What animals in shelters suffer from - All about animals on Wikipet!
Dogs and cats living in shelters are not pets, and at the same time they do not live on the streets, having the opportunity to go wherever they want and have something to find. Shelter is a huge stress for animals. What do animals in shelters suffer from?
What are animal shelters?
Ideally, a shelter is a temporary shelter for abandoned or stray animals, making it possible to find a new home and a loving family. However, in reality, everything is not so rosy, unfortunately. For many animals, the shelter becomes the "last stop" on the road to nowhere, and some shelters, for various reasons (lack of money or lack of people, for example) do not actively engage in animal extension, which means they are forced to stay there for a very long time.
There are so-called "no-kill" shelters, that is, those where animals are not euthanized. This may be due to cultural characteristics, the legislation of a particular country or the principles of the organization owning the shelter. But many shelters keep animals for only 5 to 7 days, after which they euthanize if no one took them.
Although some shelters, such as the Dogs Trust in Glasgow or the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in London, are doing everything possible to create good conditions for dogs and cats, most shelters are not so successful, and animals face many problems there. Many shelters simply lack money to provide animals with an acceptable quality of life. And the well-being of animals living in impoverished crowded shelters is not necessary.
Problems faced by animals in the shelter
- Difficulties with placement. Shelters for dogs and cats may involve group keeping of animals or individual boxes, but both are associated with difficulties. Dogs are social animals and, it would seem, a company of relatives should be beneficial for them. However, if the members of the group are not selected correctly, the stress level in dogs increases markedly, moreover, this leads to the spread of diseases, fights and shoots. Cats, according to recent studies, are selectively social, which means that the group content for them is associated with great stress and can lead to fights and injuries. According to one study, if several cats live in a room, they should be able to maintain a minimum distance of 1 to 3 meters from each other. The “solitary confinement” of both of them is also associated with high levels of stress, boredom, and the development of many behavioral problems, in particular stereotyping.
- Improper feeding. Many shelters simply do not have enough money to properly feed cats and dogs. Also, with group maintenance, people do not always monitor who eats, which leads to fights for food and to the fact that some animals remain hungry.
- Disease. Many shelters cannot create normal conditions for wards, which leads to the development of skin diseases, injuries, the spread of infectious diseases, etc. Not every shelter also deals with animal treatment and disease prevention.
- Behavioral problems. This is a consequence of poor living conditions, as well as the stress that every animal experiences in the shelter.But behavioral problems, in turn, are an obstacle to having a cat or dog taken away from the shelter. A poor environment, lack of communication, lack of interaction with humans, poor care ... all this will drive anyone crazy, and animals are no exception, especially if they live in such conditions for months or even years.
Studies have shown that animals living in the shelter have very high levels of cortisol in the blood - the “stress hormone”. And chronic stress leads to health and behavioral problems.
How to understand whether an animal lives normally in a shelter?
The shelter is hostile, and scientists at the University of Edinburgh (UK) have developed protocols for the well-being of dogs living in shelters. This protocol takes into account the basic principles of animal welfare: good nutrition, proper placement, health and normal behavior.
Each of these aspects can be evaluated according to certain criteria. For example, fatness can be an indicator of feeding quality, and signs of pain, lameness, coat, coughing, or diarrhea are indicators of health or illness.
A good shelter for animals is a salvation from a stray life or the risk of euthanasia. In a good shelter, dogs and cats are cared for by specially trained people who are versed in animals, including their behavior. Inhabitants are well fed, provide veterinary services, they walk and play with them every day, and behavior problems are solved with the help of competent specialists.
But, unfortunately, there are very few good shelters.
Why do animals end up in shelters?
According to statistics, only in the United States annually from 6 to 8 million dogs and cats get into shelters. In the period from April 2010 to March 2011 in the UK, 126 176 dogs were brought to the shelter (Dogs Trust study) - that is, an average of 345 dogs per day. Why do animals end up in a shelter?
The main reason, according to statistics, is the problem of the behavior of dogs and cats, with which the owners are not corrected. But there are other reasons. Some animals are born on the street. Some are thrown away by the owners. In the USA and Western Europe, shelters sometimes end up with dogs rescued from the fate of becoming the main course of someone's lunch or dinner. Sometimes in shelters are representatives of breeds prohibited in a particular country, after the adoption of such a law.
Whatever the reasons, shelter is an ambiguous solution. A dog or cat should ideally not linger there for long. Nevertheless, each animal must have its own home.