Euthanasia Stats Abused

First off let me give a definition of euthanasia for those of you who don’t know or don’t fully understand. Euthanasia is the act of putting to death painlessly or allowing to die, as by withholding extreme medical measures, a person or animal suffering from an incurable, esp. a painful, disease or condition. That’s according to dictionary.com which is pretty spot on to what it is. For an animal that is in pain and has no chance of survival or their medical bills can’t be paid by any means the owner can opt to have their animal put down so they can die peacefully instead of living out their last few months in extreme pain.

Now as you might imagine a shelter that has lower euthanasia stats are going to be more appealing to the public. This means that they are virtually a “no kill” shelter their animals survive and they keep them well fed and taken care of until they are adopted. It’s especially appealing to an owner who has to give up their pet for financial reasons or whatever.  It also means that the shelter will get more donations for not killing their animals. If you were to compare two shelters one that has 50% kill rate vs. 6% kill rate. Who are you more likely to give your money to? I personally would go to the shelter that isn’t going to kill the animals, although the one that does might be doing it because they are underfunded so maybe giving them money would help more in cutting their kills.

Regardless however, to what extent are some shelters willing to go to keep their numbers down? I was quite horrified when I came across an article on MSNBC’s site titled “Animal Shelter Turned into ‘House of Horrors‘” kinda gets you wondering what the heck it’s talking about right?

Turns out the Toronto Humane Society which for those of you who didn’t know because I know I didn’t know before reading this article, bragged about having a 6% euthanasia rate. That’s superb for big cities that generally have much larger euthanasia rates. The problem with this particular shelter is that it had that little problem of animal neglect and abuse. Gee but who cares about the animals when they aren’t being put down prematurely right?

The article states the shelter is “a place where infections ran rampant, animals lived in filthy conditions, food was scarce and a no-euthanasia policy led to sick animals suffering and dying without adequate medical care.”

Now I’m all for not putting animals down I think it’s aweful that innocent animals are put down in shelters every day however, I’m not for animals living in horrid conditions for it. Not living in sanitary conditions and being sick all the time is no way to live for these animals. Even if the shelter owner meant to do good by not putting the animals down, they were doing more harm than help. No person would adopt a dog from there after seeing the conditions the animal was living in. If they aren’t going to be adopted and they are going to live in pain and sickness than why keep them alive? I know it sound harsh but you understand right? There are plenty of no-kill shelters, rescues, and other animal places that are able to keep their euthanasia rates down without making their animals live in pain so why not reach out to them for help if it became that serious of a problem? Or go the unfortunate unfair route and put the animal down, it’s sad and certainly not right but it isn’t any more ethical forcing an animal to live in the conditions they were forced into while at this shelter.

This isn’t to say that all shelters are scot free of horrors or full of horrors but there is a mix of them out there. As it says in this article while the Toronto shelter was being checked out by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) the American SPCA were looking into allegations made at two shelters.

The allegations made were “At the Clarksdale-Coahoma County Animal Shelter in Mississippi, a facility built to hold 60 dogs was discovered in January to be crammed with 400 animals. At the city-run Memphis Animal Shelter, dogs were discovered starving and three supervisors were indicted in February on animal cruelty charges connected to the deaths of three terriers.”

It is a big deal in the way that when you go to a shelter you expect them to tell the truth and be humane. Their stats are most likely the truth but how humane they are, now that’s questionable. It’s sad to say that these establishments that we trust to take care of animals in need of help are betraying our trust. Yes they are horrible places for putting dogs down but can we fault them for not having the funding or space for their animals, no not really. It’s a sad horrible truth but sometimes what is best for the dog is putting them down. I really hate saying that I do. I would love nothing more than to save every animal from being put down but then I would be no better than a neglectful shelter or puppy mill, I wouldn’t breed the animals but they’d live in horrid conditions because of my lack of money and space. That’s where you really need to draw the line is, whats best for the dog. Clearly finding them a home is best but if the economy isn’t in the right place or he isn’t the cutest most snuggly dog in the shelter and doesn’t get chosen for so many months what is there really to do? I’d say send him to a rescue but they don’t work like that.

Heck there are still shelters with gas chambers, throw back to WWII right? It’s not humane it’s not fair and it’s not cool that innocent healthy cute lovable animals are put down every day but there just isn’t room for them. Ugh I’m kinda getting disgusted at myself for writing this but the truth hurts sometimes I suppose.

I don’t want to fault the animal shelter owner for trying to not kill all their animals especially if it was simply just trying to save their lives and for the love of the animal however it was inhumane and wrong in a lot of ways. If it was for money or for appeal, or just because the owner is sadistic and wanted to see the animals suffer it’s not cool to “save” an animal by making it live in just aweful conditions. That’s not saving it that’s cruel and unusual punishment. To top off no one wanting to love it or save it, it then has to live in bad conditions. Shelters like that make me sick, not that shelters that kill make me feel any better but I’d rather see what’s best for the dog done than have it live in a state like that.

