Susan Wallace: Learn the term ‘rescue only’ when it comes to animal shelters |

Susan Wallace: Learn the term ‘rescue only’ when it comes to animal shelters

For anyone to suggest Placer County’s euthanasia rate is low doesn’t understand how shelters — and not Sammie’s — do this sleight of hand.

Animals come into most shelters and all dogs — except those like Lassie (very mellow dogs that are highly socialized, which are very few) —go to the public adoption floor. All others are tagged “rescue only.”

What is the significance to this? It’s a big deal and seldom discussed. The shelters don’t count in their euthanasia rate the animals that are “rescue only,” meaning they are not “adoptable” by the shelter’s determination to the public. Rescues like Scooter’s Pals and others pull the rescue dogs we have room for and most of us are run on foster-home placements.

We rescue/adopt these “unadoptables” to the public and they are lovely dogs. Many dogs that have lived in homes with a senior or one person are often unsocialized and it just takes time for them to feel safe. But they are not biters and they are simply scared out of their mind.

They should not die because the shelters manage their population by killing. Sammie’s does not.

All the shelter noise, little if any exercise, everything strange to them and the smell of the death of their fellow animals in that dreaded back room all contribute to these dogs (and cats) fear level.

Quite convenient, but so morally wrong. So many dogs are killed without any accountability and we can all feel good about these shelters that claim they are “no kill” or “low kill” but it’s intentionally misleading.

Placer County, I hear, is having difficulties with their new shelter.

Why would we “keep the door open for a business relationship” with them as The Union’s Editorial Board asks? They get our taxpayer dollars and we get … what? A new shiny building for too many animals to die in? If Placer spent too much on their state-of-the-art building, they should not be looking for funds from our Nevada County taxpayer dollars to “fix” that.

I see way too many new shiny new shelters in our state, under-staffed and looking good with way too many dead dogs and cats in the back room.

Whomever in our sheriff’s office and at The Union who keeps suggesting we do business with Placer County needs to re-think whatever is motivating that position. Like one of the speakers said, at the supervisors’ meeting, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

I noticed The Union Editorial Board stated Placer has a low euthanasia rate but gave us no numbers. These are animals’ lives they are claiming as low. This statement is simply misleading. And whatever rate they are reporting is not including all the “rescue only” animals they kill.

No one has suggested we give Sammie’s Friends a blank check. Where did that comment in the Editorial Board come from? Keep in mind Sammie’s use their own nonprofit funds, not taxpayer money, to provide medical care for our county’s animals. Many counties simply refuse to spend much of anything on their shelter animals and resist partnering with a local nonprofit because power and control is more important to them than decent care for the animals. And since these animals cannot speak for themselves the carnage goes on and on. Bless you Sammie’s and the Board of Supervisors.

We and the animals in Nevada County are blessed that Sammie’s Friends runs our shelter and knows what “no-kill” really means. And I applaud the Board of Supervisors for listening to the community. That is how our government is suppose to work.

Susan Wallace is the founder and attorney for Scooter’s Pals. To learn more, visit

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