No Kill: Celebrating Success, Recognizing Failure

Q: Why can’t I just be happy that at least some shelter pets are saved, even if most are killed?

A: I can be happy that some are saved while simultaneously being outraged that others, often the majority of shelter pets, are killed. I don’t see that as illogical or contradictory in any way. That’s my adult answer. Answer I wanted to put first: Dude, seriously?

See I don’t get why, when there are enough homes for all the adoptable pets in shelters in this country, there is pressure from rescue groups to accept – or even be happy about – killing. I can’t do that. I understand the “glass half-full” concept but in the case of shelter pets the glass is half-dead. I reject that unreservedly.

I further fail to understand how being upset over unnecessary killing of shelter pets in any way detracts from the hard work and successes of rescue groups who have managed to save some of them. It doesn’t, to my mind. I am positively grateful for any and all community efforts to save homeless pets from being killed. I support and celebrate the efforts. Without everyone chipping in to do their part, we would have far fewer success stories.

I want more success stories. Is that wrong? Am I supposed to be afraid of discouraging shelter staff or rescue volunteers by continually highlighting the need for improvement and change? On the contrary, I want to motivate members of the community to keep learning, keep doing their good work and/or to keep trying to effect change where needed. I’m right here with you and I am determined to keep trying.

The fact is that every day, healthy, adoptable pets in shelters are killed. They are killed for phony “reasons” such as Pass/Fail temperament tests or to make space for more pets who will be killed shortly thereafter to make space for more. That is unacceptable to me. We can do better. We must do better. We are a humane society. Let’s work together to end the killing of adoptable pets in shelters. It could happen today.

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