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Letter: ‘No-kill’ animal shelter policies do more harm than good

Mar 25, 2024

Dana Fuchs’ March 22 guest column is dangerous, hateful propaganda. No one wants animals to be euthanized for lack of homes–least of all, the compassionate people who must perform this act of mercy in order to keep shelters’ doors open to the endless stream of animals in need. But forcing shelters to implement “no-kill” policies results in disaster.

Nationwide, animals are suffering and dying in horrific ways because shelters are being pressured to implement harmful “no-kill” policies. These policies serve public relations and sound appealing, but they cause immeasurable harm to the animals they are meant to help.

In Davis County, for example, after three starving dogs were found in an abandoned home, their owners told police that they couldn’t afford food for the animals or the required fees to surrender them to a shelter. Charging fees is a common “no-kill” policy designed to keep animals out of shelters, and out of their statistics.

And in July, it was reported that the city shelter in Austin, Texas–frequently touted as a model “no-kill” city–had been refusing to accept animals for the past year. Despite this, the facility is chronically crowded and reportedly warehoused dogs during a heatwave under a carport, in wire crates, for over 23 hours a day. A city council member who visited the facility stated, “I wouldn’t want my worst enemy to be treated in that condition.” There are countless other examples like these.

What’s more, “no-kill” policies do nothing to correct the causes of animal overpopulation and homelessness: breeders and irresponsible owners who keep on churning out litters. The solution is prevention. Becoming a no-birth state, by requiring that all animals be spayed or neutered, should be Utah’s goal and would truly be an achievement worth striving for.

Teresa Chagrin      

Animal care and control issues manager, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals


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