Originally Posted by Lyrajean
In an ideal world it would be great if we didn't have so many unwanted pet animals that everybody could find a home.
But truth be told I would prefer that a shelter make room for animals who have a shot at a home life rather than be so full with animals who cannot find a good home that they can't take in new ones who might find that home. I'd rather give my money to support animals that have a shot at escaping the 'animal welfare system' and giving someone a positive pet-owning experience.
My experience with no-kill is that they get cherry-picked for the best and wind up with much space being taken up by animals who may be less-than ideal adoption candidates and then have to turn away surrenders or found animals who maybe more readilly rehomable like litters of healthy stray kittens.
Frankly, there are many more people who can take a cat and give it a decent home, than can or will take a cat with special needs or behavior problems. Working at an animal hospital I have met a few pets with issues and think its great they have an owner because w/out one they'd never find another who'd be willing to deal.
A lot of the people I met who've had a 'I'll never get another shelter cat' experience went to backyard-shelter operations that claimed to be no-kill.
We've gotten 2 of our last 3 cats from a kill shelter (our local county HS). they've both been wonderful companions. The animals were well socialized, well-vetted, we never had any unexpected health or behavior issues. and they seemed genuinely concerned over who was adopting and what kind of home the animal was going to. They did make some attempt to get older animals adopted by offering discounts on fees and a senior citizen adoption discount. (We took 4year old cats).
Its sad to have to talk about picking and choosing when you're speaking of a living breathing creature, but that's reality.
I don't believe in euthanizing animals because they are less adoptable than young, healthy ones. This is one of the main reasons kill shelters give. This is simply my own personal opinion, so I am not attacking you, Lyrajean. Anyway, I believe that all animals deserve a chance (or a second chance) at finding a loving home, and they shouldn't have to fear euthanasia simply because there might be a health problem but it is cheaper for the shelter to kill the animal than fix a treatable condition.
While I don't agree with kill shelters, I used to be able to understand why they operated the way they do. But after reading a book and finding a guide to transforming kill shelters into no-kill shelters, I do not believe there is an excuse. There are ways for even the poorest shelters to at least try begin the transformation. I know the change cannot be instant, but it saddens me to see that many shelters are not even trying to become no-kill. The kill shelters near me are not even making an attempt. Sure, they want to get the animals out, but there is more to it than that. The shelter hasn't even been full here and they euthanize animals because of their policy about keeping animals a certain number of days. That isn't euthanizing to make room when there is already plenty of room there. It has to do with finances. Now, couldn't kill shelters allow donations, sponsorship of animals, fundraisers, etc. I know of some that do (but none near me). Again, I know that funds are low for most county pounds and such, but they could at least enact a sponsorship program where I could donate enough to care for a dog while he/she was in the shelter until an adopter or rescue came. That wouldn't cost them anything! Again, I've seen many shelters with such things, but none near me.
I understand your experience with animal rescues, but it is not usually like that. The group I work with doesn't even have a physical facility. We foster all animals in homes. The group has over 100 animals being fostered right now. We take owner surrenders, strays that have been found, dumped animals, and animals from several pound in the state. Yes, sometimes there isn't a foster available, but I believe we get new animals from pounds every single week. So we don't really turn away anyone unless there is nobody to foster, but usually we find someone. Also, we always have plenty of puppies, kittens, young animals, and purebreds. Sure, we have older animals and some with special medical needs, but the majority are "ideal" adoption candidates. We won't adopt a severely aggressive animal out. Just because a dog might have a health problem or is a senior or something doesn't mean it isn't someone's ideal pet. My cat was kicked in the face by a person and his jaw was completely shattered. Luckily, someone dumped him at the vet rather than the pound. The local pound would have euthanized him. The vet wired his jaw back together and kept him at the cat shelter where he received rehab for several months, after which we adopted him. When I think of the fate of my animals had they been taken to the pound rather than a no-kill rescue, I realize I probably wouldn't have any of them right now.
It is also in my experience that cats with health problems do find owners. Yes, it takes longer, but with the help of no-kill rescues, most eventually find a loving home. There are so many people out there that are compassionate and want to take cats that are less likely to be adopted. Last time I looked for a cat on Petfinder, I specifically looked for a special needs one. Again, this is just my person opinion. I had a rescued cat that was temporarily blinded and paralyzed. She is fine now, but they thought it was permanent. Again, she would have been euthanized had she showed up at the pound. She never would have been given the time to recover and become the normal, healthy, loving cat that she is today.
Well, there's a reason the people you know are unhappy with their no-kill shelter experience, but that's because these obviously weren't very professional operations. Most no-kill shelters know what they are doing and many are extremely professional. We foster all of our animals, meaning they are extremely well socialized. We know their personalities and how they get along with people, kids, cats, and other dogs. All adopted must fill out extensive applications and prove they can afford the animal. The kill shelter you adopted from sounds really nice. Unfortunately, most are not like that (in my experience). Often, the animals stay in their cages all day long and don't get socialization. The shelter has no clue how they get along with kids and other animals. Granted, I fully encourage everyone to adopt from a kill shelter if they can. I had a family deciding between one of my foster kittens and a kitten at a kill shelter. I told them to take the kill shelter kitten because I knew the cat I had could stay with me as long as it took.
I'm sorry this was so long. I am just extremely passionate about changing kill shelters to no-kill.