Pet Care Tips and Articles

No-Kill Shelters vs. "Kill" Shelters

Animal shelters Many people have written over the years asking where to find "no-kill" animal shelters. Animal lovers naturally want to support organizations that do not euthanize. Of course, every shelter or pet rescue hopes that euthanizing animals won't be necessary. Shelters that do euthanize, though, sometimes bear the brunt of animal lovers who don't like the fact that pets are routinely put down. They are known as open admission shelters because they accept any pet that needs them.

This article may contain affiliate links. When you purchase through links on this site, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

No-kill shelters typically claim their "no-kill" status because:

  • They only accept animals that have a good chance of getting a new home ("adoptable" animals);
  • They only accept the number of animals they can care for.

Many devoted "pet people" who have worked at animal shelters that euthanize pets (or who have inside knowledge of such shelters) sometimes take exception to being termed a "kill shelter". Shelters that accept all animals, regardless of "adoptability", health, age, and so on, are often well over capacity and have to euthanize because there simply aren't enough homes.

The support of no-kill shelters over "kill" shelters, or vice versa, is a contentious issue. Here are what some of our readers have said.

The Debate: Open Admission Shelters or No-Kill - Do You Support One Over the Other?

Kill Shelters Are Necessary

Kill shelter are a necessary evil. I worked at a kill shelter for a year, I helped with euth very often. NO ONE at the kill shelters likes that they have to do it, but when you get 70+ animals in on a bad day (20+ on a good day) and you run out of room and can't turn away, what else can you do? We tried to keep the good ones, the ones that were sweet and easily adopted, but somethings gotta give. Show the other side of a "kill shelter". Tell about how every animal needs to be fixed if people want us to stop killing their beloved pets that they dumped on us for being too old (happened), or because they're moving (happens all the time) or because it doesn't match the new furniture (yes that has happened too). Why don't you try to convince those guys who thinks it'll demasculine-tize their dog by having it's balls cut off? (not true, btw, it helps keep them HOME). Or those women who think puppies will be fun, or they'll make money off their little mutts? Why not go into how healthy it is to get them fixed? Or how about how pets are not fashion accessories, and are LIVING CREATURES that a RESPONSIBLE person would take care of for LIFE?
- 'Coyote-Walker'

Kill Shelters Are NOT A Necessary Evil

Anyone who says it is necessary to have shelters that kill homeless animals is just buying into the whole irresponsible lazy paradigm in this country. It is all about money and pet owners not being responsible, the government and shelters that cannot affect any change in peoples' responsibility level and just let people keep dumping pets and not spaying them. It is not a necessary evil to kill the amount of dogs and cats at shelters. People have stood up against evil of all sorts throughout history so to just accept these killings as the way it has to be is very sad. There are many groups and city and private shelters that have a different vision of how to help shelter pets. Anyone who works at a shelter who truly loves animals must re-examine their beliefs and stop accepting that holding healthy animals in their arms as their hearts stop beating and they die as the correct way to deal with shelter animals.
- 'Anonymous'

Yes, They ARE A Necessary Evil

To Anonymous: if you don't think kill shelters are a necessary evil, then what have you done to help alleviate the load on them? There are only so many people available to care for the animals dumped at shelters, only so much food available to feed them, and only so much space to house them. That is the reality of a shelter. People irresponsibly breed pets all the time. There is no way that I know of to force them to spay and neuter their animals and enforce it too. Education is the way to go. It's not fast nor easy but it is only way to teach people that pets should not be disposable, and that spaying and neutering will help to prevent a multitude of unwanted animals. There just aren't enough workers, space, or money to deal with the huge number of homeless animals right now.
- 'Sandy'

Why Argue?

We are all trying to save animals and find them decent and caring homes. There is a need for regular shelters and for no-kill shelters. I don't want to animals to be put down any more than the next person but until we can find them all homes and people SPAY AND NEUTER THEIR PETS then it is going to keep happening.
- 'Anonymous'

Why Are No-Kill Shelters Considered The Most Humane?

