Stunning Art Project Shines Light on the 5,500 Dogs Euthanized a Day

Museums work to conserve and commemorate the importance of a particular legacy. Bringing people together, viewers are offered the opportunity to revel in beauty and information, an experience which often sparks and encourages a perhaps otherwise unspoken dialog amongst peers. One couple is determined to have the beauty of art make a difference in the world of shelter dogs through a museum intended to spark just such a conversation.

Called the Museum of Compassion, the venue will house an installation of over 5,500 handpainted dog portraits created by Kentucky artist Mark Barone in what will be viewed as one sprawling, striking piece. The subjects of these portraits were real dogs, once alive and now gone, whose legacy will be honored and whose faces represent the approximate number of dogs euthanized every day in U.S. shelters.

Related: After Her Dog Nearly Dies of Heartworm, Teen Raises $40K and Looks to Incite Change Through Artwork

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Mark Barone’s art pieces are created from the pictures of shelter dogs that were put down.

“I decided to paint the approximate number of dogs destroyed everyday to illustrate and reflect the condition of our consciousness and help wake society up to the silent atrocities that are occurring in our very own neighborhoods,” says Barone.

The main area will house the 5,500 portraits on a “Wall of Compassion.” All the paintings will include a name of the dog that was euthanized (for those that were just assigned numbers, Barone and his wife Marina came up with a name).

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Conceptual designs of the museum.

There also will be 11 much larger portraits to raise awareness in other animal-welfare areas including dog fighting, puppy mills, animal abuse and breed-specific legislation, to name a few.

The Museum of Compassion was created out of an An Act of Dog, a nonprofit conceived four years ago, following the loss of the couple’s beloved dog Santina, a 21-year-old German shepherd mix, whose likeness will grace the canvass of the eleventh larger, aforementioned piece. Looking to bring home a new pet, a grief-stricken online search for adoptable dogs eventually led to some chilling information the couple had previously been unaware of: the thousands of dogs being euthanized in the American shelter system every day. Determined to incite change, the couple decided to combine their resources with Barone’s professional background as an artist for the past 35 years and raise awareness in a way that felt both natural and effective through art.

Related: A Dog Chapel in Vermont Allows Owners to Mourn

“Art is a powerful medium for education, because it wakes us up and reminds us of who we are and what we are here for,” states Barone. Powerful it is, indeed. Capturing the soul of an animal now long gone, failed by a system it was never asked to be a part of, Barone’s work reaches viewers in a way that no graph, pie chart or percentages ever could. These works force us to look directly into the eyes of animals lost, some smiling, others pleading, yet all asking for a chance they never got. What would otherwise be regarded as a statistic takes on a life of its own.

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Katrina was killed on 9/4/2012 for space

When choosing which animals would be selected to be memorialized in this work of art, Barone stated that many rescue groups had contacted him to include animals they were unable to save and a trend was noticed immediately.

“We tried to get them from all over the country and as many different types of dogs as possible, he says. “That being said, the bully breeds are being destroyed at an alarming rate and too often misunderstood, misjudged and victimized.”

To shine a light on these “bully breeds” Barone painted a 64-square foot pit bull named Lennox. Emblazoned with stenciled text detailing in time, down to the exact minute of death, the painting of the black pit bull serves as the face of the ban breed-specific legislation, or BSL, Barone and the organization do not support.

BSL is a highly debated and emotionally fueled topic among the animal-welfare community and ultimately results in the destruction of many discriminated dogs in areas that outlaw certain breeds. The National Canine Research Council states that despite a lack of concrete evidence linking specific breeds to a higher rate of dog bites, as well as an outright lack of success in reducing the number of dog-bite related injuries, BSL is incredibly expensive for the communities affected by it, draining resources that could otherwise be used to promote more humane and effective forms of population control and in turn, reduce overcrowding in shelters.

With 5,495 of the paintings completed, Barone is saving the final five for filmmakers from PBS to include in an upcoming documentary about the organization. (A two-minute teaser provides a glimpse into what it takes to pull off such a big feat.)

With the completion of their project approaching, the couple is still on the search for the perfect location in which to house the museum.

“We are in talks with different cities but are yet to find that perfect partner for what will be the only museum of its kind in the world, and the only fund to support all of the life-saving rescue groups and shelters, Barone says.

An Act of Dog envisions the Museum of Compassion to be an epicenter for conferences and a platform for “Ted-like” talks regarding animal welfare, as well as a space for other artists to create new works in the names of the charities of their choice.

But in the meantime, An Act of Dog understands that aside from raising awareness in the form of visual imagery at its upcoming museum, the organization is looking to raise funds for rescue groups, fosters, transporters and no-kill shelters. With the aid of its online “rescue rewards” program, a considerable portion of the proceeds generated from the sales of prints and nightlights featuring images of shelter dogs on its ecommerce shop will go directly to the organization of the buyer’s choice by way of a drop down menu provided at the time of checkout.

A nightlight from An Act of Dog
A nightlight from An Act of Dog

The number of organizations benefitting from such incentives is always growing and applying is encouraged. “All rescue groups are welcome to contact us to be added. We do a background check on their nonprofit status, and then they can be added,” Barone says. If a rescue group gets approved, it must be willing to promote the products featured on An Act of Dog, as “the more they tell, the more they sell and the more money comes back to help them,” Barone explains.

The idea of building a community exceeds the monetary aspect, inviting supporters who have purchased a nightlight to participate in a permanent candle light vigil, keeping them glowing as a reminder of the millions more that are currently, or will soon be, in need of saving. The company hopes to have a map on their site soon, illuminated with lights marking all the cities around the world with nightlights glowing in their homes.

With An Act of Dog, the Barones are making big strides in raising awareness and compassion for underserved animals and to build a community of people interested in seeking and implementing solutions to the problems faced in the world of animal welfare.

“It is only when we are willing to face the world as it is and engage in honest, non-violent and solution-focused dialogue, can we change it,” says Barone.

Related: Looking to Get Adopted, Dogs Splatter Paint to Show Off Their Artistic Side

300 comments on “Stunning Art Project Shines Light on the 5,500 Dogs Euthanized a Day

  • Im a serious rescue supporter and volunteer. I am so very impressed and grateful to see you take on this project. Thank you! I can’t wait to see the exhibit.

