The Truth About Kill vs. No Kill Animal Shelters

17 Apr

Ever been to an animal shelter? One of the first questions folks usually ask is if its a “kill” or a “no kill” shelter.

I currently work in a shelter, and I’ve come to dislike these terms – they are inaccurate. Better, more accurate terms to use are “open admission” and “limited admission” shelter. The reason for this is because “no kill” shelters do euthanize animals in certain situations, and because “kill” doesn’t accurately describe the mission of open admission shelters.

At an open admission shelter, all animals are accepted, regardless of the state they are in and the capacity of the shelter. At limited admission shelters, only a specified number of animals are taken in, and often these animals are confined to a specific age, species, and/or breed – these shelters will often turn away animals, who will then end up in open admission shelters anyway. That’s the first thing you need to know.

The second thing, is that no one wants to euthanize animals. Open admission shelters will work with other shelters and rescues to move animals that have behavioral or other issues, and to reduce the number of animals euthanized (we are all trying to save the animals – we love them, remember?). Limited admission shelters often work with these open admission shelters to provide these homes and to work with these animals to make them adoptable. In a case that an open admission shelter can’t place an animal, or the animal can’t be adopted (health or behavior issues), sometimes euthanasia is the only option. Its also the last option; remember, no one wants to do this.  If an animal is too sick, its quality of life is severely diminished. If an animal is aggressive, how can a shelter say that it is adoptable? If it gets out one day and kills a child, who is to blame?

That being said, limited admission shelters will also resort to euthanasia in extreme cases.

Neither shelter type is necessarily better than the other, because they both work together in order to help find homes for animals and to help correct the animal overpopulation crisis. That is why it is so important to spay and neuter pets. If the number of animals decreases, the number of places they can live increases, and the number of euthanasias decreases. It makes perfect sense.

So please, try to change your frame of mind to encompass open admission and limited admission shelters instead of “kill” and “no kill”. Spay and neuter your pets. And understand the important role each type of shelter plays, because we are all in this together.

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One Response to “The Truth About Kill vs. No Kill Animal Shelters”

  1. Deanna Duncan January 2, 2015 at 12:03 pm #

    Hi there! I work for the Humane Society of Cambria County located in Johnstown, PA. I came across this article and really loved it. We would like to put it in our newsletter if that is okay with you? I just wanted to get permission to use this blog post, as well as to see how you would like to be credited? Would you like us to provide your first and last name and link to this blog? Please let me know! Please feel free to e-mail at dduncan@hscc-online.org. Thank you so much!

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