Post by On 02 September 2014 In Blog 899 comments

The Killing of Kindness and Compassion Featured

There is a lot being written about the need to save more shelter animal's lives and a lot of what is being written seems to extol the idea that getting animals adopted by any means justifies the end. This can mean no home checks, no background checks, no adoption fees or, the one that hits home to me is when dogs are subjected to aversive training or behavior modification that shuts them down enough to get them out the door.

I read, hear and see many local, state, regional and national organizations shouting from the rooftops the fact that they have saved X number of lives through their adoption methods, but it's not enough. They want to save more lives but, when you dig into the details, you see that it's not necessarily done with kindness, compassion or with a thought to quality of life. Somehow these numbers matter more than the quality of life many of these dogs experienced while sheltered or fostered or the true quality of life they'll experience once in a new home. Somehow the idea of kindness and compassion has been lost in this human-centric race to achieve higher numbers. Somehow the people and organizations behind these numbers feel that their efforts, no matter the means, makes them better, more caring, that they're winning some kind of race.

These groups have resorted to any training method, any behavior modification method, any philosophy, no matter the cost, as long as dogs get adopted. It's interesting that most, if not all, of these organizations DO NOT conduct follow-ups to see if their dogs have remained in those homes. How many dogs are poorly matched, then returned and have their names changed or are euthanized? How many of these dogs are dumped at other shelters or rescues because their true behavioral issues surfaced once adopted? How many of these dogs were euthanized by a vet or abandoned when their new owners couldn't handle or did not have the resources to resolve behavioral problems? No one knows because these organizations don't really care: after all, it would skew the numbers.

I don't believe in the no-kill movement simply because it's not realistic. The concept is noble but the real world is not. Basic human behavior dictates that a lot of people who want a dog will not go to a shelter or rescue and adopt. There are not now, and will probably never be, enough good rescues and shelters with the necessary resources to provide the medical and behavioral help that every dog needs prior to adoption. And yes, there are some dogs whose behavioral issues make them unsafe in the human world. Keeping them in most shelters or with rescues who can only kennel and not foster for untold years is not a great quality of life. This is an issue fraught with emotion because we want to do the best we can for every dog, but we must do the best we can without killing kindness and compassion.

Read 140452 times Last modified on Tuesday, 02 September 2014 23:38


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