Does No Kill Equal Warehousing Pets?

   Recently someone made a comment on Facebook that got my poodle brain thinking. They said they were glad their shelter didn't "warehouse" pets because pets shouldn't have to live their lives in a shelter. To me , I took this as a jab to a no kill shelter. Since most no kill shelters do sometimes have pets for long periods of time, sometimes months or maybe possibly years. I didn't take it personally but I knew it was toward no kill shelters in general. 

   You hear over and over how people want this to be a no kill nation. The start of a no kill nation is education. Educating about how important spay/ neuter programs are, being a responsible pet parent, adopting, and when saying "I Do" to a animal, it should be for life, just to name a few. But when I hear a comment on how they are glad their shelter doesn't warehouse pets, I feel like that is a step backwards in making this a no kill nation. 

   If a shelter isn't a no kill that means that they euthanize for space, temperament, or too sick to heal. I am sure many have seen a animal on your social media that everyone thought was too sick to save but they did it anyways, you have heard the stories of how dogs were once aggressive but once they got into the right hands,they became the loving and friendly. You know the stories, I am sure you can go to Facebook or twitter right now and see one. What this means is its mostly for space. 

   Most of us don't want to hear anything about euthanasia. I know I don't but it does go on everyday in thousands of shelters every single day. Shelters can't continue to take every animal and not euthanize for space. There isn't enough space for all the animals the public bring in daily. So does this mean the one that holds the syringe, plays the part of God? How do they chose which animal lives or dies? I have seen many shelters who euthanize, post a dog that has been there for 9 or 10 months but does this mean the one that came in two weeks ago lost their life because the shelter workers and volunteers weren't as fond of them as this one? I have also seen many kill shelters raise funds to save a animal. The animal would have a vet bill of hundreds of dollars, yet some healthy animals would lose their lives that day. Why raise funds for one but kill others? 

   Let me tell you a story about a few "warehoused" dogs and cats.

One that was with us for 5 yrs. His name is Romper. Romper came to us in 2004 and he waited a year to be adopted. In 2007 he was brought back because he kept digging out under the fence and getting loose. His previous owner had enough and returned him. Romper waited patiently for 5 yrs for someone to love him. I am thankful for our staff and volunteers who take time with our animals to give them love, walks, attention they deserve. In 2012 a family came to look at our animals and they seen Romper sitting out in the field just looking at them. He just sat there. Year after year he was passed up so why get excited? This was one of the things this family liked about him, they also loved his size , coat color , they loved everything about him. They went up and was introduced to Romper and the man said there was something in his eyes that said he was the dog for their family. Romper didn't know how to act. 5 yrs? Now someone wanted him? Yes they did. 
We get updates on Romper often. He is living life, loving life and now is a part of a family with children that he loves. Do you think Romper would have opportunity to be loved and to love someone if he wasn't in a no kill shelter? No he would have been dead. 

What about Camper? Camper was a 15 yr old dog who lived his whole life on a heavy chain. He was thin and had a bad back leg, cataracts and horrible teeth. He was only fed a handful of dry food everyday but because of his teeth the poor guy couldn't eat it. When he came to us he was dragging his back legs. We thought we would be Campers forever home. We were wrong. A lady came by to drop off donations and seen Camper and couldn't stand the thought of him living his life in a shelter. She adopted him. She also had handicapped and senior pets in her home so Camper was more than welcomed. 

Camper finally had a soft bed, soft food and showed more love than he ever knew in his life. Would he have had a chance to find out what love really was if he wasn't in a no kill shelter? The answer is no. Sadly Camper passed away within a year of leaving our shelter but he still lives forever in our hearts. 

What about Lois? Lois was a senior kitty who had been with us for almost 5 yrs. She watched many leave to go to new homes and she just waited because she knew her day would finally come, and it did.

