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‘I Want to Open a Huge Sanctuary for Homeless Cats and Dogs’

Posted by at 5:06 AM | Permalink | Comments (30)


'I Want to Open a Huge Sanctuary for Homeless Cats and Dogs' by Cott Van Valkenburg“If only I had the money, I’d open up a huge sanctuary for all homeless cats and dogs!” I’m sure you have heard this idea expressed as a possible solution to the homeless dog and cat crisis. Over the decades, I’ve found that these comments usually come from those who haven’t really ever given a thought, an hour, or a penny to solving companion animal overpopulation. They love some dogs and cats, but often, they haven’t been exposed to the horrible realities faced by homeless animals and do not yet understand the true causes of—and solutions to—the problem.

Many organizations have been formed to prey on this kind but impractical notion. Some are run by well-intentioned—but misinformed—people; others are simply started by hoarders or hucksters who find it easier to scam money from people by showing pictures of sanctuary dogs and cats than to raise funds for spay-neuter programs or improve an existing open-admission shelter.

What are my concerns with sanctuaries? After all, surely most of the sanctuary founders care about animals?! Why criticize sanctuaries for dogs and cats? Wouldn’t it be better to spend time and effort on going after the thoughtless people who buy animals from breeders and pet stores only to discard them later without a second’s hesitation?

Here’s the unfortunate truth about many “sanctuaries.” PETA’s caseworkers get calls every week from concerned individuals who report terrible crowding and suffering of animals in canine/feline  “sanctuaries.” And every week, they get calls from sanctuaries that are about to run out of money and close and don’t know what to do with the animals in their care.

Last week, a friend who runs a spay-neuter clinic at an open-admission shelter received a call from a woman who stated that she ran a tax-exempt sanctuary for cats but could not afford the clinic’s $30 spay-neuter fee. She went on to mention that the cats in her “sanctuary” were breeding and that she is running out of space and needs the clinic’s help.

This woman couldn’t even determine the gender of the kittens and had no idea that kittens could be safely altered. And yet she’s accepting donations to “help” cats and using her Web and print materials to condemn “kill” shelters! Of course, the “kill” shelter that runs the spay-neuter program did the right thing by providing her with the needed assistance as well as educating her about proper cat care. Thankfully, the “kill” shelter cares more about ending breeding, the true cause of the overpopulation problem, than making a point.

It is her “no kill” claim that causes the greatest harm. She is helping to convince the public that having more space—rather than ending breeding and educating people (about where to obtain a cat or dog, when to spay or neuter, and how to provide proper care for their entire lives)—is the only way that we’ll end companion animal overpopulation.

I’ve run shelters with hundreds of animals in them, and we provided the highest level of care. But even the best sanctuaries and shelters are never a proper substitute for a home. Unfortunately, “no kill” sanctuaries for dogs and cats divert funding and volunteers from spay-neuter programs and open-admission shelters that desperately need help. They give the public the wrong impression that the overpopulation crisis can be solved if we simply had more space. And worst of all, they leave thousands of homeless cats and dogs to suffer on their own when they turn away animals at the door.

Given all this, would you really want to open a sanctuary? I know I would rather spend my time and efforts ending the suffering of all homeless animals by supporting spay-neuter programs and open-admission shelters.

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    Kim E says...

    July 17th, 2009, 9:00 am

    Since even good “no kill” shelters have to turn away animals due to lack of space (which means that they can end up at “kill” shelters anyway), I try to focus my energies on the most productive methods for helping animals. My primary dream, if I ever have the money, is to become a foster mom for animals. Fostering enables shelters/animal organizations to house and care for more animals who desperately need permanent homes.

    kerry says...

    July 17th, 2009, 10:51 am

    This blog is so RIGHT ON. Everyday my mailbox is flooded with desperate funding requests from sanctuaries and shelters that need money. It is heartbreaking. We all should do our best to support our local shelters, but the only long term solution is to stop the problem at the source. If we really want to help the most animals, we need to stop eating them, stop breeding them and work to preserve wildlands.

    danielle says...

    July 17th, 2009, 3:38 pm

    I think that this piece is very narrow-minded to suggest that many of these shelters are run by animal hoarders or misinformed people. Where I am from, the shelter is always overcrowded and they do not come to pick up animals in need. If you bring in animals, more often then not they are euthanized. I think a sanctuary is a great idea providing the person is knowledgeable, and very well off financially to cover the costs of vet care, spay/neuter, food and other necessities until these animals find a place they can call home. For being an advocate for animal’s rights, I don’t understand how you can promote kill-shelters as an alternate solution to fixing the over-population problem.

