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Written by PETA | December 18, 2007

ACGS_kitty.JPGI’m not sure that I’ve directly addressed this topic before on this blog, but there have been two events this month that really underscore the importance of having a serious discussion about “no-kill” shelters among animal advocates, so here goes: The first was this article in The LA Daily News, which published statistics showing that more animals die in “no-kill” or “limited-admission” shelters in LA than people think. As the article puts it:

“Over the last five years, the number of animals euthanized in L.A. shelters has been cut in half, from 37,024 to 17,881. But with that gain come trade-offs.

Keeping large numbers of unadoptable pets alive means shelters will be more crowded. Animals can’t be as closely monitored. Contagious illnesses will spread, and violent animals will more often prey on weaker ones.

So while euthanasia rates have gone down, animal deaths from other causes – including illness and attacks – have gone up from 1,462 to 3,312 a year, a 127 percent increase.”

Riley.JPGTo me, the article addresses what is in many ways a problem of terminology: “No-Kill” sounds pretty great, but it doesn’t mean “No-Suffering” (or “No-Death” for that matter), by a long shot. What it means is that the people running the shelter (though they are often well-intentioned individuals) have made a decision to turn their backs on the animals who may be abandoned and die on the streets because their limited-admission shelters lack room for more, and—as the article shows—allow the animals who are in their shelters to die from overcrowding, disease, or injury instead of humane lethal injection in the arms of caring people.

The second event that brought this topic to mind was the recent release of footage from a PETA undercover investigation into a “no-kill” shelter called All Creatures Great and Small. The investigator, who was there throughout a 7-month period, discovered systematic abuse and neglect of the hundreds of animals kept in filthy, overcrowded cages with no hope of reprieve or release from their suffering. There’s some more information about PETA’s stance on this issue here, and you can watch the video from our investigation below. I know this is a complex and emotional topic, but I thought this was a good opportunity to explain where we stand.

Commenting is closed.
  • Ken says:

    After being exposed and working in nokill shelters for years in Arizona I can tell you that I dont believe in nokill animal shelters as they presently exist. There needs to be a serious rethinking of what these shelters should do and not do. To be honest most of these shelters are run by hoarders with little funds and little staff. There is no other way to explain why the neglect of animals in these shelters exist. I personally feel we must be realistic about the nokill philosophy. It is just impossible to save every animal. First each shelter needs to set a limit on how many animals they have the ability to take care of properly. YOU CANNOT TAKE IN EVERY STRAY THAT COMES ALONGTHIS IS SIMPLY UNREALISTIC. Isnt it more logical to say you have the ability to take care of well 100 animals than take care of poorly 200 because you cant turn an animal away? If you over extend your resources all the animals suffer. Thats insane! Again shelters need a serious shift in there thinking here.

  • Brennan Browne says:

    Tamara My computer crashed in midDec and I have been offline ever since…please forgive the delay in responding to your questions…I’ve included them below for the readers’ convenience. I am advising that the corporate community THOSE BUSINESSES SELLING ANIMALS AND ANIMAL RELATED SUPPLIES become involved in helping SOLVE the largest portion of the pet overpopulation problem by PARTNERING with county pounds shelters and rescue organizations whereby they directly acquire HEALTHY adoptable animals that would otherwise be euthanized for no other reason than the unavailability of homes. Puppies kittens and other animals destined to be destroyed would be obtained for FREE by Petsmart Petco etc. with the stipulation that they MUST be spayedneutered and receive the required shots BEFORE being sold thru various retail stores. Pet overpopulation would immediately start to decline. There are SEVERAL positives for the animals the shelters and the businesses First many shelters and county pounds are absolute hellholes of disease abuse neglect and overcrowding. The public is never allowed to see these deplorable conditions. However with even a MINIMUM of oversight and cooperation from retailers animals can be cared for in clean relatively quiet and SUPERIOR conditions to what they experience in pounds. ANYONE…the general public or animal rights volunteers can make the rounds regularly to retailers in order to insure animals are treated well…and you don’t need to be an animal control officer to have access. Retailers will reap HUGE profits by selling healthy animals obtained free…because they are no longer paying puppy mills for sick animals which cost retailers many hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses each year. Puppy mills will be put out of business permanently. The majority of puppy mills are now supported by the retail giants in the pet industry. If they can get FREE HEALTHY animals why as astute business people wouldn’t they? Precious county shelter space would then be freed up and money which would normally be spent on food vet care and euthanasia could then be redirected into providing free spay and neuter programs to the community. Further reducing pet overpopulation. Yes there will still be people who will want pure breeds. However with a blitz of sophisticated advertising campaigns backed by retail giants like Petsmart old attitudes and prejudices can quickly be changed and people will want to do the humane and responsible thing by adopting from their local and VERY CONVENIENT retail pet stores. As for “special needs” animals they will have a greater chance within the shelter system if they are not competing with healthy animals for the same homes. They’ll have those empty shelters all to themselves until a ‘special needs’ sanctuary can be found and contactedand there are several springing up everywhere nowadays. Ultimately county shelters should be in the business of spaying neutering and conducting humane education programs within the community. It’s time to convert these death camps into beacons of hope for animals…and PETA with its vast resources must lead the way by eliminating its policy of killing healthy adoptable beings and focusing on working WITH the retail pet industry to solve pet overpopulation the truly humane wayby giving these innocents a fair chance at love and life. Brennan Brennan Browne You letter to Petland was very interesting. But I have some questions. Are you advising Petland to “sell” these shelter animals? Adopt them? or “Adopt” them but charge breedertype fees? Does the shelter get a cut of the profit? Or I guess they are just paid outright for the animal? I don’t think your Petland Utopia is ever going to happen. There are people out there who want “purebred” animals and will pay for them. I know there are purebreds in shelters but not that many. They consider shelter animals “used” and there is something wrong with them. And what about those that have been abused and are emotionally damaged?? What about a dog or cat with some kind of special needs? Like a blind dog or cat? Or an amputee? Or a senior dog or cat? They don’t have a chance here either. Not exactly fair to those little guys. What do we do with them…? I don’t think it’s fair or humane to just leave them in a shelter while all the “good” dogs and cats get a better chance at a home. And Petland makes megabucks doing it. Your idea looks good on paper but when you start trying to make it work…that’s where the problems begin. Posted by Tamara

  • kelly says:

    So what’s the deal with Terre Haute Indiana? Are they going with this no kill cruelty? Read the second letter httpwww.tribstar.comopinionlocalstory361153922.html They would not pick up the injured dog but told the finder to let the dog loose because they wwere full and the dog even had a tag! Cruelty by animal shelter!

