No Kill vs Kill Animal Shelters

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Except when they become too concerned about the treatment of animals, people normally do not get involved with animal shelter problems. There are, however, numerous ideas on how best to encourage the practice of improving the lives of animals. Unfortunately, there are controversies regarding the rhetoric around animal shelters, making the animal shelters split into "kill" or "no kill" shelters. Given the changing conditions, shelters for "no kill" lead to closed admissions (Klein 18). Many of the "no kill" shelters that may not be approved include those that are not deserving of recovery or those with life-threatening illnesses. On the other hand, "kill" shelters are usually open admissions that take any animal irrespective of its health condition (Sun 1005). This paper presents an argument regarding the "Kill" and "No Kill" animal shelters, with the focus on their service differences and similarities.

The “no kill” shelters, especially those that zero euthanasia policy, have the repercussion of not admitting the terminally ill animals, or even allow such animals to endure until they get adopted, making the animals to suffer (Brown, Davidson, and Marion 2). The “Kill” shelters, on the other hand, are divided into those that consistently euthanize adoptable, healthy, animals to make them room, and those that make every effort to avoid euthanizing any adoptable, healthy animals (Sun 1006). What that means is that an animal may automatically be put down if it fails to be adopted by a particular date. However, such a practice only happens in some shelters, usually those local government facilities that get under-funded.

The "kill" shelters do not require animal owners to make an appointment before surrendering their animals. Additionally, they do not have behavioral requirements, age limitations, or health standards that are necessary for one to surrender an animal. As a result, the Kill” shelters usually get forced to euthanize animals so as to protect both the health and safety of the entire shelter population (Klein 19). On the other hand, the "no kill" shelters do not accept animals whose owners have no appointments, and their screening processes are very thorough. Additionally, the "no kill" shelters do not accept animals that are beyond a given age or those that medical or behavioral issues (Klein 20).

The divisive line between the “Kill” and “No Kill” shelters is however not as simple as it may appear. One of the interesting things is that the “Kill” shelters claim that the refusal by the “No Kill” shelters to accept the extra animals is a way of forcing them (“Kill” shelters) to conduct euthanasia on their behalf. Usually, the public perception is that the “No Kill” shelters take a higher moral ground of not euthanizing the animals (Gontkovsky 13). Such a perception is, however, unfair because the "No Kill" shelters are known for turning away any animal that they are unwilling to accommodate due to the lack of space. The animals, therefore, end up in the “Kill” shelters that are always open, and the animal may eventually be killed or euthanized.

In the “Kill” kill shelters, the animals get subjected to peaceful deaths in the arms of a caring person, a case which is much different with animal deaths that occur in “No Kill” shelters that most people perceive to be protecting the lives of the animals. In the "No Kill" shelters, the animals get mistreated or mishandled, forcing them to die gradually and in great agony under the sheds, in the backyards, on chains, in the streets, or even at the hands of abusive handlers (Gontkovsky 14). In fact, it is becoming a common practice for the “No Kill” shelters to have very high rates of unassisted animal deaths in kennels and cages from injuries or illnesses.

While the “Kill” shelters euthanize old animals to give room for the new ones, the “No Kill” shelters hold animals for several months or years (Klein 21). However, the animals admitted in "No Kill" shelters usually begin to deteriorate psychologically in a matter of weeks, and they start showing signs of withdrawal, anxiety, depression, and aggressiveness in such "No Kill" shelters. In some cases, the adopted animals that have remained in confinement for longer periods usually get repeatedly returned due to various behavioral issues that make them less adoptable.

Additionally, some of the animals that get admitted to “No Kill” shelters get into the hands of hoarders and abusers, especially when the animal numbers become the priority (Klein 22). When that happens, the handlers no longer consider the animals as individuals that deserve respect and consideration. Instead, they consider such animals as inventory that moved, a situation which makes the “No Kill” shelters to toss aside even the most basic protections. In fact, the practice of torturing and killing homeless animals is on the rise. Most of the individuals who engage in such practices are usually adopters who never went through screening. Sometimes the killing happens in the “No Kill” shelters with filthy cages. Therefore, despite the notion that the “No Kill” shelters contribute to saving the animals’ lives, most animals usually lose their lives within the “No Kill” shelter settings.