I guess I am confused about why no-kill shelters are considered most humane -

Fact: there are more pets than there are people to adopt them until the over-population is controlled. So in no-kill shelters, there will be animals that spend their whole lives in a CAGE, which to an animal is PRISON. Do those against "kill" shelters ever consider the psyche, the emotional lives, of these animals with a life sentence?? Do you think they are sitting there in their own personal hell each day reasoning--hey, well at least I'm still alive! No, they are likely very depressed about being in there and they likely dread being awake because then they are aware of how miserable they are.

No, really, how is their condition much different than an animal in a mill, a factory farm, an animal with a family kept in a tiny kennel 24/7. Just because they are in a building called a "shelter", being fed, and their cage kept clean (we hope) this is not considered inhumane treatment to be indefinitely caged???
- 'nanimallover'


Although said animals have done nothing wrong like a human prisoner would have, would you say the same if we euthanized human prisoners because we were "out of space"? There is a large overcrowding of prisons. Why don't we euthanize them? What makes their situation any different from a dog in a cage?

I'm sorry to make such a broad comparison, and I agree that animals are generally happier with human contact rather than a cage, but to say that death is better is simply ridiculous.
- 'Anonymous'

Kill vs. No-Kill

I understand both sides! Unfortunately many of the "Kill" animal shelters do so because of the volume of animals they house. The Humane Society in my city has close to 450 animals, and kitten season has only started, so you can imagine that number is going to soar in the next few months!!!

No one likes to euthanize, not even the vets! However, due to increase in disease, the more animals are sheltered together, and the lack of room and money to house these animals and support the staff, which by the way is always lacking due to the emotionally draining environment, it's a unfortunate necessity.

However, thank goodness there are many caring animal lovers that continue to support shelters, adopt, foster, etc.

The "Kill" shelters are and do keep tabs with the "No Kill" shelters to transfer animals to them when they have room for an even better chance.

Please do not turn your back on the "Kill" shelters, because the more people adopt, the less animals will be facing possible euthanasia!

MOST IMPORTANT: Please Spay and Neuter, it would make a huge difference!!!
- 'Bow Wow'

This Is Ridiculous

This is absolutely insane. Have you ever worked at one of these places? I doubt it. I've seen these places and it makes me sick that you people recommend killing animals. You know, if this was about humans in an orphanage, there wouldn't even be a debate. Animals are people too. They live, breathe, eat, and sleep among other things, just like us. Read up on your information before you go spouting off like you know everything. Read some Nathan Winograd, that'll blow your mind. I'm so tired of hearing this crap about how bad No Kill shelters are. I've worked at a No Kill shelter and this information you're giving is inaccurate and just plain despicable. The shelter I worked at, did not just take in whatever animals they wanted. They took in all kinds of animals and took wonderful care of them. They even provided food and other items for free to people who couln't afford them and they were a non-profit animal shelter.
- 'Anonymous'

Thank You

"You know, if this was about humans in an orphanage, there wouldn't even be a debate."

Thank You!!!! I've been saying this for so long, I dont understand how people can even consider killing an animal just because it is unwanted or considered "unadoptable". They can think, they can feel, and if it was a human child they wouldn't be allowed to euthanize them just because no one wanted to adopt them. I dont understand why people feel the need to play God and kill innocent creatures just because a human being doesnt want them! That is a very narcissistic and ignorant thing to do!
- 'Anonymous'

I've Worked There

I have worked at one of "these places". So let me assure you that the above comments were just and true. Perhaps when you can convince the nation to open up their homes to all the unwanteds and sterilized pets, then you may speak. It's a hard job, but a necessity. Besides not all animals are adoptable. I'm sure you'd be willing to adopt out a dog with three human attacks on his record or a cat that has feline aids to a family unwilling to treat it. Think about it.
- 'Anonymous'


I don't understand why you think it is a "necessity" to kill animals just because they are unadoptable. At the very least wouldn't it be better to let them out into the wild where they could at least have a chance to survive rather than killing them off and giving them no chance to? Where do we get off playing God? Deciding who or what lives and dies? Just because we don't want them or are unwilling to take care of them does not mean that there are no other options. And I personally find it disgusting that anyone would think killing an animal just because it is unwanted by the human race is a neccesity. We are taking away the only life they will ever be able to live, and all because we find them "unadoptable"... let nature take its course if necessary but dont play God by taking matters into your own hands.

