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No Kill Animal Shelters Gaining Support

Through the efforts of organizations and committed individuals, support is growing for the establishment of no kill animals shelters. An alternative to the traditional dog pound or animal shelter, no-kill animal shelters advocate adoption over euthanasia.

Every year, thousands of animals find themselves in the custody of local animal pounds. The primary function of these facilities has been to collect unwanted animals, hold them for a prescribed amount to time, and then euthanize the animal. Often, the method of euthanasia is less than humane.

In defense of some local shelters staff members work long and hard to find unwanted animals an adopted home. It is common for local shelters to work with the Human Society or other animal advocacy groups to reduce the numbers of unwanted animals. These efforts include low-cost or free-of-cost spay and neuter clinics. In many cases, local governments support these efforts with additional funding and staffing.

Sadly, even the most gallant efforts are not enough to stop the euthanasia of thousands of animals every year. The truth is that most local shelters lack sufficient funding to hold animals for a prolonged period of time. Shelter cost is minimal but the cost of food, supplies and veterinary care can quickly outstrip meager shelter budgets.

My own local county-run shelter has placed a tremendous effort on educating the public about the plight of unwanted dogs. Much of their effort has been toward finding suitable adopted homes for the dogs in their care, often holding dogs longer than the minimum time allowed by law. In contrast to past practices, the change in focus has born fruit with a sharp increase in the numbers of adoptions. Perspective owners must pay a fee that helps to defray some of the operational cost, including veterinary care.

Still, the shelter is forced to kill many more dogs than are adopted. The stark reality is that there are always more dogs than adopted homes. A casual drive through the county often results in many dogs on the loose, abandoned or otherwise without homes. Abandoned and lost dogs on the loose only compound the problem, assuming that most of these wandering souls have not been spayed or neutered.

The situation is worse for cats, since the only local, no-kill cat shelter closed due to lack of funding. Cats that otherwise might have been sheltered and cared for until adoption now roam the countryside doing what cats in the wild do best – make more cats.

The No-Kill Philosophy

One way to think of no-kill animal shelters is to think of sanctuary for lost and abandoned souls. Animals who might otherwise find themselves the victims of the elements, lack of food or highway traffic are given a place to stay. As the term implies, no-kill means exactly that. Animal guests are not put to death after a defined period of time. Those animals in need of medical attention received it. Many shelters will accept animals without question or judgment.

The idea behind most no-kill animal shelters is to keep and care for lost or abandoned animals until the owner arrives or the animal can be given a new adopted home. There are obvious challenges to this type of operation. Space and funding are the biggest hurdles and it takes a dedicated fundraising effort to support these unique shelters. As the numbers of animal guests grows, space can be a limitation, even if adequate funding can be generated.

Like many non-profit organizations, no-kill animal shelters rely on the efforts of dedicated volunteers. Community members, veterinarians and other animal lovers are a vital part of these animal shelters. Corporate sponsorship is often received in the form of food and medicines.

In virtually every state, there is a no-kill shelter available. While local shelters will care for animals until the day comes for euthanasia, no-kill animal shelters are a wonderful alternative.

Michael O’Brien is a writer for many popular websites including 100Percent Shop for fine Egyptian Cotton Bed Linens at

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