Kill vs. No Kill Shelters

Lord Snot

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What is your opinion of rescue centres that practice euthanasia? Is it okay in some circumstances (e.g. incurable, painful medical condition) but not in others? Is it idealistic and naive to say that shelters should never euthanise an animal?

Personally, I don't really know where my feelings are with this. I despise how some organisations take in animals for the sole purpose of euthanising them without even trying to heal them or trying to get them adopted, like PETA and the RSPCA. There seems something deeply wrong about it.

Where I volunteered, at Celia Hammond Cat Sanctuary, they used euthanasia sparingly. Generally it was for animals that were not going to ever be adopted or were going to die of medical conditions painfully. I remember one cat who had incontinence and would pee all over the place. He had been there almost two years and, predictably, nobody wanted to adopt him. When I left they were talking seriously about euthanising him to avoid keeping him caged forever, since he was only about 8 years old. A lot of their animals had been there 6 months - 1 year, and every day they turned away kittens or cats that would have been snapped up in weeks. I can't say that the lives of those kittens were worth more than the lives of the cats who had been there for a year, but I at least understand the thinking behind euthanasia to free up space.

What do you think?
 

Envy

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That's inevitable and unavoidable at some times, but it's not something that I like.
 
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Lord Snot

Lord Snot

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That's inevitable and unavoidable at some times, but it's not something that I like.

Could you expand on when you think it's inevtiable or unavoidable? For example is that only when there is no chance of the animal recovering, or when they could be cured but it would be very expensive or time consuming for the shelter - say, behavioural problems rather than medical?
 

kibbleforlola

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I, too, have mixed feelings. I think euthanizing animals just because they've been there forever is cruel, but so is turning away perfectly healthy animals who would otherwise find homes just because you don't have space.

My cat, Alainn, came from a no kill shelter. This one. She spent the first two years of her life there, and I'm very grateful I was able to adopt her, it makes me sad to think she spent so much time in a cage. :(
 
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mlp

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Well, when it's for the purpose of freeing up space, rather than to alleviate suffering of the individual being killed, it's not euthanasia.

Such killing is necessary in some circumstances, just because human beings suck. It's why I am so passionate about spay/neuter. If local governments everywhere would take their next five years' or so of budget for pounds and shelters and use those funds to spay/neuter ferals and the animals of those who truly can't afford spay/neuter, at the same time imposing hefty fines on those who refuse to spay/neuter (and by hefty, I mean fines well into the four and possibly five figures per animal), together with confiscating all unspayed/unneutered animals, then the pet overpopulation problem could be solved in a year or two.
 

Forster

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The crutch of the problem is there are so many unwanted/abandoned animals and not nearly enough resources to properly care for them.
 
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Lord Snot

Lord Snot

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I, too, have mixed feelings. I think euthanizing animals just because they've been there forever is cruel, but so is turning away perfectly healthy animals who would otherwise find homes just because you don't have space.

My cat, Alainn, came from a no kill shelter. This one. She spent the first two years of her life there, and I'm very grateful I was able to adopt her, it makes me sad to think she spent so much time in a cage. :(

Likewise, my Ted was in a cage for a year before I adopted him. He's a beautiful cat, ginger, about 5ish when I got him and very healthy. The only problem was he was nervous of humans, probably from being a stray for however long, and he had a tendency to bite and scratch people. When I put my hand in his cage, he bit me. Lord knows how many people before me had been attracted to him and then scared off by the bite, but for me attraction overcame it and I adopted him. Within weeks he was cuddling up to me on my bed and butting my hand for strokes.

That was about 8 years ago and he still has a fear of being trapped inside, even if he's trapped in a large space like a room or the whole flat. If all the doors and windows are closed and the cat flap is blocked, he walks round and round the perimeter looking for a way out. I'm certain it has to do with him being caged for so long.