* I want to note that in all cases there are exceptions, and if a animal is suffering from an unbearable amount of pain and there is no way to ease it then I do understand putting them to sleep... that is not so different from drugging the hell out of someone who is suffering and waiting for them to die. In fact it's nicer. When my Aunt was in the hospital she was in so much pain she would ask me everyday I visited her "please just let me die". It broke my heart, but I do understand it in those cases, but no others.
- 'Confused'

Not Realistic

Do you really think a domesticated dog/cat could be set free in the wild and survive? Could you? Really? For how long? Until you starved or something else killed you, right? A couple weeks... Whoo. At least if you were "put down" you would not have to deal with trying to survive, after you got sick and could barely move... once the temps dropped down to about freezing and you had pneumonia or something else. Domestic animals are not "wild" animals. They don't/can't fend for themselves. This is the reason we, as humans, have them, so WE can take care of them. We all here on this post share a common bond... animal lover, otherwise we would not be here, chatting our opinions.

To all those new to being a pet owner... IT IS A RESPONSIBILITY... just as if you had a child to care for, it is a pet... not much different. Take responsibilty, and if you fail... shame on you, and all the others like you.
- 'Anonymous'

Release a Domestic Pet?

Release a dog or house cat into the wild. Yep, that would be effective.

Although I follow your reasoning here, I disagree with your proposed solution. If anything, said "un-adoptable" or aggressive animal can go to a "permanent" shelter that handles aggressive animals. Believe it or not, they DO exist.

That being said, I understand your feeling about euthanizing terminally ill animals and/or those that are in pain or suffering. However, you fail to understand the complexity in adopting out aggressive animals. Said aggression typically makes them unsafe to literally everyone around them. It's very sad, but they can't send them off to a home just so they don't have to put them to sleep.

I'm not saying I like it, and I wish no animal ever had to be put to sleep. But it's not realistic. The real issue that needs to be addressed here is the euthanizing of healthy, adoptable animals.
- 'Anonymous'

So You Would Rather They Die

So you would rather them die cold and alone in the "wild"? Most likely they would get hit by a car or starve to death. And that's versus euthanasia, which is an injection that takes about thirty seconds to take effect and is painless. You may say we're all narcissists, but I would like to see someone come up with a solution for the shelters to save every animal. I can say that I've volunteered at a shelter, and it breaks everyone's heart thats involved to have to do it. We are all people that went to school, training, etc. because we love animals that much. If anything, we should feel bad for the poor people that have to actually euthanize these animals. I've seen first hand what a toll it takes, but it's a necessity as long as we have byb's and people who refuse to neuter their animals.
- 'Anonymous'

No, It's NOT A Kindness...

... to release unwanted animals into the wild. Have you ever seen a stray dog or cat who has struggled to survive and is slowly starving to death & sick? It is slow and torturous way to die. Animals have to learn how to survive in the wild and DOMESTICATED animals do not have the necessary skills. It is a very harsh existence in the wild. Nature is not kind.

It is a necessity to humanely euthanize animals when there aren't enough homes for them. There are only a limited amount of money & time & resources to care for homeless animals. That is a fact. No one likes to do it but it has to be done until people start spaying and neutering their pets and the pet overpopulation problem is under control. "Unadoptable" animals, like aggressive dogs, are euthanized because of the risk & liability. Would you like to take responsibility for sending an aggressive dog home with a family, only to have that dog attack a child?

Think before you write.
- 'NOT Confused'

Working Together

I currently work at a shelter that practices humane euthanasia and it is absolutely clear that "anonymous" does not know what he or she is talking about.

Our shelter does not "recommend" euthanizing animals. No one does. It is an incredibly hard thing to deal with, and we of course appreciate what no-kill shelters do to help animals as well. (No one said anything about them being bad.)

Even if no-kill shelters do not discriminate and take in all animals, they still eventually reach a limit. What then happens to animals that have no where else to go? They end up at open-admission shelters that are able to take them in and make a decision as to whether they can be successfully put up for adoption or if they should be humanely put to sleep. North America is suffering from a major pet over-population issue, and although euthanasia is NOT the answer, it helps alleviate suffering and controls populations where there are simply not enough homes for pets.

The key to solving this problem is spaying and neutering as many animals as possible. The shelter I work at, has several great programs that aid in the cost and education of this important part of controlling animal over-population.

