"Obviously, anything that promotes adoption is good. But I don't like the idea of inducing people to adopt out of guilt and on the spur of the moment. No one should adopt hastily. They should take the time to make sure they can properly care for an animal and that they've found an animal that is right for them or their family."
Aliksanyan, who invested $500,000 of his own money to start the site's parent charity, the Buddy Fund Inc., said he knew the countdown clocks may offend some people, but it was important they understood the reality of dogs being killed for lack of space at shelters.
"It's reality and sometimes reality is not pretty. It's the same question about showing dying babies in Darfur on CNN. Should people just be told about that or should they see it for themselves with their own eyes? Just putting them on the screen forces people to look into their own conscience."
Werner said that many shelters had a mechanism for filtering out adopters who were not capable of caring for a dog, even if they were moved to save an animal scheduled for death.
"At our shelter, there is a three-page application that begins our screening process. We want to see that people have had pets before, kept them for a lifetime and spayed and neutered them. At some point there is a conversation required to make sure a pet is a good match for someone."