  • Thank you for bringing light on this tragedy. No dog should be euthanized unless in irreversible pain or illness. Again, thank you this is beautiful.

  • Absolutely beautiful & heartbreaking all at once. Thank you for dedicating your precious time to such a great need of awareness. May you always be blessed

  • Most of the people who let their dogs breed, abandon dogs, and let their dogs run the streets, are not going to see this exhibit, or even hear of it. They are often poor, or lazy, or ignorant. My city shelter is full of pit bulls and chihuahuas that no one wants. How do we reach these people?

  • This exhibit needs to travel, it cannot be housed in one location. Rescuers see these faces every day and still have trouble comprehending the magnitude of this problem. This exhibition needs to be on display in High-kill cities so that people are aware of what is going on in thier backyards and change it. This also needs to be on display in cities where the dog population is under control and hopefully spark interest in more interstate adoptions! Until better spay/neuter laws and other animal regulations are put into effect dogs will contine to die, simply because there is no where for all of them to go!.

  • I agree w/ M McHugh — This exhibit needs to travel! I realize what a massive undertaking it would be, but if it’s possible, that would be the ideal. No one could look at those paintings and ever think about the worth of dogs the same way again. Thank you, Marc Barone, for sharing your talent, your time, and your heart.

  • Mark…I love what you stand for. Once a shelter manager for a city pound…closed by pressures at the state level for saving 98%….on a $17,000. I grieve for our city animals left in the care of Animal Control. I understand advocates for Fitchburg, Ma dogs sent you a photo and story about Mary & Lady….did they really make it to your desk for a painting? Both ripped out from our hands and hearts the day animal control came…hidden, moved around and then KILLED for no good reason.

    I follow you with such hopes…dreams…and tears. God has blessed all of us with your work. Your voice in the paint brush is powerful. Thank You~!!

  • What a beautiful and touching way to remember these dogs. Overlooked in life but finally found the love they deserved. Fantastic work Mark! X

  • mark your work will change the American view on shelters because people are naive and believe the dogs they give up are adopted to a new home. I would love to see this art exhibit travel the country!

  • it’s about time someone is brave enough to bring this to the forefront for all of us to remember and want to do something about this travesty going on in this country. I thank you for having the courage and for using your art in such an altruistic way. I agree this should be a traveling art show.

  • This is heartbreaking and puts faces on the grim reality of overpopulation and ignorant, uncaring people. What an amazing tribute to the dogs and a gift to rescues and shelters! I hope the exhibit will be on the road to many cities in the future. Also hope you can get this in the major media! Incredible work!

  • I am the director of Adopt a Pit Rescue. Individuals & shelters beg us every day to take in dogs. It is so discouraging to know that we simply cannot take them all in. Thank you for shining a light on the dogs who we in rescue are unable to save. They deserve to be remembered.

  • The south would be a perfect place to house your art! The south is overrun and in the New Orleans, Baton Rouge area I work with several shelters and rescues designed around the breed. As well as the Villalobos center in N.O. We have so many small unheard of rescues down here desperately trying to save all of the dogs, but the numbers speak truth. The amount of unwanted dogs is overwhelming and the amount of support we receive is beautiful, but the teaching of the breed is so important down here! Dog fighting is still so prominent in Louisiana. It would be amazing to see this here. Your work is remarkable and as an avid rescuer, foster director, full time single mom, and animal lover I thank you, as well as thousands of others! #beavoice you have so been a huge voice in the education that thousands are killed daily simply because of their look or breed! Thank you a million times over-Alexis Daigle

  • What a beautiful, wonderful, POWERFUL tribute and statement. As a tireless animal advocate and rescuer I am so very happy to see this massive effort to bring to light a reality that all too many have no idea even exists.

  • I found my Mickey Moo the day before he was to be ….i can’t even think it. I had him 7 yrs. He was a senior when he came to me. I never loved an animal more. He was a cane corso, the most gentle creature ever put on earth, he was so sweet witlth other dogs and people. My heart hurts everyday for him. I wasn’t ever going to have another. I went to a shelter just give out treats and scratch an ear one day and there was Yogi Bear, thought to have been aggressive I asked to visit with him before they shipped him out to a kill shelter. Well it wasn’t aggression apparently it was just fear. They had just brought him to New Jersey from Georgia the day before. He was scared and confused. He is a Newfie, Chow mix. He is my boy, a wonderful, big baby. He has been with me a year and a half now and he will always be with me. Please keep me updated where I can light a light for all those I couldn’t be there for. I would like to make one last trip in my life, and I chose you. Where are you located now?

  • This made me cry, if only we could stop this, some how, some way. No more homeless pets, what a dream! Thank you for putting your life into this cause.

  • As a foster and volunteer for a local rescue in Arizona I unfortunately know first hand about this devastating practice. We have one of the highest kill shelters in the nation which just sickens me. Thank you for your beautiful work and bringing attention to this sad reality. Hoping your Museum of Compassion is something I will be able to see in person.

  • I cannot wait to see this exhibit! I first heard of it a couple months ago, what a wonderful idea to put your talents to very good use!

  • I am in awe of these incredible paintings. The compassion and humanity shown here is inspirational. Thank you for giving these animals dignity. Through your art their deaths must inspire us to bring an end to euthanasia. Together we can (must) make a systematic change in the way our country (and world) disposes of animals. Together we can make a difference.

  • I am praying I will get to take my daughter ti this museum when its up and running. I am in tears right now just from the idea alone

  • Just thanking you is not enough. Your dedication, beautiful artwork, love and compassion for these innocent lives is commendable and exquisite. The world needs more people like you. Please know that you will make a difference. I hope to get the opportunity to see your exhibit.

