For every incredible story about people saving a dog from being euthanized, there are still far too many canines without the same winning outcome. This week, a kennel worker in Oklahoma exposed this harrowing issue in a powerful social media photo.
"I died today" are the three gut-wrenching words that begin a story written by an unknown author in the first-person of a euthanized dog. Michele Boggs, who works at Altus Animal Control, published the story to Facebook on September 23.
Boggs told A Plus that she had to euthanize eight dogs that day, including some she had grown to love.
"When I have to look into their eyes on the day I know they will be euthanized, it's more than I can handle," Boggs wrote to A Plus. "Myself and the other workers cry for these poor dogs. It's a job that can be joyous when they are adopted or sent to rescue, and can be torture when their time is up and they end up in a garbage bag."
A photo showing seven black trash bags — each with the body of a presumably euthanized dog — accompanied the powerful text posted by Boggs on Facebook.
"Would I still be at home if I had made you happy? Hitting me didn't make me learn how," she wrote on Facebook. "Would I still be at home if you had taken the time to care for me and to teach manners to me? You didn't pay attention to me after the first week or so, but I spent all my time waiting for you to love me. I died today. Love, Your Puppy."
As of September 28, the Facebook post received more than 70,000 shares.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), 7.6 million companion animals in the U.S. enter animal shelters every year. About 2.7 million animals are adopted every year, but another 2.7 million are euthanized because they can't find a home.
While there should be more laws to regulate excessive dog breeding and more enforcement to prevent animal cruelty, the most important way to save a pet is by adopting them.
Boggs never expected her Facebook post to go viral, but she since received more than 200 friend requests from people asking how they can help.
"The biggest thing people are asking is if this really happens. I answer honestly and tell them yes, every day," Boggs wrote to A Plus. "I'm so glad that I have helped people see the truth about what really happens in shelters."