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 user 2007-10-16 at 10:45:00 am Views: 60
  • #19008

    Death Countdown Site Saves Dogs’ Lives
    Seeking to Save Shelter Dogs From Death
    NEW YORK  Sweet William, a young black Labrador retriever in Illinois, has two days to live.
    a golden female Jindo in New York, also has just two days left. Kate
    Hepburn, a tan female boxer in California, has 18 days to live.On
    Saturday, these were some of the dogs in shelters across the country
    slated for death — their fate posted on a Web site that aims to save
    their lives by offering them for adoption.Each is tagged with a death
    date set by a shelter — and a countdown clock showing the days, or
    hours, until the animal is destroyed.Dogsindanger.com works with more
    than 120 shelters nationwide that destroy dogs. How much time the dogs
    get before death varies from state to state. In New York City, a stray
    dog must be kept a minimum of three days, while a shelter has the legal
    right to immediately destroy an animal that is abandoned there by its

    About 4 million dogs are put to death each year in the
    United States, by injection or gas.In the three weeks since the site
    has been up, dozens of dogs have found new homes. Their photos are
    posted on a section of the site marked “Success Stories.” The images of
    dogs that didn’t make it adorn the site’s “In Memoriam” wall.”It’s not
    the fault of the shelters,” said Alex Aliksanyan, a pet adoption
    advocate who made money in the Internet travel business. “They don’t
    like doing this, but they have to abide by the law, which requires a
    shelter to control its animal population.”Aliksanyan spent a
    half-million of his own dollars to start The Buddy Fund Inc., a
    nonprofit organization that operates the site and is named after his
    miniature American Eskimo dog.”I’ve done well, and it was time to give
    something back,” said the 50-year-old Turkish-born entrepreneur of
    Armenian heritage. “So I thought, let’s bring the story of these
    animals dying quietly in these shelters to the public and say, ‘Can you
    do something?’”He hired a half-dozen staffers to manage and market the
    site. Shelters post information about each dog directly, with daily
    updates and information on how each shelter can be contacted.
    Aliksanyan ships out free digital cameras and software for the task.A
    shelter can sometimes delay a dog’s death date — if it has room in its
    kennel and few new strays coming in. A death date can get moved up,
    too, if the shelter becomes overcrowded.

    The adoption service is
    free both for shelters and people looking for pets, allowing users to
    search by location, breed or time until death.The in-your-face site,
    Aliksanyan said, “is not a place to sit with your 6-year-old and say,
    ‘This one’s going to die, that one is going to die.’”He said he is
    driven by the philosophy of the Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi, whose
    words are posted over the “In Memoriam” page: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”