  • Mark, you are my new hero! I will see (and undoubtedly cry lots) when your wonderful exhibit has a home. I worked for shelters for ~10 years and had my heart broken countless times. I still work (professionally) in the animal field and am involved with rescue. Animals, especially dogs, are my passion! May I offer three thoughts?
    1) I hope you have both a permanent home and a traveling exhibit.
    2) I hope you will try to get the word out to schools for both. We’ll need the children to understand and continue to change things.
    3) You may want to contact Nathan Winograd / the No Kill Advocacy Center. http://www.nokilladvocacycenter.org/. You’re working toward the same goal and Nathan has a large following. Perhaps there’s a way to leverage efforts.
    God bless you for your efforts and very best wishes that this is HUGE and seen by millions!

  • Wow! I rescue senior and disabled dogs. I had one die in my lap last night while we sat together on the bathroom floor because no one was available to put him to sleep. THIS installation is exponentially more heart wrenching than that. I hope this installation opens some eyes. Thank you for doing this. Don’t know how you functioned through it.

  • I’m a veterinarian, rescue foster, and pittie lover. Just reading the article was enough to make me tear up…the portraits of those happy, smiling faces ripped my heart out. THANK YOU, for giving these guys the acknowledgement they deserve. Thank you for bringing their faces-not just their names, not just their numbers-but those faces to life, when they’d already been condemned to death.
    I love your stance on BSL, and agree wholeheartedly. I would love to see this as a traveling exhibit!
    Again, thank you.

  • I am thankful to live in a community where we have 2 no-kill organizations. What thought-provoking work. How heartbreaking it is for all of us who work in rescue (I am a foster mom with over 100 dogs and puppies fostered). Thank you for bringing attention to this cause. Breathtaking work here.

  • Thank you for bringing attention to the unspoken fate of these beautiful dogs. We are a no-kill shelter and find it very difficult to remain one with so many unwanted animals needing assistance and homes. We work very hard to raise awareness for the need to spay and neuter, offer occasional free spay and neuter for our local area when funds are available.

  • It amazes me that when people here 5000-6000 dogs are PUT TO DEATH each and everyday that the madness doesn’t stop., when families are thinking of getting a family pet make sure it fits your family.. get it spayed or neutered… our country is so over populated with cats and dogs that we can’t find homes for, so really spay and neuter.. Excellent exhibit Mark.

  • Mark…..your story, your work, your mission, have brought me to tears! What a marvelous undertaking you have done. Such a loving and living tribute to what might have been forgotten lives! I love your idea. I would love to see Johnstown , PA be one of the locations for the museum. What can I do to help promote this here?

  • This is incredibly moving and sends a powerful message. Thank you for bringing attention to this tragedy that takes place every day in our country. I know that you, sadly, probably have more than enough pups to include in your exhibit. However, I have a picture of very special momma that was recently killed in a county shelter after her pups were taken by another “rescue” organization that I would love to send to you so that she could be included in your exhibit. This happens way too often and I would like for Queen’s story to be told and her picture to be shared. If this is possible, please let me know.

  • This is beautiful! Beautiful with a powerful message. Your expression of love is going to be so impactful. God bless both of you. I can’t wait to share this!

  • I am crying already. I fight and rail and share and nurse and rescue and scream and encourage and lecture and volunteer all the time and they still die. It looks beautiful and horrifying all at once. If I can I will come, see, and cry. For their beautiful souls.

  • As a fellow animal rescuer, I look into the eyes of these fur babies and my heart aches that they are no longer with us. You are doing a beautiful thing, by honoring them in this way. As long as I have life and breath in me, I will continue to rescue and cry for those who are lost…God Bless you.

  • As the proud “mama” of a death row pitbull, your paintings move me immensely. No matter who we are, we can make SOME contribution to ending this horror that is happening every day in our country. Your talent is a superb contribution! If you can’t adopt… foster, transport, donate, cross post, educate….do whatever! This number used to be 10,000 per day, so we’re making progress, but we can’t stop till that number is 0. Thank you for such a beautiful and touching way to raise awareness. My pitbull, Perry, thanks you too! You rock!

  • I pray that your project will help make a difference. Spay and neuter programs must expand. Laws must be enacted to stop indiscriminate breeding, and puppy mills must be shut down. When it becomes a luxury to own a dog, maybe then people will stop throwing them away.
    The greatness of a nation and it’s moral progress can be judged by the way it’s animals are treated. Ghandi was right. As a nation, we are failing those without a voice.

  • All of those facing staring at me brought tears to my eyes. I will DEFINITELY be visiting your museum when it’s complete, and I will DEFINITELY need a box of tissues…or two.

  • Brought me to tears. Thank you so much for showing others the horrors of the high kill animal shelter. As a rescue advocate and “foster mom” it is disheartening at, not only how many strays are taken in, but more so how many owner surrenders take place for EVERY INVALID REASON under the sun. I believe a few prints of these pieces should be hung in EVERY kill shelter along with their short story. I want people to see the owner surrenders that are put to death for space and the faces of sweet puppies that never get a chance to find a home because shelter life leaves them full of anxiety. As a rescue and spay/neuter advocate I cannot thank you enough for all you are doing to further our cause!

  • Beautiful idea, amazing talent! Thank you to you and your wife for taking even more time naming the numbered dogs. This gives them meaning. They weren’t a number…. They were a life.

  • Here is a ‘dog anthem’ that is about a handsome dog euthanized by a clinic. His owner abandoned him in a shelter and had not vaccinated him to prevent Parvo virus. The clinic had not real option as he could not be cured. The shot costs about $8. I used the song I wrote and recorded as the theme for a dog adoption video… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mo_SutS1vg

  • I was raised with dogs my entire life, and as a little girl I brought home every stray that would follow me home. As an adult I now adopt & foster. Ironically enough they are bully mixes & the most loving dogs anyone could hope to have. I wish this amazing effort could be World wide, there’s far too many innocent dogs being destroyed & breaks my heart. I would give anything to save them all. Thank you for this amazing effort, I also like others hope this can be a traveling museum. Perhaps even have adoptions at the locations traveled. Bless your beautiful soul & efforts

  • This is about one of the saddest, but most important animal endeavors I have ever seen. Brought tears to my eyes seeing the faces of all those beautiful creatures of God, that are gone. SO SO sad. We have to advocate for them, we have to be the voice for those who have been silenced. Great work!

  • Thank you for giving a voice and face to the dogs that are sadly killed by a broken shelter system. If you feel you must surrender your animal, please look for a No-Kill shelter or a breed specific rescue.

