No Kill vs Traditional Shelters

No Kill Rescue: A “no-kill” rescue is an animal shelter that does not kill healthy or treatable animals even when the shelter is full, reserving euthanasia for terminally ill animals or those considered dangerous to public safety.

Traditional/Open Admission Shelter: An agency that must accept, or chooses to accept, any and all companion animals regardless of health, temperament, or space available, with no limitation.

Bridging the Gap Between No Kill vs Traditional

Thoughts from Amy Heinz

I have volunteered at both no-kill shelters and traditional shelters. In my experience, the no-kill shelters tend to put down the traditional shelters for euthanizing animals. Likewise, the traditional shelters have criticized no-kill shelters. One even went so far as to say that, “Until all shelters can be no-kill shelters, NO shelters should be no-kill shelters.” Likewise, I’ve heard some no-kill shelters readily accuse traditional shelters of “murdering” animals and having no heart or soul. This has to stop!

Like religion and politics, the world of animal rescue has it’s extremes: those that are charged with the care of innocent animals and treat them horribly, and those that claim to value all furry lives, but really only accept the cutest, healthiest animals. I believe, just like religion and politics, there are far more moderates out there. People who are simply trying their best to do the right thing for these poor lost souls. There is definitely a gap between no-kill rescues and traditional shelters, but I don’t think it is necessarily a large gap if we are all honest and realistic about it.

AHeinz57 Pet Rescue & Transport has a dream to bridge the gap between no-kill and traditional shelters. We all have common ground in that we are all in this business because we ALL care about animals. It’s not fair that our rescue gets to boast that we do not euthanize animals when we have to turn animals away because we don’t have room. The animals we don’t have room for end up at the traditional shelters because they do NOT turn animals away. It’s not fair that they are left to deal with the horrible reality that there are simply too many animals and not enough homes. It’s not fair that they must make the horrific decision of who lives and who dies, while we sit back and pat ourselves on the back. But, what is most unfair, is that there are so many reasons why this debate even exists: overpopulation due to puppy mills and lack of spaying/neutering, owner surrenders, pets being dumped like trash, dog fighting, and laws that do nothing about this problem. These are the things we must all focus on, instead of focusing on who is doing a better job saving lives. We all must come together in a united effort to help these animals. We have to stop putting each other down and start joining hands.

A starting point to bridge this gap is the transportation networks we are involved in. By monitoring the traditional shelters and pulling as many as possible on their last day, we are alleviating the need to euthanize so many.

– Amy Heinz

The Debate Between No Kill vs Traditional

Did you know that approximately 600 dogs, puppies, cats and kittens are KILLED each HOUR in the U.S in overcrowded shelters, because there are not enough homes for them? We think that is horrible and unacceptable, but is there any way around it? That’s been the subject of debate for years.

Being no-kill shelters, we pride ourselves on the fact that we do not euthanize animals to make room for new ones coming in. We are all dedicated to saving the lives of homeless animals, but what about the dogs and cats that we don’t have room for? What about the dogs that are so aggressive or sick that they can’t be helped? Are we really “no-kill?” Or does it really mean we do not euthanize due to space issues? Who’s to blame for all this killing? Did you spay and/or neuter your pets? Did you train them and really provide a forever home? Or are you part of the problem?

Here’s an interesting article and food for thought:

Answer to the Difficult Euthanasia Question

September 25, 2003

Every now and then I receive a letter asking why the LA/SPCA is still euthanizing animals and when are we going “no-kill.” Many people are afraid to ask the question, so I thought I’d share the substance of my response with you.

Every city has the unfortunate task of collecting stray and unwanted animals. The LA/SPCA assumes that duty for New Orleans and receives up to 1,000 animals each month. Shelters like these are called “open admission” shelters. They accept animals regardless of injuries, pedigree, or reason for surrender; they provide refuge for all. “Limited admission” shelters are often called “no-kill” shelters because they do not euthanize. These shelters cannot accept any and all animals as they would be forced to euthanize because of the sheer number of animals that require housing. Consequently, limited admission shelters must ration their intake, which leaves hundreds more animals for another agency to accommodate.

Unfortunately the inflow of unwanted animals continues to be far greater than the number of available homes for those animals. What is the most humane way to address the needs of all these surplus creatures? Shelters across the country accept 6-8 million cats and dogs each year. If the LA/SPCA alone receives a thousand animals in a month, where would they stack the animals until new homes are found? Sadly, there are not enough homes and there is not enough sanctuary land to house 6-8 million pets each year. Imagine if the nation stopped euthanizing for 4 years. Over that period, the country would be housing 24 million homeless dogs and cats. Is that reasonable? Is warehousing in the best interest of the dogs and cats? This is the difficult debate caused by owners who have neglected or refused to have their pets sterilized.

The LA/SPCA believes that every animal deserves a high quality of life. Living in cages over the long term does not support this principle. Since an agency in New Orleans must take in these animals, the LA/SPCA accepts the responsibility. If an animal must be euthanized, the LA/SPCA compassionately puts them down via injection, a traumatic method for staff but the most sensitive and dignified for the animal.

Euthanasia and sheltering are not the solution, but a temporary necessity. Spaying, neutering and education are the only answers to the deep rooted problem of overpopulation which is why the LA/SPCA invests so heavily in sterilization programs. Until all dogs and cats are sterilized or the numbers of homeless animals are significantly reduced, our community will continue to euthanize.

The ultimate goal is to be a city where adoptable animals are no longer euthanized by any agency. Until then, someone will be required to perform the tough task.

– Laura Maloney