Monday, August 5, 2013

Animal Shelters -- Kill or No Kill?


by Kate Collins

In my latest mystery, SEED NO EVIL (which comes out tomorrow, Tuesday, Aug 6th!) Abby's local animal shelter is on the verge of going from a no-kill to a kill facility. As fans of the Flower Shop Mysteries will suspect, Abby can't help but get involved to stop that from happening.

To write this story, however, I had to debate both sides of the issue. Trust me, for a person who loves all animals, it wasn't easy to do. But I had to admit, there are some situations where euthanizing is humane.

I think you'll enjoy the story and will fall in love with the little dog whose life is in jeopardy. She's central to the plot.

But today I'd like to hear from you on where you stand on this issue. Do you believe that all shelters should be no-kill shelters? Do you see any exceptions?  Can you understand what kinds of problems a no-kill shelter has? What kind of facility is in your city or town?

By the way,  I can't wait for you to read this book.  Not only will you adore the little dog, but you'll get a nice surprise at the end. And Abby finally gets married! But how she does it is also a surprise.

Happy reading!




13 comments:

Lynda said...

I wish all shelters could be no-kill, but because the animal over-population problem is so out of control, it's just not possible. I volunteer with a feline rescue group that is no-kill, but some of their cats stay in their system for years waiting to find homes (I had one of their fosters for about 18 months).

I also volunteer at the County Animal Shelter, and although they do what they can to euthanize as few as possible, there are still so many every day that never make it out of the admissions area (the majority are ferals). Some of the things they are trying is to set up "barn cat" and "rodent raider" programs to get feral/semi-feral cats spayed/neutered and then taken in by people who need mousers. They also have a Community Cats TNR (trap, neuter, release) program where ferals are spayed or neutered and then returned to their community instead of being automatically euthanized, but that too has it's problems if the people in the community don't want them back.

I just spent the weekend at the County Animal Shelter, helping out at an event called Kitty Palooza. We managed to get 96 cats/kittens (and 14 dogs) adopted in two days, but there are still hundreds more at the shelter or in foster care, waiting to be adopted. The County Shelter will never be no-kill, but they do their best to save as many as possible. Unfortunately, it is not enough and so many cats/kittens are still euthanized each day.

One of the most important things we try to do is to spread the word about the importance of spay/neuter, but people just aren't getting it, so the cat over-population continues. It's very sad.

Anita Joy said...

Can't wait to read. It's going to land in my letter box any day now!

Laura K. Curtis said...

I wish they could all be no-kill, but as long as people refuse to exercise common sense and common kindness with regard to keeping and breeding animals, that's just not possible. There are too many animals.

I grew up in a resort town where people would literally buy their kids a puppy for the summer. Then they'd go home at the end of August and leave their six-month old puppy behind. Can you IMAGINE? They told their kids "don't worry, we'll get a new puppy next year."

Kay said...

My sisnlaw works at our animal control here and they have been working to try to lower their euthanasia rate. As long as people see their furbabies as disposable it will not happen. They are working with rescue groups to try to get as many unadopted pets homed. They have finally gotten their rule changed so they can adopt out pitties(they were not adoptable so you know what happened. I wish all shelters could be no-kill, but there would still be those that needed to put down. I have a service dog and several friends that have them or are waiting for them. I would always say "why cant they get pups out of the shelter to train". It can cost anywhere from $5000 to $28000 for a person to get a trained service dog and some of those costs are the dog itself. If only people could go to the shelter and evaluate these dogs. Well I read a great book and low and behold there is a group doing that very thing. Possibilitydog.org is the website. They are doing a great job of helping to keep good dogs out of kill shelters and finding them homes and sometimes even a job. If only no pets had to go to the rainbow bridge life and this world would be a much better place.

Kate Collins said...

Lynda,thanks for your input and for all the volunteer work you do. I think you'll appreciate the issue in SEED NO EVIL.

Kate Collins said...

How horrible and irresponsible!! And look what they're teaching their children! That animals are expendable. Shame on them.

As Lynda and you both pointed out, until people "get it" about spaying and neutering and being responsible owners-for-life, there is no happy solution for all those poor animals.

Kate Collins said...

Kay, I'm going to check out the website possibilitydog.org and post about it on my Facebook page. Thanks for your helpful, insightful comments.

ANNETTE said...

Here in Austin, the city's animal shelter is trying to be no kill, we have a city which is working on becoming a no kill city. We have a lot of rescue groups and we have groups who trap and neuter feral cats and then release them back to their home area. I live with 2 rescued dogs and I know what wonderful pets they are. There are some local groups who are working on training programs to make service dogs out of rescued dogs. And then, there is the University of Texas here, with about 48,000 students. At the end of the school year the pets who have lived with students sometimes do not travel home with those students. They are thrown away like used tissues. Recently I was trying to find some homes for 3 very young rescued pit bulls before they were destroyed in another city. After talking to many rescue groups I got my eyes opened. There are many pit bulls who are put into shelters and never find homes. At times it is because they have been trained to be fighters or been abused and have become unable to be placed with a family. One of the people who spoke to me told me that for every pit bull adopted there are a vast number who end up being euthanized for lack of a placement.

As others have said, we need to get people to spay and neuter, we need to get people to take responsibility for their pets and we need to educate people on that pesky little idea of humanity.

Rachelle21 said...

I would love to see all shelters go No Kill. But that would require catching and altering strays. I know we let our animals have babies when I was younger, but now I have three cats who are fixed. I hate leaving them and we have had a sitter come when we go away.

Kate Collins said...

Annette, I'll bet your story goes on in every city across the nation. What a sad, sad, statement that is of so many unfeeling people. Thank you for being a volunteer!

Kate Collins said...

That's what happened with me, too, Rachelle. I've owned many cats and had them all neutered. Vacations always were tough for me because I felt so bad leaving my babies with someone who might only come once a day. Hard to enjoy a vacation.

Adrienne said...

Kate, after reading all the comments so far, I'm actually feeling a little more positive about the animals and their futures. Why? People in different parts of the country tell about efforts
being made to have fewer animals put down, towns are working on spaying, many groups are out there helping to educate. It sounds like it's a slow, slow process but perhaps we can hope it's moving forward. I appreciate the comments sent in as they provided me with information I otherwise would not have had. Thanks. (and your book will be in my hands tomorrow!) Adrienne in Minnesota

Lynda said...

I agree with Adrienne that we need to stay positive about animals and their future. It's not always easy when you're in a position to see the number of animals that are euthanized, but we need to remember that everything we do and every life we save matters. I think one of the areas that we need to concentrate on more is working with the "younger generation", to teach them about reponsible pet ownership. It's not always easy when, as Laura mentioned, their parents are being so irresponsible. We have a number of teen groups who do fund raising for rescues and the shelter, and help out by trying to spread the word to their peers. But I think we need more education with the younger kids as well. I think that the shelters and rescue groups need to go to schools or youth groups, to spread the word about the importance of spay/neuter and responsible pet ownership. Not by scaring them with euthanasia stats, but by impressing on them that owning an animal is a long-term committment and that animals are not disposible. If they grow up understanding the problem and understanding the need to be responsible, they will then pass that on to their children and so forth.