Demi is a dog that ended up at a no-kill shelter. Remarkably, the stray was kept at the shelter for 809 days before she found her forever home. This amounts to just under three years. Is this a case in support of no-kill shelters? The story was shared by KSDK, without many details, other than the fact that the lonely pooch required specific care from prospective pet families that made her hard to place. Finally, a kind-hearted person only identified as Arlen, adopted her, giving the story a happy ending.
The debate about kill/no-kill shelters
Demi’s story is touching and it pulls at the strings of our hearts, supporting the benefits of no-kill shelters. She is one of the fortunate strays that was placed in a loving home after a long time housed in the shelter. There are two sides to the kill/no-kill debate. Those of us who love our pets are naturally inclined to fight against the notion of euthanizing a healthy animal. We don’t like to talk about the pros and cons of kill-shelters, but are they a necessity in the present homeless animal epidemic we’re facing in the country? People like me and those who share my views look for other solutions, but it’s time to look at the hard facts and to come up with real solutions that will have a lasting impact to end the epidemic of homeless and suffering animals.
What Peta has to say
Thousands of unwanted and stray animals are brought into shelters in the US daily. Many shelters hit their limit and have no more room for animals out on the street and in need of rescue. Peta is an animal advocacy group that is firmly against all acts of animal cruelty. The organization warns that there may be deadly consequences for no-kill shelters. Peta advocates point out that some animals taken into open shelters are badly injured, elderly, aggressive, or even dangerous to humans and other animals. Keeping these animals may present a problem of overcrowding as they are not usually adoptable.
Some shelters house strays in cages and keeps them there for months or even years and many just wither away psychologically, emotionally, and physically. The longer they’re in care, the less likely the odds of adoption. Some so-called rescues house animals within inhumane facilities that create a living hell of suffering and deprivation. Without funds to provide adequate treatment for sick or injured animals is this not a form of animal cruelty? Shelters that capture, spay, and neuter then release strays back onto the streets also turn them back to a dangerous situation where they are likely to die from the cruelty of others, sickness, injury, hypothermia, or starvation. Peta poses the question about which is crueler, humane euthanization, or being turned out on the streets to suffer alone? They point out the fact that these animals still die, but often under far worse circumstances over longer periods. The suffering is drawn out and agonizing.
Additional facts about animal homelessness and the kill/no-kill debate
Buster’s Vision agrees that killing healthy animals is immoral. They also point out the fact that many so-called shelters are only prolonging the misery of animals in need of homes because of the poor living conditions that the shelters provide. Some are tolerable but most are designed as temporary shelters that are a long way from meeting the true needs of animals other than food water and shelter.
Buster’s Vision proposed solutions
Although there is an agreement with Peta’s stance that kill shelters are more humane than allowing animals to suffer for months or years on end, there is a better solution. Buster’s Vision lays out the root of the problem and offers sound solutions for reducing the population of unwanted animals suffering needlessly. The solution would also end the euthanization of healthy animals that are otherwise suitable for adoption in a 2-step process
1. Identify the elements of the broken system
Identifying the elements that show we have a broken system that doesn’t work for anyone but exploiters is the first step. These include
- Bogus rescues that exploit animals for money
- Puppy mills that breed irresponsibly without vetting potential adoptive pet parents
- Fraudsters using the dog rescue platform to bilk the public out of funds that would otherwise help homeless pets
- Irresponsible pet owners who breed dogs and turn them out into the streets
- All persons who engage in misconduct towards their pets including irresponsible breeding, abuse, neglect, hoarding, abandonment
2. Fix the real problems
The only real solutions for these problems are to legislate new laws and enforce them with monetary penalties and jail time for violations. These include
- Mandated spay and neuter laws for non-breeders and all adopted rescue pets
- Mandate laws for the regulation of shelters, rescues, and animal nonprofits to lower corruption. Mandate Tax ID, licensing, ongoing training, and regular audits to ensure compliance.
- Animal education programs in community centers and schools
- Enact laws that provide for stiff penalties for animal abusers/neglecters
- Enforce laws against animal testing for consumer goods
- Enact laws for pet breeders and set regulations with regular auditing for compliance. Limit breeding practices that result in defective offspring.
- Ban puppy mills and enforce stiff penalties for breeders who violate the definitions set forth that violate registered breeder standards.
Nobody wants to see a healthy animal suffer and die needlessly. No-kill shelters can help preserve the life of a valuable pet that is just waiting for his forever family to find him. Reducing the population of unwanted animals begins with putting a swift end to irresponsible and criminal breeding practices. Laws to protect the rights of animals and to ensure their well-being are the only solution to the irresponsible behaviors of those who are heartless and perpetuate the problem. It’s time to take decisive action so kill shelters are no longer a necessity.