|Could you look into Phoebe's eyes and say "Tough Tarts little white dog, I won't give you a loving home because you landed in a shelter that isn't No-Kill and I won't adopt from them!"|
Nobody wants homeless pets to be euthanized, but millions of homeless pets are euthanized every year in shelters across the U.S. Most shelters that aren't No-Kill are municipal shelters, government entities. Governments create municipal shelters in order to keep the homeless pet population under control. They don't want stray animals wandering loose along highways posing a traffic danger. They don't want loose dogs potentially forming packs and becoming a danger to the public (Yes, that actually happens). They want to give pet owners a place to surrender their pets rather than dumping them in public places, creating an unsafe or unsanitary population of homeless animals.
Shelters aren't Walmart or Macy's. If you don't like how Walmart or Macy's is doing business you can boycott their stores. If enough people boycott them, they'll eventually go out of business. That won't happen with shelters. If people stop adopting from municipal shelters, the only thing that will be accomplished is that shelters will become even more overcrowded and even more animals will die. Municipal shelters will never "go out of business" until the need for sheltering millions of homeless pets goes away. No, there aren't enough adopters, rescues, and No-Kill shelters to eliminate the need for municipal shelters. I wish there were.
|Please don't turn away from me because I ended up in a county shelter. It wasn't my fault. None of it was my fault.|
However, No-Kill shelters aren't obligated to take every animal that comes their way. They evaluate each animal that is brought to their door and can elect to accept or deny that animal. Not so with municipal shelters, they are almost always obligated to take every dog that comes their way. Even if a dog is aggressive and has bitten a child's face off, a municipal shelter will take them. They'll euthanize them, but they'll take them. Lucky are the animals who end up in No-Kill shelters. Desperate and at risk are the ones who don't.
|Would you really turn away from these little guys because they had the bad luck to end up in a shelter that isn't No-Kill?|
Like all government entities, shelters have budgets. When the budget is spent, it's spent. When the shelter is full, it's full and that means municipal shelters have to make tough decisions. They can't just turn people away, they can't stop answering the phones with calls about loose pets wandering the streets or aggressive dogs that have harmed people. They still need to find a way to take in owner surrenders as well, IF they can't convince them to keep their pets for just one or two or three more weeks until kennel space opens up. Shelters have limited space and resources. Can't municipal shelters just STOP euthanizing pets? Sure. But one of two things would need to happen:
> Governments would need to increase the budget they have for sheltering animals and vastly expand shelter facilities. This would probably mean an increase in taxes. Personally, I'd be more than happy to add a few hundred bucks to my annual taxes to pay for it, but not everyone is willing or financially able to do so.
> Another alternative is for Governments and the public to allow homeless dogs and other animals to roam free in the streets. In Arizona, cats are considered free roaming animals and do not get picked up by animal control unless there is an extenuating circumstance, like the cat attacked a child. If dogs were to roam free, their population would have to be monitored to ensure they were able to get adequate food and water, don't develop contagious diseases, and could be kept away from roadways where they might cause a traffic danger. They would also have to be monitored to ensure aggressive packs do not form; this has actually happened in several cities.
In one city the municipal shelter was in desperate need of an expansion to accommodate the enormous number of homeless pets they take in. If the shelter was expanded, more animals could be taken in, meaning fewer animals would be euthanized. The county finally approved the shelter's plea for more money and an expansion. The land was secured, the money allocated. Everyone was SO excited, think of all the furry little lives that could be saved with a larger shelter! Shelter staff couldn't wait for the new shelter to be built. They waited. And they waited.
Nearly 2 years later the county reneged on it's commitment to a new shelter. Instead, they elected to use the funds to build a brand new sports stadium on the land that had been allocated for the new shelter. No shelter expansion. No additional space for homeless animals. No additional lives would be saved. I understand the county's decision. They are there to serve the public and a stadium provided a forum for families to enjoy activities together. It also brought lots of money into the county. An animal shelter is an expense, it doesn't generate any revenue.
|These 3 little amigos ended up in a shelter that isn't No-Kill along with an enormous number of other homeless Chihuahuas|
If you're going to adopt a pet, please don't turn your back on the millions of animals in shelters that aren't No-Kill. Regardless of how you feel about these shelters or the governments that establish them, please remember that it's about the animals not the shelters.
So, why do I volunteer for a shelter that isn't No-Kill? It's simple. I don't volunteer for the shelter, I volunteer for the animals. It's all about the animals, and I won't turn my back on them. Will you?
We'd love to hear your thoughts on adopting from shelters that aren't No-Kill. Please tell us how you feel about it in the comments below.
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