    Amber says...

    July 17th, 2009, 3:54 pm

    I know how to get started, I know someone that has the know how, I want to open a Ranch for Homeless people and homeless and abused animals any kind I have beg God for this, and do you think it is a coincidence? The government will probably help if it is also a homeless shelter and all we have to do is get a nonprofit number form the Government, then it will be smooth sailing from there Companies will donate stuff for tax write-offs. If you want to know my ideals on how to get it started send me a email okay? You can leave me a message if you go to Care2 and look for jacval60. I have friends that no how to start one. I’d give my email but then everyone will be getting it and sending me emails.

    Jennifer says...

    July 17th, 2009, 3:56 pm

    I think that all puppy mills should be shut down. People should have to by law adopt animals that are homeless. All animals should have to be mandatorily spayed or neutered.

    Amber says...

    July 17th, 2009, 4:00 pm

    I think I know what taking care of them cause I already feed a lot of feral cats, I have a friend that does the trap neuter and spay and releases them in a cat colony, where people in the city that they turn them lose in feed them and when they are sick trap and take them to a vet. These feral cats go all over the USA. I’m serious when I say I want to open a ranch and help Homeless people and homeless and abused animals.

    Lisa says...

    July 17th, 2009, 4:01 pm

    ABC – animal birth control is first and foremost. We can’t stop killing them, or trying to save them, until we stop having them. I look for the day that all ‘pets’ are required to be fixed and only licensed and regularly monitored individuals are allowed to be breeders. There are more unwanted animals than people on the planet so how are we going to find decent homes for all of them? I am all for no-kill shelters, and currently have 2 foster kittens, but a band-aid on a hemorrhage isn’t going to work. Mandatory spaying and neutering is the only way to go.

    Amber says...

    July 17th, 2009, 4:13 pm

    It isn’t just the people that buy them from Pet shop it is people who have to move or get tired of their pets and just leave them or dump them. I have seen new born Puppies with umbilical still attached dumped in trash cans, kittens also and I have took them home bottle feed them and found them good homes through my vet. There are a lot of people that do not know responsibility they think the kitten or puppy are cute and hen they start tearing up their shoes they dump them. Get this I saw a puppy in a small cage he could not even move around and would dump over his dishes. These people were from Mexico and I assume they did not want him to mess on their lawn. I called ASPCA in California they said they would do something and send someone to check it out. Two weeks passed and still the puppy was still in the cage so one day I was passing by and a guy step out of his car and I told him if the SPCA(Society for Prevention of Animals) catches them keeping him in a cage that they could go to jail or get a big fine after I told him that the next day the pup was gone sometimes it only takes a little education.

    Alyce says...

    July 17th, 2009, 4:44 pm

    Yes I would still like to open a no-kill animal shelter. Just because some well intentioned people take in more animals than they should doesn’t mean that the kill-shelters are a better solution. I strongly disagree with PETA on no-kill shelters and the killing of homeless animals. I try not to focus on this but on all the good that PETA does. This position is keeping would-be supporters away. I support trap-neuter-return programs. We have a lovely woman in town that opened an animal santuary and if I had the chance I would do it exactly the same. She has a low cost spay-neuter clinic attached to the santuary. The cats are housed in various free-roaming areas and are all spayed or neutered. This is what I think of when I hear santuary.

    AAG says...

    July 17th, 2009, 5:44 pm

    Please stop bashing no-kill sanctuaries. I support several and they do a wondeful job. The cats (or dogs, or bunnies) in these sanctuaries deserve to live also . No-kill shelters aggressively seek good homes for their wards. When misery is alleviated in these sanctuaries and many find good homes that should be applauded and not criticized. Although PETA is not supportive of these shelters, I am, and will always be.

    Christy Summerfield says...

    July 18th, 2009, 1:42 pm

    I suggest you look at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah. I supported this organization for years until the financial crisis did in my 401K (I’m retired). Best Friends was most recently in the news for talking in all of Michael Vick’s dogs when other shelters wanted to destroy many of them. And there was a documentary on Best Friends and Vick’s dogs on, I think the National Geographic Channel, which I sadly don’t get. Best Friends invites people to take their vacations there and help with the animals (they have all kinds) & I dreamed of doing that when I retired. But again, no money plus I’m disabled. I hear what’s being said about spaying and neutering and I agree. I currently have three rescue dogs and 1 cat. I recently lost one of my beloved dogs. I take older animals that are harder to place. But they tend to have high vet bills. I have room in my home and budget for one more rescue I hope. I sure have room in my heart. I have friends who foster animals & I admire them. I’m doing all I can. But I agree fostering would enable shelters to take in more animals. My heart & blessings are with all who care for animals in need of loving homes. My hope is that some day all shelters will be no-kill shelters.

