Unless you work in rescue, you might not know some of the common reasons that pets are surrendered to shelters. Though the number of animals given up each year is no laughing matter, this satirical video gives us a humorous window into some of the reasons animals end up surrendered.
Their tagline: “What if you could discard family members to the shelter like you can unwanted pets?”
The short film selects some “popular” reasons for pet surrenders, and uses human “pets” instead of animals. This begs the question: “Would you do this to a human family member for the same issue?”
If you got divorced or broke up with your significant other, would you get rid of your child just because it’s a painful reminder of them?
Do you think it’s acceptable for someone to give away a baby because she or he had an accident?
Or how about an under-performing family member? Chances are that you wouldn’t just toss out a son for having trouble with learning in school.
Actress Gabrielle Conforti, who wrote, directed, and produced “Surrendered,” got the idea as she was waiting with a friend rescuing a dog from a shelter. While her friend filled out paperwork, she “saw all the surrenders coming in, and they were so horrible with their excuses.”
Many of them were similar to the scenarios highlighted in this video. Conforti, a frequent volunteer who has always been sickened by abuse and mistreatment of animals, said the idea came to her easily as she tried to explain to people surrendering pets that it was a high-kill shelter and their pets might not make it back out the door.
While the film does touch on issues that cross over into the human world, such as sending an elderly parent to a nursing home or kicking a pregnant teenager out, these things don’t happen nearly as often to humans as they do animals.
“Unlike teenagers, we have the option to spay and neuter our pets and prevent unwanted pregnancies,” Conforti stated.
So if we wouldn’t get rid of a kid for peeing on the bed or an older family member because we couldn’t deal with them getting sick or dying, how do we get others to recognize that it’s not okay to do it to an animal, either?
Just because they don’t speak the same language as us doesn’t mean they don’t feel the same pain of abandonment. And humans don’t face the same time limitation and possibility of euthanasia that surrendered pets do.
If you take your animal to a shelter and get this face, you might want to think twice about why you’re giving them up.
Ask yourself: would you do this to a human? Pets are family members. If you aren’t prepared to take the good with the bad and stick by them for the duration of their life, you probably shouldn’t get one in the first place.
Conforti is working on a new idea for a short film, so keep your eyes open. Though not all of the feedback she has received for “Surrendered” has been positive, she tells PupJournal,
“It has been a great experience of raising a discussion on what the reality is of surrendering pets.”
In the meantime, she will continue working with rescue projects like Birdhouse Doghouse and raising awareness about cruelty, neglect, and responsible pet ownership.
Header images via Surrendered (left) and Livingston Parish Animal Shelter (right)