Animal House Party (AHP) wanted to explore this issue further. We have been hearing about this term in the media, but really did not know what it meant exactly. We were a little surprised by what we found.
The most widely accepted definition of a no-kill shelter is a place where all “adoptable” and “treatable” animals are saved and where only unadoptable or “non-rehabilitatable” animals are euthanized.
According to Maddies Fund: “No-kill means saving both adoptable (healthy) and treatable dogs and cats, with euthanasia reserved only for non-rehabilitatable animals.
So what is Treatable vs. Unadoptable? We tracked down Asilomar Accords that Michigan Humane Society (MHS) follows. These accords specifically state what is healthy, treatable, rehabilitatable manageable, and unhealthy and untreatable. These categories help MHS determines which animals are treatable or not. When people hear the term “no-kill shelter”, they might think that the shelter literally will never kill an animal and will always adopt it out. Is it even possible to never have to “kill” an animal? Is it responsible to adopt out an animal knowing that they have behavioral issues and might attack someone? The moral answer to both questions is no. Being a “no-kill” shelter does not necessarily mean that an organization won’t ever euthanize an animal. Animals that are not treatable or are unfit for adoption (sick, vicious, a threat to others) will still be humanely euthanized, therefore making the term “no-kill” not accurate. The thing is, after doing some research I discovered that MHS actually follows the same guidelines that the No-Kill shelters follow, they just don’t brand themselves as No-Kill. That does not imply that they do not put the animal’s very best interest first and foremost.
But MHS is an open-admission shelter. Open-admission means not limiting animal intakes based on the type of pet, breed, the animal’s condition/potential adoptability, geography/where they are from, space availability, etc. MHS takes in animals, even if they have a very slim chance of survival. This means that MHS can potentially take in a large amount of animals – depending on the location of the shelter – that have been injured, abused, neglected or abandoned and require extra special care and money to save them. On the other hand, a “No-Kill” shelter may only take in healthy and adoptable animals, which is a lot easier to do; therefore, passing the problem along to someone else.
Michigan Humane Society also takes in animals from other shelters and animal control units in cities that can’t take care of the animals themselves. And it is sad to say but the truth is that many of these animals are so sick or abused by the time they reach MHS they don’t have much of a shot at pulling through and making a healthy recovery. No-Kill is a motivating buzzword, but in reality, it won’t happen until people stop abusing, neglecting and breeding animals for profit or sport. AHP realizes that this issue is important and welcome an open dialogue. What do you think about the concept of a “no-kill shelter?” What can we do to end animal cruelty?
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