    Sharon says...

    July 18th, 2009, 4:53 pm

    There is no point in taking in homeless animals, no matter how many, if you don’t get them spayed/neutered. Breeding animals create more unwanted, homeless animals. People take in 1 female cat, let her outside, then are surprised when she has kittens. There are low cost clinics almost everywhere to spay & neuter, & veterinarians should donate 1 or 2 free days per year to spay & neuter for really low income folks. If you can’t afford to sterilize your pet, don’t get one. You are contributing to a huge pet overpopulation problem.

    shawna says...

    July 19th, 2009, 12:55 pm

    I also don’t agree with peta on no-kill animal shelter. As long as they are spay & neutering. The shelter doesn’t get over crowed and there able to get homes for the animals and the animals are well cared for. i think maybe they should be licensed and over seen by the city or state. I would never donate to a organizeation or shelter with out doing some research.

    VIKI says...

    July 19th, 2009, 10:53 pm

    I can understand the intention of this article but its pretty generalizing. not all no kill shelters are a problem.Not all go hand in hand with countless kittens. I took care of many different types of animals mostly cats because in my area thats the animals that were being dropped off non stop.And yes at times money was tight, but i was able to work with independent animal orgs like care and ark in my area and we all helped eachother with spaying and food and volunteer time. The only population problem i had was the irresponsible seeing you as thier answer to thier problem.

    kerry says...

    July 20th, 2009, 12:00 pm

    I think we all share the dream of a world where each and every animal is so valued that there are loving homes available for each and every one, and we all long for the day when all shelters are adoption centers where the animals spend a short time before being matched up with their perfrect home. I think we all are horrified to think of cats living their whole lives in small cages with no quality of life. I think we all agree that the only way we can ever get there is to stop the breeding. I think what we agree on is so much larger than what we disagree on. Sometimes I think we let our own fear of death lead us to make wrong decisions for animals. I think we forget that death is not the end, it is just a transition.

    LeeAnn says...

    July 20th, 2009, 2:51 pm

    I agree with Christy. Best Friends is a great example of a no-kill sanctuary, which gives very good care to the animals—training, socialization, exercise, veterinary care. It began with just someone’s dream. I think PETA turns away a lot of people’s hearts with some of their harsh and unrealistic views, even though I am a member and believe they do more good than harm. Please PETA let’s not make this a forum for bashing people with good intentions.

    Scott says...

    July 21st, 2009, 7:31 am

    Friends,
    The column was not an attack on any oganization, but an effort to convince people that working with existing open-admission shelters, and focusing on spay-neuter, are better allocations of time and money than the growing, harmful notion that sanctuaries are the solution. If we took every single homeless animal this year and put them on a sanctuary with funding to amply care for them the rest of their lives, more are coming next year so then what? What is the cost? Several have mentioned Best Friends, which spent more than $13,000,000 on their sanctuary in 2007; a generous interpretation of their report indicates some 3,500 animals were cared for, and 4,822 surgeries performed. That’s thousands of dollars per animal, which is no model; neither is their admission that they turn hundreds of animals away every year. Further, the point remains that Best Friends is a top-notch INSTITUTION, it is not a substitute for a home. So, in addition to fighting against breeders (or greeders, more properly!) and promoting spay-neuter, the “realistic” solution is to get involved with your local open-admission shelter. Don’t waltz in and demand they become “no-kill” (turn away); sign up to walk dogs, help with off-site adoptions, do whatever they need. After years of working with them, they’ll view your helpful suggestions as reality-based, and that will help our animal friends.

    W says...

    July 24th, 2009, 4:05 pm

    Instead of looking at “kill” vs “no kill” labels, which really don’t mean much, why not look at which individual organization DOES?

    Some “kill” shelters almost never kill, even though they are open admission. They influence their entire communities so that the birth rate is low and adoption is high. They might only have to kill moderately to severely ill, injured, or untrained animals (not that I think this is ideal, of course–I’ve had many illnesses and injuries since I was born, and I wasn’t born knowing how to use the toilet, read, write, stop before crossing the road, etc either) that would require more time and money to adopt out.