So start working together and stop always being at each others throats. The number one concern here is the animals, not how shelters are individually dealing with the situation at hand.
- 'Shelter Worker'

It's About The Animals, Not The Type Of Shelter

Anonymous: no one is recommending euthanising animals. "Bow Wow" merely stated a fact that euthanasia is a fact in an overcrowded shelter with insufficient resources. No one said no-kill shelters are bad either. It is different. If anything it is not the no-kill shelters that are getting the bad rap, it is the "kill" shelters. No one wants to euthanise and that includes shelters that have to do it. In the end both types of shelters are there to help the animals. Any way that they can do so is OK with me. If they can work together to help save even more animals then that's even better.
- 'Supporter of all animal shelters'

Do The Math

Do the math. I volunteer at the local county animal shelter. It's a kill shelter. In a county with a population around 160,000 we have much more then 100 animals come in weekly. It's not unusual to have 800 come in monthly. There are 5 officers. The shelter can house 100 dogs at any one time. So, with maybe 25 to 30 adoptions a week, and over 100 new dogs coming in each week, what do you think happens to the surplus?

And believe me, no shelter officer wants to kill an animal. They often go above and beyond to place dogs, be it rescue or foster.
- 'Teripie'



All no-kill animal shelters should be banned from the United States. Yes. BANNED. Kill shelters are straight and up front with you. They take ALL animals and work like HELL to place them. No-kill shelters take only the ones they KNOW they can find homes for. They're not "no-kill". They're "We won't take you because it'll make us look bad when we have to put you down so instead we're not GOING to take you. Have fun fending for yourself on the streets." I'm all for my local shelter (kill shelter) and I'm SO glad those people are there to help the animals.
- 'Anonymous'

Disappointed in Animal Shelters

I don't know much about No Kill animal shelters. I want to hope they are better than regular ones. I want to tell a story that just happened to me. I hate animal shelters. PERIOD, the so called 'HUMANE' as most of them like to call themselves. They are all killers and the other day they proved it to me one more time. On our landlord's property a very nice stray female cat that I became very good friends with gave birth to 3 cute kittens. They were so playful, adorable, nice, cute, happy, full of life... I was feeding the mama cat and them until they were at least 2 month old, but then I called the landlord to tell him about the problem, so we decided to turn them in to the nearest animal shelter in South Carolina. I agreed with him because as I thought the kittens would be better off that way and the shelter would take care of them and do their best to find loving homes for them or at least give them such a chance before being euthanized.

We turned the kittens in and then, a little later, through an email I asked the shelter if it would be possible to find out if the kittens were adopted or not. They answered me that they do not give such an information and added that I could keep checking their website for updates. OK, I have been doing that for almost a month already and there are no signs, no pictures, no information about the kittens, like they never existed, vanished into thin air. I sent them another email asking what happened to the kittens, are they still alive or not, were they adopted or not, where are they...? I sent my message to them twice to be sure they got it. As a result, I have never heard from them. Their silence was the best proof of not having even put the kittens up for adoption (but they were adoptable 100%). If I had known all that about animal shelters, I would have never turned the kittens in. I would have solved the problem myself, but I made a very big mistake, maybe the biggest in my life and I regret it very very much.

OK, if they, like they say, run out of resources and capacity and whatever else, why the hell do they take in more animals than they can handle????? I do not understand that. What, killing them is the best way to solve the problem? Yeah, that's right, no animal, no problem. I'm very pissed off. From now on I will never have anything to do with AS, or animal concentration camps to be more exact.
- 'AnimalLover2000'

Other Explanations

AnimalLover2000, I can understand your anger but did you ever consider that there could be other explanations? I worked at an animal shelter. We got hundreds of emails every day and there was no way we could answer them all because we had ANIMALS to take care of! Answer emails or take care of animals and interview adoptive homes, that was our choice because there is only so much time and only so many people to go around. We tried to answer as many emails as we could but the animals took priority every time.

I don't know what happened to the kittens obviously but I can say that not every available adoptable animal ends up on a shelter's website. You have to find enough staff or volunteers to take the photos, write the bios, and post it on the website. For kittens who would have a GREAT chance to be adopted quickly it isn't always necessary to put them on the website because people who walk in could snap them right up and offer them a home! Kittens and puppies are the most popular and almost always get adopted quickly.

