As the director of a “no-kill” or “limited admission facility,” as I prefer it called, I felt a need to respond to the article “To kill or not to kill” in recent editions of the Reporter. There is a place in animal welfare for animal control facilities, and a place for limited admission facilities. Neither are mutually exclusive. In order to work efficiently, effectively, and most importantly, humanely, these groups must work together. Egos, rhetoric and politics must all be put aside for the betterment of the movement. Killing adoptable, healthy animals, is an absolute tragedy. We should all be striving to eliminate this needless destruction.
But lately, what I’ve come to witness is the irresponsibility of some humane groups. Groups who generally have good intentions, put life above all else, and therefore are doing a disservice to the animals in their care. The worst death is not that of the body–it is that of the soul. To walk in some shelters and pounds and see the emptiness in the eyes of the animals there, haunts me. Animals are not humans. They cannot live with the hope of tomorrow–all they know is here and now, today. If every day is spent existing (notice I’m not saying “living”) in a cage, what is there to live for? Losing hope is the most tragic thing of all. Checking with a veterinarian to determine whether euthanasia is the best course of action for a sick animal is understandable. But we must not forget the mind.
Animals suffer considerably from burnout and the stress of being kenneled for extended periods. We must always consider their mental well-being as well as their physical well-being. One cannot exist without the other. We can all be “no-kill” when laws prohibit the continued indiscriminate breeding of dogs and cats for profit by puppy mills and irresponsible breeders, all animals are spayed and neutered and adopters/owners take full and complete responsibility for the pet they bring into their home. In an effort to save lives, let us not forget the quality of life.
Jill Van Tuyl