Blue is a Pit Bull from the state of California. His previous family decided not to take him with them when they moved. As a result, Blue was entrusted to the Carlson Shelter, which has a reputation for being a high-kill animal shelter. Unsurprisingly, he was very upset by what had happened. Something that volunteers managed to capture in a video that they then proceeded to spread across social media for the purpose of convincing someone to take him in. Eventually, a woman named Jennifer McKay managed to build a connection with Blue. Subsequently, she took him home, meaning that he now has another family to call his own.
What Is a High-Kill Animal Shelter?
Animal shelters can be labeled either high-kill, low-kill, or no-kill. These terms are very simple and straightforward. Still, interested individuals should know that each one can mean a wide range of things because there is no universal standard for how they are supposed to be used. To name an example, just because an animal shelter is labeled “no-kill,” that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will never kill the animals that have been entrusted to it. Instead, it is more accurate to say that a no-kill animal shelter strives for a very high live release rate, which refers to the number of animals that will leave it alive when compared to the number of animals that have been taken in by it. Often-times, this means 90 percent. However, there are no-kill animal shelters that strive for even higher live release rates. Be warned that even the live release rate can be more complicated than it seems. Some animal shelters compare the number of animals that leave them alive with the number of adoptable animals that they take in rather than the total number of animals that they take in. High-kill and low-kill have similar issues. After all, they are 100 percent subjective, so their meaning is 100 percent dependent on the people using them. As a result, it is a good idea for interested individuals to look into things so that they can get a better understanding of exactly what is going on.
Why Do High-Kill Animal Shelters Exist Anyway?
No one likes hearing about animal shelters euthanizing the animals that have been entrusted to them. As a result, it is natural for people to wonder why that happens at all. If so, interested individuals should know that animal shelters euthanize the animals that have been entrusted to them because of a lack of resources. Essentially, the chain of reasoning is something like this. Animal shelters believe that the animals that have been entrusted to them need a basic level of food, healthcare, and other necessities. This is very reasonable. After all, animals that don’t get enough food suffer malnutrition or worse. Furthermore, animals that don’t get enough healthcare can suffer a wide range of serious medical problems that will have a very detrimental effect on their well-being in one way or another. As such, it is critical for animals to receive a basic level of necessities at the very least.
The issue is that necessities cost money as well as other resources. Animal shelters do not have unlimited resources. As a result, they are not capable of helping out an unlimited number of animals. In fact, the number of animals that can be helped out by animal shelters is much lower than the number of animals that need help, which is rising on a regular basis for a wide range of reasons. Under those circumstances, the people running animal shelters believe that it would be kinder to euthanize animals rather than let them suffer from a lack of necessities. Certainly, they could throw the animals that have been entrusted to them back onto the streets. However, that works out to much the same thing in the end. Moreover, that contributes to the already serious problem of there being more animals that need help than there being the resources with which to help them.
Of course, there are other reasons why animal shelters might euthanize animals. However, most of them come back to the lack of resources in the end. To name an example, euthanization might happen for the purpose of controlling highly infectious diseases. Given more resources, animal shelters might be able to bring these under control without resorting to such extreme measures. Without that, they might not have much of a choice unless they are willing to let those highly infectious diseases spread. At this point, it is natural for people to wonder about how it is possible for no-kill animal shelters to operate. As mentioned earlier, some of these organizations do euthanize some of the animals that have been entrusted to them, though the percentage tends to be very low. However, some no-kill animal shelters also put restrictions on what animals they will take in, meaning that they will accept animals that can be adopted out to interested individuals with minimal issues while avoiding those that cannot meet the same criteria. There are no-kill animal shelters that take in every animal while never euthanizing their charges. Sadly, they are the exception rather than the rule because they also operate with resource constraints.
What Can People Do About This?
If people are concerned about these issues, they should consider giving local animal shelters their support. Money is the most obvious way to do so. If they have the time, they might want to think about volunteering as well. In any case, there is a lot that animal shelters as well as other animal welfare organizations do that help out with this problem. Helping out the animals that need help is one way that they do so. However, said organizations also do a great deal to address the root of the problem rather than the symptoms of the problem. This can be seen in how they put serious time and effort into educating people on the importance of spaying and neutering their pets, which does a great deal to reduce the overpopulation of cats and dogs. Thanks to that, the severity of the problem has lessened over time. For proof, look no further than the fact that the number of euthanizations has plummeted in a lot of places. This isn’t universal, but if interested individuals keep it up, it isn’t unreasonable to think that this kind of success can be replicated elsewhere.