When Does a No Kill Stop Being a No Kill?

After much consideration , my shelter has made a huge decision. We have had some dogs for almost 6 yrs now and they have been deemed "Lifers". We have put them through basic dog  training and they passed with flying colors and at the top of their class, we have gave them medical care to keep them healthy and we have done everything in our power to keep them happy. But when you spend all but 2 hours a day in a 10 X 6 kennel with a occasional walk , its hard to keep them happy. Everyday people come and people go passing them up one by one. These people have deemed them "Safe". 

They will use the excuse they would rather save a life then to save a safe dog. 

Red nose Pit Bull crying in kennel
We won't do the actual euthanizing. Oh no, we are no kill. We will send him off to another shelter so they can do our dirty work but when we tell everyone he went to a rescue, we will be praised for doing what was best for him. We will set up transport and that transport will send him up north, where it seems dogs are in great demand. Apparently, they don't have enough dogs  in shelters for the public to adopt. Sure he will find a home... in heaven, because all dogs go to heaven. 

In the meantime, we will drive to a kill shelter and we will pull another dog or cat. We will find out that this animal needs hundreds of dollars worth of dental work, needs to be spayed, have all their shots updated and drastically needs to be socialized. This dog that we pulled was abused its whole life and is terrified of men and children. 

We will go out to adoption events and hope people drop $1 in our donation bucket, we will ask people to please donate to us because we are only operated by public donations but will they pay attention? Probably not. We will cut cost by not installing air conditioning or having heat throughout our shelter. Our dogs will get kiddie pools to cool off in the 100 degree heat and we will use fans and hope none of them die of heatstroke.

It's fine we no longer have a ice machine to keep their water cool.  We will put extra straw in the kennels in the freezing temps for them to stay warm in hopes we don't find any froze to death in the mornings. 
photo of a empty dog kennel

We will go and investigate abuse cases that are reported daily because our animal control aren't actually going to them when they are called or the people who made the call don't think they responded fast enough.  We will get no less than 25 calls in a 6 hr period wanting us to take a animal in. "I am moving" "I can't afford to take care of them anymore" I don't want them anymore" "It got dropped off at my house and I have too many pets, not allowed pets , don't want pets" " I had a baby" the excuses go on and on. 

We will be cussed at for saying no, we will be yelled at for saying no, our name will be on Facebook being talked bad about because we refused to take a pet. "I don't want to take it to the county shelter because they will kill it" is what will be said. "That stupid Humane Society is always full and we don't know why." 

The local kill shelter will put the URGENT! NEEDS OUT NOW! DIES TOMORROW!!! HURRY!! and there in the comments will be " if our local No Kill Humane Society cared they would save this dog!" "This pit bull mix is the sweetest , kindest dog and they won't save him/her" "That place needs to close down because they don't pull from the shelter" 

Memorial of cat who lived their whole life in a shelter
Nadia is sadly missed. 
 The abusive words we here are hard but what is tougher and devastating is when one of our "lifers" pass away at our Humane Society because they were SAFE.

Those like Nadia. Sweet little kitty who only wanted to be loved. The one who was the first to greet you at the door when you entered our office. Every day she greeted people and jumped in their lap while she purred the prettiest song she could. The one who was with us for 8 yrs waiting for her turn to find a home but it never came. She was safe. She was either too old or not the right color. There was always a excuse not to pick her. 

Do you understand how hard it is for the staff or volunteers to find one of our own dead in the morning. They passed in their sleep, alone. The names are many of those who have passed away of old age over the years. They were safe. 

As I scroll through my Facebook and Twitter feeds, I see the URGENT, WILL DIE! over and over again. I see the praise of the shelters who have transported to the north, I see the praise that these foundations who take in ONLY severely abused cases get and the support they receive and I smile. Not because I am happy for them but because I know that our little Humane Society does so much more and never gets the praise.

I know our Humane Society isn't out there for the praise, for the fame, for the "look at me!" it is there because it cares about the lives of animals. 

The Mission of the Owensboro Humane Society is as follows:

The Owensboro Humane Society operates on the belief that all of mankind has a responsibility to respect the creatures on this earth. To that end, we strive to improve the life , health and habitat for rejected,abused, and neglected animals in our Owensboro Area. 
We pride ourselves on the cleanliness of our facility, our healthy animals and how our animals behave. When ma takes dogs and cats to adoption events, we get compliments on our dog's behavior. They do not bark, they like to show their playfulness , they know or are learning their basic commands. While they are out in public they will be learning how to socialize properly with positive training and there will be treats but their will only sometimes be "thank you" being said.

The dogs will be walked around and are never kept in kennels unless the dog wants to go in the kennel itself. The kitties will be taken out of the cages and they will be socialize , loved on and some even will wear harnesses and get to walk around the store too. 
We strive to have happy pets. But a safe pet is not a happy pet. Yes, the pet is happy its alive but ask yourself "would you rather have death or live your life in prison?" What is the difference in a "safe" pet? 

red nose pit bull with tears in it's eyes
As for Dozer. He isn't going to a rescue. He is safe but he still deserves life. 

