Euthanasia A Strain for Animal Care Workers

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Eric over at An Animal-Friendly Life points to this story in the Washington Post about how having to euthanize so many animals puts an enormous emotional strain on the employees at animal shelters. This just goes to support something I mentioned a while back, that with so many unwanted dogs and cats, there is no reason that anybody should be supporting breeders at this point. Adopting an animal from a shelter is better for the animals and for the people. Kind of similar to how not eating meat is also a humanitarian statement for all of those working in the most deplorable of slaughterhouse positions, huh?

This sentence caught my eye:

… the sweet-as-can-be pit bulls, a breed that Loudoun, like many jurisdictions, forbids shelters from making available for adoption.

Hm… is it only shelters that aren’t allowed to make them available for adoption? The organization we adopted our dog from regularly adopts out pit bulls. In any event, the idea of banning a whole breed from adoption is a bit short-sighted. I’ve met quite a few really sweet pits… there’s no reason they should have been euthanized (and, thankfully, they weren’t).

I really wish the public would become more aware at just how deep the problem is for companion animals and the people that are forced to kill them. I hope articles like this will help spread the word.

7 Responses to “Euthanasia A Strain for Animal Care Workers”

  1. Eric

    One of my favorite dogs in life is a pit named Paula Dawn. She is the cutest, sweetest thing, vegan, and I always think of her when I hear people say negative things about these animals, who have a bad rep from how they are bred, raised, and treated by some individuals who care more about themselves than the dogs.

  2. girl least likely to

    pit bulls are my favorites. i’ve met far more sweetheart pits than scary ones. BSL is one of my “hot-button issues,” i think. i get really cranky about it.

    word up about the shelter vs. breeder thing, too. one of my mom’s friends just bought a *mixed-breed* puppy at a “puppy store” for $800. i almost bit through my tongue.

  3. katie

    why do people kill pets for no reason??? its no fair to them! i mean, people are going crazy about all the wild animals that are getting closer and closer to extinction, are family pets not as important as the wild animals? those pets that are being killed for no reason deserve a right to live. if anyone wants to chat with me more about this email me. i cant beleive that pets are getting enough attention.

  4. Heather

    I don’t know if it applies to this situation or not, but in some communities owners are banned from owning pitbulls or other”dangerous breeds” per local laws. This means that if the shelters in those communities receive those kinds of dogs, they are considered unadoptable, and thus the first in line to be euthanized. When I worked for an animal rescue, our alternative was to contact the national rescue groups for particular breeds to see if they could take them off our hands instead.

    Working for animal rescues or shelters in any capacity is at the same time both rewarding and defeating. It’s heart wrenching to see the number of companion animals abandoned, abused, and unwanted. It just makes no sense to me that people would even consider purchasing from a breeder at high cost when almost any type of animal you could want is readily available to adopt – even pure breds.

  5. Ruth

    I am glad that there are people compassionate towards the plight of domestic animals such as dogs and cats. Taking a broad view of what kind of world we now have because of human actions, we no longer have the kind of balance that a natural environment would create. We have vast industries of pet foods that are resourced by culling of wild native and feral animals, the horse slaughterhouses, the less desirable parts of animals slaughtered for humans, crops and animals raised especially for the feeding of captive animals, ecologically unsustainable fish harvesting.

    While we are loving and caring for helpless animals, who through no fault of their own have been born and bred by humans for humans, there is the matter of our responsibility that while we are working to relieve the immediate suffering, to look to long term goals of how we want to relate to the life around us. And while it is commendable that those who are vegan and vegetarian do make efforts to feed their animals this kind of food instead of meat, or at least supplement their meat diet so they consume less, there is still the unbalanced situation in a world were many people have insufficient or no food while there is an overabundance of food not only for people but for the animals they keep.

    An animal that has lived as a free wild animal, with dignity and autonomy, would never choose to be a helpless dependent of a human. The breeding and selling of animals maintains an attitude to animals that disregards their essential right to a life where their full potential can be realised.

    This is not a criticism on any that love and care for animals, I also have a horse, not a thoroughbred worth thousands of dollars from some breeder, but a cross-bred stallion who was causing his owner a nuisance by getting out of his paddock regularly to chase the neighbouring mares. One day, while the owner was trying to round him up, he broke into my paddock where there was already a horse left by the previous owner. The owner told me that he was going to sell the horse to the knackery (Aussie lingo for horse slaughterhouse) for $150 because he was fed up with him. I gave him $100 to leave the horse in my paddock (funny that horse didnt break out of my paddock regularly, even though mine was even less secure). I have had a few requests to let my beautiful horse mate with mares, but I never allow it. I despair at the attitude of these people, they dont seem to see beyond their own desire to own and have a beautiful animal.

  6. animalvoice

    One big problem is that the national animal welfare/rights organizations aren’t providing guidelines for euthanasia.

    For example, the US Humane Society (or USHS, a national group not affiliated with local Humane Societies) provides a ton of guidelines for how the floors of shelters should be kept, etc., but don’t provide guidelines for euthanasia policy.

    We investigated a similar matter regarding underweight kittens. Our local animal shelter euthanizes all kittens under 1.5 lbs, even if they have foster volunteers willing to care for them. When we contacted the USHS about this practice and suggested they provide guidelines, they replied “That decision must be left up to the discretion of each individual humane society or SPCA.”

    We’re trying to raise awareness of euthanasia policies of shelters that are overly broad and unnecessarily cause the death of perfectly healthy and often well socialized animals.

    Please let us know what you learn about your local shelters’ euthanasia practices and let’s spread the work for change. Email these practices to [email protected] or post to our blog at voiceofanimals.blogspot.com. THANKS for all your hard work.

  7. Laurel Phelps LaFlamme

    No attempt to debate euthanasia laws, rules and who portends to regulate them correctly. That would be another Blog unto itself.

    However, your words below ring very true to me…and I thank you. QUOTE:
    “I really wish the public would become more aware at just how deep the problem is for companion animals and the people that are forced to kill them. I hope articles like this will help spread the word.”

    I wholeheartedly agree. Death is not nice. We are animals with a conscience. We have empathy for those who suffer, maybe even more so for little baby animals.

    The ones responsible for “putting them down” bare a heavy heart from their solemn task. I read an article about the grown men weeping inside for all the thousands of animals they had to cull in the UK and abroad during the Hoof & Mouth DS incidents.

    The difference there, not that is was any easier to kill those creatures, was that those animals were sick and contaminated. These baby animals are being slaughtered mainly because selfish, irresponsible individuals do not take responsibility for their own animals’ reproduction.

    GET YOUR PET SPAYED OR NEAUTERED. How hard is it to prevent needless animal euthanasia and human pain of heart for having to do it? Where I live, it’s about $50.00 or free. On our Animal Care Blog, we have a list of places and resources where you can get your pet “fixed” for low cost or free.

    Just about everyplace in the US has a place to get your pet fixed for a low cost. And if you cannot afford the $50.00 or so it takes to get your animal spayed or neutered….you REALLY should not be owning one.

    It takes responsibility to raise a child…and that’s what your pet is – your baby. It depends on your for everything. If you don’t have the money to take your child to the doctor – please, please – don’t have one.

    It is a very tricky situation. One that could be resolved so easily if people would attempt to get their pets spayed and neutered.

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