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->''"They took us to the pound! I told you! This is it, this is the end of the line! WE GOTTA GET OUT OF HERE!"''
-->-- '''Chance''', ''Film/HomewardBoundTheIncredibleJourney''

One trope that's sure to rub animal-shelter volunteers the wrong way is the frequently antagonistic portrayal of animal shelters in fiction.

This is especially the case with TalkingAnimal cartoons, where pounds are depicted as little more than prisons full of animal inmates "serving time" for some alleged misdemeanor offense and hoping to one day see the warm sun and blue skies again. In extreme cases, depictions may even echo [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII Nazi concentration camps]] with {{Diabolical Dogcatcher}}s deliberately hunting down and impounding innocent household pets by the hundreds (as one New York City pound became infamous for during the 1800s) to be "[[ReleasedToElsewhere put to sleep]]", never to see their beloved family again unless they immediately stage some kind of [[GreatEscape daring jailbreak]].

Now while it is true that animal-control officers may impound problematic or aggressive animals when responding to an emergency call, and that not enough lost pets at animal shelters get reunited with their families, modern (RealLife) animal-control facilities and shelters are nowhere near the depraved standards that fiction likes to depict them with. Animal shelters know firsthand how deeply pets become family members, and have a vested interest in providing their animals with a regular supply of food, shelter, health care, and companionship -- doubly so for "rescue" shelters who specialize in rehabilitating victims of neglect or abuse by previous human owners. Meanwhile, they do their best to get them adopted by loving new guardians or try to find the proper owners of lost animals, while leaving euthanasia as an absolute last resort (or, in the case of "no-kill" shelters, not using it at all).

Fortunately becoming a DiscreditedTrope with animal welfare groups (not the AnimalWrongsGroup) making the plight of abandoned and abused animals more well-known, though it may have originated from the ForgottenTrope of the Diabolical Dogcatcher (especially in areas where pet ownership required an official license).

A particularly strange variation can occur with zoos and/or ''wildlife'' rehabilitation centers, who work with non-domestic animals that (for whatever reason) might not survive in the wild; they too have a vested interest in their animals' health and upkeep.

Probably related to the [[PlayingWithSyringes Sadistic Science Lab]] and [[TheyWouldCutYouUp the fear of winding up there]], and the OrphanageOfFear.



[[folder:Film - Animation]]
* ''Disney/LadyAndTheTramp''. "What's a girl like you doing in a place like this?" Lady herself has a license and is quickly returned to her owners, while Tramp is caught by the dog-catchers (but later adopted by Lady's family as well). Interestingly, the dogcatchers aren't really demonized or set up as villains; they're just [[PunchClockVillain people doing their jobs]]. Though the dogs are shown to be absolutely miserable, as they try to dig out and escape. Mostly, it's the nasty Aunt Sarah that tells the dogcatcher to kill the Tramp.
* In ''Disney/{{Bolt}}'', the titular dog and cat Mittens are captured by an animal-control officer after an argument between them caused a scene. Bolt is rescued by Rhino en route to the shelter, but Mittens is impounded and fears she will never leave (as nobody will want to adopt her, [[spoiler: an abandoned, declawed housecat]]). Bolt then decides to break Mittens out that night with Rhino's help, which they do. Bit of a subversion: it's only a prison from Mittens' point of view. The staff aren't malicious by any measure, the shelter itself is quite clean, and a banner in the entryway is briefly seen promoting a "Pet Adoption Week". The dog catcher's van, on the other hand, is a clear parallel to a prison paddywagon, but one could chalk this up to RuleOfDrama.
* ''WesternAnimation/AllDogsGoToHeaven'' starts with Charlie breaking out of a dog pound, the whole sequence of which is treated like a typical jailbreak scene. In the next scene, another dog comments on Charlie's return with "Ain't you supposed to be on Death Row?"
* Played with in ''WesternAnimation/SpiritStallionOfTheCimarron''. The wild horses see stables as a prison, or like them being taken for slaves. The tame horses in the movie are usually treated fairly reasonably for the most part, though it depends on their humans.
* ''WesternAnimation/FindingNemo'' did this with a fish tank. Only from the point of view of the fish, though. The dentist really just wants to have some nice pets, and takes good care of them. The small children ARE bad for the fish, but only because they don't know how to treat them well.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheSecretLifeOfPets'', though we don't actually see a pound, this is implied, with Duke talking about how he can't go back to the pound because he's on his final strike and this would be it for him. The pound van is also basically treated as a small-cell paddywagon that has to be broken out of.
* When Shaun is taken to the Animal Containment Centre in ''WesternAnimation/ShaunTheSheep: The Movie'', within fifteen seconds he passes a dog [[PrisonsAreGymnasiums pumping iron]] (well, a bone), a Siamese Franchise/HannibalLecter, a tortoise tallying days on the wall and a goldfish [[CaptivityHarmonica playing the harmonica]]. [[spoiler: After the defeat of DiabolicalDogcatcher Trumper, the rest of the staff convert it into a much nicer Animal Protection Centre.]]