   Lois passed away in 2012. Lois finally knew what having a home and someone to love her was. Would she had been given that chance? No she would not have. 
  More kitties are euthanized each day than dogs. Some kitties may get surrendered to a shelter and never make it into a cage or have a last meal. This is a sad statistic
   Not all no kill animals wait as long as these few have. Some are surrendered and within weeks or maybe a couple months find the homes. There are those who wait years but while they are in a no kill shelter, they have food, beds. fresh water, shelter, yearly vaccines and love. If we are their last home than so be it. It won't stop us from continuing to search for a home for them. 
Some don't know they are sheltered animals. They call it their home. Home is where your heart is, right? 
How long will I wait? 
Shy - adoptable beagle from the Owensboro Humane Society 


  1. Our Slimdoggy Jack was in a shelter over a year before we found him and brought him home. He weighed105lbs, was on Prozac and was a real handful. Lucky for him, and for us it was a no kill shelter. He'd been adopted once and brought back and even though he was a handsome yellow lab, his size and behavior put him on the unlikely to be adopted list. Until we can get our overpopulation problem under control and get homes found for each of these animals, I'm grateful there are no kill shelters without them, we wouldn't have our Jack.

    1. I am so happy that SlimDoggy was in a No Kill. Because of him being a handful, that may have been his ticket to early heaven.
      Thank you so much for Adopting him. For those who think this kind of dog is unadoptable they should just look at him now.

  2. Volunteering for a no kill shelter, I see these babies each week. The ones who have been our guests for months. Last week we had 3 adoptions. Abby a 1 year guest, Jackson 18 months & Niki & Ned a bonded pair who had been with us for almost a year. I beleive in no kill and will work to educate the public & care for the ones no one wants...yet.

    1. 3 adoptions is really amazing. I believe in No kills and when the comment was made they really sounded like PETA had gotten to them. We have some who may come in, get spayed or neutered and are adopted before we can even get them on Petfinder.

  3. Thank you for writing this Carma! No kill shelters, when done right, are a blessing to all the animals who live in them. Most, if not all of the no kill shelters in my area are cageless, or at least have larger spaces for the animals to move around in (including the cats!) Education is a huge step in the right direction. We (as animal rescuers) need to provide more resources for the public as well. Pet Food Pantries, low cost basic veterinary care can make all the difference in the world to a family who loves their pets but due to economic difficulties cannot afford to keep their pets. Access to behavioral advice before the problem gets so bad the family wants to surrender Fido or Fluffy is another huge step. Most of the cats surrendered to the shelter I worked at were due to behavioral issues that could easily be resolved.

    Of course you can get into the politics of no kill shelters (like the organization in my area that refuses to admit anything sick or injured simply because they don't want to have to face the possibility of euthanizing a dying animal; that would make the 'no kill' technically not true). I think these shelters are the best though, because you never know how long it might take for the right animal and the right person to connect. It all breaks my heart.

    1. Thank you for the feedback. My shelter always tries to help people who have fallen on rough times. We offer people food if they are running low, we offer a low cost spay/neuter clinic, and will even help with vaccines.We also have a dog trainer and offer training classes. Its the key to helping people keep their animals in their homes. We do admit if we do have to assist one who is beyond medical help, in pain and suffering. That is the only humane thing to do. Since I have been with them for a little over 2 yrs we have had one who had stomach cancer and was wasting away, the vet said that even taking him to a bigger city with more advance equipment wouldn't help a dog that was 12 yrs old and that far gone. It was a hard decision but one that had to be made.This is not something that happens often. Yes the kennels are larger than normal because this is where they have to live day in and out. Our cats are free roaming in a building all to themselves. We pride ourselves on our cleanliness. The key to healthy animals is making sure it stays disinfected and disease free. Its not easy being a No Kill because people like the one that made the comment that made me want to write this blog post feel like we are doing more harm then good yet the public is the ones begging for more no kills. Also when you have a animal control that constantly bashes you because you refuse to take all their large breed dogs. But I am proud to volunteer for a No kill and i will continue to go with ma to educate young children, adults and more. Education is key to proper pet parenting. If it wasn't then their wouldn't be so many pet bloggers out their on the world wide web.

  4. Great post! Agree agree agree with everything. So glad to hear all the happy endings, although I know there is many that aren't (don't get into a no kill shelter). Your right education, spay/neuter is the key

    1. These are a few of my favorite fur friends who have found homes but there has been many more who were with us over a year who found the pawfect home.
      thank you for stopping by. I appreciate it.

  5. This was a sad but wonderful post.
    I was happy to hear about the pets who found their
    forever home at last. You gave us quite a lot to think about.
    Thank you so much.


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