Euthanasia is unquestionably the hardest part of our job. We wish, more than anything else, that we could in good conscience become a no-kill shelter.
The math is unalterable: we took in 4,829 stray or abandoned animals in 2015, 729 of these animals were reclaimed by their owners, and we found homes for 1,767 of these animals. That means that 2,333 animals had nowhere to go. We believe that given the circumstances, a painless death is the best choice among a limited set of awful choices.
Many no-kill (or limited admission) shelters sharply limit the number and type of animals they will take. If they’re near capacity, they’ll refuse to take in additional animals, forcing the owners to find another place for the animal. Many no-kill shelters will never accept animals that will be difficult to adopt, such as older or injured animals. Owners often report to us that they’ve brought us animals only after being refused by one or more no-kill shelters. Other no-kill shelters may house animals for years in small cages, often causing animals to go literally insane. We do not believe this is a preferable, or even realistic, alternative to euthanasia.
There’s nothing wrong with no-kill shelters or rescues, as long as they’re honest about their limitations — especially the limited number of animals they’re able to help. However, until we end the pet overpopulation problem in our community, a full-service shelter that performs euthanasia is a tragic necessity.
We understand why people get angry over euthanasia – it saddens us that we must euthanize so many wonderful animals each year. But we believe that this frustration is properly directed at the source of the problem: pet owners who abandon their animals or who do not sterilize them.
One more point is important: certain euthanasias are required by law. For example, we will not release aggressive animals. Similarly, some owners specifically request that their sick or injured pet be humanely euthanized; in such cases, we are ethically bound to do so. Euthanasia is always done humanely with a lethal injection.