  • This exhibition should be in our nation’ Capitol right next to the Vietnam War memorial. That’s how impactful it is. Well done.

  • Wow! What a powerful exhibition. When I began reading the article, I thought I might not be able to bear reading to the end. I’m so glad I did, and glad I watched the video. This is such a generous act of love and kindness. Thank you for sharing your message.

  • Thank you so much for showing this CRUEL REALITY through your Art. It is time for people to be aware of the atrocities that happen around us. It is time for people to grow compassion towards helpless animals, who many times their lives depend on us :'(

  • Excellent project. I agree that a traveling component (like the mobile Vietnam War memorial that travels state to state) would be key to raising awareness and stopping the senseless killings of innocent creatures. Do you have a fundraising project in place (like Kickstarter or GoFundMe)? Surely our fellow animal lovers would be willing to support this effort financially, even $5 at a time. May God grant you and your work abundant favor.

  • Thank you for your art project, your compassion and forever love for animals.Hope this is a wake up call for many of us, who ignore, abandon or hurt any animal on Earth.God bless you!❤️❤️❤️

  • Amazing! Touched my heart & would LOVE to see this exhibit & see it take a “tour” to bring awareness. I cannot find the words to do your project justice as I am emotionally in awe of what you have accomplished with your project. Thank you!

  • Absolutely amazing what you’re doing to help raise awareness. I was not aware of how many fur babies are killed every day. Breaks my heart that this happens. But, I am so grateful for all of the wonderful people out there such as yourself that truly make a difference. Thank you for all that you do!

  • Thank you for addressing such a serious and tragic topic. As rescuers, and Mom and Dad to 5 rescue dogs, including 2 Pitties, and 1 17 year old cat that was born to a stray we took in, we know all too well the fate of many shelter dogs. Hopefully, your message will get out to the masses and humans will realize just how much they are failing animals. I wish communities would focus on laws aimed at spaying/neutering and backyard breeding restrictions instead of BSL.

  • I helped to start a rescue in Rural Oklahoma and I want to thank you for this. Thank you for sharing some of the faces that are here no more. Rescuers everywhere have pictures of pets they couldn’t save and you have paid tribute. Very touching.

  • Wow, I love how u out talk about and really bring out the spirit of these lost souls. I have 6 rescues. I would love to see your work
    thank you for using your gift in such a powerful and Important fashion

  • Thank you for this amazing, humbling work. I volunteer and work in animal rescue–specifically cats, where the numbers killed are so astronomical as to be unfathomable. There’s something about the magnitude of seeing all these faces that even floors me.

    I’m with everyone who thinks this needs to travel. There’s a solution that will make this exhibit mobile and as powerful as it needs to be. Make it an architecture/design competition and you’ll get some brilliant ideas from the best minds. Something that would force the public to confront these images, rather than house them somewhere that only likeminded individuals will find them.

  • As a rescue volunteer who gets the local euthanasia list sent to my email every evening, I am moved and inspired by your dedication to this project and it’s goals. It is a hard role sometimes, choosing who can be saved to come into the rescue program, but I am hopeful that as people like you do this amazing work to educate people on just how serious this issue is, that my job will become much easier. I am currently in veterinary school and intend to become a shelter veterinarian upon graduation and hope that I have the pleasure of working with people that have compassion of your caliber. Keep up the amazing work and maybe you can bring your exhibit here to Gainesville, Florida! We have a great, animal loving community and I know it would be a huge hit!

  • Mark, I do not have the words to tell you how very much your project means to me and how it touched my very heart and soul. I am always trying to think outside the box to help animals and I am just overwhelmed by what you and your wife have done here. You are SO talented and I can’t imagine a more heartbreaking way to bring it to light. I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult it must have been to paint and name each of these dear souls who died and never had a chance to be loved. Also, for the ones who were loved and then surrendered to a shelter never to know what happened and why. I pray that your museum touches enough people to make a change in how we treat those who have no voice. I would be so grateful if you would consider Pittsburgh, Pa for your museum. PA has the shame of puppy mills, something I have been trying to get changes to for years…. I like the fact of somehow creating a mobile museum with technology. Wherever you choose to build it, I will come to see it and treasure it always. Bless you for caring so much to devote your time and talent to what some feel is “Just a dog”…..

  • I love this. It’s not only animals that need to be spayed and neutered, humans need to be spayed and neutered as well since they’re the ones causing this problem in the first place.

    I hope you find a home in Los Angeles.

  • Mark Barone – you have earned your wings! Brilliant (albeit sad) initiative. My pooches are rescues, and many before them were too, and any that follow will also be rescues. Just wow man, just wow!

  • Thank you. Thank you. I work with several rescues in Florida (where people dump pets like trash) and we talk about finding ways to bring this tragedy light, to make it an issue that is dealt with by society, not just by the volunteers who sadly can’t save them all. This is a brilliant and lovely way to show people what happens to these animals and to start a movement for social change. I hope you find an amazing place to show your art. Thank you for using your talents for this great cause.

  • This is awesome. I admire and respect you for all you are doing to bring awareness to this injustice. I hope to one day have my own rescue to help save as many dogs as I can. I am trying to find out how we can get laws changed to regulate the breeding (puppy mills and puppy stores), to make spaying and neutering cheaper or free so it’s available to everyone – so that there will be fewer dogs going in to the kennels. I applaud you for your efforts. We need more people like you in the world!

  • Your work is beautiful, heartbreaking, and speaks volumes about the inhumanity to our closest companions. Thank you for taking the time and energy to honor all these lost souls …

  • I’ve been following Mark Barone’s work for some time now, ever since he started this project. What beautiful paintings; what sadness knowing that all of these faces are now gone, life cut short. I hope that the perfect location is found to showcase all of these paintings. These wonderful animals are no longer just in God’s memory, but also in ours. Thank you, Mark Barone, for all that you do!

  • Bless you Sir!
    Praying you locate a place for the Museum soon!! (someone should donate).
    My consolation is that God created every animal and I believe they ALL are and will be, in Heaven in new perfect bodies!!

