Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cons of No-Kill Shelters

In theory, no-kill shelters sound perfect. We all want to believe that homeless pets can live in a safe and loving environment until they are adopted and go to live in their "forever home." Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. Rarely does the Pollyanna idea of no-kill shelters actually work. These are just a few reasons why no-kill shelter do not work well.
  • Too Many Homeless Pets - There are too many homeless pets for a no-kill shelter to truly work. While they are housing and fostering homeless pets, others are being turned away. Those homeless pets remain on the streets.
  • Limited Space - No-kill shelters, like all shelters, have limited space. Once they have reached their maximum capacity, homeless and unwanted pets do not have a place to go. They live wherever they can and the unwanted pets are stuck in homes without the love and attention they need.
  • Limited Funds - No-kill shelters have limited funds. While no-kill shelters are feeding, housing and taking care of the medical needs of a few homeless pets, thousands more remain hungry, homeless and without veterinary care.
  • Limited Animal Caregivers - No-kill shelters have limited animal care givers, whether those caregivers are employees or volunteers. As with all animal shelters and rescues, there are only a few people who care for the homeless pets.
  • Shelter Life Isn't Much of a Life -  Homeless pets that spend months and, sometimes years, in a shelter/rescue environment are not happy. Many dogs go "cage crazy." Cats can become very territorial in their cages. They are lonely and depressed without a true family to love them.
  • Fostered Pets Are Still Homeless - Fostered pets do not understand they are not living in their forever home. When (if) they are adopted, they miss their foster family. Some are not able to adjust to their new home. For many animals, this can be considered emotional cruelty.
As harsh and uncaring as it may sound it is usually best to euthanize homeless pets when they aren't adopted. Not only does this prevent the one homeless pet from suffering, it can save the lives of many more there wouldn't be room for. One homeless pet can exhaust valuable resources that could be used to save the lives of many other homeless pets.

It is a horrible line that animal shelters and rescues must walk. Deciding who can live and die and who will be alone and who will have a family are painful choices that much be made. The whole picture must be seen and the best choices for all the homeless pets must be made. Kill-shelters understand this and, as difficult as it it, they save as many as they can.

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