[[folder: Film - Live Action]]
* ''Film/HotelForDogs''. "At least it's better than the pound." Also presents pound workers gloating about euthanising dogs after a day, just to drive the point home.
* ''[[Film/TheShaggyDog The Shaggy D.A.]]'' had a dog pound scene, presented very like a prison, where he escaped with the help of the other dogs.
* In ''Film/HomewardBoundTheIncredibleJourney'', the animal shelter is initially portrayed like this--[[WrongGenreSavvy but only from the animals' point of view]], as it's revealed that [[spoiler: the shelter was trying to contact their owners, and had the animals ''not'' escaped [[CouldHaveAvoidedThisPlot they would have been reunited sooner]]]]. They also removed the porcupine quills lodged in Chance's face. Chance himself was rescued from a pound by his owner, which probably explains his severe hatred of "that bad place".
* The 1995 movie ''Film/{{Fluke}}'' not only has a Prison Pound, it also has an Evil Research Lab. And did we mention that the titular dog is a reincarnated ''human''?
* ''Film/MouseHunt'' had the [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII doggy concentration camp]] variety. And yes, we see a kitten getting gassed for absolutely no reason.
* Best exemplified in the home movie, ''Karate Dog'', where the martial arts canine finds himself wrestled into the pound by a gratuitous animal control officer, complete with singing and CaptivityHarmonica (never answering HOW the dogs manage to procure or even play an instrument requiring human manual dexterity).
* In 1935, ''Life Returns'' starred real-life Dr. Robert Cornish, a self-promoting researcher into artificial resuscitation. In the film, a boy's dog is nabbed by the dogcatcher and ''immediately'' put down, forcing the heartbroken boy to plead for Cornish to use his (real-life) experimental techniques to bring his beloved pet back to life.
* Robert Downey, Sr's ''Film/{{Pound}},'' especially since the animals are played by human actors!
* ''Film/WhiteGod'' has a dog pound where stray mixed breed dogs are captured and kept in poor conditions. The manager denies putting dogs down, but we later see her doing so to one dog and scheduling the main dog Hagen for euthanization because of his injured foot. Eventually Hagen leads a prison break.

