Posts Tagged ‘dog of valor’

Euthanasia Stats Abused

March 16, 2010

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 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.