'No kill' philosophy is a shell game

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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The problems uncovered at the Animal Care League are not surprising [Animal Care League leadership under fire, OakPark.com, June 26]. In fact, they are often business as usual for so-called "no-kill" shelters. The severe overcrowding, adoption of aggressive dogs, and animals becoming violent due to the stress of long-term confinement are further evidence that the "no-kill" policy that some at the Animal Care League want to institute isn't sustainable — or humane. 

PETA has witnessed it time and again: When a shelter shifts its focus from trying to achieve the best outcome possible for every animal and instead becomes obsessed with eliminating euthanasia, the animals always suffer. Shelters fill up quickly and animals who aren't adopted may be warehoused in small cages for years. Conditions can deteriorate as staff struggles to keep up with the onslaught of animals. Overcrowding allows diseases to spread rapidly. 

Many "no-kill" shelters resort to turning animals away when they are out of space. Animals left with owners who don't want them may be killed, severely neglected, or dumped on the streets where they face dehydration, starvation, illness, injuries, being hit by cars, and being tortured by cruel people. Those who aren't spayed or neutered breed, creating even more homeless animals. 

The "no-kill" philosophy is a shell game, and animals are the losers. Oak Park can't humanely become a "no-kill" community without first becoming a "no-birth" one. Passing mandatory spay/neuter legislation and outlawing the breeding and sale of animals by breeders, pet shops, and puppy mills are the keys. 

To learn more, visit www.PETA.org. 

Teresa Chagrin

Animal Care & Control Specialist 

Norfolk, Virginia 


Reader Comments

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Kathy Capone from Oak Park  

Posted: July 3rd, 2014 6:42 PM

What is there not to like about no-kill? It's great right up until the time you have animals that aren't going to be adopted, ever. There is no big happy farm for these animals to go to. The options for them are living out their lives in cages, losing their minds and dying by inches, or a peaceful and gentle release through euthanasia. Until everyone gets responsible about spay/neuter, this is the reality that everyone in animal welfare sees. God bless PETA.

Best practices  

Posted: July 3rd, 2014 11:17 AM

If you read the full No Kill philosophy for animal welfare, it includes free and low cost spay/neuter. True "No Kill" is a comprehensive policy. People looking for a shelter to adopt from should be looking for behavior classes, good medical care, a return policy for being able to give up an animal without it being killed, etc.


Posted: July 3rd, 2014 10:49 AM

You're absolutely right, Teresa. No one wants to euthanize animals, but until animal births are brought under control, euthanasia is more humane than turning away animals when shelters run out of room, warehousing them in cages for life, or turning them over to hoarders and scammers?"all tactics some "no-kill" shelters have resorted to in attempts to avoid euthanasia. The answer to animal overpopulation, homelessness, and the resulting need for euthanasia is to focus on spaying and neutering.


Posted: July 2nd, 2014 7:18 AM

The fact that PETA is opposed to No Kill makes me dislike PETA even more. I don't doubt your sincerity in wanting to help animals. But PETA is so extreme that it alienates the moderates like me.

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