Why do shelters accept animals even if resources are low? To prevent jerks from dumping the poor animals. If there's no easy way to get rid of their animals (for example, dropping them off at a shelter), there are people who would drive them out to a field or a rural area and drop them off to fend for themselves. A domestic animal has no chance in the wild and will be scared and hungry and likely die of exposure if not through another animal, car, etc. That is why shelters accept animals.

Please remember that the people who work at shelters love animals too and are trying to do their best. Just because they can't always answer you doesn't mean something evil has happened. They are just trying to do their jobs and take care of the animals. No one wants to kill the animals. If people would spay and neuter their pets maybe one day we won't have homeless animals anymore.
- 'Anonymous'

No-Kills Just Kill In A Different Way

No Kill shelters naturally appeal to animal lovers. Unfortunately, the emotionality of the issue clouds your vision. No Kill shelters quickly fill up with unadoptable animals and then must shunt out animals to multiple, often shady animal rescues. People don't want to question animal rescues because that seems tantamount to spitting on an angel, but just read the news about them. Many cannot be trusted. So, No Kill is a mislabeled. Nearly the same number of animals still die, just not within the shelter walls. Either the shelter is full so someone who would drop off the animal just lets it out along the road or shoots it, or the animals lives in a cage or gets shifted between shady rescues. Good things do come out of it, but the bad outweighs the good of the policy. The best thing for everyone to do is to table their emotions for a moment and actually try to think of what achieves the most good, not what makes them feel good. A network of quality rescues and shelters with a realistic, pragmatic view of animals, their individual circumstances,and the overall circumstances and the ability to euthanize animals with little hope for integrating into a family and being happy.
- 'Anonymous'

No Kill Does Not Mean No Kill

I won't name the shelter's name, but it is a large private shelter associated with a well known, deceased, animal lover. My husband had an agressive mix breed that we took to the shelter when our child was due out of fear that the dog would bite the baby. She had bitten other people and we were open with the shelter about her circumstances. We thought we were giving her the best opportunity to thrive thinking worst case she remains there for live. This dog was perfect for a male bachelor, but she did not want to share her owner.

Anyway, long story short we went to check on her a week later and they had put her down! We were outraged. They said she was agressive. Really? We told them that. I just felt betrayed because we were under the impression this was a no kill shelter no matter what! We were upfront with them and I don't feel they were upfront with us. Also, I feel they should have at least called us first to give us the chance to try other arrangements. There are other no kill shelters in our area.

At least a kill shelter is up front. It might not be a nice term to hear, but you are not under any illusions. You know what can happen to your pet if you surrender them to a kill shelter. If you can't tell, I am a little bitter about the situation.
- 'Kristie'

A Dog That Bites Babies

A dog that bites babies is a problem dog, and problem dogs aren't born, they're made by irresponsible owners. So you had an aggressive problem dog as a result of your choice not to train or handle properly, then fobbed it off on someone else, and now you're complaining about how they dealt with the issue? Take a little bit of responsibility for your own actions. If you hadn't created the situation, that dog might might be alive and happy somewhere right now.
- 'Jim'

Shame On You

You should have tried these "other arrangements" well before resorting to the shelter. Shame on you! Everyone starts pointing the fingers at all shelters. Throw me a freaking bone here. It's common sense that a shelter should be your last resort.
- 'Anonymous'

Adoptable Animals

No-kill shelters generally don't put down adoptable animals. However, when they are AGGRESSIVE to the point where they do not feel they can safely adopt them out, they have to make a hard choice.

Your dogs aggression was a problem. I'm sorry you feel they weren't "up front" with you, but as someone who has dealt with aggressive dogs, I have to admit that I feel you're out of line with your outrage. Perhaps they should have called you, but your lack of common sense about your dog's aggressive tendencies is the real problem here.

Just to clarify, I'm not in support of "kill shelters." If I had my way, there would be NO homeless pets.
- 'Anonymous'

Vicious Cycle

As "Anonymous" said: "If I had my way, there would be NO homeless Pets."

