Originally Posted by ConsumerKitty
Slightly off topic, but when healthy, lovable animals are killed because they don't have a home I call it extermination, not euthanasia.
Sorry, I am not an "exterminator". The words "no-kill" have probably been two of the most devisive ones mentioned in the past decade in animal welfare. What they have done is created the impression that every person who works in an "open admission - animals are euthanized" facility are detestable animal killers. That is truly not the case. Even the word "no-kill" is misleading. Does that mean no euthanasia at all? What about terminally ill animals that are suffering? What about strays hit by a car? What about rabid animals? What about the dog that killed a child? Not every animal that is euthanized in a shelter is a "lovable animal". If you make exceptions for the cases listed above then the words "no kill" don't really apply.
So lets only apply it to healthy, friendly, adoptable animals. Thats great but it misleads the public who think "no kill" = "no euthanasia". I've seen many examples where well meaning humane agencies used this "We don't kill anything" marketing (yep, its marketing when you use this to raise funds) plan and bashed the other local shelters. That reduced people coming through the doors and lowered adoptions. End result, more animals died needlessly because someone thought being "right" was more important that cooperating to find animals homes.
The vet in the county may have been flippant but his feelings were probably on point. At least a vet was willing to do it and insure that the animals weren't shot, gassed, or left to die on the side of the road. As a Certified Euthanasia Technician for many years, let me tell you that I still cry, I still have a hard time facing it and it NEVER NEVER gets easier. Please don't add the cheap shots about being an "exterminator" to the things I have to go to bed and think about each night.
So how do you fix this problem? First you have to fix people's views of this whole issue. You have to work together and acknowledge that each agency (limited admission, open admission, limited euthanasia, low euthanasia, or open euthanasia) has a place in ending NEEDLESS euthanasia. There is not an agency in the world with enough money, resources, time and staff to solve this problem alone - we ALL have to work together. If you get a chance, read the Asilomar Accords. One of the key notes in the list of things agencies agree to is not to speak ill of each other in public related to euthanasia. We need to keep people coming through the front doors of our shelters, ALL OF THEM, if we are going to make a difference.
Nice soapbox moment. So put your programs where your mouth is. OK. In my county, my shelter www.mcohio.org/animalshelter
, has not had to euthanize a SINGLE ADOPTABLE DOG since 7/06. How? We work with everyone! (I'm still working the cat angle). The second sunday of every month we have "Mingle with our Mutts" where we invite over 20 rescue groups to come to our facility and offer their pets to forever homes. We get 200 people through the door from 12-2 on that sunday! The best way for an animal to leave the shelter is through the front door with a new family.
We work collaboratively with the other humane societies and we help each other. Both are limited admission, low euthanasia facilities. As a government shop, my agency carries the overflow. I have a group of staff whose compassion and caring I would put up against any other organization bar none. Not one of them joined this business because the advertisement noted "euthanizing animals" as one of the "perks". They aren't exterminators either.
Animal shelters have a hard job. There are quite a few that scare me! Not every person who works in this field is truly committed or compassionate but I'd guess that roughly 98% of us are. We certainly don't do this job for the high pay and accolades heaped on us by some of the public.
Want to make a difference? Show up at your local open admission facility and ask how you can help them. Saving lives starts with one animal. Volunteer, do adoption outreach, include a little note to all your friends with your christmas cards encouraging them to do the same. Its about changing minds. When the minds change, so will the practices.