  • Allison says:

    I think their is a difference between no kill rescues and no kill shelters. I don’t think there should be no kill shelters. The community pays for things like animal control with taxes. There is obviously a waiting period that should still be observed by the law in case the dog is owned. It would be awesome if there were just magically enough good homes but reality. Now a no kill rescue is totally different. Why would you start a rescue to kill the animals? They are working independent from the gov’t. They may get a few tax breaks but we don’t support them through our taxes. But They should be smart enough to know their limits too. Taking them off the streets and from shelters to live in a cage with 200 others doesn’t really sound like rescuing to me. I think with both a kill shelter and a no kill rescue or 3 working together towards the common goal of bringing the animal population down we could see great things. Obviously implementation of spay neuter programs…trap spay and release programs. I think local shelters and rescues should also have a hand in bringing down the number of backyard breeders in their area. In my area we have a nokill shelter and many rescues to take in the overflow. Still many dogs running on the streets. In our neighboring county there is a high kill shelter and no rescues. Honestly after you see the neighboring county’s shelter you see why I do think humane euthanasia is the best option sometime. They left a dog with a broken legs wo vet attention for at least 3 days. Then they finally euthanised him. The euthanasia given at this county shelter is called the “pink juice.” The dogs seizure and cry in pain for a couple minutes before they finally die. There are many to a cage and almost always accompanied by excrement. I call it a death pit. Anyway…i think there is a difference and good balance somewhere. I get very upset when people buy purebreed dogs from backyard breeders because I do my part to foster and rescue from shelter. My stepfamily alone has bought 3 purebreed boxers this year. All came with worms and one came with an autoimmune disease. Beautiful! I’ve fostered 8 this year and I feel like my step family has negated all my hard work. As for humans breeding. I will be having 2 children…unless I’m barren. It probably is selfish but Go watch the movie idiocracy…it’s a comedy…but my point is made. I’m not worried about carrying on my name or anything like that. I just want to know that I’ve left at least one or two smart people in this sea of idiots. Plus someone will have to take care of my animals when I die…lol

  • Caboose says:

    Michele Thats called sterilization right?

  • Dana says:

    Anthony In the I am an animal documentary all Ingrid really said was that it just did not seem fair to have children when there are so many out there that need homes. If wanting kids was ever an issue she would adopt. I am one of those people that will not be having children..there is no way I am going to bring a child in to this world at this point just so that they can witness the destruction of the earth that global warming has already started to cause..but by their generation will be complete devastation. I also think myself that there is very much so a overpopulation problem..and wish that more people would rethink having so many children per family. Animals having rights only means that they are allowed not to be subject to such pain suffering that they too are considered beings not objects….we have already seen that they are capable of feeling pain and joy therefore they should have the right to be protected from harm just as we are and laws should be passed to make sure that anyone that does treat them unfairly gets the same punishment that someone harming humans would. Everyone thinks that if animals are protected they will become over populated and this just is not true….nature does have natural predator not human ones that will assure that nature is balanced out properly. Farm animals cows pigs ect do not breed in the extreme masses you see them in today that is human intervention. Trust me Anthony you would much rather see too many animals than none at all….I have said this many times but it is worth saying again….without animals we would parish…but without humans they would indeed flourish.

  • phyllis dodge says:

    i WAS the caregiver of 8 feral kittries. pinellas county animal services has told me to trap them and turn them in. They will be killed. we have had many cats turn up dead or disapear. we have a pack of dogs. so now i have to catch the cats and turn them over. it is so heartbreaking to me. they are okay here. can not prevent the trapping for they have threatened to fine and imprison me for beingg a caretaker……. who can help. . is there help out there. my cats do not harm anyone. but it is against the law to let them roam. then they tell me at 330 in the afternoon it is too late to come from largo to pick up cats i trap. so they are in trap all night. that is crueler yet. this is tearing me apart. help me.what do i do? some are just untrappable. than they find the pack of dogs and wont do anything about them though……..

  • Anthony Wrifford says:

    And I also heard on the HBO special that the founder of PETA didn’t think it was right for her to have children. Okay I respect that I know people who have felt the same way. But just to think you’re helping to cut the population well isn’t that a bit naive? And I also have another question If animals have the same rights as people if this is what PETA believes I’m not sure someone tell me okay? then are we then equal to animals? Might this not have unintended consequences in the future? Do you see what I mean?

  • randi says:

    Cass Peta’s euth rate is high because they are not a shelter. the animals they acquire are from casework and ergo are in dire situations hence their unadoptability. the few adoptable aniamls they get are sent to VA BEACH SPCA so even the adoptable ones PETA doesnt get credit for.

  • Dana says:

    Eric I am glad that you agree with the vast majority of the things we do…I do however need to let you know that Peta nor most animal rights people try to use religion for or against our beliefs and helping animals. It is more about what is morally wrong! Now let me go to your Book of Genesis….start with the first part of that story and you will find that when Adam Ever were first created in the garden of Eden they did not eat meat….then after the sin of eating the fruit had been committed and Noah took animals two by two in the ark for some unknown reason eating meat was fair game for all creatures on earth will fear you….I think Peter Singer best sums this up in his book In Defense of Animals it is a great book! Christianity inherited the Hebrew vision that all humans are made in the image of. God and have been given dominion over the earth. Christians in the formative stages also borrowed from the Greek culture tradition. In important mainline Christian tradition narrowed the Hebrew side of it heritage by playing down the animal friendly side of the Hebrew religion while at the same time foregrounding the anti animal aspects of the Greeks vision. Some early proponents of Christianity included Origen and Augustine of Hippo exaggerated humans that distanced themselves from other animals. I think a great point to point out here is sometimes people take the Bible too literally or they see a verse and only think that it could mean what they think it means. I have long since fought the battle over my religion which is Christianity being so easily threw in my face to justify animal abuse. I still am not completely settled on this issue but have found peace in the fact that if you look that in Gods paradise Eden his view of perfect creation no animals were consumed at all. I also want you to look at the following verus from the bible…. Leviticus 725 For whoever eats the fat of the animal of which men offer an offering made by fire to the Lord the person who eats it shall be cut off from his people. This would seem to mean that all of the grain and unnatural things done to make animals to produce more fat in our modern day food process would not fare well in Gods eyes. Leviticus 726 Moreover you shall not eat any blood in any of your dwellings whether of bird or best. Have you ever watched the videos that clearly show that baby cattle are sometimes fed the blood or that some of the blood actually goes back into the meat after draining? There are many other teachings taken from the this very bible such as that of the Jews were clearly forbidden by God the eating of swine and to this day they no longer eat pork…. It all boils down to this the most scripture used to go against animal rights comes straight from the old testament and if you are going to follow the old testament even though in Church we were all taught not to you are going to live a very strict life. I find that most people say oh we do not live by the old testament but when it just happens to justify a behavior they are doing they have no problem throwing the old testament in your face. To close I will tell you that there is no way possible that the awful events pain and suffering that take place in the slaughter houses would be justified in Gods eyes…………On judgement day what are you going to do when God ask you what you did to end the pain and suffering of all living beings on earth and your answer is I used your scripture to justify the abuse and did NOTHING!

  • Michelle says:

    Simple solution spay and neauter your animals and those people who keep having children that don’t care for them!

  • Cass says:

    I think this article is an attempt to make guilty PETA workers feel better about the fact that they euthed over 90 of their animals in Norfolk Virginia at their animal “shelter”. Sounds more like a slaughterhouse. Doesn’t PETA fight places that kill pigs? How are they any better by killing dogs?? Like I said…leave the petrelated causes off of the PETA agenda because they’re causing more harm than good!

  • Eric says:

    Good afternoon Peta and hi to all the readers who post comments on this forumblog. I have a comments to Peta if not to anyone who can read my post. Let me first say that I agree with PETA when they said Animals Are Not Ours to Experiment On Animals Are Not Ours to Use for Entertainment. Now here is where PETA left me confused if not then doesn’t make sense. PETA said”Animals Are Not Ours to Eat” Is that supposed to be a SIN or is just bad to humans in general? Believe it or not The Almighty God Our Creator said we can eat any kind of animal for food. Read the Bible especially at the Book of Genesis Chapter 9 verse 3. If anyone think I am wrong please let me know. I would like to contact PETA but their number is listed only if you want to report an animal abuse.

  • Maya, C.V.T. says:

    Good points Dana. Cass I also know what you mean but what happens is that the dog cannot legally taken away from its owner in every case. Therefore it is only legal to give the dog a better outdoor shelter. Until the law changes that’s the way it will be. The neglectful owner will get to keep the dog unless someone wants to illegally steal the dog. And even if this weren’t incredibly risky how could one do this for all the millions of neglected dogs? It’s not realistic. So the second best option is to give the dog a good shelter and hope the owner will eventually give the dog up. We have a small dog igloo on our front porch for the hundreds of stray cats in our neighborhood. It has warm cozy material inside so the strays don’t freeze to death. We can only take in so many one of our strays had a tumor in his ear abscesses feline AIDS staph infections earmites ruptured eardrums and he is also deaf. His treatment has costed us thousands so in order to keep giving him good care we cannot take in any more strays. But leaving a warm shelter on our porch for the strays seems the next best thing until we can take in more cats.

  • Dana says:

    Cass I can feel your frustration and I know the feeling well. There is one thing I had to touch on here that you said…I recently took my first trip on a adventure that gave out treats shavings food spayneuter vouchers for free…to dogs on chains. I had always wanted to move more toward this awareness movement that dogs on chains are now allowed to be dogs at all. We started out on a very cold morning with rain just waiting to come…we divided into groups in one of the worse neighborhoods you can imagine…That day changed my life forever and will be burned within my heart and mind forever. I seen starving dogs I seen severely matted dogs…I seen the most heart breaking things you can possibly imagine…each one of there little paw prints is imbedded in my heart. This whole mission started out as a mission to ban the chaining of dogs reality soon set in that until the laws change…and no matter how many people in law making positions we hound with phone calls and letters so far nothing has changed….but until it does all peta can really do is promote as they do the realities and heartlessness of chaining dogs. You will find that dogs are still considered property at this point and the property owner just so happens to be the owners. At this point people that are trying to help these animals and take them off of property or go on property to take footage of the abuse with the hopes that they can get the owners charged with animal abuse are ending up in court for theft and trespassing. The whole situation is screwed up but at current this is how the laws are set. On this day we went out and at least let these animals experience love for they have never witnessed it full heartedly ever…we provided shavings so that the dogs that are forced to stay there may actually have a chance to become warm. We also tried to get these people to accept these spayneuter vouchers so that no new animal would be born into this awful situation…at this point in a legal standpoint that is all you have. In these neighborhoods where dogs are kept on chains it is not uncommon every neighbor has one in these conditions and most of these people think it is normal that nothing really is wrong with it….furthermore half of these people can not even feed themselves.. Do I wholeheartedly agree that if you can not afford to feed or seek medical care for an animal that you should not have it….YES but that reality has not even hit the human population yet so it is slow coming for the animal population. At this point you can have as many children as you want regardless of your financial situation….the only difference is chaining out humans in this unthinkable horror is illegal. You have to do what you can and anything at this point is better than nothing! Maybe you will get at least one person to see that they are not providing the proper conditions for these animals….You are providing one good meal for a dog that is starving…..A dog will get a dog house that was other wise standing in wide open with no shelter. Does it completely break your heart that you are helpless..that you can not jerk each and every one of them up YES of course you are for this is not the way it is suppose to be….I left that day with a whole new view of things and an overwhelming amount of saddens…but eager to do it again. So your comment about this is no less cruel no it is no less cruel but it is a reality of a situation that legally you can not change for at the present time it is LEGAL……..You have to start out one step at a time and I guess my feelings from your comments were one of negative feelings toward Peta for going on these missions for chained dogs…….Trust me it is not in support of the way these animals live it is in support of caring enough to get off your butt and do something anything that may improve this situation even if it seems small. Maybe you should get out and try one of these missions and see that even though it seems like not enough and trust me its not but its all we can do at this time it is something it is a little bit of comfort even though it is no where near the comfort they deserve…but it is hope….and without hope this will always be the norm!

