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kill vs. no-kill

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I am thinking about volunteering my time at a shelter while I adjust to my new work schedule and while I have no animals of my own. I think I have a need to care for some animal which is why I want to volunteer. Now I am wondering where my help would best be needed. Are kill shelters that way because they don't have the funds or help (and therefore my help might prolong the death of an adoptable animal)? Or would a no-kill shelter benefit more from my help and would be able to keep more animals in their facilities because of my help? I really want to put time into a place and animals that would benefit the most. Thanks!
post #2 of 26
Very often it is more a matter of principle than money, IMHO. I'm not saying it is easy, and I'm not sure exactly how it is done, but when someone with the right knowledge gets involved in a "kill" shelter situation, they are able to convert it pretty quickly to a no kill.

I think you will do a lot of good at either type of shelter...but the difference is that at a kill shelter, some of the kitties you are caring for may end up gassed. At a no-kill, they will all have all the time they need to be adopted. Which sounds like a better situation to you?!?
post #3 of 26
No-Kill! Please!
The more everyone supports no-kill shelters, the more there will be. The less everyone supports kill shelters, the fewer there will be. If you volunteer your time at a no-kill, you will be helping them stay open. Try to look around as far as you're willing to drive, and see if there are any no-kills in danger of going under financially.
When you volunteer somewhere, you are supporting their ideology, and thus perpetuating what they are doing. Usually a good thing.

That is, of course, unless you intend to turn them over to the no-kill side, in which case, volunteer at every single one you can find!
One point to make, people are far more willing to donate money to a no-kill shelter. They can make the case that they need more money more easily, and also people don't feel dirty wondering if their $ is being used to "euthanise" cats or dogs.
post #4 of 26
I think no kill---that's just because I think they are great, and I personally would have a hard time working in a kill shelter as I would'nt want to know what is happening to the animals behind the scenes.
post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
thanks so much for your replies. I know it is a very touchy subject. If I were to work at a kill shelter it would only be too help the endangered animals be adopted, and maybe to somehow keep them alive longer. However, that may just be chasing a dream and I could see my heart being broken if it didn't happen that way.
post #6 of 26
I believe you would find that some of the people at the kill shelters have become very hard hearted, and while you would give loving care to the animals, you would not be able to change a thing about their way of doing business. We have a kill shelter in my town, and some very knowledgeable people have been working for several years to change things...they have not succeeded yet, but have made progress.

Get started volunteering in a no-kill shelter. I would aim for one that is financially sound, so you can learn how a successful no-kill rescue/shelter is run. Then maybe some day you can be the person who reforms the kill shelters in your town!
post #7 of 26
You might consider making up a list of questions, and actually calling both types of shelters, and either talk to whoever is in charge of volunteering on the phone or meet with them.

You might ask the kill shelters exactly what your input could be. Shelters in different areas have different rules. If it is a shelter where they encourage people to save the animals, you might consider that. However if the kill shelter has very strict rules regarding time, type of animals, etc., and they discourage people who want to save them or try to because of being over involved, or problems they've had in the past, then with all good intentions, you might findyourself unhappy and frustrated.

So I think an interview with both in your area and what's involved in eaach, and what you are allowed and not allowed to do, and what your role as a volunteer would be might help you make a better decision for you.
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
thank you for all the great responses!
post #9 of 26
There is some Grey areas with Kill and No kill shelters.

Some blanket statements about shelters. You will find variations of these but this is a general idea for you.

A true no kill shelter is usually a group or person that is 501 non for profit that has the ability to pick and choose which animal it accepts. This will allow them the choice of being a no kill shelter as they will not accept animals that are high risk or severly injured. They do this as they either cannot afford it or they are a specialized shelter (FIV cat rescue,older animal, feral, etc) these shelters are great place for you to volenteer. The people there are commited to helping and are highly motivated but have very little funds nor assistance.


A kill shelter is usually a SPCA or Govt Run pound. These places usually have no choice but to accept any animal that is dropped off or surrendered. Their policies toward animal deaths are usually dictated by the state or governing body. However the interpretation of those rules are left to the director of the facility.
A spca or pound will take almost any animal surrendered to it. Sick, injured, abused, sick, feral etc. and lots and lots of kittens and puppies.
As you can imagine there are instances where killing an animal is necessary.
IE sick, severly injured etc.
There are also capacity issues that leads to deaths of animals. usually viable stray and feral followed by adult male cats are the first to die.
You have to remember that these places are the final "dumping ground" of unwanted pets. there are some harsh realities as there as thousands of pets arrive yearly. some places 10s of thousands.
It is up to the director of the pound or spca to ensure the quality of life of the animals and dictate the policy for euthanizia. Some shelters have great directors some do not.