    Some “no kill” shelters kill a LOT, and open admission no-kills (they do exist) usually have to kill at least a few animals to avoid overcrowding. They might say they only “euthanize” animals, but they might say a cat is “humanely euthanized due to illness” because of a minor URI or a few fleas! Or a dog is “humanely euthanized due to aggression” for food insecurity, which could be fixed within a few days if someone bothered to train the dog! They have to look for bullshit excuses so they can tell people, “We’re no-kill. We never kill. We only ‘humanely euthanize.’”

    So why not look at, for example, whether an organization spays or neuters? THAT matters.

    Some no-kills s/n.

    Some kills s/n.

    Some no-kills don’t s/n.

    Some kills don’t s/n.

    How about public services to help people keep their animals, to encourage people to adopt animals, and to improve animals’ quality of life–things like low cost s/n, low cost vet services of other types (eg vaccinations, heartworm prevention, physical exams, microchipping), behavioral/training help, “pet parent”-type classes, etc? THAT matters.

    How about adoption outreach and community involvement? Some places never advertise, they sit on the edge of town, send employees to catch strays, scare away the few people who find out they exist from the phone book and come looking to adopt, and they kill the animals before anyone from the public can see them. Some places go out to local events, pet supply stores, etc to tell people all about the local homeless animal problem and encourage people to adopt; if they can’t afford an easily accessible shelter facility that is well lit, well ventilated, temperature controlled, convenient to get to, etc, then they do their best to have adoption events at locations that are; they make sure their staff is always in the mood to be friendly to avoid turning off potential adopters if the staff is going to be helping the public (people have the right to be in a bad mood, but if they are extremely rude to someone who is interested in adopting, donating, volunteering, or fostering, that’s not going to give the shelter a good reputation). THAT matters.

    How about adoption screening? Both kill and no-kill operations can have very different standards. Some people just don’t care and let anyone take any animal, spayed/neutered or not, sick or not, aggressive or not, so long as they pay $20, and it doesn’t matter to them whether the “adopter” wants to resell cute puppies, use kittens as snake food, or “bait” fighting dogs; they might as well be slave dealers. Some people care about good publicity, and they try to give out as many animals as they can every month, so they can tell people “We adopted out 20 animals per day the past month! We’re awesome! Look at your donation dollars at work! Donate more!”; they don’t advertise that a lot of these animals are probably going to unsuitable homes, and many are returned less than a week after being adopted out. Some people care about each animal and want to match them all up with great homes, even if they offend people by saying “You want to crate a dog for 12 hours every day, and you think that’s reasonable? Sorry, but I don’t agree. You might end up buying a dog from a pet store, even though no animal deserves that sort of treatment, and I have no control over that, but at least you’re not doing that to one of MY dogs. I won’t adopt to you unless and until you change.” THAT matters.

    How about setting an example, showing people how to treat animals instead of just telling them? No-adoption, lifetime sanctuaries are sometimes in the best position to do this. They don’t pretend to be helping with overpopulation, rather, they are truthful about helping the ones they chose to adopt, just like an individual. I don’t think I’m horrible for being a no-kill family, and I don’t think I’m horrible for not being an open-admission individual person. Same goes for sanctuaries. In the average “pet” home, almost everything–the house itself, the walls, the electrical outlets, the furniture, the appliances, the heating and air conditioning–are designed for human needs, wants, and conveniences, and the nonhumans have to adjust to it. At most, we might rearrange the couch so the dogs can enjoy it more, move the desk over so there’s space for a cat tree, and leave toys and scratching boards on the floor. Shelters are even worse in this respect; most use individual cages/kennels. They’re not evil for doing so, because it’s practical and it’s necessary, and it’s supposed to be temporary. But good sanctuaries are the opposite. Every enclosure, every run, every housing building is designed for the needs, wants, and conveniences of the animals, to enhance their enjoyment of life.

    Many organizations that can’t do all that still try to do what they can. Some shelters, both kill and no-kill, remodel buildings to make them more animal-friendly, use large runs and rooms to house groups of animals that get along and enjoy each others’ company, use flooring and furniture with the animals’ comfort in mind, etc. Some shelters, both kill and no-kill, have three or four animals crammed into cages meant for one or two, have tiny barren concrete cells without even one blanket or toy, offer no protection from freezing winters or summer heat, etc.