  • Maya, Master's candidate, wildlife biology says:

    Abi hi! Thank you for backing me up on this! Although I respect PETA in many ways this is just one of many examples where they make things black and white. Some things are more complex and PETA needs to realize that. Of course no normal human being would support All Creatures’ abuse of animals. In fact I’m surprised shelters don’t get inspected in some fashion. They should. And Cass brilliant comment. I have always said the original shelters were for stray animals period. We need to get back to that system.

  • Amy says:

    How very tragic and SAD. I feel ill seeing the injustices these animals face in a ‘humane’ shelter.

  • Cass says:

    Ok so this is a sticky subject for me but I do have something to say about it. I volunteer fulltime for a nonprofit nokill RESCUE not shelter. We pull dogs and cats from overcrowded shelters that get SOOOO many animals that they have no time to even attempt to get good dogs adopted. Now the area we are in has a Humane Society that used to get $75 an animal that they took in in order to motivate them to take in any and all stray animals WHICH IS WHAT AN ANIMAL SHELTER IS FOR! This shelter feeling guility and I cannot blame them terminated the contract and are now turning people away at the door with strays. This makes me FURIOUSfor two reasons ONE If my dog got loose the first place I’d check was the Humane Society. If I knew they turned someone who found my dog away at the door I’d be FURIOUS! Often strays are just lost unless it’s in the case of feral cats which in that instance the humane shelter should atleast TrapNeuterRelease! TWO They charge to drop off an animal and they are keeping feral unfriendly dogs and cats cooped up in kennels making them even more angry and turning away people with perfectly friendly dogs that they just can’t keep for one reason or another. It’s just not fair to the animal. Unfortunately you can often not reverse the raising a dog has received and it is humane to end the life of an uncivil animal if it means saving the life of a perfectly wonderful one. There are many rescues out there who dare to be allaccepting and humane and take dogs that just have horrible temperments such as dogs who were used as bait dogs for dog fights and “rehab” them. It’s just not possible. These rescues end up keeping these dogs forever and they live in kennels their whole lives. Now why is living in a cage any better than being homeless? Atleast as a stray you can run around. Rescues are meant to relieve the burden of overcrowded shelters but toooften do rescues lose site of the real purpose and that is to place a dog or cat in a home not in another longerterm shelter. I personally think it is better to have 700 adoptions in a year than to provide a sortof “half way house” for troubled dogs. And this is coming from someone who ADORES pitbulls. Adores them. But it is simply a lostcause to try to rehab a dog that was Raised to be mean. It’s like trying to turn someone who grew up in a life of crime into some sort of straightlaced individual. It just doesn’t happen. All pets have the right to a home and a family and it’s a sad reality that many pets don’t get that good pets deserve good homes not to live in cages or in backyards their whole life. PETA buying doghouses and straw for freezing dogs who are chained up outside is no less cruel than letting them rot in a shelter. Atleast in a shelter there is a hope they’ll be adopted or put out of their misery. Poor communities have no excuse for leaving their dogs outsidewhy is PETA supporting that cruel practice? And PETA says it’s cruel but then supports it and acts like their doing the dogs good. VET CARE WOULD DO THEM GOOD! Not straw! PETA seems to be a little shifty on their issues. They say “DON’T BUY FROM PETSTORES” and then “BEWARE OF NOKILL SHELTERS!” Honestly I think only people who support peta pay attention to their causes. I think the public has turned a cheek to PETA because of the extremities of the causes. I’m all for PETA trying to help out with homeless pets but honestly I think they should just stick to turning people vegetarian and fighting fur because their petrelated causes are slanted…

  • kelly says:

    Nathan Winograd is one of the “sellers” of no kill. And he is not being honest. It’s bad enough that he “sold out” to breeders and the proabuse lobby the breeders support him because he ridiculously claims that laws aren’t necessary. That’s what breeders want no regulation and lots of puppy mills! But one of his OWN shelters that he touts as a success is FAILING. Local news reports in Ithaca exposed overcrowding wait lists turning animals away and they lost community support. And other shelters that he touts as successes either are not no kill or they have announced they can longer be no kill because it failed and brought more suffering. His falsehoods are one of the motivators for the hoarders the horrible abusive situations in the name of “No Kill.” But he sells books and gets consulting fees and attracts a cult of naive people that are in denial about the terrible failures of No Kill. It’s a con.

  • RUDY says:

    On November 9 2007 my wife and I were living in a Red Roof Inn in Billings while looking for a place to live that would allow dogs. billings is very antidog and we have an Alaskan Malamute Princess. Princess had been sick all night and there was a housekeeper there that was trying to help us find an apartment that would allow Princess and she loved Princess and petted her often. Before we moved to Billings from Tulsa a stranger had stopped his car when we were in the yard with Princess and wanted to pet Princess. We allowed him to because she is a precious and beautiful dog. He stuck his face close to hers and she snarled growled and backed away having a way to retreat from what she thought was a threat. Ever since that we have told anybody who wants to pet Princess that she is friendly but do NOT stick your face too close to hers. We tell that to EVERYBODY even though family can even kiss her on the cheeks or nose. This motel worker came into our motel room to make some calls to some of her friends who may know of a place to live that would allow dogs. She sat on the dresser my wife was on one bed with her feet between the beds and Princess was leaning against the side of the other bed looking at the motel worker with whom Princess had been friendly for about 5 weeks and we had told this worker Princess was friendly but keep her face out of Princess’ face. Princess was cool with her being in our room with us there but I was out of the room. The motel worker finished her calls and had to return to working and she JUMPED off the dresser RUSHED at Princess SIEZED Princess by both sides of the head and Princess had nowhere to retreat even if the girl did not have her head. Then the girl bent to kiss Princess and Princess bit the girl’s lip off where she had a piercing in the center of the lower lip. The girl had to have reconstructive surgery and now has permanent scarring but she admitted to the district attorney that she had been warned not to do that about a month before it happened. You don’t do stuff like that to someone else’s dog!!! Common sense right? Jump and rush at the dog and grab it by the head? My God you control a 1500 pound horse by its head right? Now she is wanting Princess put down!!! Princess was not the aggressor Princess was not the dangerous one! I am wondering if PETA would supply a lawyer to try to set a precident by countersuing this lady for endangering our dog by her own aggressive actions because it was not the dog’s fault it was hers. She had been warned not to put her face close to the dogs and then to move fast and grab a cornered animal??? Please help Princess is like our child to us!!! The dog should not be punished capitol punishment for the dumb person’s actions!!!