I'm pretty sure we all feel that way. However, this is like saying: If I had it my way, there would be no criminals. (I am NOT comparing pets to criminals, it's just an example). It is not something we can just DO. I would think that all animal shelters are working to get as close to that as they can.

The reason there are homeless animals is because there are too many of them and not NEARLY enough homes willing to take them in. Believe me, kill shelters hate killing, but there is a high possibility that those animals would not have been adopted. They keep those who have the best chance. Plus, with all the people supporting the Nn-kills, the kill shelters have lower adoption rates and more of the unadoptable animals coming in; those that the "limited addmision" (no-kill) shelters will not accept. It's a vicious cycle.
- 'Cristina'


The people that should be ashamed are the people that don't make lifelong commitments to their animals. The ones that don't spay or neuter, don't make lifestyle changes to accommodate the needs of the animals, and view their animals as disposable. It is not the fault of the workers in "kill" shelters that animals are euthanized. We don't go door to door to take animals from their homes, they are brought to us. Those that work in shelters love animals dearly, or we would choose other much less emotional work. There is no such thing as a 100% never euthanize an animal shelter. We are ALL in the business to try to save animals, not kill them. "No-kill" shelters can pick and choose their animals and only take the highly adoptable ones, making it much easier to be "no-kill". They're not "no-kill" shelters, they're "you kill", passing the heartbreaking task onto someone else.
- 'Anonymous'

No Space

You're absolutely right. Of course no one at any shelter wants to euthanize a healthy animal, but unfortunately, in most communities, there are more homeless animals than there are shelter spots, foster homes, etc. There are two shelters in my community, both no-kill. They are both nearly always maxed out at the number of cats they have, and often for dogs, too. That means that you can't just walk in and relinquish an animal, they absolutely won't take it. So, if people are desperate, they might do something worse to the animal (shoot, drown, abandon, toss out of a car). It's heartbreaking, I had to stop volunteering at my local shelter because I couldn't take turning the desperate people and innocent pets away.
- 'Anonymous'

Vet's Assistant

I have had hundreds of dogs and cats die in my arms working as a veterinary assistant. Mostly what happens is the diagnosis promises huge bills and not always hopeful outcomes in dealing with problems bred into pets. Unfortunately second most often pets were put down because people move or get sick and can't complete the 15+ years they should've known they promise a pup or kitty when they take it in, or absolutely worse is when someone actually pays for a pet when theres millions in shelters about to be euthanized. Anyone who is against euthanasia enough to bitch and whine has got to either get a job in a shelter or turn their own house into a shelter if they think they can do better. You have to promise youll take in animals with fleas, PTSD, distemper, parvo, worms, maybe rabies. I'd prefer death myself than to lose a loving home family and live diseased and abandoned in the street.
- 'Anonymous'


I'm torn. My problem is that not all euthanising shelters are doing so because of the issues you listed. To me, if an animal has a problem that they will slowly die of, it is humane to put them down. To do so because you are over-populated and don't want to be bothered with working with rescue groups or even just a fostering program, it is lazy.

And yes, I've seen a few places in my area where there is no program to evaluate or foster the animal unless they have a procedure or health issue, in which case they are only fostered until healthy again. So yes, I would be willing to foster or care for an animal during the week so that maybe one weekend a family would fall in love with it, but I don't see it from many of the "kill" shelters.
- 'Melissa'

Kill Shelters

I wish we could have the governments work with vets to supplement spay and neuter programs. My thinking is if we can halt the overbreeding of these poor innocent souls we can use our tax dollars to prevent these killings.
- 'Anonymous'


Killing is killing... no way around it.

We, who have been in the throes of the shelter melee know that it is difficult and a sorry place to spend time if it were not for the love of dogs. But... you cannot take a life without first putting together a group of people with the experience, knowledge, and ability to make this decision. Very few shelters go to the trouble to gather these folks. Yeah, I know ... can't afford it, etc. Well. That poor dog. If he/she could afford it... would buy their way out of that jail. If it had the dough.

There are ways around killing our best friends ... we need to gather, educate and work at it... constantly!
- 'Anonymous'

Yes, BUT

Killing is killing. I agree. BUT. Euthanizing animals is necessary. Tragically, the ONLY way to FULLY resolve the pet overpopulation problem is to be selective about which pets are given a second chance through a shelter. There are FAR too many animals to place in every home.

