Who is Really to Blame When a Shelter or Rescue Euthanizes an Animal?

It is always a tragic event when a living creature’s life has to come to an end, especially one who never got to live up to its full potential. Unfortunately with the issue of overcrowding in animal shelters nation wide this seems to happen all to often. According to ASPCA.org about 3.9 million dogs and 3.4 million cats enter shelters annually. As a result of this huge influx of animals shelters and rescues are forced to euthanize approximately 1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats. Yes, the thought of all these canines and felines having to be humanely laid to rest is extremely upsetting and it makes people want to place the blame on someone. If this many animals die each year clearly there should be someone to blame, right?

There certainly are plenty of people to place this blame, but the animal shelters and rescues who work diligently and wholeheartedly to try to save these animals are not the ones to blame. The people who work at these places are there to help these animals and when some have to be euthanized due lack of space, health, or behavioral issues it takes its toll on them. It would be a lot easier to just quit and let someone else do their job, but instead they stay in order to try to makes things better for these animals. I know this because I have volunteered at a local animal shelter and worked right along side these workers. I saw firsthand their passion for their job. I have also got to work with the local humane society when they bring animals into the clinic to be treated. Everyone of those humane officers genuinely cared about what happens to those animals. It is not fair for us to place the blame on the people who are deliberately working to find homes for these animals.

Instead we need to be addressing the real issues. If people would spay and neuter their pets, there would be a lot less unwanted litters to dump off on the animal shelter and rescues. The reason we even have need for animal shelters and rescues is because there are so many unwanted animals out there that need a place to go. If society would work to spay and neuter animals then there would not even be a need for shelters. Secondly, if people would take the time to work with and properly train their dog they would not have to give them up when they realize they do not like the way the animal acts. I know that some dogs are more challenging to handle than other, but do your research before getting a dog. This way you can make sure it is the right choice for you. A pet is a life long commitment. You not just take it to the shelter when you are finished with it and get upset when it gets euthanized.

Today I read a news article from WOWK 13 News that got me thinking about this issue. Below I have attached a link to this article and news clip.

Public upset after Kanawha Charleston Humane Association euthanized German Shepard.

I personally know some people who work at this animal shelter and I know that they genuinely love animals. I am sure the shelter did the best they could to try to find a home for Lacey. It is hard enough to find a home for a dog that does not have any health issues and has a good temperament. I can not even imagine trying to find a dog that requires daily medication and behavioral issues. It is not safe to adopt out a dog that could pose a threat to the community. Sometimes the hardest decision is the best decision.

I also read this post from Tia Torres about a dog that the owner knew was a danger to the public, but still let it lose for someone else to have to deal with his problem. This post is a perfect demonstration of how rescues and shelters are forced to deal with animals that people do not properly train and then want to simply dispose of them. Please take the time to read this post.

Works Cited

“Pet Statistics.” ASPCA. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2015.

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