We have no choice. There are just too many and euthanasia is the humane solution.
Imagine if we were not talking about dogs and cats but about children. Imagine an orphanage in a poor country ravaged by war, famine, and disease. Fathers are executed as rebels or conscripted by a dictatorial government. Mothers are left with nothing and, ill and starving, are leaving their children at the orphanage in ever greater numbers. More children come in every day, and they’re not happy, well-adjusted children ready to join a family and go to school. They’re malnourished and traumatized and may take years to recover, if they ever do. It’s a crisis.
Imagine you’re the director of the orphanage. What do you do? Do you order all but the most adoptable children to be “put to sleep”? (That’s what many animal shelter director, including Pat Claerbout of Stockton, do with impounded and surrendered animals.)
Imagine you’re the nurse (there is no doctor). What do you do? Do you recommend “PTS Humane” when a child is sick or injured? (That’s what the vet tech in Stockton, Jennifer McCollum, has done with impounded and surrendered animals.)
The insanity, the absolute heartless cruelty of such a course of action becomes crystal clear when we put it in terms of children instead of animals. If we were talking about children in an orphanage instead of dogs and cats in an animal “shelter,” we would never countenance “euthanasia” as a solution to the problem of too many coming in. You don’t have to value animals as highly as humans to apply basic standards of respect for life to animals coming in to a shelter. Many people, and most Americans, do think that animals in shelters deserve lifesaving solutions. We should expect creative and life-affirming actions instead of killing to meet the challenge of many animals in need.
And just as there are people who want to adopt children in orphanages and who will go to great lengths and expense to do so whenever barriers are removed, so too are there people who will adopt animals from shelters–if the barriers to adoption are removed. Today, on the Central California Pets Alive Facebook page, one of the few volunteers (and the only defender of the shelter’s practices) posted, in response to a description of a blind dog being killed even though there was an adopter available: ”The city does not adopt out dogs on meds or with known conditions,” adding that only rescue organizations, not adopters, are allowed to save such animals.
In reply, Fiona’s adopter, who was only able to foster and adopt her because we jumped through those ridiculous hoops and had The Perfect Dog Rescue to help, said, “I have a dog from the Stockton shelter, and while she wasn’t on meds when I got her (because she didn’t receive much needed vet services while in their crappy care), she had a significant medical condition and as soon as she got vet treatment was on a number of medications. However, she is now healthy and could not be a more wonderful pet for our family…why in the world don’t these pets deserve a CHANCE to have a family adopt them???”