I wonder…

Dear Editor:

I wonder how it is possible that the euthanasia seems to be accepted in the Untied States as a “normal” treatment for healthy (!) animals that happen to be brought to a shelter.

As far as I am informed this would be considered an offense in many European countries, a violation of the law. For sure I know that about Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and take it for granted in, let’s call them civilized countries like Holland or the Scandinavian states.

If in Germany a shelter would become known for killing animals, secretly, since it is against the law, ordinary people would give them hell with telephone calls, denunciations at the police, letters to the press and so on.

Quite a few animal lovers would demonstrate at the shelter, shouting “murder!” and smash windows and the TV stations would brand the institution. At least the personally responsible employees would have to leave their jobs.

How come that the Americans and the American law have such a different idea about animal shelters? How can a house where you get killed be called a shelter? How can anybody bring the dog of his late mother which he cannot keep because he/she is working all day to a shelter of this kind, knowing that there it will be killed in a week? Under these circumstances it would be easier for him/her to destroy mother’s darling right away by shooting or poisoning it. To kill a healthy animal just because you cannot keep it is, of course, also forbidden in the countries I mentioned.

I don’t know how it is in the US; are you allowed to kill your dog because you don’t like it anymore? And if it is forbidden, how can it be allowed to take it to a so-called shelter since everybody knows that this is another name for a slaughterhouse?

Shelters in our understanding are places where displaced pet animals find a new patron, sometimes after years, or stay, well fed and treated, to the natural end of their lives. Volunteers like old people or school children can come there and go for walks with the dogs every so often. Cats have recreation rooms indoors and outdoors where they can lie in the sun.

How come that our (German, European) shelters can survive without being overcrowded to a point where they have to get rid of their proteges by mass killing? How can the animal loving and compassionate American people tolerate institutions where pets get killed on assembly lines? How can that be legal and morally accepted?

I wonder.

Sina Walden


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