It breaks my heart to think they might have euthanised him eventually, if I hadn't taken him. But then I think, how miserable was he sitting in a cage with no phsyical contact and no freedom?
 
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Lord Snot

Lord Snot

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Well, when it's for the purpose of freeing up space, rather than to alleviate suffering of the individual being killed, it's not euthanasia.

That's true, I should have made the distinction.

Such killing is necessary in some circumstances, just because human beings suck. It's why I am so passionate about spay/neuter. If local governments everywhere would take their next five years' or so of budget for pounds and shelters and use those funds to spay/neuter ferals and the animals of those who truly can't afford spay/neuter, at the same time imposing hefty fines on those who refuse to spay/neuter (and by hefty, I mean fines well into the four and possibly five figures per animal), together with confiscating all unspayed/unneutered animals, then the pet overpopulation problem could be solved in a year or two.

Whilst I agree that would be wise, no government would do it. Everyone would be up in arms about the government interfering in their private lives and, in the case of breeders, their livelihoods. As long as we see animals as our property to exploit as we like, a government wouldn't dare do something like that.
 

Forster

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Well, when it's for the purpose of freeing up space, rather than to alleviate suffering of the individual being killed, it's not euthanasia.

Such killing is necessary in some circumstances, just because human beings suck. It's why I am so passionate about spay/neuter. If local governments everywhere would take their next five years' or so of budget for pounds and shelters and use those funds to spay/neuter ferals and the animals of those who truly can't afford spay/neuter, at the same time imposing hefty fines on those who refuse to spay/neuter (and by hefty, I mean fines well into the four and possibly five figures per animal), together with confiscating all unspayed/unneutered animals, then the pet overpopulation problem could be solved in a year or two.

IDK if even if local governments started levying huge fines that they could possibly ever have the manpower or courts to enforce the laws. Abandoned pets are not and sadly I doubt will ever be a priority for local governments.
 
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Moll Flanders

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Where I volunteered, at Celia Hammond Cat Sanctuary

Oh, I didn't know that is where you volunteered, was that Lewisham? :)

Anyway, I don't like the idea of euthanising healthy animals but I can understand why some rescue centres make that decision. Some centres say that they will never put a healthy animal down but that is a big responsibility to care for an "unpopular" animal for the rest of it's life. One rescue centre I visited was lovely and in the middle of the countryside and the cats had their pens but they had freedom and all seemed quite happy but I feel so sorry for the cats and dogs that are stuck in cages all day. I'm not in a position to take on another animal but it makes me want to make my next adoption an older cat but the only problem is that so many of them have an aversion to other cats.:(

I think more education is needed to advise people to spay/neuter their animals and to also explain why they should never buy animals from breeders. I want to put those people out of business.
 
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Lord Snot

Lord Snot

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Oh, I didn't know that is where you volunteered, was that Lewisham? :)

Yes it was :). I loved the cats and the work but the people who were there at the time were... not very welcoming, shall we say.

I think more education is needed to advise people to spay/neuter their animals and to also explain why they should never buy animals from breeders. I want to put those people out of business.

Completely agree with you. Whenever I see someone mention buying an animal on facebook, other forums, wherever, I say something even if it makes me unpopular. I see so many myths perpetuated that encourage people to breed or buy - for example I've had people argue forcefully with me that you HAVE to let a cat have a litter before getting her neutered or it will be bad for her health (they were unable to explain why that would affect her health) or that if you buy a pure-breed dog you can be definite what kind of personality he will have. I don't know how these things started but a lot of education is needed to dispel the myths.
 
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mlp

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Oh, I agree that what I want will never happen. But if you are going to bring a life into this world, the least for which you should be responsible is the costs of caring for that life if the people to whom you sell or give that life fail to do so. The concept isn't that different from the government being able to enforce child support from the noncustodial parent if the custodial parent needs public assistance.

Forster, I agree that homeless pets are a low priority. But if local governments would upfront some money to spay/neuter aggressively for a while, it would save money in the long term.
 

