The NBC affiliate in Dallas recently ran a story with the headline “Overload Forces Shelter To Euthanize Dozens of Pets” which needs to be stomped on. Get on your heavy boots.
Overload. This makes it sound as if intake has skyrocketed at the Dallas pound recently and Lucy and Ethel can’t keep up with all the chocolates coming down the line. In reality, the pound’s intake numbers have been down slightly in comparison with 2013 for the months of January through May. While June did see an increase over the 2013 numbers, it was only 32 additional animals in a facility that takes in roughly 2000 animals every month. Clearly “overload” is not the proper word to characterize the pound’s population – maybe “usual load” would be more accurate.
Forces. I hate to see this word used when describing why shelters kill animals. I hate it so much, I think we need to nuke it from orbit – it’s the only way to be sure. Nobody ever in the history of the known universe has been forced to kill a shelter pet. By the same token tragically, nobody who works in a shelter has ever been forced to do their job of sheltering animals. There is no way to force anyone to do their job any more than they can be forced to kill. They have to want to do it. Which says it all when you look at what they choose to do when it comes to sheltering vs. killing.
Shelter. Wrong. The Dallas pound has killed approximately half the pets who have come through its front doors this year. This is not a safe haven. Animals are not being protected from harm at the Dallas pound but in fact the opposite – they are being subjected to the ultimate form of violence by those paid to shelter them.
Euthanize. If you went to journalism school, you may already know how to use a dictionary. If not, crack one open now. Euthanasia, or “good death” is the appropriate word to describe ending the suffering of a pet deemed medically hopeless by a veterinarian. Killing friendly, healthy, happy dogs and cats for convenience instead of doing the hard work of sheltering them is not “euthanasia”. It’s killing. Own it.
Dozens of Pets. This puts a picture in the reader’s mind of some number of shelter animals who were killed, relatively small in comparison to the thousands being taken in by the pound every month. A minor tragedy, if you will. The truth is, in May and June of this year, the Dallas pound killed 3274 animals. Sure, there are dozens of pets being killed but that’s happening every single day of the week. The mountain of dead animals being needlessly killed at the Dallas pound is staggering and characterizing it as dozens is misleading.
Here’s your headline:
Usual Load of Animals Results in Usual Outcome at Dallas Pound: Needless Killing of Thousands of Happy Pets.
There, I fixed it.
(Thanks Mike for the link and the stats.)