However, despite the limitations and challenges facing the “No Kill” shelters, the “Kill” No Kill” shelters, to a greater extent, contribute to the enhancement of the animals’ welfare. As opposed to the “Kill” shelters that euthanize animals as their primary objective, the “No Kill” shelters boost animal adoptions because their main goal is to take care of the animals as opposed to killing them (Jonquiere 531). Besides, the “No Kill” shelters attract and retain more volunteers whose interests are to save the lives of the homeless animals (Jonquiere 533). The "No Kill" shelters that guarantee adoption are always in a position to attract and eventually retain a significant number of volunteers because volunteering individuals are always aware that the animals that they develop connections with will get adopted and cherished in life as opposed to getting euthanized as it happens in the “Kill” shelters.

While the “Kill” shelters demoralize the staff, the "No Kill" shelters significantly improve the staff morale. Imagine a situation or a working environment where almost fifty percent of the individuals around you die on a daily basis (Sun, 1007). That may be inevitable in wartime, but an animal shelter does not qualify as a war zone, and the dying animals are not subjected to such deaths for a just or noble cause. The practice of killing treatable and healthy animals, as it happens in “Kill” shelters, is both demoralizing and debilitating for the employees or the staff who have to do it. The irony surrounding such a practice is that people usually make the decision of working at the shelters with the aim of helping animals as a result of their love for them. The idea of killing the animals after sheltering them is, therefore, very devastating. In fact, the practice of killing animals in the “Kill” shelters create stressed up employees.

The “No Kill” shelters also help in generating support from the community (Brown, Davidson, and Marion). Just in the same way our society no longer buys the ideas of abiding by gender inequality and racial discrimination, we are also becoming less tolerant to the mass killing of animals which form part of our best friends, as well as family members. Some communities have a real bias when it comes to supporting various animal oriented lifesaving programs and policies. Such communities are the ones that mostly support the establishment of the “Kill” animal shelters. However, the communities that consider animals as friends and as part of their family members take part in voluntarily supporting the “No Kill” programs and policies.

While the “Kill” animal shelters drive away potential donations, the “No Kill” shelters contribute to creating better alignment with various charitable missions (sun 1009). The animal welfare organizations, in general, have the intention or goal of improving the well-being and health of various companion animals. Besides, they advocate for animal legislation and prosecution of animal cruelty in their efforts to save animals' lives. However, when societies engage in practices aimed at killing treatable and healthy animals through the establishment of “Kill” animal shelters, then it means there is a troubling disconnect between the objectives of the animal welfare organizations want to do and what gets done practically. By saving the lives of all the healthy and treatable animals, the “No Kill” shelters that guarantee adoption are in a position to fulfill the lifesaving mission of the animal welfare organizations.

In conclusion, despite the advantages that “No Kill” shelters have over the “Kill” shelters, the “Kill” shelters also have convincing reasons for euthanizing animals. In fact, some “Kill” shelters only accept to euthanize an adoptable animal for space under grimmest conditions. From the analysis of the “Kill” and “No Kill” animal shelters, it is evident that they both have faults. That is because the “Kill” shelters usually get forced to euthanize animals that are healthy, while the “No Kill” shelters sometimes can turn away any given animal for any given reason, at any given time. Therefore, the best shelters that may handle the animals in a much better way would be a combination of the “Kill” and “No Kill” shelters. That is because such a combination would make them try only to admit the most adoptable animals and euthanize those that have health problems or appear aggressive. As a result, it would be possible to ensure that the animals that have the potential of having good homes get the best chances of securing such homes. Additionally, if one has to surrender his or her animal or pet to a shelter, then it is always advisable for one to take enough time to find out the animals or pet's euthanasia policies, as well as if there can be a notification if the surrendered pet is considered unadoptable.

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Works Cited

Brown, William P., Janelle P. Davidson, and Marion E. Zuefle. Effects Of Phenotypic Characteristics On The Length Of Stay Of Dogs At Two No Kill Animal Shelters. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 16.1 (2013): 2-18.
Gontkovsky, Samuel T. To Kill Or Not To Kill. PsycCRITIQUES 52.15 (2007): n.13-19. Web.
Jonquiére, R. "Euthanasia: To Kill Or Not To Kill?". The Lancet Oncology 2.9 (2001): 531-536. Web.
Klein, Alice. "To Kill Or Not To Kill?". New Scientist 232.3096 (2016): 18-23. Web.
Sun, Peter D. "To Kill Or Not To Kill." Molecular Immunology 38.14 (2002): 1005-1006. Web.

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