I volunteer at my local shelter (219 volunteer hours this past summer, over a 2 month period). It is a so-called "kill shelter". While I was there, animals WERE put to sleep. IT HAPPENS. In fact, I can name three or four of the animals who were put to sleep. Jade, an old Rottweiler who had mange, Happy, a Staffordshire Terrier who'd had no physical problems (but we were OVERFLOWING with pets and we had to choose those animals LIKELY to be adopted). Kiki, a black kitten with one eye, and Buster, an old, blind, deaf Beagle.

At the same time, I can name PLENTY of animals we've rehomed. Off the top of my head: Mario, a large 8 pound tom cat. Trouble, a small tabby kit. Spots, an American Blue Heeler bitch who'd been returned to us twice because she was a dominant female and family-protective. Dottie, a purebred Dalmatian (went to a Dalmatian rescue and was rehomed there). And many more.

We euthanize because we have to. We don't ENJOY it, but it must happen. We are a kill shelter. And we rehome 90% of our animals. We hold adoption fairs. Euthanasia is a necessary evil. That's how it has to be.
- 'Anonymous'

I Was Having a Morality Crisis, and You Solved It

Thank you so much for your comment! Today brought to my attention that the shelter near me at which I planned to volunteer was a kill-shelter. I couldn't decide whether I should or shouldn't still pick that shelter; I understood that it costs a lot to care for the animals, and there are just so many, but I didn't know if it was all right to (in a way) support euthanization of simply unlucky animals. Do I help them get out of a kill-shelter? Is that supporting their euthanization? Why aren't all shelters no-kill?

"We euthanize because we have to. We don't ENJOY it, but it must happen." This is the sentence that made up my mind. It'd be nice to use a pretty label like "no-kill", but that just isn't the reality of things. There are way more animals than people are willing to adopt, and many shelters simply don't have the money and luxury to take care of all the pets for a couple decades each. And I'm sure most of the people who've decided to run and work at a kill-shelter aren't doing it for the profit or joy of ending lives. They're there to help all whom they can, which includes accepting animals that wouldn't be taken in by no-kill shelters because of their low adoption chances. I think that's how they can afford to be no-kill. If they only take in the desirable pets, and they label themselves as "no-kill," then not only are the animals adopted more, but the shelter is more favorable and so more well-funded and so able to afford taking care of every pet and labeling themselves as a no-kill shelter and on and on. I hope everyone can see what I'm trying to say and I'm sorry for repeating myself -- I'm just trying to be as clear as I can.

I think I'd be supporting euthanization more by not helping the shelters who take in the less adoptable pets than the no-kill shelters that pick and choose and don't get a bad reputation for it. You're right, no shelter wants to kill.

You've resolved my little crisis. I've decided to volunteer at the shelter near me. They're trying their hardest and the more I help them, the more pets will be saved. All exclusively volunteering at no-kill shelters will do is hurt the shelters that don't have the luxury of ignoring the fact that there are just too many animals and too little adoption for every shelter to be no-kill.

As a final note, I'd also like to thank you for having legible, non-hysterical text. I was having a moral dilemma, and the comments I were reading were "there should be kill-shelters for humans," "my tax money is being wasted," and "SOME STUFF IN ALL CAPS." (littered with grammatical mistakes that I find insanely distracting). And after the incredibly sad and personal stories of those unlucky pets, reading the ones of the pets you and your shelter have helped (along with your words) have made me leave with a smile. Thank you again.

The shelter near me at which I planned to volunteer was a kill-shelter. I've decided to volunteer there. I'd be supporting euthanization more by not helping the shelters who take in the less adoptable pets than the no-kill shelters that pick and choose and don't get a bad reputation for it.
- 'Anonymous'

Common Sense

Now that the NK/dog breeders and their allies have successfully screwed up numerous counties and states across the nation with their "agenda", perhaps we can get back to focusing on the true problem: pet overpopulation due to breeders, lack of spay/neuter, and the irresponsible public.

The math alone, common sense aside, tells a person that a county funded animal control shelter can NOT be a NK shelter. The funds are not there, the physical help is not there, and THERE ARE TOO MANY ANIMALS being dumped off there due to breeding, lack of spay/neuter laws, and the irresponsible public.

