Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Seems like the rescue biz is as competitive as car sales. We are all hurting for resources and all want the same limited resources. Be it foster homes, food, kitty litter, grants, money or whatever. While we are all jockeying for the same resource we try to make statements about how we are different from other rescues. This is in hopes that in some way the audience will value that difference and select that one rescue over another.

While rescues are making statements about how they are different then the rest, it's so easy for us to start knocking others. It all started with me thinking a about how Planned Pethood gets knocked by other rescues. I was at least going to stop with me.

A perfect example are the terms "kill facility" and "no-kill facility". Three to four million surplus animals are euthanized every year in shelters across America. These are the lucky ones that were humanly put to sleep rather than suffering, lingering in death. Alone and afraid in their final minutes. Those "kill facilities" offer that humane death. In many cases the "kill facility" works diligently until the last moment to try to get other rescues to take animals so they don't have to euthanize. They certainly find no glee in that part of their job.

Most of the "kill facilities" should actually be referred to as "open door policy facilities". In our community the Toledo Area Humane Society has what is called an open door policy. Any animal entering their facility has the chance to be placed in their adoption program or if resources are limited, euthanized. Planned pethood cannot degrade the Toledo Area Humane Society for having this open door policy. Without a facility with an open door policy, imagine to think of what our city streets would look like? The slow death those animals would have to endure is boggling.

On the other side of the debate is the "no-kill facility". Mostly that term is used to describe a rescue with "limited intake" policies. That means they get to pick and choose what animals come in, usually based on how many adoptions they had the week previously. Planned Pethood's animals ONLY come from our community. We have the luxury to select animals out of the surplus. I have been striking the term "no-kill" from my vocabulary because it really has lost it's meaning to most people. And it really doesn't mean Planned Pethood is better than a facility with an open door policy.

Additionally, many people need to know that "no-kill" isn't always a humane choice, in my opinion. There are shelters and rescues that would rather warehouse an animal indefinitely rather than put it to sleep. Shelters within close proximity to us have dogs that have lived in a kennel for years. Those dogs are too unpredictable to be adopted or too dangerous to be placed in a home but as a "no-kill" facility the animal's entire existence is a cement floor and chain link fence. Workers pet the dog through the fence, or maybe even can go in the cage with the dog briefly. But that's about it. Here's the super weird part . . . the above opinion makes me suspect among many in the rescue biz. Because I don't hate any kill facility and don't hate all dog wardens, I'm cast under a shadow of doubt. Because I don't think dog wardens have horns under their hair or a forked tail others think there is something wrong with how I think. Others in the rescue biz that believe as I do, agree that they too have been viewed as "suspect". I struggle to see the logic, but who said rescue was logical?

The issue of semantics between the terms "kill" and "no-kill" facilities is something we all need to be examining. How am I applying the term? How am I assigning value to those terms? How is one label better than another when looked at under a different light?

--Nikki Morey

1 comment:

  1. The blame lies with irresponsible people, and a general attitude that dogs and cats are disposable. Dog wardens and "kill" shelters are among the means we have now for dealing with that. Yeah we can all say we could never do that but they can't be blamed because they can, when someone has to.