I have not been in rescue for long. I always thought I could not handle the death, the pain, and sorrow of being in place that euthanized animals weekly. Animal control was a dirty word. The only experience I had previously with animal control was the adoption of my two dogs. Then came a point in my life were I felt something was missing. A greater purpose, I suppose. I needed something bigger than myself. To be honest, I was getting sick of myself.
I am shy by nature and was painfully shy a few years ago. So trust me when I tell you it was no easy feat working myself up enough to even send out some emails to different groups. I only got one response and that was from Shelter Rescue/ Please Rescue Me. I have been going to CCAC ever since. Rescue has been hugely fulfilling and colored in many, many shades of gray.
My time at Coweta County Animal Control has been a huge learning experience for me. Not only in terms of animals and the state of animal welfare/rescue but also as a person. Going to CCAC is a lot of work but it is the most rewarding. Believe it or not, we have fun too! We laugh and get plenty of doggie kisses and kitty purrs. I remember when we went to Caroll Co. Animal Control, it felt cold. I had not realize how warm CCAC felt.
Going in, I had many assumptions. Many of which turned out wrong. I assumed CCAC would be a cold, dark, and scary place. I assumed the people who worked there did not care about the animals. I assumed that the people involved in rescue were all kind. I assumed that all rescue people had the animal’s best interest at heart. I assumed I wouldn’t be able to make a difference (we all can). I can tell you I didn’t expect for the people who worked there to ever learn my name. I didn’t expect for them to be so nice to me. They are not monsters but it does take time to earn their trust.
Most people in rescue (excuse the blanket statement) want a “no-kill” shelter. Great. Me too. I also want my student loan debt to magically disappear. Most “no-kill” shelter pick which animals they take in, the highly adoptable ones. They have a limit on the number of animals they take. Where does that leave the excess, the undesirables? They either go to a “kill” shelter or they stay out on the street/in the wild. I’ll tell you right now that I would rather have my dogs picked up by CCAC than for them to roam the streets. I think this passage from the SPCA Singapore explained it well:
The concept of a `no kill’ animal shelter is one that we have all dreamed of and place high on the list of our goals. The `no kill’ concept is plainly and simply a marketing concept for those shelters advocating this policy often to the detriment of animals and the other shelters struggling to do the right thing.
A `no kill’ shelter has a very selective `selection process’ of what animals it will accept through its doors and will only take those animals it knows that it can re-home. Thousands of other animals are turned away and end up at council pounds or other animal welfare shelters that will take sick, injured, aggressive and old, unsocialized dogs and cats – this is done knowing full well that the only fate for a large percentage of these will be euthanasia.
The `no kill’ shelters have made it extremely difficult for other animal welfare agencies to fundraise effectively and retain a strong staff and volunteer base. We all know that the worst job in any shelter is euthanasia and the public would rather donate to an organisation that appears to be rehoming all animals in need. In truth, these organisations are helping fewer animals and placing more strain, financially, emotionally and physically on other shelters.
In the animal welfare industry euthanasia is a horrible necessity as there will always be animals that cannot be rehomed, by reason of their health status or temperament. `No kill’ shelters, are shrugging off this responsibility, fooling the public and accepting the credit for – sending an animal home with a new owner. The focus needs to shift away from our euthanasia rate and the emphasis put on being able to rehome more animals either by way of education, establishing the suitability of dog/owner relationship, basic obedience training and health care. By concentrating resources and energies on these outcomes it will automatically reduce the number of animals needing to be euthanized – `A kill less policy.’
I have a moral question for you. Say you run a “no-kill” shelter and have in your custody a dog you cannot get adopted. No rescue will take the dog for whatever reason. Two years pass, five years, and now, at ten years, that dog has lived his life inside a kennel. The dog has now gone insane and you are afraid to touch him. Should you have euthanized that dog ten years ago? What about five years ago? How long inside a prison cell is enough?
I have seen cats, after just a month, go stir-crazy. It’s not a pretty picture. Dogs get horribly depressed. Tell me who, in the general public, will want to take a chance on a dog that won’t move or wag his tail or a cat acting like the devil has possession over him? It’s hard enough to getting the happy-go-lucky types adopted. How is it fair and just to let those animals get that way?
“No-Kill” shelters don’t solve the problem. It’s a feel good band-aid for people. I am not saying that any “No-Kill” shelter is bad. When done right they can ease a burden off the other shelters. They are certainly not the whole solution. No one has a problem with no more death but the “No-Kill” movement isn’t complete.
No body is standing on the rooftop screaming “KILL THEM ALL” and laughing like a maniac!
Adopting a dog from a “kill” shelter like CCAC does not mean you are supporting them. I have seen people write these comments about not wanting to support a “kill” shelter over a “no-kill” one. CCAC is run by the county, not by public donations. Adopting from a “kill” shelter means saving a life. Adopting from a “no-kill” shelter also means saving a life. As long as you do not BUY a dog or cat.
I have been accused of defending CCAC over the animals. I have been accused of not caring and wanting animals to die. It’s hard to reason with emotions running high. No one sane working in shelters, animal controls, rescues, or wherever want animals to die. That indictment is inflammatory, untrue, and takes the attention away from the animals. I cannot speak for every shelter/animal control but I can speak for Coweta. Coweta County is not in the business of euthanizing as many animals as possible. I know the people there and they all want what’s best for the animals. It is animal control and they have to take in all strays and court cases. Did you know that some shelters/ACs will euthanize after so many days, regardless of space? CCAC only euthanize when space has run out, the animal gets really sick, or if the animal is highly aggressive. Two of those are done by “No-Kill” shelters. Most of our animals are rescued. I want to continue to our my community shelter so that they can continue moving in the right direction.
If people want to rant and rave about the suppose “injustices” of CCAC, let them. Don’t try to reason because none will be seen. Spay/neuter your pets, always adopt, and take responsibility for your pets . If everyone would do these things in Coweta, in Georgia, and in the US, we would surely have a “kill-less” policy by default. In my humble opinion, CCAC already tries to just that.