Let’s take a moment and discuss this situation. We’ve all had pets, well most of have anyway had some sort of pet growing up or when you grew up and moved out you decided to get a dog, cat, or maybe a guinea pig, or a snake. Many of us purchase them through the classifieds, online, a breeder, pet store, maybe you see a sign on the side of the road that says “free puppies or free kittens”, you can get them from the Humane Society, or from the local animal shelter. Do you know if your animal shelter is a no kill shelter?
These shelters have adopted a practice to not euthanize animals in order to guarantee adoption. But is this truly the answer? This is what I want to try to clear up in this article but first I want to emphasize some staggering statistics on how many companion pets enter U. S shelters:
- 3.3 Million dogs enter U.S. shelters annually (approximately)
- 3.2 Million cats enter U.S. shelters annually (approximately)
The Big Question?
While looking into this type of facility it seems to have its good points and bad points. You see the term “no kill” and think to yourself that “wow, my pet would have a fighting chance in this place”. Well, being an animal activist and lover of all, I’m thinking no, this may not be the answer at all. In a perfect world nobody would ever get rid of their pet, but understandably so circumstances arise and the need may come. I would recommend this as a last resort.
Let me explain the truth about no kill shelters. Let’s say you can no longer keep your dog, you were impacted by a hurricane and it’s urgent like thousands of others in your area, here’s what’s going to happen. They will tell you it will cost around $100 bucks for a behavioral exam, they take your dog and if it’s not accepted behaviorally you are out your money, if it is accepted you will be put on a waiting list that could keep you waiting for up to a year depending on the adoption rate. So now you are still out a hundred bucks and still have your dog and can’t keep it, they then advise you to take it to the local animal shelter that does not have a no kill policy, but has a better adoption rate and may be adopted/given to a rescue with the opportunity of being spayed or neutered with all shots updated. What do you do? Tough decision to make on the fly right? I know it would be a tough one to make and believe me it has happened to so many throughout the years and it turns my stomach to think about it.
A Fighting Chance or Hopelessness?
The real truth with no kill facilities is they are housing animals for long periods of time, meaning dogs and cats are living in cages and kennels for years at a time. Studies show and experts agree that more time these animals spend in a cage begins to wear on them psychologically which leads to behavioral problems which in turn leads to more turn around rates for these animals going back into shelters. Dogs and cats are not meant to live in cages. But what is being found is these no kill facilities have a program called “trap-neuter-release”. They are neutering cats and then releasing them back into the public as strays to fend for themselves, but that is not without consequences.
These cats are left to brave the elements like cold, harsh winter months, fighting for survival, struggling to find a warm place to sleep, find food and a water source. Fight off disease, other animals, and worse, the wrath of humans with a grave distaste for cats. Here’s one example, a story from Deland, Florida. December 19, 2017, Reportedly a cat was struck in the front leg by a crossbow while wandering outside unsupervised. Luckily she was found and treated by a veterinarian and survived. Clearly an act of hate towards cats. No suspects have been found or questioned and there is a $200 reward for any information on this case. Authorities and nearby residents are concerned for their safety because in the neighborhood there are children that play in the woods where the cat was struck. This story is just one of many cases of abuse against cats in the United States, and when these no kill shelters release them back out into the public there is no protection for them.
Is Euthanasia the Answer?
Animal Control policies differ from county to county, state to state on how they operate and if they are a no kill or not. I happened to research one in Kentucky that is not a no kill facility and their method of operation is pretty simple. I’m not saying I agree with it, just saying it’s simple and how they operate. If, you surrender your dog you must sign an agreement that you do not have the option to get your dog back, and after 10 days the dog may be euthanized or transferred out to a proper adoption facility, of course your dog would have to meet specific guidelines and sometimes they are breed specific and sometimes they are generic like big dog or small dog rescues, but also keep in mind that your dog will go through a behavioral test to see if it is able to be adopted, if, not it will surely be euthanized. Basically, the choice is up to you, humanely let the dog go, or possibly let the dog live out its years in a cage or kennel. It’s any ones guess really.
The Answer Is?
The bottom line..spay and neuter you pet. This is the best way to handle the problem of overpopulation in the United States. Just think, if all of us took our pet and did this one simple step look at what the outcome could be for an entire year It would be a tremendous victory for the animals and maybe reduce the amount of animals entering shelters in the United States each year. Which in turn would end the amount of bad dogs in this country, the ones who are suffering in cages, and remember, don’t shop adopt if you can. That helps make the world a better place too.
I would love your feedback on this issue of no kill shelters vs regular shelters. If, you leave a comment I will gladly respond back. Thank you for visiting.