[[folder: Literature ]]
* Jennifer Crusie's novella ''Anyone But You'' begins with the protagonist, Nina, going to the pound to adopt a dog and ending up rescuing Fred, who was on his last day before euthanization. The pound is not depicted as a ''horrible'' place, but it's not very cheerful either - particularly not for aging, depressed Fred.
* In the book ''Dog,'' the titular dog leaves the dumpster he grew up in and ends up captured by the dogcatcher and thrown into a van with other dogs. He befriends Shep, a big, white, shaggy dog, learns that after only three days where strays are not picked up by their owners or adopted, they are put down. His group of dogs are put into cages and spend two days there. The other dogs shout, some claiming to be pets and wanting to know what they did to deserve their fates. Dog is adopted. Cruelly, other dogs are not as lucky.
* In the same vein as this trope, one of the books by Kenneth and Adrian Bird about the talking dog called Himself had his owner leave him at a dog hostel while he went on holiday. The dogs there are cruelly treated by the couple running the business, so Himself ends up leading a revolt.
* Parodied in the children's book ''Dear Mrs. [=LaRue=]: Letters from Obedience School'', by Mark Teague. A dog who pulls on his owners leash too much gets sent to obedience school. He writes letters to her about how much of a prison it was, when in reality it was a luxury. He made it seem like he ran away from it too, while he actually was just released and everyone ''in town'' was overjoyed to see him when he came back.
* The kennels in ''[[Literature/{{Bunnicula}} Howliday Inn]]'' are portrayed this way. This is, for the most part, yet another "from the animals' point of view" case, though with the interesting wrinkle of [[spoiler: one of the kennel workers actually being dangerous.]]
* Felix Salten's ''The City Jungle'' is ''Zoos are Animal Prisons: The Novel'' to the point of being extremely {{Anvilicious}} To be fair to Mr. Salten some of his complaints were genuine when the book was written (The early 20th century) not so much today where we have made great advancements in Zoo Design and Animal Healthcare
* The pound in ''The Tuesday Dog'' and [[WesternAnimation/{{Scruffy}} the animated special]] based on it is seen this way by the dogs. The employees, however, are very sympathetic to the animals' situations and are only trying to do their job.
* Played with the Trap House in ''Literature/SurvivorDogs''. It's not a negative place however it is scary for dogs. Lucky describes it as unnaturally clean and that it is an unpleasant place to be.

[[folder: Live-Action TV ]]
* An early episode of ''Series/EerieIndiana'' involved a dog pound, and a boy whose dental bracers could detect (and translate) the dogs' language. It was implied that an ominous room at the end of the hall was where they put dogs to sleep, and the dogs were organizing some kind of rebellion.
* In ''Series/MarriedWithChildren'', when Buck runs away and ends up in the pound, it's very prison-ish, complete with harmonica-playing pooch and a "religious" pup ready to administer the last rites.
* In an episode of ''Series/{{Wishbone}}'', Wishbone is placed in the pound after having been found without his collar. He initially views it like this, but then he falls in love with a female dog there. At this point, his owner shows up and provides an UnwantedRescue.
* In the ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' episode "Dog Dean Afternoon", the boys visit a pound while Dean can [[SpeaksFluentAnimal speak fluent animal]] due to a spell. The dogs talk about the place like it's a prison, one of them making a ShoutOut to ''Film/TheShawshankRedemption''. Dean ends up empathizing enough to let them all go.
* In the final episode of the eighth season of ''Series/MyCatFromHell'', "A Brave New Cat World," Jackson gives an extreme makeover to a cat shelter that very much gives off this vibe.

[[folder: Newspaper Comics]]
* Averted in a ''ComicStrip/{{Scamp}}'' comic where after spending an entire day trying to find a place to cool off on a hot summer day, Scamp gets sent to the pound, where the dogs there have built an escape tunnel ([[ContinuityNod which appears to be the same one they were working on in the movie]]), but stay anyways because it is nice and cool inside.
* In the ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'' comic strip, Dogbert was once sent to the pound and used his OnePhoneCall to call a wrecking company to destroy it.
* ''ComicStrip/DogsOfCKennel'' by Mick and and Mason Mastroianni is pretty much this.
* The title character of ''{{Opus}}'' was imprisoned in the local dog pound at one point. It was PlayedForLaughs, with the storyline spoofing various PrisonTropes (and the inmates' reaction to a ''penguin'' in their midst). He was released after a short time, once his owner paid his fine. See ''ComicStrip/BloomCounty''.
* A zoo variation occurs in ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes''.
-->'''Calvin''': Mom was wondering if we'd like to go to the zoo today.
-->'''Hobbes''': Can we tour a prison afterwards?
-->'''Calvin''': (talking with his mom) No thanks.
* ''ComicStrip/{{Garfield}}'' got into this once, spoofing some prison tropes when Garfield got picked up accidentally.
* ''ComicStrip/{{Mutts}}'' averts this. The writer is quite into animal welfare and is constantly having strips about shelter animals. They even had a sub-series called "Mutts Shelter Stories".