The NK dog breeders agenda has failed - thank GOD.
- 'Anonymous'

No Room

All these people who insist that killing animals is always wrong never seem to come up with an alternative.

What exactly do you want the shelter to do when they are full up? Turn all the other animals away to die slowly and lonely of starvation, or get picked up as "dog bait" by dog fighters, or get ripped to pieces by coyotes, or breathe their last breath in agony alongside the road where they were just hit by a car? Or even worse, have a litter of kittens who will then suffer these fates. Are you really so unaware of the horrors that lie in wait for homeless animals?

I'm sure that many of you have opened your homes to adopt shelter animals. Good for you. But just like the shelter you can't take an infinite number. So you take in only as many as you feel you can house, and turn your back on the rest.

I don't blame you. And I don't blame the no-kill shelters for doing the same thing. But in my book the "open door" shelters are the true heroes in this tragic situation. They don't turn any animal away.

There is a far worse fate than euthanasia awaiting unwanted animals, and I am deeply grateful that some people are rescuing as many as they can from this fate, not just the ones that can be adopted.
- 'Ed'

Agree with 'No Room'

I agree with you... no I don't neccesarily like kill shelters but i think it great that they can't turn away any pet and if you think about it... at least they got a last meal and lovin' before they had to go. They were the lucky ones unlike the unlucky aniamls that didn't deserve a worse death.
- 'Michelle'

You Figure It Out

Everyone who thinks kill shelters are so evil: You come figure out where to put them all then. Find a rescue that will take some of the ones that aren't as adoptable. See the overcrowding... it's not pretty.
- 'Anonymous

Let Them Be

If the only solution you can think of to "help" an animal from the streets is to "kill" that animal, maybe you shouldn't try to "help." I would rather the animal (unless infected with rabies) try to make it out there on its own. Animals are not necessarily the same as human beings; however, we would never euthanize people in the circumstances we euthanize animals - think about it. Would we put to sleep a human being just because his/her white cells are low? Of course not; but we do the same to animals at the drop of a hat. The alternative is to help only those you can help, and leave the others be!
- 'Anonymous'

Shelters Aren't The Problem

The real ones to blame are not the kill shelters or the no kill shelters. The fact of the matter is, there are already far too many animals on the streets and any ignorant human being has the ability to breed for their own personal gain.

The shelters are not the problem... The breeders/the back yard breeders/puppy mills and those who support corrupt organizations are the real killers. You can hate kill shelters and no-kill shelters as much as you like, but unfortunately the catalyst of or these situations is an ignorant society.

Kill shelters have an unfortunate necessity. The shelters in many areas are antiquated and they can't sit on the animals they have when they receive upwards of 50 a week from owners who are moving/starting a family/didn't realize the responsibility they were going to have to face/have more important things to do with their time. Some animals would sit in a shelter for longer than a year as they are less adoptable than a pure-bred puppy. The rates at which animals are dumped at shelters is astronomical. It is inhumane to fit thousands of pets in a shelter suitable for 100. Not to mention the cost of sick/injured animals (which in the most desperate of shelters are typically euthed right away).

Those who avoid saving from kill shelters because of ethics are not helping the problem. The fact of the matter is we lose thousands of pets due to over population. You can't blame the shelters... but you can blame the illegitimate breeders and the consumers who support them.

And with Christmas on the horizon it is only bound to get worse. Sweaters can be returned, but many people don't realize that the once cute chihuahua puppy that they got as a present... now needs more than to just be put in a purse and walked around as an accessory or that they're once adorably bouncy border collie puppy is destructive when bored.

IGNORANCE is to blame, not kill shelters or non-kill shelters. Public needs to stop being ignorant to the facts, and they need to stop avoiding shelters because they are too depressing, or because they can't get their oodle doodle that they want.

It's not a matter of "lets make this shelter a no kill shelter now" it's a matter of changing conceptions the public has on pet owning and adopting.

That being said.. We have an overwhelming amount of dogs in the local shelter who are given around 3-5 days to find a home before they are euthanized, and this is not atypical. Please look into adopting a dog from a high kill shelter or fostering for a rescue who does.
- 'Miranda'