    Some kill and some no-kill shelters invest a lot of resources into showing by example that every animal deserves life and happiness. They might hire excellent behaviorists and trainers to rehabilitate animals that weren’t previously trained to make them safe around humans. They might spend thousands of dollars on vet treatment for one sick animal. They might insist that each and every animal be returned to them if the adopters can’t keep them. This is impossible to do for every cat and dog in the world, but it’s possible to do for those we take into custody, and this is a GOOD thing if a nonprofit tells people “This is what every animal deserves, and this is what your animal deserves, even if we can’t afford to do it for every animal in the world.”

    ALL OF THOSE MATTER.

    I’m against oversimplistic utilitarianism. Let’s say I have a few thousand dollars, and I can use that money to either take care of one injured dog for a certain amount of time, or take care of four healthy dogs. Numbers say I should help 4, not 1, right? But that’s only assuming all else is equal, it’s a closed system with only those resources and only those dogs and no other possibilities. What if I don’t help any of those dogs, but I use all that money for an education campaign about homeless animals aimed at the general public, or to help open a free s/n clinic, or to find people who care about animals and give them the information they need to help animals much more than they currently do? What if I just run campaigns for veganism instead, because if I convince one person to go vegan, that prevents an average of hundreds of animals per year from being bred, killed, sold, and eaten, but if I convince one person to adopt a cat instead of buying one, that prevents one animal from being bred, sold, and used as a pet over the period of 20+ years…isn’t that much more important?

    What if I have a friend who is looking to adopt a pair of dogs, and two other friends who each want one dog, and all of them are willing to give good lifetime homes, but none are especially happy about taking on a severely injured dog from the very start? Why shouldn’t they adopt the healthy dogs, while I nurse the injured one back to health?

    What if I live in an area where animals’ lives aren’t valued much and very few people take their dogs to a vet? What if I adopt the injured dog and my neighbors find out and their friends find out and the whole town gets curious about the crazy person who is spending a lot of time and money on one dog even though it’s “just an animal”? What if I get media coverage as a result? And what if I use the opportunity to tell people that speciesism is wrong, and if you would take your child to the doctor when s/he’s sick instead of killing him/her, you should also take your dog to the vet when s/he’s sick instead of killing him/her, and dogs have as much right to live and be free from pain as humans do? And what if a few people start changing the way they look at animals, but they never would have if I’d take in one healthy dog or four healthy dogs or four hundred healthy dogs?

    And what if I adopt a healthy dog, take care of her, and donate leftover money to my local shelter every month, but the dog becomes ill or injured? Am I supposed to kill it and spend the money on adopting a new dog that won’t cause more vet bills, and keep donating to the shelter–instead of taking care of the dog I already brought into my family and promised to take care of?

    Don’t waltz in to a kill shelter and demand they become no-kill; don’t waltz in to a no-kill shelter and demand they become kill; don’t waltz in to a shelter that uses cages and demand they be cage-free; on’t waltz in to a shelter that uses kibbled/canned food and demand they feed raw diets; you get the idea. It doesn’t work no matter what your reasons are. It doesn’t work whether you’re right or wrong. It has nothing to do with kill vs no-kill.

    But if you want to help more animals through shelters, you have more than one option. Sure, you can improve the adoption rates of your local kill shelter so the kill rates go down, even to zero. You can also improve the capacity and adoption speed of your local limited-intake no-kill shelter so the turn-away rates go down, even to zero.

    I found Nathan Winograd’s work with promoting no-kill, no-turn-away to be very interesting.

    Overall, I agree that a few people opening more sanctuaries won’t be nearly enough to give good lives to all homeless cats and dogs. People who believe that need to be woken up. Maybe you can do the math, in United States dollars, for opening enough sanctuaries for just one thousand cats and dogs? Assume the average dog lives 15 years, the average cat 20 years. Assume average rates of illness and injury, average vet charges (whatever those are). Assume cheap, rural land, and sturdy but not fancy construction. You get the idea. Calculate EVERYTHING, land, buildings, installing utilities (electric, plumbing, heating, etc), electricity, water, kennels, food, supplements, medication, surgeries, diagnostics, other treatments, hospitalizations, transportation, veterinary specialist consultations, toys, bedding, treats, training equipment, behavior consultations, separate quarantine areas, cleaning supplies, disinfectants, employees to walk/clean/feed/train/groom/etc, literally everything, down to every last hypothetical nail clipper and hypothetical cotton ball.