  • Your artwork is stunning and it is wonderful how you are bringing to light how humans think their pets can be discarded like trash. Thank you.

  • God bless you for being a voice for these animals. You are amazing . I can’t wait to see the documentary. If someone can walk away from your work and not start to care then they are beyond our reach!

  • I agree with earlier comments posted that this exhibit needs to travel, and touch as many people as possible. I volunteer for a rescue and we pull from shelters every day of the week. But as many as we save, there are many that we don’t. Thank you for putting faces to this terrible tragedy of shelter euthanasia. Have you ever heard of Nathan Winograd? Please look him up!

  • Absolutely amazing and heartbreaking at the same time. As the mother of Zoë, my rescued little pitbull, thank you so very much. I will do everything I can to support this amazing project. It definitely put things in perspective.

  • What a beautiful thing you’re doing, to build awareness for this dirty little secret so many are unaware of. And let’s start by banning the word “euthanasia” when it’s used in place of the word killing, of an otherwise healthy and adoptable animal. We can make things better and stop the killing.

  • What an incredible feat. An admired accomplishment. Having substance, heartfelt concern and love for the dogs killed because someone didn’t want them. So many do care, but, so many don’t…over bred animals used to gain monetary reward and at what cost? I just cried when I saw this..my heart so heavy with the burden of loss of life. No dog, no cat, no horse, no chicken, no life should be taken for granted and wasted. I love what you are doing and I can only aspire to create something so meaningful, so poignant and so incredible. We do care.

  • We have four children and three dogs. We currently have 2 foster dogs. We have been involved in rescue for a few years now and have fostered over 50 dogs (I think our current dogs are 54 and 55.) This topic pierces my heart. I want to make a difference in the lives of dogs, but I know that, even though our fostering has made a major impact on our own lives, our difference is not even recognizeable compared to how many dogs that are euthanized each day, each year. Thank you. Each person who learns about these dogs dying in an educational and positive way (rather than from a perspective of guilt and negativity) cannot help but be won over by the story your art portrays.

  • Looking at this incredible exhibit, the realities of human failure overwhelm me and I know that these faces, these lives are but a grain of sand in a desert of despair. Profoundly moving and also a testament to the monster that is humanity, I’m overwhelmed by the sight of this exhibition. It will be ingrained in my mind and heart forever. Thank you, Mr. Barone, for caring so much.

  • We should be ashamed as a society that the pet overpopulation crisis exists at all. Allowing pets to overbreed is animal abuse. The focus of this exhibit should be to spay and neuter companion animals and to raise money to create and assist low cost spay/neuter clinics.

  • Thank you Mr. Barone for your dedication and your love of dogs. I had no idea the extent of the problem. I would love to see your work up close one day. Thank you for moving me to tears.

  • It’s time people were forced to acknowledge what humans are doing to our innocent animals. People should be made aware that unless their animals are spayed and/or neutered, we are creating the problem and innocent animals are paying the price. I commend you for what you’re doing and I would imagine each picture takes a small piece of your heart.

  • Mark love the work you and wife are doing.. Watching the clip and looking at the paintings brought tears. I have fostered dogs and have one now that otherwise would have died..the one I have now is a distemper survivor and my very first foster was picked up on the day she was to be out sleep…a boxer mix that had been deemed aggressive..truth was she was scared and the noise hurt her ears… Thank you for putting all this together and honoring all those lost souls.
    ????????????

  • THANK YOU. The murder of all these innocent animals is such a huge problem it seems insurmountable sometimes. If more people could come up with creative solutions like you, then maybe all of our efforts combined could save them! Wonderful work you’ve done.

  • Mark – Your work has left me speechless and in tears! Perhaps you might find a permanent home in the Portland, Oregon area.

    My sister adopted a pittie who turned one in April. I cannot imagine how empty her, my and our Dad’s life’s would be without this sweet, loving, goofy guy!

  • Thank you Mr Barone for helping to bring this much needed attention. It is such a huge national problem. And not just with the pitties. I have adopted 2 coonhounds that were basically starved & thrown away. Every January the national group, American Black & Tan Coonhound Rescue, prepares to try and save hound dogs that are starved, thrown away, shot at, turned loose to fend for themselves or left chained and unfed. It is heartbreaking. They do this every day but it is extra sad that there is an actual “season” that you see these dogs turning up in shelters at alarming rates. This is when irresponsible hunters decide they don’t feel like “wasting” their money for keeping their dogs in the off season over winter. Unlike pitties they don’t have rescue tv shows or much attention brought to their plight but any attention to help rescue all dogs is a great thing. We truly need to stop backyard breeding and people need to spay & neuter their pets. Don’t buy !! Adopt & rescue.

  • Amazing! Thank you for sharing your incredible talent and compassion to shine a light on these precious souls. We as rescuers fight everyday to save as many as we can, but it’s a fight against a never ending wave. We simply can not save them all. Thank you for bringing to light what is happening every single day in shelters everywhere and not allowing these precious babies to be forgotten!

  • Thank you!! This is amazing work. I foster for a local shelter and try to save as many of these poor souls that I can. I hope that your work can tour North American art galleries so that it raises awareness of what is happening.

  • Bless you Mark and Marina! This is really coming together. I can’t wait to visit this museum. I met you a year ago when I delivered a truck load of rowdy pups from Alabama for you to host overnight on their journey to safety. I’ve done 40 more transports since then and have volunteered at two Mega Adoption events. Tens of thousands of dogs are now being saved through these efforts that would otherwise have been subjects for your art. It’s an overwhelming problem, but several large cities are quickly becoming “no kill for space” cities. It’s a start. I hope your project will fan the flames of awareness and get more people out there to adopt from shelters and rescues.

  • Seven years ago I was your average suburbanite when I started to volunteer at a local municipal animal shelter. Seven years ago I didn’t know that the shelter for the fairly affluent county I lived in killed 25% of all the dogs that were not reclaimed by their owners or that a city less than ten miles away killed 50% of those dogs. I didn’t know about BSL, Puppy Mills, backyard breeders, or how many dogs are treated cruelly by their owners. I have come to a personal belief that none of those things is the biggest problem. To me the the biggest problem is that the general public is totally unaware of what I call the Invisible Dogs because they don’t appear on TV, in local newspapers, or on social media.
    I thank and applaud you for undertaking this great task to help shine a light on the Invisible Dogs so they can be seen.

