Rescue Ends Euthanasia in Dogs

Find out how one rescue put an end to euthanasia.

By | Posted: Sat Mar 10 00:00:00 PST 2001

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Herro isn't content to see her plan flourish only in Las Vegas. She's now trying to convert the country. Her organization has sent more than 750 informational pamphlets to other cities, instructing them in creating and maintaining spay/neuter clinics similar to hers, and she's fielding plenty of other requests. Shelters in Phoenix and Dallas modeled after the Animal Foundation already have been established.

Not everyone views Herro's clinic as successful. Martha Armstrong, vice president for companion animals at the Humane Society of the United States, points out the foundation still euthanizes hundreds of unadoptable animals each year; through the year's first five months, the shelter killed 888 such dogs.

"I'm sorry, but that's not 'no-kill'," she said. "And they call them diseased or vicious, but vicious in many instances are behavioral problems that can be addressed."

Furthermore, Armstrong said, the term "no-kill" can be translated as "limited admission." Many organizations can claim no-kill status while turning away homeless animals.

The United States has more than 4,000 shelters, and about 700 claim to be no-kill. However, many if not most of those shelters are private, which means they can stop taking new admissions to preserve their no-kill policy.

"Where are those animals going to go when the no-kill shelter is full?" Armstrong asked. "If their policy is not to euthanize any animal, at some poi nt their adoption rate can't possibly keep up with the number of animals coming to them."

But Herro's clinic is different in two respects: Under its city contract, it cannot turn away animals; and Herro said she's never called it a strictly "no-kill" shelter. Rather, she said, she's committed to trying to end euthanasia of adoptable animals. And while the killing of unadoptable animals saddens her, the foundation must focus on those that could find homes, she said.

"I would like to be able to prevent any animal from having to be put to death," she said. "But at this point in history, I can't save them. We are trying to save the adoptable animals."

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