Say Yes To No-Kill Shelters [Editorials]


We need to stop killing healthy and adoptable animals.

Saint Charles is fortunate to have Five Acres Animal Shelter. The shelter doesn’t euthanize their animals to make room for new ones, welcomes animals who are in bad shape and has a dedicated staff. However, a lot of places aren’t as lucky.

Anyone who has ever had to put down a pet knows how heartbreaking it can be to lose a member of the family. According to the Humane Society of the United States, around 2.4 million healthy cats and dogs are put down in U.S. shelters each year. This is due to kill-shelters.

Some kill-shelters use a very disturbing kill method that involves putting the animal in a gas chamber. Under the best circumstances, it only takes minutes for an animal to lose consciousness, but in frequent cases, it takes much longer. In some instances, these chambers aren’t cleaned often, and an animal in the chamber may smell the animal before them.

In the state of Missouri, it is not completely illegal for a shelter to use the gas chamber method. This is an unethical method that needs to be stopped completely, for there are many other alternatives such as an intravenous injection of sodium phenobarbital, or simply not killing the animal at all.

The reason kill-shelters resort to ending the animal’s life is usually due to overpopulation. When an animal shelter reaches full capacity, kill-shelters make room for other animals simply by putting to sleep some of the animals who have been in the shelter for a long time, are in bad shape or are of old age. However, this problem can be greatly reduced simply by getting animals spayed and neutered shortly after their adoption. This will allow the animal to no longer reproduce, making the population go down.

No-kill shelters don’t kill their animals to make room for new ones. However, space in these shelters is limited. To control population within the shelter, they typically don’t take every animal that wants in. Walking in with an animal and asking for it to be in the shelter is typically not allowed, and people will need to schedule an appointment.

No-kill shelters all have a common goal of improving living conditions of the animals within the shelter. They do this by promoting the adoption of animals in the shelter, setting up spay and neuter programs and setting up retention programs. For a lot of shelters, that goal is not always realistic due to the cost. However, many of these shelters are reliant on their large number of volunteers, which goes to show that the shelter and the people in it have the animal’s best interests in mind.

There are around 50 no-kill animal shelters in the state of Missouri. Some shelters make exceptions to the no-kill ethic, but only in cases such as major medical issues and extreme aggression. These animals are put down with a more humane method of euthanasia that kills the animal in a much quicker and painless way.

Regardless of that exception, no-kill shelters are still the better option, simply because they are much more humane and dedicated to finding an animal’s forever home, and that’s what shelters are supposed to be about.