  • I hope you put the museum in the south, like NC where we have surge a huge problem with puppy mills and the inability to pass laws that protect animals. Regardless this should definitely be a traveling show to every city to educate people, especially school kids so they can be part of the solution in the future

  • I hope you consider having an exhibit that goes at least state to state for a while. This is beautiful work….and the tragic losses behind it should be seen by as many people as possible. Maybe that will make a difference.

  • I am so appreciative of this work and the story it helps to tell. Thank you. Please consider widening your circle of support to animal shelters who perhaps do not use the label “no-kill” but nonetheless work tirelessly to continually reduce the number of animals euthanized in their care, and relentlessly uphold and improve the welfare for the animals in their care. Shelters rely on people to support them in their life-saving missions, to take animals into rescue who are not likely to have a good outcome at their organization, and to take these animals home for adoption; without that support they cannot succeed.

  • I agree with Lori! If this could be mobile and travel around the country…….wow such a big impact. Also maybe somehow be at large events like sporting, festivals, malls etc. I think if it is a museum then folks like ourselves who are involved in rescue would go…….but would the people who really need to see this go? These are the faces of all those pups they “bought”…..or dumped……or let be strays to begin with. What a strong message for those people……..I love it:)

  • Thank you so much for what you are doing!! Working in rescue and loving the bully breads is not easy but seeing it through the eyes of your paintings is heart breaking and hopefully will bring awareness to those that don’t know of the tragic world of homeless animals in this county.

  • pLease consider Thousand oaks, CA
    We have Two Stores Located In Malls That Showcase Shelter Dogs For Adoption. Our County Shelter Has Become No kill. It struggles

  • where is this museum? This is amazing! Thank you for showing this to the world…people need to understand how unfair this is to our animals.

  • I am founder of Pound Hounds Res-Q and we pull dogs off the euthanasia list all the time. It’s heartbreaking what is going on in the USA today. This is a beautiful tribute for those who were killed and great that more awareness is being brought to the public, through such a powerful vehicle. Thanks.

  • Tonya, those are only rendering our vision for the museum. We don’t have a location yet, as we don’t have financial support to get it up. Thanks for your enthusiasm and appreciations, and for caring. 🙂

  • I cannot put into words how absolutely amazing this project is!! To be able to use your talents and your resources to spread such an important and heartfelt message is just Incredible! They need your voice and art is such a powerful tool!
    I myself… I’m also an artist, and absolutely huge dog lover and do my best to volunteer with rescues… And have pulled a couple of pitbulls myself from being killed at the last minute… Absolutely the most loving dogs ever!!
    I paint my dogs and just feel so inspired by what you do… You are so talented and capture such strong emotion and I cried just reading the articles and looking at your work. I know I could never do anything to that scale, but if there’s anyway ever to help… I am definitely open to suggestions
    I would love to use my skills to be able to do whatever I can to save these poor innocent babies
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart..
    For being so dedicated, for being there much-needed voice, For all of your time, I’m for helping to build funds and awareness!!
    I can’t wait to visit your museum

  • So overwhelmingly heartbreaking. These poor, beautiful, tragic souls. How could people have failed them so profusely? It makes me sick. The thought of these wonderful dogs passing away without knowing love really breaks my heart. I wish I were a multi billionaire simply so I could adopt and look after every unwanted, unloved dog in the world and give them a life they deserve. None of these wonderful animals deserved to die. Thank you for immortalising them so they at least won’t be forgotten and people like me can look at their gorgeous faces and love them now.

  • Amazing art…how lovely of you to highlight the very heartbreaking life of shelter dogs. I’m in the UK…would love to see your exhibition here. My 2 girls are rescued. I have always had rescued dogs since a little girl….and always will. X

  • Mark, you are truly an inspiration. My Rottweiler and my Pitbull are rescues and I volunteer at a NO kill shelter. It is heartbreaking at the end of the day to leave these animals behind. I have dreams of starting my own rescue facility and it is people like you that make me realize there are people thAt care. Thank you so very much for your time and dedication to providing a voice to the voiceless.

  • It’s so sad to see all of these unwanted dogs put down for no reason.
    I’ve rescued 4 dogs over the years, & I wotldn’t even think of going to a breeder or
    Pet store after seeing so many dogs waiting for someone to be rescued.
    It breaks my heart to know so many of them won’t even be given a second chance. i wish I had big house, with a huge tats.
    I’d rescue a whole pack of dogs.
    Thank you for raising awareness in such a unique way. ❤️

  • Thank you so much for this amazing work with a powerful message. I live in NYC and was the proudest owner of a Death row American Staffordshire. Had I not “just happened into the shelter”, I might never had met my fur friend , Bella(who at that time was Whitney), nor come to realized how misunderstood Pits are. I’m horrified DAILY by what goes on at NYC MACC. I would love to see your show come to New York to help get the message out about what is happening here/in this country related to animals today. Your work puts it “right in people’s faces” in a visual way. Something has got to change in people’s attitudes about four legged creatures. They are not inanimate objects to be discarded at whim. The magnitude of numbers killed daily is STAGGERING. I often feel like the “Dutch boy with a finger in the dyke” and here in NYC , see no end to the killing. One day 32 on the list and 16 saved, the next day 21 on the list, etc. SPAY, NEUTER……ADOPT …DON’T SHOP is my mantra.

  • Thank you for all that you do for the countless innocent animals that have perished!! My one and only wish is that high kill shelters would no exist. I cannot put my head around the fact that in the eyes of the law it is ok to kill an animal just because!! I have 4 rescues dogs and if it was allowed to have more I would but where I live 4 is the limit per household….

  • Thank you for the article. I would, however, like to suggest a wording change to this caption: “Mark Barone’s art pieces are created from the pictures of shelter dogs that were put down.” Use WHO instead of THAT — these were living creatures, not objects. RIP, pups. 🙁

  • Thank you Mr. Barone for taking on this project to shed light on a very broken system, where dogs are concerned. I have a night light and poster and I love both pieces. I hope to someday see the exhibit – whether it be in a permanent home or a traveling one. My rescued pit and pit mix sparked a passion in me to be their voice and I hope someday their reputation as America’s dog will be restored.

