I am an animal lover. For years I’ve maintained strong, passionate views on animal welfare and pets in general.
As you can therefore imagine, for me it’s easy to have sympathy for sad-eyed animals that end up in shelters. But, I also understand pet owners, who for one or the other reason can no longer keep their furry companions.
There has been a huge amount of online discussion going around lately about owners surrendering their pets for no obvious reason. In particular, the ones where people get blamed for abandoning a dog because of allergies or compatibility issues with their kids…
While my first gut reaction is to say “ how unfair it is to an animal”, I am not too sure that’s the right response.It’s reasonable to think this situation could happen to anyone.
And while I understand people who are uncomfortable giving animals up for adoption, I refuse to automatically equate every owner who surrenders a pet as being unreasonable.
Am I saying that everyone who gives up a pet does it because they have exhausted all other choices? Heck no. I still think that way too many pets end up in animal shelters or in the hands of let’s say donation-hungry animal rights groups.
With all of this in mind, it’s important to remember that all animal shelters are different and operate under various policies.
Example A- “No-kill” animal shelters.
While most of you have heard the term “no-kill shelter”, many don’t know what it truly means. A “no-kill” shelter is one that does not kill to make space for more animals. However, shelter workers can still euthanize animals if they appear to be unhealthy or dangerous.
“No-kill” animal shelters take in animals but they are usually limited in the amount of animals they take in.
Think about good people in the mind-set of various life situations. The truth isn’t always warm and fuzzy and it can be the better choice to give them to the shelter.
Example B- “kill-shelters”. “Kill” shelters are often open admission. They take any animals regardless of its health condition or the likelihood of rehabilitation.
Open admissions shelters break down into two categories: shelters that regularly euthanize healthy, adoptable animals to make room and shelters that will make every effort not to euthanize any healthy, adoptable animals.
Most shelters that euthanize animals have a proverbial “sell-by” date. What this means, is if the animal has not been adopted by a certain date it will automatically be put down.
While this might not be the best option for most pet owners, for some it’s the only option. Especially, for people who have to look after super aggressive cats and dogs.
A friend of mine once adopted a Labrador from a “kill” animal shelter. While at the time she thought it was the best decision she has ever made, the adopted animal soon turned out to be a complete nightmare.
The dog quickly became aggressive indoors and outdoors causing a lot of distress to family and neighbours.
A few months after, my friend had a terrible decision to make: while she’d fallen head over heels in love with this dog, she was just not equipped to handle its aggression — and the danger it imposed on her neighbors, their dogs, and children.
She had to take the dog back and I don’t blame her.
In my opinion we can’t shame people for having the strength to admit they can no longer keep their pet. It’s our duty to help animals. Shaming pet owners or attacking them for “giving up” their pets doesn’t help anyone.
Example C – animal rights groups.
It’s very important to remember that not all animal shelters are good for animals. For example PETA, that run multiple cats and dogs shelters across the world over the years have massacred scores of potentially adoptable pets…
This organization as such doesn’t believe animals should be kept as pets and oppose any form of animal-use. Animal rights activists believe animals are better dead than in a loving home. So they kill almost every single animal that comes into their shelters.
This is wrong. How can animal rights activists who claim to love animals so heartlessly euthanize them to enthusiastically? Don’t activists have any compassion… isn’t it their job to do whatever they can to make sure animals find a new home?
While I don’t believe there is anything wrong with either Example A or B, shelters run by animal rights activists that fit into example C should be avoided at any cost.
I will let you answer that question yourself. Because at the end of the day we want the best for our pets. Or at least… most of us do.