[[folder: Toys]]
* Along the same lines is Pick-A-Dilly Pet Shop for the ''Toys/PurrTenders''. The cats there aren't being sold, so they wind up disguising themselves as other animals just to get out, and they're all ''terrified'' of being taken back... even though there's no evidence that they're being ignored or mistreated by the owner. (His ''dog'', on the other hand, is a dick.)

[[folder: Video Games]]
* The horror game ''VideoGame/TheCatLady'' has a variant of this with the Black Dragon Pest Control company, who are called in to deal with the stray cats Susan feeds. The pets they capture don't make it to any sort of pound; instead, they are locked in cages in the home of the company's sole employee and eventually carved up into meat.
* Played for laughs in ''[[VideoGame/{{Octodad}} Octodad: World's Dadliest Catch]].'' Octodad thinks aquariums are festering prisons of iniquity, and the one that his wife is writing a paper on really does have lax standards--which makes his trip there all the more nerve-wrecking.

[[folder: Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/SkinHorse'', the "Wild Things" StoryArc. Talking dog Sweetheart [[http://www.webcomicsnation.com/shaenongarrity/skinhorse/series.php?view=archive&chapter=31156 ends up in custody]] after attempting to get in touch with her wild side and go on a rampage [[spoiler: by brazenly defying a "Keep off the grass" sign and actually ''spilling coffee'' on someone's lawn]]. Oh, the caninity.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Freefall}}'', [[http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff1500/fc01498.htm the Mayor, in reaction to Sam's shenanigans, uses the local pound as a prison for his engineer Florence Ambrose, an]] [[UpliftedAnimal uplifted red wolf]].