  • WOW! I’ve seen a story on this exhibition before, but in the clip and above, seeing more of the portraits is amazing. THANK YOU for what you are doing! It is so important for the general public to understand how broken the shelter system is and how things like puppy mills, BSL, dog fighting, etc. contribute to the problems. We, You, may not be able to solve all the problems surrounding animal welfare in this country, but shining light on them is a huge help. I’m in tears, half heartbroken for the lives lost, and half with a bittersweet joy to know these 5,500 lives will be remembered and will represent the 5,500 a day. Again, thank you!

  • I am in tears. I love what you are doing. My family consists of 3 rescued dogs. Ever since I was a child I tried to save every stray dog that I found. We lived on the edge of the city and people would dump unwanted dogs there. I even remember finding a garbage bag full of puppies someone threw over a bridge. It not only broke my heart, but made me wonder about the humanity of people. We are supposed to be an intelligent species, and this is what is happening?!? I am currently trying to help a small shelter in a small town that doesn’t get much funds. I saw all of these photos of dogs laying on a cold concrete floor, and I though this isn’t right. I live in a big city and was able to find so many people willing to donate to this shelter, so many donated blankets and towels, and a few even donated Kuranda beds. I am taking them down to them in a few weeks. I do what I can. It’s not much, but I so appreciate what you are doing!

  • This is wonderful for our rescue world. All shelters need to see this and understand what these dogs really need. We don’t euthanize a dog to make room for another. We make more room for another stray, homeless or dog that is no longer wanted.

  • Amazing pictures, it breaks my heart, I can’t stop thinking of all the dogs put to sleep scared and lonely, maybe lost or abandoned, it is so sad. I wish greedy people would stop puppy mills and dog fighting and breeding indiscriminately! Thank you for doing this – it is a great idea!!

  • This is one of the most awesome art exhibits I have ever seen or heard of! And yes, the bully breeds are getting the brunt of all of this as there are 800,000-1,000,000 euthanized/yr 🙁 Just alarming!! Thanks for doing this, I hope it brings more awareness than we could ever imagine!

  • Thank you for using your talent like this. I’m in awe and in tears as I read your story. I’m a dog groomer, foster flunkie and rescue volunteer. I live in NY and would love to see this exhibit here! More awareness is needed and this story should be presented in schools to start the kids young to “adopt, not shop”.

  • I volunteer and Foster with a rescue group called Love Mutts Rescue in North Carolina. The shelters here, like in so many of our communities, are in a crisis and everyone needs to realize and understand that this is everyone’s problem. We have 6 rescued dogs of our own and Foster as often as possible. This is one of the most beautiful ideas that I have ever heard, and your work and dedication is heartwarming and amazing. I can not thank you enough for all that you are doing to bring to light the genocide that happens in this country on a daily basis. God bless you and thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your work is beautiful!

  • I would love to see the cats and kittens added to the dogs and cats in order to represent all five million companion animals killed in shelters in America annually. Thank you for your powerful and heartbreaking remembrance of these dogs. I hope your work touches the hearts of many who are unaware.

  • I am in tears reading this article. For the last 8 years I have wanted another puppy to take home and to love. Having graduated recently, and gainfully employed, I have been looking at different breeders for a new pup. I can’t in good conscience get a brand new dog knowing that so many out there are perfectly good buddies waiting for a second chance and a new home. My heart is in pieces and I wish I could save them all. I find comfort knowing that I will be able to help some in the near future. My focus has changed to researching different rescue organizations, not only to foster or adopt, but also to volunteer and to help make a difference. Thank you for caring and for your compassion and love of animals.

  • As the mother to an elderly Pit Bull (and a much younger Boxer) so this just breaks my heart. I am unbelievably saddened at the sheer number of Pit Bulls and the like in the images. I also reside in a Canadian province with breed specific legislation (BSL), which needs to end NOW. Adopt, don’t shop, and please push for removing BSL everywhere. (and if you’re unfamiliar – please do some research on it).

  • A beautiful tribute for all the dogs that have lost their lives and continue to lose their lives because of human ignorance. Human ignorance caused these dogs to have a short, unfulfilled, unloved life and that breaks my heart into a zillion pieces. Dogs want to be loved and to give love. It is our responsibility as a pet owners to provide a safe environment, food and lots of doggy hugs and kisses.
    Instead mankind does the opposite and these beautiful dogs are being placed in overcrowded shelters waiting for the day its their turn to cross the rainbow bridge. It saddens me to see what our world has become. The lack of compassion that mankind demonstrates is suffocating. My heartbreaks for each and everyone of them.

  • Kim, thanks for your appreciations and for understanding the depth of the issue and why our humanity is in need of a make-over. They, like us, deserve love and respect and the chance to live out a happy life. It is up to us all to make them safe and change the status quo. Thank you! 🙂

  • I’m blown away at your lovely paintings and your mission to raise awareness for a unacceptable tragedy of euthanizing healthy dogs. I wish I knew how to help all these dogs in shelters. It’s a question I’ve asked myself over and over. With limited resources and money to help,my hands are tied. I donate to rescues and I help feral colony’s of forgotten cats in my town. Your work is stunning and the cause much needed. Thank you!

  • Tracey, I appreciate your kindness and support! It sounds like you are already helping a great deal and we thank you for that. We have two abandoned cats and love them dearly. Thanks for helping them too. 🙂

  • Thank you so much for using your artistic abilities to shed light on the unpleasant truths of the shelter system. I’ve been an animal transporter for almost 2 years & I wish more people would open up their eyes to the dogs in need of homes. The world could really benefit from more compassionate humans like you!

  • Beautiful work! So powerful and touching, thank you for memorializing these sweet souls in such a special way! I live in Orlando, and I am heartbroken at the number of dogs euthanized everyday, not to mention the inhumane way it is done here in Orange County. We need to find a way to change this, to educate people on the reality of big city shelters, and help save these animals who are so deserving of love. Thank you for sharing your talents and giving these dogs a form of remembrance when so many are forgotten.

