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The Needle and the Damage Done

In the United States, we kill millions of pets in shelters every year.  Most of them are healthy and friendly – or at least treatable.  And there are enough homes for all of them.  As a society, we have come to accept the killing as “unavoidable” because that’s what we are continually told by those sanctioning and performing the killing.  But that is a lie.

Did you know that some shelter pets are killed for readily treatable conditions such as ear mites, ringworm or obesity?  Others are killed immediately upon intake because a shelter worker is afraid of possibly getting scratched, because it’s close to quitting time, or simply because they are kittens.

Even pets with homes eagerly waiting for them are killed because:

Those in charge blame the public for being stupid, for not taking care of their pets, for failing to neuter and vaccinate their pets, and even for causing the shelter to be infested with rodents because John Q. Public touches the dogs!

In fact it is all too often the shelter staff who treat the pets in their care cruelly, are too lazy to do their jobs, and allow shelter pets to needlessly suffer.

Our shelter leaders lie to the public, telling us that MSN and restrictive breeder laws are the ways to end pet killing, and that pets are better off dead than being adopted out without unusually extensive and costly applicant screening.  They tell us that shelter conditions are good while pets suffer.  Worst of all, they repeat the pet overpopulation myth – which has been debunked – as a so-called explanation for the killing of healthy, friendly cats and dogs.

In fact, the proven way to improve the quality of care pets receive is to help people, not threaten to punish them.  And the only proven method to end the killing of adoptable pets is implementation of the No Kill EquationPunitive laws (pdf) do not end killing or even reduce it.  Sadly, their effect is often an increase in needless pet killing.

In spite of the facts, many shelter leaders continue to misinform the public.  And we, believing that anyone who devotes their career to “sheltering” homeless pets must be a truly compassionate person of great integrity, believe them.  The truth is that too many shelters are not providing a safe haven for the community’s pets – quite the opposite:  They are needlessly killing adoptable pets and lying about the reasons they’re doing it.

We the people, whose taxes pay the salaries of these shelter directors, have become so accustomed to the lies that they feel free to make such outrageous statements as “We kill our friend every day”.

This is the damage done.

They needlessly kill our communities’ pets.  We accept it.  They lie about it.  We accept that too.  And we pay them for the privilege.

I know we are better than this.  I know we love our pets and don’t want them killed in so-called shelters.  I know we are smart enough to question the lies, to educate ourselves and our friends, and to demand change.  We are a no kill nation of pet lovers.  Join us.

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