Dozer is a 10 yr old red nosed pit bull. He acts like he is 4 yrs old when he plays. He has energy to run and play,he loves to hear all about your day. He is there to share your happy times and your sad times. All he ask is for you to give him your heart. He is not used to being around young children because he has spent almost 6 yrs in a kennel so its best he goes to a home with older children. He doesn't care for cats because cats have terrorized him while he has been in a kennel. He would love to be the only dog because he has spent most of his life protecting his home which is a kennel. 
Yes these are 3 details that will cause a person to keep walking to see the next dog. I also know there are more dogs in the world just like him that have gotten a furever home. All he needs is a chance. 
We have 3 staff members to take care of 100 animals and a handful of volunteers who are there to do what needs to be done and others who come on weekends to play with the animals. 
If you would like to visit our humane society on Facebook and give us a like you can click here- Owensboro Humane Society 
If you would like to donate to the Owensboro Humane Society please follow this link Please Donate We are a 501(C)3 and all donations are tax deductible and very appreciated. We are ran by donations only. It not only helps to continue to help those who are residence here but it helps to save others.  
You will NEVER hear or read us saying "WILL DIE" We are a No Kill. The only time we have ever made that decision is when a animal is beyond medical help. We will always get a second opinion unless the animal is in pain that can not be controlled by medications. These are known as mercy kills and there has been only been a couple of instances that this has had to happen. 

It's very hard to let go and we won't do it without a fight. 
For those who know me, know I live , breathe, talk about my shelter continuously. 
Yes I call it MY humane society because it has my heart.
It's the little shelter that could. 

UPDATE:- DOZER has been adopted!!!
 He now lives the life of luxury and love.


  1. Oh Carma, I read this in tears. Hard hitting but how true. I am proud of your shelter - I volunteer at a tiny shelter here in NZ. and if I can donate a prize to a raffle fundraiser or something, let me know.

    Marjorie and Dash Kitten

    1. Thank you. People don't understand how hard small shelters work to make a difference in a pet's life. I pray your shelter has many adoptions and is able to save many more.

  2. This is a really meaningful post and I am really happy that you shared it, though it's something you've been in turmoil about. I'm not sure what else to say, I'm left speechless.

    1. I wish for more people to support their no kill shelters with as much support as they do their kill shelters. There are so many shelters like ours that pets get passed up because people just want to save a life of one that is on a list while that safe pet just waits to pass naturally. Thank you for visiting and taking time to read. I hope you have a pawtastic day.

  3. I volunteer with a No Kill rescue and we've had to send some dogs to a place up in Michigan that has a facility so they've had better luck adopting them. I'm kind of confused though as to why these dogs would be euthanized rather than trying to find a place for them-or maybe I'm reading it wrong. Fiona was adopted from Shelby Co KY and I'm amazed at how well they do for such a small shelter. We live in IN and our local shelter is high kill but people either don't know or don't care. It's sad to look on Craigslist and see so many people breeding their pets while there are so many here that need homes. I find it very interesting that in your area, people would rather go to the kill shelters instead of adopting from the no kill ones. Don't they realize if they adopt from your shelter, you will be able to go save more from the kill shelter?

    1. Fiona, there are many shelters who do send their dogs to other shelters ,they don't check references, they don't make sure its a legit no kill or foster and those animals sometimes find themselves in the same predicament. But the shelter that sent them is getting praise for finding somewhere else for them to go.
      Many articles have been wrote about this. To answer your question about why people would rather adopt from a kill shelter is because they don't want the dog to die so they pass the ones in a no kill because it is safe.
      I am trying to bring awareness to no kill shelters and how these animals should be give the chance at a life and not passed over because it is safe. Kill shelters pry on the emotions of people who don't want to see dogs or cats die. I also will add there have been times when someone adopted from a kill shelter and brought the animal straight to us because they couldn't keep them but didn't want to see the animal die.

  4. Carmel McLeod8/29/2013 8:51 AM

    They are not going to be euthanized...we are just trying to get the attention of many to see that these dogs are urgent also. We will keep them until adopted and take care of them as always-WE WILL NEVER KILL them OR SEND THEM AWAY. We are just rying to make a point to give no-kill shelters a chance also.

    Carmel Mcleod

    1. Thank you Carmel. I am glad ma has chosen to volunteer for a caring No Kill and we are in for the long haul.

      For those reading the comments from this blog: I would like you to meet our President of the Owensboro Humane Society, Carmel McLeod. She is one who fights tooth and nail for the rights of animals of all types and she has a beautiful soul and a true animal lover. I appreciate everything she does for my fur friends and for the opportunity to work beside her for all animals right to life.

  5. Hi Carma. This is the sad truth about rescue- the dirty little secret no one wants to talk about. There will NEVER be enough homes for all the homeless animals out there. Plain and simple.

    Until we as a society decide we're going to do something about the excessive number of animals being born, it's not going to change.

    But right now people are convinced that rescue is what we need, not legislation, so I guess they are OK with the way things are.

    1. Rumpy, I would like to see more laws for spay/neuter issues and the biggest would be to require ALL rescues and shelters to spay/neuter a animal before it is adopted. It saddens me to see so many that don't. It should be a requirement in all 50 states. I would also like to see the ban of pet sales on Craigslist and sites like it. I feel if you pet has had 2 litters or more you should have to purchase a license and be inspected. I know none of these things will happen in my lifetime but my hope it will happen one day and soon.
      Thank you for taking time to read my post. Have a pawtastic day.


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