Ok well I can’t talk about that anymore I am completely torn between saying don’t kill innocent dogs just because they can’t get love and saying that shelter owner should go to jail and never be allowed animals again. I don’t want to advocate for kill shelters nor advocate abuse in shelters. So on with the good story of the day.

The 3rd annual Dogs of Valor Winner was announced March 10th. This years winner was Kenai, a dog that is 14 years old and saved 7 adults, 2 kids, and 4 dogs from carbon monoxide poisoning in a vacation home they were all staying at. This Bernese Mountain Dog certainly is a dog of valor. I encourage you to click on the link and read his story.

Don’t just stop at his story though follow this link to read about all the other runner up dogs and their stories of valor. From dogs that saved owners to neighbors, to sons and more.  The human and animal bond truly is strong and I feel that by reading these stories it will more than make up for all the sad stories I write about.

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8 Responses to “Euthanasia Stats Abused”

  1. Courtney Says:

    Very interesting debate. I think it’s horrible that a shelter would keep animals alive and let them suffer just so a shelter can have a low kill rate. Why are people like that allowed to be in charge of animals in the first place? The first and foremost thought should be what is best for the animals.

  2. Janet Says:

    This is one of the reasons I’m leery of “no-kill shelters”. There are good ones out there – they know their limits of what they can provide for the animals in their care. Unfortunately, that means many animals are turned away. Then you have shelters like this one, where the animals suffer. There ARE fates that are much worse than death. And I hate to say it, but after being in rescue for many years, I would rather see an animal euthanized humanely than see it suffer, starve, etc. 6+ million animals are killed in the US every year… the issue can ONLY be addressed by educating people, at all levels, and teaching a value of life to the kids. Right now, most people don’t care about “just a dog” or “just a cat”.

  3. Sam Says:

    Chelsea

    This is a compelling post but its difficult to read with so much information. I prefer shorter and sweeter posts and I really think that the dog of valor topic deserved its own post, maybe with some info on pyrenese mountain dogs (they’re awesome). I don’t want to be critical but I don’t want to slog through so much text, not even any pictures.

  4. placecm Says:

    Courtney-You’re absolutely right what’s best for the animal should be first and foremost, it’s really sad that is not the case.

    Janet-6+ million everytime I see that number it stuns me that’s horrible. Are there any programs out there to teach kids? Or is it all being left to the parents etc to teach their kids?

    Sam-Yes you’re right they are lengthy, that is something I need to work on. I did try to upload a picture of Kenai, maybe it wasn’t in the right format but I did try to add pictures. I guess I just kind of ramble when I write my posts. I’ll try to work on that for next week maybe go back and edit this one down some so it’s not quite so wordy. Thank you for the input I’m always open to criticism as I’ve never blogged before so any input is appreciated. Thank you!

  5. Megan Says:

    I agree that maybe these could have been separated into two posts. But Chelsea you amaze me with the knowledge you have and the information you give. I would only shorten you posts if it won’t affect the brilliance that you are able to give every week! So compelling this week and as always I learned a lot!

  6. Laura Beth Says:

    Approval all around for shortening your posts – I’m always mentally exhausted after reading your posts! But they are chock-full of so much info – so if you shorten them, don’t decrease your amount of info by any means. Euthanasia is depressing, but your post has made me, in Janet’s words, very leery and suspicious of “no-kill” shelters. Keep up the awesome work!!!

  7. kjcenters Says:

    That’s sketch as crap. I thought no-kill shelters were supposed to be the good ones… I would like to think that a shelter with no space and without the ability to take care of the animals because there are so many would draw a line somewhere.

    Keep up the good work Chels, I agree with long posts being not good, but you’re passionate so it’s bound to happen.

  8. Janet Says:

    Please don’t get me wrong… there are some FANTASTIC no-kill sanctuaries out there. I’ve worked with several of them. Keep in mind, though, that most “no-kill” shelters have to turn animals away, or pick and choose who they’re going to save. This is a PEOPLE problem – people need to spay and neuter their animals. Not only does it prevent unwanted puppies and add to the huge amount of homeless animals, but it is also very good for their health. Many men think it de-masculinizes (if that’s a word) their dog… whatever.

    There was a recent raid on a Humane Sanctuary in Ohio… and it was so sad. The woman that ran the sanctuary had NO CHARGES filed against her… NONE!!!! And she doesn’t believe she did anything wrong. If you want to look at the photos and judge for yourself if the conditions were humane or not, there’s a link to a photo album below. I will warn you – some of the photos are heartbreaking, including puppies that froze to death. (Hopefully the link comes through.)

    http://www.facebook.com/search/?flt=1&q=ohio+dogs&fr=1&sid=728407411.1424968647..1#!/album.php?aid=167427&id=314668741086&ref=ss

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