Are you a “No-Kill” Shelter?March 3, 2017
I recently stumbled upon this well written letter published by a North Carolina Humane Society that inspired me to address the same topic.
As an animal shelter, we are so commonly asked "Are you a no-kill shelter?" The quick answer to this question is no, but it's just not that easy.
What most people are actually looking to hear is that we do not "kill" for time, space, breed, or age (and we don't). To quote the letter linked above"We never, ever “kill” an animal. We humanely euthanize (the word means “a merciful end”) when there is no hope for recovery or when an animal is deemed unsafe for placement in the community." As long as an animal is free of life-threatening illness and safe for themselves and to others, they will remain at our shelter as long as they need, whether that is days or months.
True No-Kill shelters have the ability to turn animals away. And they do. If it's an animal that might not survive due to illness or severe behavior issues, they can choose not to take that animal in. We are a small private non-profit organization, we are not funded by the government. However, we do have contracts with some of our surrounding cities, meaning we have to take in whatever they bring us. Some of these animals may be so mentally or physically damaged, that there is no possible repair. It's not safe nor humane to adopt these animals out into our beloved community.
Our community has every right to ask these questions that are important to them, and sometimes they are upset with the answers. As shelter workers, we are animal enthusiasts. We have to be. We are in the trenches day in and day out with these abandoned animals. The job is often tough, but it is very rewarding. Although it's not always easy, we do what is best for the animals in our care, always.