  • Kenna says:

    Speaking of the animals getting each other sick I have a question for everyone. The animal shelter I volunteer at just instituted a new policy. Each time we come we are allowed to only pet one cat. This is in order to prevent disease. But I think this policy is a little silly. The volunteers take hygiene seriously and we used to use hand sanitizer between each cat. Also the shelter is on the opposite side of town from where I live and I used to volunteer in larger chunks of time less often so that I could socialize about 5 cats every time I went. It’s hard for me to get motivated to drive all the way across town and only stay for 2030 minutes playing with only one cat. I wouldn’t think that if they insured that the cats were healthy before putting them up for adoption that they would need this policy. So what do you all think…does this policy make sense?

  • Tamara says:

    Brennan Browne You letter to Petland was very interesting. But I have some questions. Are you advising Petland to “sell” these shelter animals? Adopt them? or “Adopt” them but charge breedertype fees? Does the shelter get a cut of the profit? Or I guess they are just paid outright for the animal? I don’t think your Petland Utopia is ever going to happen. There are people out there who want “purebred” animals and will pay for them. I know there are purebreds in shelters but not that many. They consider shelter animals “used” and there is something wrong with them. And what about those that have been abused and are emotionally damaged?? What about a dog or cat with some kind of special needs? Like a blind dog or cat? Or an amputee? Or a senior dog or cat? They don’t have a chance here either. Not exactly fair to those little guys. What do we do with them…? I don’t think it’s fair or humane to just leave them in a shelter while all the “good” dogs and cats get a better chance at a home. And Petland makes megabucks doing it. Your idea looks good on paper but when you start trying to make it work…that’s where the problems begin.

  • Ricky says:

    I volunteer with a no kill shelter in Kansas City. Our humane director works with local animal control that are not no kill to take in dogs that may otherwise be put down. It is a complex situation however. When we turn away animals and we do we know that there is a great chance they will be destroyed elsewhere. I believe we animal rights folks are after the same thing however the wording and the message need to be reworked a bit. Just a note that in our no kill shelter we have a wonderful staff and volunteer network. All the dogs get outside everyday to run and be happy.

  • vegan4animals says:

    This is why I’m all about preventing the problem! SPAY and NEUTER all cats and dogs spay and neuter all of the stray animals you come across spay and neuter friends and relatives pets for free! I have spent over $3000 in the last few years spay and neutering cats and dogs my pets strays feral cats lazy family members pets. If everyone knew that any intact cat or dog is an emergency treat it like it is an emergency to spay and neuter cats and dogs… it is the most important thing you can do to save millions of lives. We could solve this problem if that was the perception. But people are lazy they wait until that first litter is born or pretend it’s too expensive even though they have no problem buying fancy electronics or new clothes and jewelry. NoKill is a great concept but it is impossible! I am all about nokill but we have situation here where possible 15 million according to some websites pets will be abandoned at shelters. There is no way to house that many animals in shelters humanely. I wish it was nokill. But the only way we can make that happen is via PREVENTION spay and neuter all pets treat it like an emergency to do so. Just one litter born a guaranteed 56 euthanasia deaths. That’s how you have to see it. I would like to see mandatory spay and neuter laws in every state. Until then spay and neuter as many as you can.

  • Caboose says:


  • Tamara says:

    Ana I think it just depends on the situation and the particular nokill shelter. You check the ones out that you support and that’s great. But this hellhole called All Creatures Great and Small is another thing entirely. How can you agree that some or most of those animals should not be humanely euthanized? If they are suffering…like I said before just because they are breathing does not mean that they are not constantly suffering. Any animal should not suffer. Isn’t that PETA’s stance? This shelter is over the limit by 500 dogs. 500!! Over the limit!! How many dogs are there? WHAT are they possibly going to do with all of those dogs? You know a high percentage are unadoptable for various reasons… As ugly as it is it’s a fact. They have to be put out of their misery. It doesn’t make me happy. But when it comes to these emotional things sometimes you just have to close yourself down and do what is right.

  • Denise says:

    First the website says that free to good home ads can be used by people looking to use animals for labs etc. then this blog warns of the dangers of “nokill” shelters. I have developed serious asthma and must find safe loving homes for my 3 cats and 1 dog. Where do I turn? I can’t bear to think of them being shut all day in a cage and putting them down is unthinkable…they’re family you know? How do I find people genuinely looking to provide loving homes for them?

  • pcontrol says:

    We have a nokill shelter near us and I am happy to report we have gotten 3 animals there 1 older cat who is a great cuddler don’t be afraid to adopt older animals they still give plenty of love! and 2 dogs. The shelter also helped us find a home for a cat we couldn’t keep because she and another cat of ours were fighting nonstop. She was younger and had a better chance to be adopted. The shelter let us put a intro letter on her cage and she was adopted in 3 days by a great family who even wrote us through the shelter. I can’t imagine buying an animal from a pet store they always look so sad and many have problems caused by over breeding for profits. I would encourage no kill shelters be adopted from instead of pet stores. The animals are even better in a lot of ways! Especially if you are lucky enough to have a great place like we do.