Being that you are in VA, there are some very real issues to be addressed. SUch as the kill shelters still use the gas chamber to kill pets. it is HORRID torturous way for these pets to be killed. that this type of barbarism is still in use amazes me...but thats another story.
You as a volenteer would never witness this first hand, but you will know its there. the animals do too.
If you have it in you to be an example and to give an unwanted animal a last chance at life and love, then this is a good place to be. IF you cannot go in one day and see that cat you fell in love with the day before is now gone without any information as to why, then i would suggest that you not put yourself through it.

at the end of all my meaderings, it will be up to you and how you feel about pets where you should volenteer. Calling or visiting each is a very good way to know.
Regardless you SHOULD help if you feel the drive. It is rewarding and a gift to all humanity that you assist these pets by volenteering your time.
post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by rubysoho
thank you for all the great responses!
Ruby....I volunteer with a no kill rescue and we hold adoption events in Leesburg on Sundays and could certainly use more cat volunteers. PM me if you are interested!!!

Here is the website:

http://www.lostdogrescue.org/

Also..if you would like to meet up and find out more about opportunities in Virginia...let me know....there are LOTS of ways to help...from Transporting animals from kill shelters to no kill shelters, volunteering at feral cat spay clinics, volunteering at adoption events etc etc

Katie
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Middletown
There is some Grey areas with Kill and No kill shelters.

Some blanket statements about shelters. You will find variations of these but this is a general idea for you.

A true no kill shelter is usually a group or person that is 501 non for profit that has the ability to pick and choose which animal it accepts. This will allow them the choice of being a no kill shelter as they will not accept animals that are high risk or severly injured. They do this as they either cannot afford it or they are a specialized shelter (FIV cat rescue,older animal, feral, etc) these shelters are great place for you to volenteer. The people there are commited to helping and are highly motivated but have very little funds nor assistance.


A kill shelter is usually a SPCA or Govt Run pound. These places usually have no choice but to accept any animal that is dropped off or surrendered. Their policies toward animal deaths are usually dictated by the state or governing body. However the interpretation of those rules are left to the director of the facility.
A spca or pound will take almost any animal surrendered to it. Sick, injured, abused, sick, feral etc. and lots and lots of kittens and puppies.
As you can imagine there are instances where killing an animal is necessary.
IE sick, severly injured etc.
There are also capacity issues that leads to deaths of animals. usually viable stray and feral followed by adult male cats are the first to die.
You have to remember that these places are the final "dumping ground" of unwanted pets. there are some harsh realities as there as thousands of pets arrive yearly. some places 10s of thousands.
It is up to the director of the pound or spca to ensure the quality of life of the animals and dictate the policy for euthanizia. Some shelters have great directors some do not.

Being that you are in VA, there are some very real issues to be addressed. SUch as the kill shelters still use the gas chamber to kill pets. it is HORRID torturous way for these pets to be killed. that this type of barbarism is still in use amazes me...but thats another story.
You as a volenteer would never witness this first hand, but you will know its there. the animals do too.
If you have it in you to be an example and to give an unwanted animal a last chance at life and love, then this is a good place to be. IF you cannot go in one day and see that cat you fell in love with the day before is now gone without any information as to why, then i would suggest that you not put yourself through it.

at the end of all my meaderings, it will be up to you and how you feel about pets where you should volenteer. Calling or visiting each is a very good way to know.
Regardless you SHOULD help if you feel the drive. It is rewarding and a gift to all humanity that you assist these pets by volenteering your time.
I agree...let's not penalize shelters that cannot become no kill due to space and intake issues. All shelters/rescues...whether kill or no kill can use assistance.

Katie
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by rubysoho
If I were to work at a kill shelter it would only be too help the endangered animals be adopted, and maybe to somehow keep them alive longer. However, that may just be chasing a dream and I could see my heart being broken if it didn't happen that way.
please dont get your hopes up. The best you can offer would be to give love affection and keep your own person track of which animals are up for adoption.
It will be very dificult if not impossible to keep any animal alive longer. outside of finding a home for him yourself.
Volenteers that ask to many questions about the "kill" aspect usually are asked not to return.
As someone mentioned earlier, these people get very hard hearted. even if they started out as a loving caring animal lover, eventually they are forced to accept
"I either keep my job for my family or i refuse to euthinze another animal and get fired."
After so many deaths, a person turns sour and i imagine tormented by dreams, memories and images that we can only call nightmares or hell.
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Being that you are in VA, there are some very real issues to be addressed. SUch as the kill shelters still use the gas chamber to kill pets. it is HORRID torturous way for these pets to be killed. that this type of barbarism is still in use amazes me...but thats another story.
You as a volenteer would never witness this first hand, but you will know its there. the animals do too.
These shelters (there are only 8 counties that still use a gas chamber) are actually in rural SOUTHERN Virginia. Leesburg is in Northern Virginia. Euthanization statistics vary from shelter to shelter...but oftentimes there are greater euthanization statistics the further south you go. I can certainly check into the stats for the Loundoun County shelter.

