You may think that a dog or cat without any eyes would never be put up for adoption. In some shelters that may be the case. Not at the San Jose Animal Care Center (SJACC).
At SJACC, the veterinarians evaluate each animal that comes in for medical issues. Being blind is not necessarily an indicator of a medical condition that would prevent an animal from being adopted. As long as the animal is otherwise healthy, being able to see is not necessarily going to impact quality of life, especially for animals that slowly lose their vision over time as is the case for many animals with cataracts.
A recent dog who came into the shelter was surrendered by its owner for euthanasia because the dog had been blind for two years and the owner did not believe that was a good quality of life for the dog.
Jonah – Puppy Surrendered by Owner for Euthanasia, Shelter Vets Reach Out to Specialty Practice for Life-Saving Surgery
One morning, a two-month old pit bull puppy was brought to me in the clinic. The front desk staff indicated that the owners claimed he was hit by a car and had a broken leg. The owners surrendered him to the shelter for euthanasia.
As if that wasn’t sad enough, I was also told that while the owners were waiting, they were on the phone with a dog breeder, arranging to get another puppy.
My heart sank.
I must give the owners credit for at least taking the dog to a veterinarian before bringing it to the shelter. However, paying a large sum of money for a pure-bred “special” breed of pit bull only to not be able to afford the care that it requires is irresponsible.
Owners have the ability to surrender their animals to animal shelters for any reason. Some people surrender their animals for euthanasia. This means that they want or approve that their animal be euthanized. However, by surrendering their animal, owners give the shelter the right to assess the animal’s condition and choose not to euthanize, but instead to find rescue for the animal or to treat and put the animal up for adoption.
A chihuahua mix, who we’ll call Sandy, was surrendered to the San Jose Animal Care Center because she was not doing well. She was neither eating nor drinking and seemed quite lethargic. The owners also noted that she had abnormal urine.
Sandy’s owners surrendered her to us for euthanasia. She was brought into the medical clinic in order for me to examine her. Within no time, I was able to surmise that the owners were mistaking brown discharge dripping from Sandy’s vulva for urine. This was a key observation in determining that, as a middle-aged intact female, Sandy had a pyometra, otherwise known as a pus-filled uterus.