When many people hear that animal shelters are no-kill, they are happy that these innocent pets will not be euthanized simply because there is not enough space in the shelter. It is the hope that all of these abandoned animals will have another chance to find a home that will love and care for them.
But, some animal welfare advocates say that the nationwide shift to no-kill shelters is not necessarily the best situation for those animals who may never find a home.
A director of the domestic animal department at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said that no-kill shelters may sound good, but it may lead to some animals suffering.
“I’ve been to good no-kills, and I’ve been to bad no-kills,” said Jef Hale, San Antonio’s Animal Care Service’s director. “I was at a no-kill in Louisiana and basically what they did is they just put animals in a cage and they just continued to add animals to a cage. … If we put them in a cage and we don’t interact with them, we slowly drive them crazy.”
San Antonio’s Animal Care Services wants to turn their shelter into a no-kill facility. The program is set to be phased in by 2012.
Animal advocates say the no-kill shelters that are successful take good care of the animals because they partner with other local facilities. For many no-kill shelters that have no backup plan and hang onto animals for long periods of time, until they are adopted, have overcrowding issues which cause health problems for the animals.
Many animal organizations worry about the practice of “warehousing” when a shelter decides to go no-kill. Some animal welfare advocates say they believe that killing animals is sometimes the only humane way to help with overcrowding.
Across the nation, an estimated 6 million to 8 million dogs and cats enter animal shelters each year. About half of these animals are euthanized.
National organizations are joining in the no-kill movement. ASPCA implemented “Mission: Orange” to increase adoption and reduce euthanasia in five U.S. communities. The American Humane Association has a program called “Getting to Zero.”
“We are definitely seeing a broad movement toward no-kill,” said Richard Avanzino, president of Maddie’s Fund in Alameda, Calif., which aims for the U.S. to be no-kill by 2017. “And there are some isolated examples of horror stories where things have gone astray and people in their zeal have actually done harm. … It’s not something that you just flip a switch and it happens immediately.”
The founder and director of Animals at Heart, an animal non-profit organization, said that some shelters that are pursuing the no-kill label will only take in pets they are certain that they can adopt out. Other shelters may also adopt out potentially dangerous animals to make space in their facility.
The director of animal sheltering issues for the Humane Society of the United States said there isn’t much of an alternative when no-kill shelters are filled to capacity. She said the animal most likely ends up either in a facility that does openly euthanize or is abandoned on the streets.
Source: Washington Post