Lots of pals and people in the anipal twitterverse keep talking about how kill shelters should be closed down. I’m not sure that’s the right solution. There aren’t enough shelter places now for animals that need them. I think we should be talking about how to transform these shelters into no-kill shelters. This is not a simple undertaking, and raises a lot of questions about how to accomplish this.
Some of the questions that come to my mind are:
1. How to educate the general public to think of animals differently to start with?
We live in a disposable society. How do we teach people not to think of animals as a disposable commodity when people treat everything in their lives, including each other, as disposable? How do we teach people that pets aren’t toys, that adopting an animal is a lifetime committment?
2. Where will all the money come from?
The process needs money – lots of it. Money to run the shelters so they don’t have to kill the animals they can’t adopt out in order to make room for more homeless animals. Money to educate people of the importance of spaying and neutering their pets. Money to help families in trouble in these difficult times so they can keep their beloved family pets. Money for school programs that bring animals into schools so kids can learn about them as living, breathing, loving creatures. Money for support of TNR programs. Money to find ways to reduce the numbers of unwanted animals being born in the first place.
3. How do we change the philosophy of how shelters are seen?
Many still view shelters as a place to solve a problem. There are animals running loose around town. We gotta round ’em up and get ’em off the streets! Can’t find homes for them? Kill them! Problem solved. I don’t think that’s how shelters want to run, but some of them are under pressure to run that way. I feel so sorry for people who work in those places. Their hearts must break every day being forced to make decisions they don’t want to make. How do we get people to see shelters as places whose focus is to rehome animals, not as places to dispose of unwanted animals?
4. Am I even asking the right questions?
This is a huge issue. I don’t even know if I’m asking the right questions, much less what the answers are. I just don’t think closing kill shelters is the answer when we need more shelter spots than we have. What do you think?