  • Nadia says:

    There is a no kill shelter I am absolutely crazy about here in Quebec on the south Shore region of the Island of Montreal the SPCA Monteregie. They are a fantastic organization. The animals are wonderfully happy. They reside on 30 acres of land and are able to roam free everyday. They also have two pigs they have rescued and two horses they are fostering until their case goes to trial and hopefully receive full ownership of the horses where they will brought to a horse rescue organization. Like everything else in life you simply just cannot generalize. There is always a good a bad and an ugly. In this case if you generalize you are hurting thousands of animals chances of living poentially good fulfilling lives. Everyone deserves the chance of living and a three day chance of being put up for adoption does not jive with me…most SPCA sheltrs adhere to this rule. There should be more no kill shelters. With the proper guidance great management and many volunteers hard to fall short on when animals are involved there is no reason in this day in age that a potentially adoptable animal isn’t given the substantial chance.

  • Lakken says:

    I think someone really needs to do something about that pet farm in china. It might be legal in that country but someone needs to stop it. We need to make a law stating that people should not do that to any animal. All you guys are doing is showing this to people on the internet. Well do something about it already! Do you want people to sit here and cry all night because they just saw animals getting skinned alive! Start doing something no one wants to see this happen to any animals. They shouldn’t have to go through that. How would any of us like to be skinned. It wouldn’t feel to good would it. They should at least be put to sleep not stepped on or beatin. The animals shouldn’t even have to go through that at all though. For any of the animal shelters out there that are not treating the animals with the care or they don’t feel like they need to give them proper care should watch this video. See how they look to everyone else that’s watching them. Are you seriously hearing what these people are saying. “Oh I don’t feel like giving the animals clean water they will be just fine outside.” Get real how would you like getting treated like that. I’m pretty sure you would be very upset. No animal or human should have to go through that. People are inhumane to do that to animals and they should be punished by law. Any one who likes animals or has a pet will say the same thing. It’s Not Right!!!

  • Abi says:

    I completely agree with Maya. Like many things nokill shelters can be totally inhumane in the wrong hands. But PETA does too much assumingthere are some very successful honest nokill shelters. Although it may be easier to just dismiss the entire concept it’s really not fair to those kind individuals who run reasonable humane shelters.

  • rojo says:

    I agree with the decision to euthanase those animalslike feral cats who let’s face it are unlikely to be given a new home. Nokill in this sense is counterproductive money is being spent confining animals to a less than fulfilling life. With no hope of release. My guess on the increased death rate in these nokill shelters would be reflective of the fact that more are dying of age related causes as they obviously will live longer in these centres. Not just because of overcrowding.

  • marie says:

    I am in agreement with PETA on all issues except this. I strongly support nokill shelters and have been involved with them for the past twenty years. It is shameful to insinuate that the All Creatures Great and Small is representative of nokill shelters. The majority are not. The ones I’ve been affiliated with are ones where animals received excellent care and lots of attention while waiting for their forever home. It is rare that an animal lives its entire life at a quality nokill shelter. Generally ones that aren’t adopted within a reasonable time are placed in foster care. I’ve also worked at a killshelter where euthansia was always the first not last option. I believe in animal rights meaning that animal rights have an interest in leading their own lives and that we have an obligation to care for them. I don’t see how euthanizing a healthy animal supports animal rights. Euthanasia in this matter serves as a means of animal control which is the same argument hunters often use. I’m not trying to be critical of shelters that have no yet become nokill although one should read Redemption by Nathan Winograd to learn how it is possible to become a successful nokill city not just shelter but I definitely do not think PETA should criticize all nokill shelters when the majority of them do excellent work for animals.

  • Susannah S says:

    The model is ASPCA’s shelter in NYC the one featured on “Animal Precinct” but they will euthanize an animal who is suffering and can’t be cured or one who is so aggressive as to represent a threat to people or other animals. So they’re not entirely “no kill” and can’t be. What I’ve noticed is that “no kill” only works if you have enough money to support not only the animals but weekly at least adoption clinics and foster care homes. Otherwise the shelters quickly run out of space AND resources to take care of the animals they have and then other animals who need shelter are left without while the ones in the shelter languish and become progressively less adoptable. The ASPCA in New York has access to foster care a large staff of volunteers and veterinary care that is part of the shelter. They don’t keep a dog past a certain point but send him or her into foster careor to a place where they can get extended care and exercise. Without these options no kill simply doesn’t work and it’s more humane in those circumstances to euthanize the animals as tragic as that is. I hate the fact that any animal NEEDS shelter to begin with but thousands upon thousands do and if more people adopted instead of buying from breeders the problem would be greatly ameliorated in very short order. It is a complex problem as Jack says.

  • Brennan Browne says:

