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What Is A No-Kill Animal Shelter?

Updated on May 1, 2012

No-Kill Shelters

The difference between kill and no-kill shelters is that no-kill shelters only euthanize up to 10% of the animals they take in. Euthanasia is saved for animals in severe heath conditions with very little to no possibility of recovering and animals that are deemed not adoptable by exhibiting behaviors that can not be corrected such as severe aggression towards people. In a perfect world, only animals in extreme, life-threatening health conditions would be the only animals to be euthanized as it being the only humane thing to do. The reality is that over population of animals means more are in shelters.

Kill shelters will euthanize based on condition of the animal, age, breed, adopt-ability and breed. Adopt-ability is usually figured by factoring in all aspects of the animal such as temperament, age, and how cute the dog is. The better looking a dog or cuter the dog the more likely chance it has of being adopted as opposed to an ugly mutt dog that is 7 years old. Breed is a big factor in kill shelters. A lot of American Pit Bull Terriers get euthanized because of their breed and how many there are already in shelters.

Preventing Unnecessary Euthanasia

A key point that all shelters and animal advocates push onto people is that spaying and neutering pets is the best way to save lives. The proof is in the numbers. With the increase in free/low cost spay and neuter clinics there has been a decrease in homeless pets. It is the best way to manage domestic animal populations. Having dogs or cats altered is cheaper then feeding a hand full of little ones for 8 or more weeks.

Shelters vs. Sanctuaries

Shelters are meant to take in animals and find them new homes. Many pets do find forever homes but there is a few groups of animals that will never get to go home with a loving family. This is where sanctuaries come into play. Sanctuaries exist for every type of pet and even breaks down to breeds in some cases. Sanctuaries are places where unwanted and unadoptable pets can go to spend the rest of their lives without having to be destroyed. Popular sanctuaries are for dogs, they take in dogs that are old and will likely be destroyed to make room at shelters. They also take in dogs that have behavior problems like aggression. Dogs in sanctuaries are well cared for and allowed to live like real dogs. They are often maintained by volunteers of vets, vet techs, trainers and behavior specialists. Some of the dogs do eventually find homes after being at a sanctuary.

Sanctuaries only euthanize animals in bad health that can not be corrected. If they feel that an animal is suffering and there is little to nothing that can be done medically they will euthanize to relieve the animal. Sanctuaries are truly their for the animals and their well being.


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