dogs and cats that are euthanized are very healthy and have no behavioral issues. They just don’t get adopted right away and that can be a death sentence. If people knew that these animals they think of as unadoptable were actually wonderful pets, then shelters wouldn’t be facing overcrowding issues.

Many shelters are understaffed or simply don’t have the resources to devote to extra programs. There are volunteers more than happy to come to the aid of animal shelters in need. This program could be completely volunteer-funded and volunteer-run if that were necessary. Other rescue groups, especially those that may focus on more unwanted animals, could also participate in getting the word out. More adoptions would mean fewer cages and fewer expenses. While the animal shelter should be the leading force in creating this program, it doesn’t have to be the only one running the show. Please urge the ASPCA to create a visibility program for less adoptable animals.


Dear Matthew Bershadker,

Shelter visibility for many animals doesn’t exist. Dogs and cats who are older, black or those with physical traits of certain breeds are often overlooked by potential adopters. In many shelters where overcrowding is an issue, being overlooked by adopters is a death sentence. These dogs and cats aren’t given a fair chance at finding their forever homes, but this doesn’t have to be the case.

The ASPCA should lead the way and implement shelter-wide programs that help these less adoptable animals get the visibility they deserve. Volunteers and rescue groups could come together to increase the publicity of these shelter animals. Senior pets would make great people greeters at shelters or during adoption events. Dogs and cats deemed less desirable could be the cover animals of newsletters or magazines. By increasing the visibility of these animals, shelters would be increasing their adoption rates. Many people are just unaware that puppies and kittens aren’t the only good pets. A family with young kids would benefit more from an experienced and calmer animal like a senior dog or cat. But without the publicity, these animals will continue to be overlooked.

Animal shelters don’t always have the staff numbers that they need. Sometimes shelters lack resources. That’s where rescue groups and volunteers come in. The ASPCA can be the push to create these programs but it doesn’t have to stand alone.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Frank Vincentz

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  1. Our world leaders MUST DEMAND spay/neuter for all pets so this tragedy stops!


  3. Rosie Boyd says:

    I had no idea that there was a colour issue in shelters. Why don’t people like black dogs and cats? Very weird!
    I’m amazed that the ASPCA haven’t done this already. It’s a wonderful idea and should be implemented straight away.

  4. Carolyn Taylor says:

    Life should matter.

  5. Denise Devereux says:

    These are God’s creatures and man has no right to distinguish their lives.


  6. They should also treat diabetic cats and stop claiming that it is untreatable, as San Francisco SPCA does. There are drugs and oftentimes a change of diet can control diabetes, just like with humans.

  7. My husband and I have rescued two cats and two dogs in the past four years (one was a feral cat)even as we were reaching our retirement years. We’ve always had pets and I just can’t imagine life without dogs and cats and all of our animals, save the stray cat who decided to make our home her home and had kittens under our bed, and our first shih tzu who contracted a virus when she was just 6 years old which led to congestive heart failure. all of our animals have lived long lives. With the four we have now, I am just sure that they will be extremely traumatized if we should go before them. We are going to include care for them in our wills to ensure that they are cared for in their remaining years. One of our dogs has bonded so closely with my husband that I know he would have a tough time bonding with another person and our feral cat has just gotten to the point after two years that I can pick her up and she now seeks time that we will pet her whereas before she would just run and hide. She would have a tough time with someone new as she hides whenever we have company. This has made me think lot more about the needs of older animals and the difficulty of trying to place them. If our four go before we do, we’ll just faster and spend more time with rescue group work because I just never want to leave an animal behind and have to adjust to another person.

    • Carol Brandt says:

      It takes a special person to care about elderly animals. God bless you for your efforts. I, too, plan to set aside money for my animals if I die before they do.

  8. i need help help my dog was titled dangerous and banded from l.a. i kept him and they got him now hes in the shelter as unadoptable what can i do i need help

    • Carol Brandt says:

      I see this was way back in April. Whatever happened to your dog? I was going to suggest going online and searching for groups that actually advocate for animals like him. They would know what to do. But I don’t know what happened to your dog since then.

  9. Linda Barnett says:

    Shelter wide programmes must be implemented without delay. All life is precious whatever age, breed or colour and the sooner that this idea is introduced the more innocent lives will be saved. The ASPCA must take the initiative and show all shelters that this will work and prevent ANY creature from losing its life.

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