    Partnering WITH Retailers to Reduce Overpopulation and Make NOKILL a Success Back in the ’70s when I was just beginning a career as a Canine Behaviorist specializing in affectionbased training methods I would regularly leave my business cards with shelter staff and volunteers. I realized that a significant portion of dogs being brought in were by exasperated ‘owners’ overwhelmed with what they believed to be insurmountable problems. The fact is the majority of all canine behavioral problems can be solved quickly simplyand HUMANELY. Almost invariably when I demonstrated the basic tenets behind my methods to my clients the light switch flipped on and the first thing out of their mouth was”That’s SO SIMPLE why didn’t I think of it!” I believe this can be said of the NOKILL movement taking place right now. NOKILL is receiving an unwarranted bad rap because the concept behind it is INCOMPLETE. Common sense dictates that you can NOT bring more animals into a shelter than you are taking out. When we break down the problem of pet overpopulation we must look at the following root causes A Puppy Mills B Irresponsible pet ownership C Licensed breeders and other special interest groups profiting from the sale of animals. To date the focus has been on trying to pass legislation demanding mandatory spayneuter ordinances the burden of which would be passed on to average citizens. This type of legislation continues to be blocked not only by individuals but by those in the animal peddling businessmainly licensed breeders. In order to solve a significant portion of the pet overpopulation problem two things need to happen 1The business community MUST become involved. By this I’m referring to businesses that traditionally profit from selling animals i.e. petshop owners and retail giants like Petsmart Petco Petland etc. Some of these retailers sell puppies and kittens while others do not. More often than not those that DO sell dogs and cats buy these animals via puppy millsobviously the cheaper the animal the higher the profit margin. Legitimate breeders must charge more because their costs include quality food decent shelter and vet care…none of which puppy mills provide. Since the bottom line IS profit why not take advantage of that mindset by asking ALL retail businesses selling animals and animal related products to do their fair share by acquiring 100 of their puppieskittens dogscats from local shelters. For those retailers buying animals from puppy mills this means an immediate INCREASE in their profit margin. Which brings me to my second point. 2 If retailers no longer support puppy mills MOST will be forced out of business! We have now tackled two tremendous impediments to the success of NOKILL. Taken a step further the budget normally spent by shelters to house feed and euthanize these animals should then be redirected into mandatory spaying and neutering of every animal sold by retail outlets. There is no doubt that individual responsibility plays a major role in solving pet overpopulation but until that’s a reality asking businesses who turn a profit from animals to step up to the plate and share the burden will go along way in preventing the atrocities these poor souls face unnecessarily everyday. LETTER TO PRESIDENT OF PETLAND Dear Mr. Difatta As a Canine Behaviorist and someone with decades of experience in working with animals I believe Petland can play a revolutionary role in helping to significantly REDUCE petoverpopulation. No doubt you’ve been receiving negative feedback from animal rights groups asking that Petland cease selling live animals in its stores. The major objection being that retailers who sell live animals support cruel industries such as puppy mills. But what if this were NOT the case? What if you could stock your stores with healthy puppies and kittens at NO COST to Petland? What if by doing so you could gain such positive publicity for your retail chain that millions of dollars paid to the best PR firm couldn’t hold a candle to the positive feedback your company is GUARANTEED to receive by making this ONE change? Your profit margin would increase immediately and dramatically due to the media attention generated by your company’s goodwill which in turn will bring an influx of consumers who want to do the ethical thing by buying puppies and kittens from your stores. By now you should be asking yourself “What’s the catch?” The answer is there is none. All that is required of Petland is to contact local shelters and initiate a program whereby Petland takes pound puppies and kittensfor free. Petland can then “partner” with local shelterspounds to have the costs of shots AND mandatory neuteringspaying for these animals split down the middle. In order to effectively diminish pet overpopulation puppies and kittens MUST be fixed before ‘going on sale’. Perhaps shelters will be willing to take on the entire cost since overhead for feeding boarding and euthanizing their pound animals will be reduced andor eliminated. Mr. Difatta I urge you as an astute businessman to seriously consider this proposal. It would be wonderful for you for the community but most of all for the innocent animals needlessly destroyed every single day by the 100s of thousands across America. Perhaps with your vision and compassion leading the way other retail giants like Petsmart and Petco will consider similar programs. Thank you for your consideration in this matter and I look forward to hearing from you. Respectfully Brennan Browne

  • kelly says:

    Bottom line is that No Kill is a con. And I work with a couple of No Kill shelters! No Kill shelters either turn animals away that die elsewhere often in terrible ways like getting dumped on the streets and starving to death or No Kill shelters end up being overcrowded warehouses with disease issues. But the people who promote and cling to the No Kill concept are in complete denial. They blame shelters and humane groups. It’s like a kind of extremist religion where no one is connected to reality. No Kill is a complete impossiblity until the spay neuter problem gets taken care of. And because there are so many people who INTENTIONALLY don’t spay and neuter because overbreeding is part of how they functionthe dog fighters the hunting dog people the puppy millers and all the rest what is to be done? But all of us especially need to take a good hard look at these “no kill” sanctuaries because too many of them are horrors of abuse. We need to stop giving these people animals and pretending they are ok. They often aren’t. And we can’t turn our back on the animals trapped in these hellholes. Do something! Document it report it!

  • Ana says:

    The nokill shelters I support mostly cat shelters I have investigated very carefully. In many instances I have visited the shelters myself and was very pleased with what I saw. I also support rescue groups who rely on foster homes to nurture the rescuees until they are healthy and able to be adopted. I support the nokill philosophy. I am also very aware of PETA’s stance on this issue and I don’t agree with PETA. I am a member of PETA and vegan but I also don’t entirely agree with some of the philosophy it adheres to. I do appreciate all of the really important work and victories that PETA does accomplish and I continue to be actively involved in PETA demos and attend PETA meetings and hand out PETA literature constantly. But with PETA’s stance on nokill shelters and feral cats I do not agree.

  • Dana says:

    I just so happen to have visited this no kill shelter All Creatures Great and Small and boy does the debate not keep going strong on this issue in the local newspapers forum. I will tell you first hand this place is beyond awful. The dogs cats in this facility are in hell…the no kill shelter is now trying to remove 500 dogs for they are over their limit by this amount. That alone should tell you something…..They have also reached an agreement that they will no longer reside in Hendersonville North Carolina…they have plans to move to a bigger place with the help of an individual. This a place that has not been up to code in 5 years. The negatives are just too many to list with this place one tragic event after another. Unfortunately a lot of the local people that post in the local forum are on their side or either they are actually affiliated with the shelter and want to make the community reading this forum that have never witnessed the horrendous conditions think that the shelter is just being bullied by Peta and the state. I do know that when they move no matter how much land you give them they will continue to hoard as many animals as possible until this new place is exactly like the old just with more victims involved. I think that no kill shelters even though I like the name do not live up to peoples expectations or dreams of what no kill really is. No kill shelters generally end up with more dogs than they can handle most are not run the way they should be and dont recognize their limits. Most of their dogs are ones that are so highly aggressive that they will spend the rest of their lives in caged up. If done properly these aggressive dogs should be separated from one another to prevent fights but when cage space is limited this does not happen. Most of the dogs at this shelter do not even get fed properly or often…their water bowls even on hot summer days in the dead heat are empty. I dont know what my answer would be to the kill or not to kill question had I never visited this place. Like many people I would be in the dark and think the no kill way would be better but after this I know that life can be much worse than death!! I also feel that kill shelters and no kill shelters work against each other in a community…I feel that kill shelters receive less donations than kill shelters because people like the thoughts of no kill and want to help them out…in turn by donating to the no kill shelter they are contributing to the deaths in the kill shelter for the kill shelters do not have proper funds so they end up putting more dogs down. I also think that when people are ready to adopt they end up going to the kill shelter for they know the outcome if they dont and by pass the no kill shelter for they feel that dogs life has been spared so it is a vicious cycle that in the end does not help all involved in the end. Also the overpopulation problem is reached quicker in the no kill shelter for people end up feeling better about themselves by turning dogs into the place that will not kill them what they seem to not understand is the animals life could be one of much pain and suffering. Unfortunately this shelters has found supporters I think they are either blind or just stupid for if they did actually visit this place they obviously have no concept of abuse. Something needs to be further done about this situations to ensure that history is not going to repeat itself in her New facility. There is a gentlemen that is donating the land to them supposedly he felt so bad that the had to do something for them other than deliver dog food their every week my only problem with this is some say that now that he is involved things will be better….but I am not so sure he visited there every week and never seem to see a problem with the conditions it was in so in my opinion he does not know the difference between good and bad conditions to be able to assure people things will be different.

