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Disturbing Photos Capture the Realities of Euthanization at Animal Shelters

Warning: This post contains strong and disturbing photos of euthanasia and animal suffering.


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Every year in North Carolina, over 250,000 animals are euthanized because there is no one willing to adopt them and care for them. This averages to nearly 700 animals killed daily. NC-based photographer Mary Shannon Johnstone has been on a mission to draw public awareness to the issue of animal overpopulation. Her gut-wrenching project, titled “Breeding Ignorance,” offers an brutally honest look at the conditions inside animal shelters and the tragedy of beautiful (and often healthy) animals being put down.

Johnstone writes, “I hope these photographs call attention to the tragic epidemic of animal overpopulation, and illuminate what happens when we don’t spay and neuter our pets.”

Cats Await Sort

Cats Await Sort

Anesthetize: Cats and dogs are anesthetized before they are euthanized. Although the sedation does not hurt, many fight because they are scared.

Anesthetize: Cats and dogs are anesthetized before they are euthanized. Although the sedation does not hurt, many fight because they are scared.

Kittens Before Euthanasias

Kittens Before Euthanasias

Purebreds: It is a myth that animal shelters are filled with mutts.

Purebreds: It is a myth that animal shelters are filled with mutts.

Dead Dogs: After dogs have been euthanized, their bodies are placed into large black plastic bags and their kennels are sanitized.

Dead Dogs: After dogs have been euthanized, their bodies are placed into large black plastic bags and their kennels are sanitized.

Cats in Freezer: Cat carcasses are stored in a walk in freezer until they can be picked up and disposed of.

Cats in Freezer: Cat carcasses are stored in a walk in freezer until they can be picked up and disposed of.

Happy Tail: Too much tail wagging against a hard surface can result in a bloody-tipped tail known as "happy-tail".

Happy Tail: Too much tail wagging against a hard surface can result in a bloody-tipped tail known as “happy-tail”.

Scared Dog Before Euthanasia 2: This dog is frightened while receiving the anesthetic before the euthanasia.

Scared Dog Before Euthanasia 2: This dog is frightened while receiving the anesthetic before the euthanasia.

Scared Dog Before Euthanasia: This dog is frightened while receiving the anesthetic before the euthanasia.

Scared Dog Before Euthanasia: This dog is frightened while receiving the anesthetic before the euthanasia.

Without a Home: Kitten anesthetized before euthanasia.

Without a Home: Kitten anesthetized before euthanasia.

You can find more of Johnstone’s photos over on her website. Be warned, though: many of the photographs are even more graphic and disturbing than the ones featured here.

The photographs in the project are divided into two subsets. One is titled Discarded Property, and focuses specifically on the topic of euthanasia. The other is titled Shelter Life, and offers a look at the conditions of animals at shelters.

Johnstone has also bee working on a separate project titled Landfill Dogs, which features portraits of dogs that are at risk of being put down if they are not adopted soon.

Breeding Ignorance by Mary Shannon Johnstone (via Feature Shoot)


Image credits: Photographs by Mary Shannon Johnstone and used with permission


 
  • tria

    who are you to judge because not every body enjoy adopting stray animals that nobody eles wants not every body enjoy a dog and picking up dog poop and buying exspensive dog food for them to eat and what do you get in return nothing but a lick , not every body want a dog around them sniffing up their butt.all day,and waiting to go back out side for the 3 time and every time more poop to pick up ,if that’s your way of life then more power to you but don’t judge somebody eles because they are one of the smart ones to say no to adopting a beast its not an easy job sadly to say some of you have your dogs all on top of your beds and couch as though they are human the are straight animals 4 legs ok not 2 I don’t care how cute you think they are they are animals some go as far as having sex with your beast I have seen it many times on the sites and it is so abnormal so un human and in gods eyes so evil ,so don’t you dog lovers hate because everybody don’t enjoy a animals company its not a crime that’s why its call husband and wife ,boy friend and girl friend it didt say man and beast or woman and beast ,I don’t allow animals in my house clean or dirty ,I don’t dislike animals they are just off limit in my house.i don’t need them things sniffing up my behind and licking on me get away.

  • Lea

    It’s the same thing with a child though and worse you have to deal with annoying crying all day you have to tote them everywhere you go deal with the inconvenience in your life and buy all that stuff for them stay up late nights dealing with them not to mention you’ve ruined your body having them and you get No appreciationfrom them just kicking and screaming is all u get at least a pet shows you love and appreciation and their not a headache

  • tria

    you can call it evil or what ever you want like I said everybody don’t worship a beast its a beast and if the shelter can not hall them all and the dog population is getting un bearable then if you think its so evil to neuter them disease carry animals then its simple why don’t you dog lovers call to the shelters and take them into you home 1 by 1 haw if you cant do that then stop stepping on us smart people who choose not to be apart of the dog life, it says nothing in the bible about we should take care of animals but what the bible did say is to beware of dogssss.

  • tria

    dogs going around wagging their worthless tails and smelling any and everything in sight and up in another dogs butt ready to hump scums they do no justice for real people,free loafers and once you decide to give your precious pet up back to the shelter your pet is gonna look the other way and give you their butt to kiss ,no more licks for you. no shelter street stray 4 leg animal with a wagg tail is allow in my home ever ,hate me call me evil whatever ,god is my judge not you. and I don’t believe he will throw me in the pits of hell all cause I don’t agree with taking care of animals ,im doing my job i love and I care for children and humans ,I like gods animals but from afar,