This isn’t a new NPR article, but I stumbled across it while doing research for my Product Development class (it of course has nothing to do with my product either)
In general, no-kill is a wonderful concept for animal welfare organizations. I’ve seen many cats pulled from death row that ended up as beautiful, social, wonderful animals, and it breaks my heart to think they could’ve been euthanized because there was no space.
However, you have to acknowledge that for many, that’s a luxury. I have to imagine government run facility employees don’t exactly enjoy having to address the shelter overpopulation.
When organizations are full, and are no kill, you find that many animals are turned away. A person who is relinquishing their animal may not try to look hard for somewhere to dump their pet, so if a no-kill has no space but it’s so simple to drop off at a kill shelter… guess where they’re going to go.
I also feel like no-kill creates a hierarchy of pets. Many times, I’ve seen the groups I work with take in cats that no other rescue wants to take. Special needs cat? Oh, sorry, our rescue is full. Super healthy social kittens? Oh, we have tons of space!!!! It sucks that when viewing a rescue as a business, you have to evaluate your “goods” and what will “sell” to customers best, thereby ranking these animals as though one is better than the other.
One group I worked with would frequently have the shelter too full of feral, hard to adopt cats, because no other groups wanted them, and our Director couldn’t bear to have them euthanized at whatever shelter she’d pulled them from. The purebred Maine Coons that OMC pulled were turned down by other Maine Coon rescues, because they knew there would be associated costs to addressing their medical care.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of no-kill and I wish all animal welfare groups could be no-kill. But the bigger issue is education. Why do we need to euthanize to control overpopulation? Because TNR and the importance of Spay/Neuter. Because people need to understand pet behavior and realize that litterbox issues are usually addressable. Make sure owners understand that when their adorable puppy/kitten grows up, yes, it’s an adult, and you are responsible for that life for 10-20 years.