Shelters for animals in some areas may be a misnomer. The figure given for the last 10 years for destroying shelter animals is 250,000,000. In 1991, that was the population of the United States.
There are times when euthanasia is the kindest gift you can give an animal – when it is suffering with an incurable illness or its aggressiveness makes it impossible to re-home or re-train.
The no-kill movement really got a boost when a Califonian, Ed Duvin, wrote an article calling euthanasia of healthy, adoptable animals as “massive slaughter.”
In 1990 the San Francisco SPCA along with the animal control agency began creating programs that would save animals from needless killing. On the East Coast, New York City has instituted a no-kill policy. There are many no-kill shelters scattered throughout the United States.
If you are interested in being an advocate for a no-kill shelter in your area, here are some things you should know.
It starts with getting to know the people and animals at your local shelter. Consider volunteering to help with walking dogs, socializing animals, grooming them or wherever your shelter needs help.
Get in touch with your city/town leaders. Suggest programs to them and offer to coordinate fundraisers and adoption events. Get your friends and other animal lovers to help you.
Ask your local pet shops if they will sponsor an Adoption Day at their store.
Talk to your local shelters about low or no cost spay/neuter programs.
Ask your vet if he/she will volunteer time and services at the local shelters and/or offer low cost spay/neuter at specific times.
Think about you and your friends fostering pets until they are ready for adoption. This lessens the burden on the shelters.
Sometimes people have to give up their pets because they put undue financial strain on the family. Try to problem solve with them so that they can keep their pets.
Some communities have a TNR (trap, neuter, release) program for feral or homeless cats. See if you can institute this program in your area.
Contact people like Ellen Degeneres, Mary Tyler Moore or any other celebrities involved with saving animals and ask if they have suggestions or can give you time at a fundraiser.
Get in touch with organizations like Best Friends Animal Society, the San Francisco SPCA, the North Shore Animal League, Maddie’s Fund, as they can give you invaluable information to help get you started.
By becoming involved in your community, you can make things happen and save our best friends.