Every morning when the volunteers arrive at Aprop there is a moment of hope that the outside kennel will be empty. But all too often there is a little scared and confused face looking out where a dog or cat has been left there overnight.
It is very easy to negatively judge the people who leave animals there anonymously, but we have to remember that we don’t know their stories or what brought them to the point of deciding to do that.
There is also a positive aspect. These people were responsible enough to leave their animals somewhere where they know they will be taken care of and, hopefully, found new homes. The alternatives of abandonment or worse, are unthinkable.
The challenge with these cats and dogs though is that we know nothing about them, whether they are tame or feral, their age, character or medical history, or whether they have a name they respond to. This makes is harder to manage them initially and also means that Aprop is obliged to keep them at the shelter for at least 21 days before we can offer them for adoption, in case an owner comes forward. If we know that the owner is giving the animal up voluntarily we can start this process straight away.
Sometimes animals, particularly dogs, are left in the outside kennel by members of the public who have found them wandering and can’t keep them until there is a volunteer at Aprop to accept them. In these circumstances we usually get a phone call or message to tell us what is going on, but not always.
We try to find the owners of animals who are left anonymously at the shelter by advertising them on our website and social media. Happily, many pets that have escaped and gone for an adventure by themselves are returned to their worried families. Those that are not claimed are offered for adoption or foster.
We have recently put a whiteboard on the door of the outside kennel in the hope that anybody leaving an animal there will give us some information about it. Any facts are useful and may help us to get the cat or dog either back to their owner, treated appropriately and/or into a new adoptive home more quickly.
Whatever the circumstances we are grateful to people for caring enough to bring these animals to us if they can’t find a better alternative.