Which Shelter Pet Will Be the Last to Be Killed?

Right now, in a shelter in Your Town, USA, friendly cats are purring, kneading their blankets and watching the goings on with curiosity.  Dogs are wagging their tails, barking with excitement and putting their paws up on the fence to get a better look around.  And shelter staff are taking these friendly cats and dogs to a back room and killing them.

But not one – not a single one of these friendly, healthy pets needs to die.  We have enough homes for all of them.  With plenty to spare.  The idea that there is an overpopulation of pets in this country is false.  Don’t take my word for it – check out the math.  Double check it.  See if it makes sense to you.  It does to me.  And knowing that pet overpopulation is a myth, and that there really are enough homes for all the healthy/treatable shelter pets in this country, it breaks my heart to think of all that purring and tail wagging being snuffed out in a back room somewhere for no reason at all.

We are a humane society and we don’t want shelter pets killed.  Euthanasia to end the suffering of medically hopeless pets?  Absolutely.  But killing friendly pets who are healthy or treatable?  That’s not who we are.  We care about our community’s pets and we’re no longer content to sit quietly while the unnecessary killing goes on in our backyards.  We’re speaking out.  We’re organizing.  We’re progressing.

One day soon, in my lifetime I believe, the practice of killing friendly shelter pets will be relegated to the dark past.  It will take up residence in the hall of shame with the many wrongs Americans have righted.  But that day is not today.  Today the watchful cat sees a shelter worker coming toward her cage and she is wary.  Her tail twitches.  One last time.

3 thoughts on “Which Shelter Pet Will Be the Last to Be Killed?

  1. I agree that no kill shelters will be the norm in just a few years. It’s an idea too good not to take hold.

  2. I agree with the numbers. If anyone can dispute them, I’m interested in hearing what they have to say. At the risk of sounding flippant, I think a lot of our problem regarding the issue has to do with personal pride. It goes something like this.

    Americans love their pets. We’re proud of it. In spite of the thugs and the abusers, most of us treat them like family members. They may legally be property but very few of us think of them that way. We value them. They enrich our lives. We look down on cultures where dogs and cats are consumed as if those cultures are barbaric and ignorant.

    We know that animals die in shelters. Because we love them so much, we assume that those who are killed must be suffering or must be so aggressive that they cannot possibly be rehabilitated, even by experts. We assume that healthy and treatable animals would never be killed to make room or for the sake of convenience or because it’s just easier. We assume that because so many animals die in shelters, they are somehow damaged goods in a collective sense.

    When I tell people that pet overpopulation is a myth and that shelter animals are primarily victims of circumstance and of our poor choices, they listen. There are those who simply will not adopt from a shelter or rescue because of some overwhelming need to know the animals’ complete history or lineage. But I think there are many more who, knowing the truth about the math and the fact that the vast majority of shelter animals are simply homeless, could be persuaded to adopt because it’s simply the right thing to do and comports with our values as a society.

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