  • Tamara says:

    What a timely least for me. I was afraid I was going to get kicked off MySpace recently for a bulletin I replied to regarding the All Animals Great and Small Shelter. I was actually going to message you about that either here or on MS but this’ll workI was sooo upset. It was the basic “PETA wants to kill all animals especially your pets” and went much much further than that with half a dozen links to AntiPETA websites. I was cool and calm and pointed out how PETA helps to educate about what goes on with all animals. Ok it was late and I did use the term “sick Fk”. But that was it. Her reply to me was lower than low. She obviously looked at my Profile Pageand I have 3 rescued parakeets. Well she made a comment about my parakeets and how PETA would want them killed since they were unwanted. Now My MS Profile page clearly states “don’t mess with my birds I’ll beat your ass.” It’s a funny comment but nothing upsets me more. Anyway I’ll get to the point about this woman and euthanasia. She is part of a group that has rescued a boxer mix large dog named Herbie. This is an older dog and has mange SO bad he has no hair. This dog’s skin is red. They even almost glowingly describe the pain this dog is in and how they are rescuing him. He has his own Myspace page. There are photos on there that made me cry the dog is in so much pain. He was standing in front of his food bowl and was in too much pain to eat. I cried when I saw that. But they are determined to save him. This is the FIRST time ever I realize and feel and totally agree with what PETA has believed all along. Sometimes it’s time to let them go. To humanely euthanize this dog would be the kindest thing to do. Instead of making yourself feel better that you are going to save him. I guess that’s what these people are doing. It is SOOOO sad. I have not realized HOW MANY dogs and cats there are out there. You can sit on Myspace and look at link after link after link and page after page. One leads to another and they never end. To make them suffer just because they are still breathing is NOT right. It’s a difficult decision. I agree with you PETA.

  • 007 says:

    such a sad and serious predicament… and from my travels I have learned that euthanasia is not always kind but sometimes a brutal alternative. this is all so disheartening.

  • Christopher Cochran MD says:

    This sounds a lot like a life sentence to prison just for the crime of being born. The practical ramifications not withstanding these animals deserve liberty or they at least deserve a peaceful painless death….also a liberty I suppose. I can’t speak for Oliver but today he is resting after a busy bird hunting weekend. I imagine he would rather die than not get to do the things he loves he just seems that passionate about it. In fact to be locked inside in a cage and fed cheap dog food would probably kill him.

  • Maya, Master's candidate, wildlife biology says:

    Sorry had to comment once more. It’s true that some semihoarder types open some shelters and the cats are overcrowded some weaker cats do get beat up occasionally. However if these places had FUNDING they could have more staff more room and better advertisement. The places we visited to adopt one of our cats was really packed with cats but the managers told me they would love more funding so they could hire more staff and open another shelter in a more ideal location but the rents were too hign. I worked for the MSPCA a openadmission shelter. The funds were so badly managed that the fundraisers upstairs got most of the money and we staff who actually WORKED WITH THE ANIMALS were seriously stiffed. They pumped most of the funding into euthanasia solution. Does that sound ideal to you?? This issue is as complex as the pet overpopulation problem itself. Thank you to Jack and PETA for bringing it up. Hopefully shelters won’t be villinized.

  • Maya, Master's candidate, wildlife biology says:

    Jack I can really see both sides of this. There is no doubt whatsoever that there are some evil nokill shelters. However you have a LOT of misinformation in this post. I worked for 2 nokill shelters in the past those were PUBLIC SHELTERS. Also the ASPCA on Animal Precinct NYC is nokill right? You can’t possibly be down on them. Plus I now run a very small strayonly nokill shelter. And my best friend used to run a nokill for cats with AIDS and leukemia. Both PRIVATE shelters. Any shelter that takes in a new cat must quaratninte the cat for a week and if they are healthy enough vaccinate the cat. It’s not rocket science Jack. Once all the cats are vaccinated they don’t get each other sick. ALL the shelters I have volunteered and worked at had a policy if some asshole walked in and threatened to throw their cat out on the street if we didn’t take it the cat would be taken in immediately. Also if someone brought in a stray and was not able to hang on to it for a while it would also be taken in immediately. One of the benefits of nokills is that once a cat was vaccinated it was allowed to roam free in large playrooms with other cats and bunnies! while supervised by staff. Cats who got along would take turns being out for days at a time in large playrooms. Much less heartbreaking than seeing cats spend 2 weeks locked in wretched tiny metal cages only to be destroyed later on. I guess one of the problems is that it seems as though the large wretched inner city openadmission shelters attracted adopters who were more kind looking to rescue those down on their luck while public nokills tended to attract elitists. That said PRIVATE nokills are run by all sorts of people almost always very kindhearted and dedicated. If these shelters were to shut down the large innercity shelter I worked at would have recieved ten times as many animals as they did which was 11500 in one year. That is the last thing we need.

  • Jaclyn says:

    Jack I think you are right. This is a very complex topic. Yet it is so simple to help matters out. ADOPT FROM A SHELTER STOP BUYING ANIMALS.

  • Becca says:

    I totally agree with everything you wrote. Nokill shelters kill the animals they turn away in a sense. I work at a shelter that uses humane euthanization tactics and while it is heartbreaking I know it is better for an animal to be euthanized than to go insane living in a cage its entire life. That is no way to live.