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheRenAndStimpyShow'', with the pilot episode "Big House Blues".
* The dog pound in the Creator/VanBeurenStudios cartoon "Dinnertime" Is presented like this. The animals end up quickly escaping once the guard [[CardboardPrison unwittingly opens the pound door]].
* We hate to bring up such a notorious [[NightmareFuel childhood]] [[TearJerker destroying]] moment, but the first ''WesternAnimation/{{Garfield}}'' animated special ''Here Comes Garfield'' has him and Odie trapped and alone in such a pound. A bumbling Animal Control officer is a regular antagonist in ''WesternAnimation/TheGarfieldShow''.
* After being falsely accused of attacking Beebee Bluff (when he was just trying to rescue her from falling in thin ice), Porkchop of ''WesternAnimation/{{Doug}}'' is confiscated by the pound and sentenced to 'execution'. The entire matter is played out as if he's actually in a maximum security prison.
* On ''WesternAnimation/RockosModernLife'', Rocko gets [[IAmNotWeasel mistaken for a dog]] and is put on the pound. Appalled by the deplorable conditions, he decides to run for city dog catcher. He loses, but the city simultaneously votes in a more liberal animal control policy, and the role of dogcatcher (won by Mr. Bighead) is reduced to "glorified pooper scooper".
* ''WesternAnimation/PoundPuppies'':
** [[WesternAnimation/PoundPuppies1980s The pilot]] had the dogs run a secret adoption network from the pound, a la ''Series/HogansHeroes''. Naturally, comparing the pound to a Nazi stalag didn't suit the networks, so for the series proper it became a benevolent animal shelter. The evil Katrina Stoneheart wants nothing more than to see all canines rounded up, but Holly knows better, and helps the resident canines see every lost dog given to a better home.
** Its second season, ''The All-New Pound Puppies Show'', returned to the original themes with the pound being run strictly by Katrina instead of Holly.
** Shelter 17 from [[WesternAnimation/PoundPuppies2010 the new series]] on Creator/TheHub is largely an aversion, since the only reason dogs have to rely on the Pound Puppies to get adopted is because the manager, head dog-catcher Leonard [=McLeish=], is more interested in impressing people and getting promoted than actually doing his job. This is played straight with the Canine Capture and Removal Center in "I Never Barked For My Father" (which [=McLeish=]'s sidekick Olaf even remarks "looks like a doggy prison"), and with Shelter 17 [[TyrantTakesTheHelm under the reign of Milton Feltwaddle]] in "[=McLeish=] Unleashed".
* Since Brian on ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' is more human-like than dog, when he winds up in the Pound, this happens. Along with a violent cell mate.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'':
** Rita and Runt meet when both are taken to the pound and speak to each other through the walls to plan an escape, and it's portrayed very much like a prison.
** In "Les Miseranimals", the Animaniacs parody to ''Theatre/LesMiserables'', Runt escapes from the very prison-like dog pound.
* Dan has this view of animal shelters in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/DanVs''
-->"I didn't ask you to build an animal jail across the street. Shut your prisoners up, warden!"
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/MuppetBabies'' has a part where Baby Rowlf thinks that this trope applies to zoos since they reminded him of dog pounds. Nanny goes on to explain what zoos are all about, and how important they are to the protection of animal life.
* Some WesternAnimation/ClassicDisneyShorts focusing mainly on WesternAnimation/{{Pluto|ThePup}} will often have dog pounds being portrayed as prisons.
* ''WesternAnimation/RoadRovers'' first shows Hunter and Muzzle in a pound. The structure of the building is prison-like, but the two pound workers seen are kind to the dogs, with Hunter clearly expecting to play and getting his ears scratched. Though Hunter and Muzzle are scheduled for euthanasia, it's because Hunter is at the end of the six-week waiting period for that pound (a sad measure some shelters have to take because often there is just not enough space). For Muzzle, one of the workers mentions 'finally getting word to put the crazy [dog] down', indicating there was some sort of evaluation process. [[note]]Muzzle shows himself to be ''extremely'' dangerous on the Road Rovers' missions, with it being implied he ''eats'' some of Parvo's mutants. His first assignment, he takes on a whole room of of Zachary Storm's armed mercenaries--and wins.[[/note]]
* [=PBS's=] ''WesternAnimation/MarthaSpeaks'' dropped her in a pound once that was portrayed like this. Subverted, however, after she helps the other dogs escape: they all go back willingly, because they have nowhere to go, and the dogcatcher is doing the best he can to feed them and find them homes.
* Reversed in the ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' episode "Cat Scratch Fever", when Batman catches up to a couple of mooks who were involved in Roland Daggett's scheme to [[PoisonAndCureGambit infect animals with a new strain of rabies so he could sell the antitoxin]].
-->'''Batman:''' It's off to the pound for you!
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/EekTheCat'' has an episode where Eek and Sharky are thrown into the pound. They even [[InstitutionalApparel wear striped jail clothes]] and their cages are like traditional jail cells. They also smash rocks in the yard.
* In "Dog's Best Friend" from ''WesternAnimation/{{Arthur}}'', Pal imagines Amigo in a pound that is essentially an animal prison.
-->'''Amigo''': All we eat are vegetables and there are baths three times a day. I don't know how much more I can take. I'm innocent, Pal.
-->'''Nemo''': Time's up, liver lips. Move along or it's [[ConeOfShame the cone]] for you.
* The ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry'' cartoon "Puttin' on the Dog" averts this by showing the dog pound as less like a prison and more like how it would be depicted in real life; the dogs don't seem to be suffering too much there.
* Inverted in ''WesternAnimation/DogCity'', where Doggy Prison is the Pound, with a warden who's a pastiche of dog-trainer Barbara Woodhouse (while still being herself a FunnyAnimal dog).

[[folder: Real Life]]
* A good chunk of animal shelters' bad reputation in America is because they originally were little more than places to house strays before killing them. Back when stray dogs were rampant and they were a public health hazard, shelters focused more on killing the dogs than rehousing them. It wasn't until well into the 20th century that most American shelters changed their priorities.
* This trope might explain a particularly annoying phenomenon on YouTube, in which videos from veterinary clinics, animal shelters, zoos and wildlife rehabilitation centers get ''plagued'' with angry accusations of animal abuse. In the case of zoos and wildlife rehab centers, there will also be demands to set free whatever animals are seen in the video, lamenting how sad it is to see them "trapped in a cage." The people who write these comments often care very little for an animal's circumstances, preferring to view ''any'' human interaction with animals as inherently cruel.