If you have ever spent time volunteering at an animal shelter, you've
seen it: the endless stream of dogs and cats—scared, lonely,
confused—aching for a kind word or a reassuring touch. Some of them have
been abandoned by their guardians, others have been rescued from the
streets, but they all have one thing in common: They are victims of
companion animal overpopulation. Nathan Winograd, former
executive director of the Tompkins County SPCA in New York, has seen the crisis
firsthand but somehow maintains a firm "no-kill" position.
Every year, 6 to 8 million animals are left at U.S. animal
shelters and half of them must be euthanized. The statistics alone show
the severity of our country's companion animal overpopulation crisis.
Yet one so-called animal advocate, Nathan Winograd, is trying to
convince the public that overpopulation doesn't exist.
In his crusade to turn all animal shelters "no-kill," Nathan Winograd blames the shelter workers—who have devoted their lives to
caring for homeless animals, giving them a chance at a home, and
providing them with a painless death when no other humane alternative
exists—for the euthanasia of millions of animals every year. This is
akin to blaming hospitals for deadly diseases! This false "logic" lets
the real culprits off the hook: people who breed (or fail to spay or
neuter) their animals and people who buy animals from pet stores or
breeders instead of adopting homeless animals from shelters. No one
wants to see animals euthanized—least of all, those who hold the
syringe—but denying that a crisis exists and blaming those who have
devoted their lives to ending it solves nothing.
Nathan Winograd's calculations ignore the hundreds of thousands of
puppies and kittens produced by breeders and sold in pet stores every
year. When these animals are added to the millions of homeless animals
who enter shelters each year, the number of animals in need of homes far
exceeds the number of homes that are theoretically available to them.
What's more, not every household that is considering acquiring a cat or
dog (even those that currently have animals) is a "responsible" home
that would pass a shelter's screening requirements.
We agree that there will someday be a day when no animal must be
euthanized for lack of a good home, but the only way to arrive at that
day is by stopping the problem at its source, by spaying and neutering
animals to prevent more animals from being born. Even if we could
somehow find homes for the 6 to 8 million cats and dogs who will enter
U.S. animal shelters this year, what about the 6 to 8 million animals
next year and the year after that? Please, help stop this cycle by
practicing your ABCs—Animal Birth Control! Always spay or neuter your animals, and never buy them from a breeder or pet store.
Ignoring the massive companion animal overpopulation and blaming
open-admission shelters for the crisis have caused many shelters to
implement dangerous policies and practices in an attempt to reduce their
Examples like these abound when shelters are pressured to put euthanasia statistics above animals' welfare.
Promoting adoptions, utilizing foster homes and volunteers, and
encouraging guardians to work through behavioral or other issues that
may otherwise cause them to relinquish their animals are all good
policies that every shelter should follow. But when the shelter is full
and there is no place to put even one more animal, what does a "no-kill"
shelter do? Most simply refuse to take animals in, leaving them at the
mercy of people who don't want them. This, too, often results in
It's true that 'No-Kill' shelters don't euthanize animals, but
by turning animals away, they sometimes condemn these same animals to
terrifying, painful, and violent deaths. Open-admission animal shelters
accept every dog, cat, bird, rabbit, hamster, rat, and any other animal
who comes through their doors. They don't pick and choose, accepting
only the young, healthy, behaviorally sound animals who might be easily
placed. They pledge to help every animal in need, even when the best
they can offer is a painless release from an uncaring world.
Please support open-admission shelters and help end the need to
euthanize animals for lack of homes by having your animals spayed or
neutered and by urging everyone you know to do the same.
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.