Freesia

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When Gypsy arrived here an option was to get her taken to the shelter so someone would adopt her. But I knew she had little chance of adoption and survival because of the sheer number of cats at the shelter. So we took her in as a pet, and got her spayed too.

Funny thing is there is a cat a few houses down who looks just like her- I think it is her sister. I think the people there also experienced a similar arrival and decided to do the same thing as us.
 
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Wolfie

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Well, when it's for the purpose of freeing up space, rather than to alleviate suffering of the individual being killed, it's not euthanasia.

Such killing is necessary in some circumstances, just because human beings suck. It's why I am so passionate about spay/neuter. If local governments everywhere would take their next five years' or so of budget for pounds and shelters and use those funds to spay/neuter ferals and the animals of those who truly can't afford spay/neuter, at the same time imposing hefty fines on those who refuse to spay/neuter (and by hefty, I mean fines well into the four and possibly five figures per animal), together with confiscating all unspayed/unneutered animals, then the pet overpopulation problem could be solved in a year or two.

This.
 

cornsail

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I volunteer at a kill shelter. Policy dictates (I think this relates to public funding or something, but it's not a policy they can change) that they have to take in every animal who is brought to them. It's impossible to both guarantee taking in every animal and to guarantee a no kill policy. Fortunately the adoption rate is very high, though.
 

GingerFoxx

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My local shelter in no-kill. We have had WONDERFUL cats and dogs spend a year or more there before finding their perfect forever homes. Likewise, some animals are adopted almost instantly. I take comfort in knowing when I volunteer my time there, that every animal will have its fair shot at Happily Ever After. The only animals that are euthanized are those for whom it becomes medically necessary.There have been some pretty extreme cases lately, but they always try to treat the animals first before giving up on them.

I'd have a hard time volunteering at a kill-shelter. There are a lot of high-kill shelters down south and my local shelter has been working to transport many on the highly adoptable dogs from those shelters up north, where they can be re-homed. It's refreshing to see so much compassion still exists in the world, if you know where to look.
 

SummerRain

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I think that in principle animals shouldn't be killed just because they wont get adopted, but that there's nothing wrong with killing an animal who is suffering if it's deemed the kindest thing to do.

In practice though, in countries where there are far more animals in need of homes than will ever have homes, I understand why they are killed. It's wonderful that some shelters will home animals forever if they need it, a rescue centre I used to work at had a dog who wasn't suitable to be adopted and lived permanently at the shelter and they had animals there often for over a year, even a few years, before finding a home. But therefore they turn away or can't rescue many many many animals who are therefore usually taken to the dog wardens, and then if not rehomed after X amount of time they're killed, so the net result is the same. What they do for individual animals it brilliant, but actually if they have a no-kill policy, the same thing happens just by the council, and if the council had a no kill policy we would just have a lot of strays and all the problems that comes with that.

Furthermore, the animals who stay for a long period of time often became aggressive and didn't settle easily into new homes. Staying in a kennel environment, even with fairly regular walks, is stressful for dogs and many dogs developed behaviour problems because of it from what I saw. No kill shelters have their hearts in the right place, and what they do for individual animals is amazing, but at the same time I don't think it would work if all shelters were no kill. Not here anyway.
 

AeryFairy

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Maybe I was naive in this, but I didn't think the term 'no-kill' automatically prevented a shelter from putting an animal to sleep in a medical situation, the same way we sometimes have to do with our beloved companion animals. If the animal is sick and in pain, and there is only realistically the possibility of a slow and agonising death, I believe it's the kindest thing to do. I want to set up a shelter like this when I retire. I do also understand, however, the money side of things - the sad truth is that it would be impossible for all shelters no be no-kill. The thing I'm wrestling with is where to adopt my future kittys from. I want to support no-kill shelters because they are more in line with my ethics, but if I adopt from a kill shelter I may have directly saved an animal's life.