Katie
post #14 of 26
ANd lastly before i get off my soap box : )

I volenteer for a SPCA shelter that people would call "kill" as they are forced to make decisions. I have been volenteering for kill shelters for ~15 yrs.
I do it because,
I know that I can give love and comfort to these animals.
I can bring about a small change for the better for these animals by just doing small things like treats, toys etc.
I set an example. I talk to the people who work and who come in to look at the pets.
I can let all my friends and family and coworkers know that the cat they were looking for is up for adoption at the shelter.
I can witness the way the people who run the shelter go about their job.
From this i can monitor their ethics. Belive me, i am the first to expose someones cruelty. thank god its only happend once.

You will be surprized at how much you can get done.
It is far more rewarding than heartbreaking. But there is heartbreak.
Another box full of kittens dropped off this week and i will probably lose my composure at someone with "allergies". blah.

I can go on and on as im sure others can,
but i must get back to work

GL and Thank you for considering volenteering at all.
Please do.
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
Middletown, than you for your very thoughtful posts. I will be calling around to get a feel for the shelters in my area (and pming TNR1). As I will only have one day off, and that one day to volunteer (unless volunteers can work after 6pm), I know that each week I would go back to see cats and dogs from the previous week gone (adopted or euthanized because of space limitations - like you said).

I have already made my decision that the cat I adopt will most likely come from a "kill" shelter. Only because I know the other ones will be safe and will find that loving, forever home. In the past I have had a wonderful experience with a stray cat who was afraid of people - only to have him become my lap-cat. He was special, if only to me. It makes me cry to think of him because one day, while I was at college, he just disappeared. I know the lifespan of feral cats and so I am pretty sure of what happened to him. Adopting cats in the future will be in honor of his memory.

Once again, thank you all very much for contributing to the thread. I very much appreciate it!
post #16 of 26
I volunteered at a no-kill shelter - b/c I could be put to the best use.
The goal was to care for all the animals - medical and behavioral - so they could be good canidates for adoption. They werent availalbe till "cleared".

My main job was to work on socializing the cats. Volunteers were assigned certain skiddish animals that had been abandoned and/or abused. These were sweet kitties at heart but due to cetain evil humans they were not ready to go to a loving home yet.

We built trust bonds with our charges. Sometimes it was simply hanging out in a room with them reading until the cat makes the first overture.

I saw my time as a true investment to improve the natural lifespan of cats. At kill shelters, I've only seen them in individual cages for a few days until they are adopted or put down. No real love was put into their lives. No volunteers were set up to handle them. That would break my heart to much and having duties just to clean out cages or whatnot would not be beneficial for me or any cats in the long run.
post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 
excellent point, CDubbie. thank you.
post #18 of 26
I read this (see below) on the Maryland SPCA website. What does everyone think of their philosophy?



Are you a "no-kill" shelter?
We are an "open-admission" shelter. That means that we accept every pet that's brought to us. A “no-kill†shelter limits the animals it will take, leaving the difficult task of euthanasia to others for animals that cannot be adopted. (For more background, see our Philosophy as an Open Admission Shelter.) The most difficult thing that our staff does at the SPCA is euthanize animals.

http://www.mdspca.org/about/faqs.shtml#nokill
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenny82
I read this (see below) on the Maryland SPCA website. What does everyone think of their philosophy?



Are you a "no-kill" shelter?
We are an "open-admission" shelter. That means that we accept every pet that's brought to us. A “no-kill” shelter limits the animals it will take, leaving the difficult task of euthanasia to others for animals that cannot be adopted. (For more background, see our Philosophy as an Open Admission Shelter.) The most difficult thing that our staff does at the SPCA is euthanize animals.

http://www.mdspca.org/about/faqs.shtml#nokill
It's too easy to say "we are an open admission shelter, thus we cannot be No Kill". We just have to look at the Tompkins SPCA that is an Open Admission shelter and is "no kill".

http://www.spcaonline.com/default.htm

Information on the Tompkins SPCA:

http://www.bestfriends.com/nomorehom...eltompkins.cfm

BTW...no kill does not equal never kill...even limited admission rescue groups will have to euthanize an animal if it's quality of life is not good.