  • Beautiful portraits with a sobering and thoughtful message. It is so sad to know that these lovely dogs are all gone now. If only there were no puppy mills or backyard breeders. If only everyone who had a dog would give him a home for life.

  • Thank you for your heart and soul and the voice you have given the dogs. It is such a sad and never ending heartbreak for those of us in rescue. Your work is amazing and I hope to see it in person. Thanks again Hollie

  • Mark,

    Thank you for showing us the faces of the forgotten ones. Our society really needs to be educated from the children up to the elderly about the significance of the voiceless ones. We need to educate, foster and adopt. We foster dogs every time we can. We also were fortunate to adopt our black pitbull a day before he was sent to a high-kill shelter here in Los Angeles. Our Duke is such a gentle soul. I could only imagine how scared these dogs were in the shelter. I always include all animals in my prayers especially shelter/feral dogs/cats, elephant and other wildlife. May we be more compassionate and kinder to them. It pains me so much how we just toss all other living things like we are superior to them. Until then, we will be always be a soulless society who care for nothing but material things and the Kardashian TV shows. Sharing your work and getting one of your prints. I wish there would be more caring people like you.

  • Thank you for spotlighting this issue. There was a time when I was clueless about the shelter system. Once I became aware of the issue I became active in rescuing dogs in my community. I now run a pit bull rescue in a state that believes they are inherently dangerous and are banned across the state. It’s an uphill battle trying to make a difference. when you save 1, there are a thousand more you can’t help. We literally have no foster support, volunteers, or donors. I have to believe it’s because people just don’t know! I hope this project can open the eyes, minds, & hearts of people that are willing to get involved & make a difference. These animals are innocent! they didn’t ask to be born! It’s our responsibility to care for those that cannot care for themselves and to be a voice for the voiceless! Thank you from my heart for what you are doing!

  • Mark,
    All that I can say about your project is Thank You for showcasing these poor souls. Your Artwork is wonderful….I would love to see your work as a traveling show to help educate the masses on the atrocities that are an everyday occurrence at most shelters.
    FYI..there is a “doggie place” on the border of Vermont and New Hampshire (Dog Mountain).

    Sheila

  • I would love to see this as a traveling exhibit just so it can reach so many more people. I’m forevet grateful for rescue groups and no kill shelters. I’m also a proud adopter of all my furbabies ever owned. I will forever be an adopter. I’m also a proud adopter of a pit bull tgat nobody would give a chance at my local shelter. My daughter and I were there at the right time and my husband got a surprise when he came home from work. He is one of the most loved dogs of everyone who meets him. Stop BSL!!!

  • This was a beautiful project and highlights a terrible problem in the US shelter system due to so many unwanted dogs and a society with a disposable mentality. So why, in light of the numbers of animals destroyed every day in the US, is there ANY tolerance for importing dogs from around the world into the country for adoption while dogs are still being killed at the same rate every day here? Where is the outrage about that?

  • What a wonderful thing to do. Now as people look at theses pictures they have to look at the face of a dog that died in a cold lonely shelter unloved. Never getting it’s second chance to have a good happy life. My hope is that it will make people stop and think before they decide to breed or buy a dog or puppy from a breeder. I’ve rescued. I have seen some horrible things. I have never gotten use to it. How can people mistreat a feeling, living, breathing creature of God’s. So, so sad and disgusting.

  • I LOVE what you are doing! BUT, saying that a photograph can not show soul but a painting can… how can you say that? Perhaps, because YOU are a painter???

  • what a heart breaking yet so important display. You capture the souls in those eyes, and I have not seen the exhibition, just the samples, and the numbers leave me heart broken.I often wish I was rich to be able to fund sanctuaries and other ideas for misjudged dogs. Thank Heaven for your talented art work, and i love how you gave names to the dogs who were only numbers.

  • This is amazing and so needed! 🤗 I definitely will attend when it’s built, no matter where it’s located! I’ve been an animal rescuer for over 30 years and I’ve seen far too many dogs and cats killed over the years that would have made wonderful companions for someone.

    Now, we need to add a wing to house paintings of the BILLIONS of sentient beings slaughtered in the name of “farm animals.” Cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, turkeys, ducks and fish suffer untold abuse & die horrendous deaths every single day when we simply do not need their bodies to keep ours healthy! I dream of a day when ALL sentient beings can live free of fear of abuse and being murdered. I know it will happen eventually, we just need to make it happen as soon as possible because EVERY ANIMAL wants to LIVE. ❤️

  • House to house easy to read fliers or short booklets distributed on foot by hand to each house in neighborhoods that are high risk areas. Also, start with the young children. A short colorful 10 minute talk given by volunteers in the classrooms to educate kids on what and how to care for a dog (or cat). From the basics like food, water and walks to safe comfortable rest areas in the house or yard. Even how to pet a dog so as not to scare the dog into think it could get hit. Kids catch on quick! In these neighborhoods kids need a purpose and it’s been proven it grows responsibility and compassion in young people. ( refer to the jail system where inmates love and train dogs for outside adoptions.)
    That’s just my option and I think it’s a good one!
    XO Michelle; dog lover ❤️

  • This is true. But greatly awareness in society is still going to help make a change. Those who buy rather than adopt dogs or cats can be influenced. You are not going to reach these people you refer to unless through community outreach programs which are the fastest growing programs in USA shelters to help offer free sterilization, dog training and generate more empathy and compassion for pets and have communities take a stand against dog fighting abd cruelty.
    Each person who gains increased awareness is of great value.

  • Please change the title….these dogs were murdered or killed or destroyed. They were not ‘euthanized’. I am sure they felt terror and fought to live. It is not like when you take your aged and beloved pet to the vet to be released from pain and suffering.
    Wake up people!

  • I was in tears with the short segment I watched. You have embarked on an amazing journey of allowing these dogs to have a voice. We have so many dogs in Canadian shelters who are being killed unnecessarily. How do you kill one dog to bring in another one? Don’t they all deserve to live? Thank you for your efforts, time and energy you are putting in to this remarkable project!

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