‘No-kill’ shelter policies are failing animals

Across the country, headlines like these are making headlines:

They expose a common alarming scenario in which animals are discarded, hoarded, neglected and abandoned in countless other ways by the very facilities that should protect them, including taxpayer-funded public animal shelters. The reason why this happens may surprise you: no-kill policies.

A cascade of disasters inevitably occurs when shelters implement dangerous “life at all costs” policies. PETA maintains a long, scary and ever-growing list stories that detail how animals are suffering when shelters prioritize “live release rates” (the number of animals they can get out of their homes, no matter what happens to them) over welfare. be individuals.

Here are some recent examples of how animals suffer when taxpayer-funded public animal shelters prioritize “no-kill” status over the protection of those who depend on them:

  • Broward County Animal Care and Adoption in Florida reportedly refused to help a ‘fatally injured dog with wounds infested with flies and maggots’ and allegedly left a pit bull on the streets for four days after the animal fatally mauled a small dog who was walking on a leash. (In 2012, county officials “voted to become a ‘no-kill’ community.”)
  • A dog that had been confined to a kennel at a Los Angeles Animal Services (LAAS) shelter for more than a year and had reportedly not been walked for almost a month assaulted and seriously injured voluntary when she tried to get him out of the kennel. He was then euthanized. LAAS has been exposed for storing dogs for months without walks, forcing the animals to live in filthy cages and drinking from moldy water bowls, and turning the animals away. (In 2021, the city’s shelters would have “officially achieved ‘no-kill’ status.”)
  • The Animal Foundation (TAF) of Nevada routinely transfers hundreds of animals to self-proclaimed “rescue” groups that often store them, sometimes for years, in boarding kennels in the area. In September, it was reported that one such dog, Beast, was confined to a small room with a concrete floor and a sandbox on which he slept and relieved himself. The window of this room was smeared with excrement. According to volunteers, Beast was “distraught with isolation and yearned for contact”. When a member of the Las Vegas City Council recently paid an unannounced visit to TAF, she saw ‘awful’ conditions, including dogs in dirty cages, feces mixed with dog food, and dogs without food. nor water. (In 2015, TAF, which has contracts to provide Clark County and Las Vegas with animal housing services, announced a plan to become “no-kill” by 2020.)
  • A TikTok video was posted which showed hundreds of barking dogs stored in cramped crates at the Austin Animal Center in Texas. After the video went viral, the facility stopped accepting pets. A member of staff said the dogs were caged for “over 23 hours a day”, and a volunteer said the dogs were “without food, without water and left in their own waste in a small crate for 24 at 48 hours”. The city also stored, placed or transferred dangerous dogsincluding one who had a history of bites and who had attacked a shelter employee who then had to be hospitalized. The residents’ beloved animal companions have also been mutilated, fatally in at least one case, by aggressive dogs released from the public shelter. (The City of Austin claimed he went “no-kill” in 2011.)

There are hundreds more cases like these, from across the country, affecting countless animals.

In 2019, the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association spoke out against misguided no-kill policies: “The no-kill movement increases animal suffering and threatens public health with unintended consequences.”

After experiencing these harmful consequences firsthand, some communities have realized that, as PETA has long said, “no-kill” means no help for animals. They are taking action to reverse inhumane and dangerous no-kill policies and instead choose to implement safe, humane and open animal housing practices. This is great news for animals and communities.

  • Sumter County, Florida commissioners recently agreed that the county’s attempt to become “no-kill” was a failure. The county animal shelter reportedly tripled its maximum capacity and at least 13 people were bitten. Animals have been caged for years, including a dog named Noah who had been confined for 530 days. “In our efforts to be human, we have not been,” observed one commissioner. The shelter will now adopt socially responsible accommodation—a humane and responsible model that emphasizes the quality of life of the animals rather than the number.
  • Council members in Big Spring, Texas, also recently voted to repeal a resolution that would have established a “no-kill” policy at the public animal shelter because the the shelter was operating above capacity and the townspeople were being attacked by stray dogs.

Communities must ensure that their publicly funded shelters remain safe havens for animals in need by accepting all animals, including those that need to be euthanized. Shelters must protect community residents, including animals, by never releasing dangerous ones or throwing cats outside to fight for survival and terrorizing and killing wildlife. And shelters must put the best interests of animals first, including giving a peaceful end to those who would otherwise suffer and die miserably.

PETA implores everyone who cares to make a real difference by devoting their efforts to preventing animals from becoming homeless in the first place. Let’s work to pass and enforce mandatory sterilization lawsmake low-cost sterilization options available everywhere, and inform the public why becoming “non-birth” is the only humane way to become “no-kill”.

Learn more about how you can help here.

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