Katie
post #20 of 26
"BTW...no kill does not equal never kill...even limited admission rescue groups will have to euthanize an animal if it's quality of life is not good."

Good point Katie.

Jenny, I see you live where I do.
I'm not 100% well versed on the local SPCA , but I volunteered for the San Francisoc SPCA. It was "no kill" on all adoptable pets, and necessary medical and behavioral steps were used to make a pet adoptable if they did not come that way.

I heard the Baltimore City SPCA (Falls Rd) did euthanize b/c they have too many pets and many come to them with serious medical /behavioral issues. They don't work like the County pound though (where I had a paying job in my teens).

I support Defenders of Animal Rights in Phoenix - a no kill privately funded shelter. They have taken two adoptable pets off my hands - one needing extensively vet work. I got Smidge there (pic below) last year. Their adoption fee was a bargain too after reviewing all the medical Smidgey received + spay. They will turn pets away; they have no choice due to overcrowding. I also like how the cats roam free in their own room; they overall dont look too unhappy there.

I support their cause, and would volunteer there for that reason. They will let the public come in and play with the kitties if you just stop in on a whim. I do that as well.
post #21 of 26
Thanks for the great information!
post #22 of 26
My experience with kill shelters from the opposite end -- as an adopter -- turned out to be very positive. I had some people tell me I should avoid kill shelters, but I felt that if I were going to get a cat, it was far better to save one's life than take a cat who was safe and well cared for in a foster home or no-kill shelter (I figured the individual cats wouldn't care much about principles). Also, once I started looking, I discovered that many of the city shelter cats were ending up in the no-kill shelters or fosters, so there was really very little difference... it was essentially the same population of cats.

I visited several city shelters for about a month while looking, and every shelter worker, both volunteer and permanent, was so nice to me and concerned and interested in the animals. They enjoyed talking about (and to!) the cats and were constantly wanting to know if I needed more information on or wanted to hold a particular animal. One volunteer in particular was like a (subtle) car salesman... she was going to put me in a cat that day.

When I brought my choice up to the front desk, the two workers there (definitely city, not volunteers) started cheering... they'd grown fond of my cat in the few days he'd been there, and were so excited to see him find a home. Nice people.

I get the sense that these shelters are doing the best they can, given the practical realities of having to take all the city's abandoned animals.
post #23 of 26
I had the same dilema as you a couple of months ago. What helped me decide was that they both asked for volunteers but the Humane society never called back. The no kill did. I really enjoy working for the no kill. i volunteer for 1 by 1 cat rescue in Pa. Even if you volunteer at a kill shelter, it will not turn it into a no kill shelter, but your help may actually help more pets get adopted, like if you can take them to adoption events for them when ordinarily they didnt have the manpower to do. Either way is helping.. but I couldnt watch them put those animals to sleep!! I wish you luck. I would help at the one that needs more, and possibly donate to the other
post #24 of 26
There isn't anyone that works at a kill shelter that wants to see animals euthanized. By volunteering at a kill shelter, you may be able to save lives that would be otherwise lost. I volunteer at a no kill shelter, and was surprised when the president recommended adopting from a kill shelter - her goal was to keep animals alive, and if by adopting there before her no kill shelter, another life was saved.

And yes, most no kill shelters are very selective about the animals they take into their care. The one I volunteer for never takes any owner relinquished pets. They pull from kill shelters, feral colonies and other homeless pets only.
post #25 of 26
You may also find that no-kill shelters or rescues specialize in one "type" of cat. The one I work at takes only injured, sick and abused strays. Therefore, volunteers are EXTREMELY important to us, because they help with the healing and socialization process in these cats.

Our shelter is cageless. Isolation units exist for cats that are currently ill and cannot be exposed to the general population. The rooms of the shelter are divided up: senior/special needs, kittens, FIV+, shy/under-socialized, completely feral, and healthy adults- to provide as low-stress and homelike environment as possible. This ensures that permanent residents, and we do have a few, aren't left to rot away in a cage.

My decision to volunteer (I volunteered before I started working there) at a no-kill was based on the fact that the organization represented everything and advocated everything that I myself believed in. I think one needs to make a decision to sort of "put their money where their mouth is" per say, and lend their precious time to an organization they want to wholeheartedly support. For me, I didn't want a traditional shelter to benefit from my time so they could go on shoving surrendered housecats in cages and euthanizing them periodically. The more people organizations like the one I'm with have, the more cats we can admit and save from a traditional shelter environment.
post #26 of 26
our kill shelters wont work with us. I guess they want the adoption fee instead of us getting it
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