    And then point out that’s just one thousand animals in 15 – 20 years, not 48 to 60 MILLION animals in the same time period. If that doesn’t convince the irrational dreamers, I don’t know what will.

    Alysia says...

    July 24th, 2009, 4:55 pm

    I’m trying to open an exotic pet supplies store where people can adopt exotic pets that need homes. Obviously I do not support the exotic pet industry, but dogs and cats aren’t the only animals who need homes. There are so many animals that need homes already and people don’t realize it. It would be nice if the industry were eliminated altogether, wild animals belong in the wild. But if pet stores would feature animals that need adopting and profit only from supplies, I think it would be a huge step.

    nik says...

    July 25th, 2009, 1:09 pm

    This article is a perfect example of PETA’s one-tracked ways. Are all sanctuaries perfect? No. However, the same could be said for shelters- both kill and non-kill. With the economy falling apart animals are in desperate need of a place to go. So many people have losing their jobs and their homes and unfortunately when this happens the family pet is the first to go. So when the shelters are full where are these animals supposed to go? Sanctuaries, rescues and fosters take them in. We need to stop fighting each other on who is right and who is wrong when it comes to what the animals need. If you truly care about the animal overpopulation then help spread the word in a positive way. Don’t criticize those who have hopes and dreams of one day opening a sanctuary to help animals. I for one would LOVE to be able to open a sanctuary, but right now it is not financially feasible. Let’s all work together in a positive way to help stop pet overpopulation!

    Pamela says...

    July 25th, 2009, 7:48 pm

    Dear Amber: so the puppy was gone? Great. They probably killed or dumped it.
    And yes, this piece is biased. I am for trap-neuter-release for ferals, not a round ‘em up and kill ‘em mentality.
    In an area where there are many abandoned animals, often the people who notice them and are the most likely to give them food and water are the elderly and disabled. This is not a group that is physically able to scramble after an active animal and does not have the money to spay or neuter all the animals parading through. But, if you call animal control, the only method they are allowed is to trap and kill.
    Trying to force the poor and handicapped to spay and neuter is cruel and shows a marked lack of empathy. Saying make it mandatory anyway and let the courts decide is cruel and petty. Any spay or neuter law must have compassion.

    Pamela says...

    July 25th, 2009, 8:00 pm

    W: Wow, you really said it. I absolutely agree.

    barry sawbridge says...

    July 26th, 2009, 8:09 am

    most of us animal lovers dont feel like we are doing enough
    by just sending money to the big sanctuarys [many with a kill program, and usually with high paid staff and all new cars and vans ect]
    we want to know that the animals are getting the benifit of our money and to do some ‘hands on work’
    i have started my own sanctuary ,its small but it lets me know that I am doing something to help
    all the big sanctuarys want is money,they are rarely staffed with vegetarians. they run as a business, expecting profits ect. if they think a dog won’t get a home then its put to sleep
    Iworked for the rspca at such a place and most of the animals that came in went out in binbags
    BRING ON THE LITTLE FOLK AT LEAST THEY CARE!

    Vegan says...

    July 26th, 2009, 12:40 pm

    I am vehemently opposed to warehousing animals simply to perpetuate their existence. In reality, very few no-kill “sanctuaries” offer any sort of life quality. Animals are subject to overcrowding, confinement, illness, weather extremes, and veterinary neglect. The quantity of money and manpower necessary to successfully operate a humane refuge of any considerable size is mind-boggling. Large-scale, life-enriching sanctuaries do exist; however, they are the exception, not the rule. I have had the distinct displeasure of visiting a number of “refuges” that were little more than ramshackle, substandard buildings crowded with animals in various states of illness. Starting such operations is far too easy, especially when the owner remains unchecked and unsupervised for any length of time. Grand-scale sterilization and humane euthanasia are the ONLY answers. Until all breeders are obliterated, successful TNR programs are in every town, and all pet “owners” are required by law to sterilize their pets, the population crisis will continue in perpetuity.

    Alex says...

    July 26th, 2009, 5:56 pm

    Aren’t animals suppose to be free and homeless?? We force them to stay at home, tie them, train them, use them as domestic pets. Isn’t it paradoxal for an animalist group to promote this kind of animal treatment?

    Lex says...

    July 27th, 2009, 4:58 am

    Firstly Id like to say I eat meat and enjoy it, I make no apologies, I signed up to PETA because I do care how animals are treated. Sometimes I find PETA’s attitude to be hypocrytical.On one hand I agree that not any one should be allowed or encouraged to open a sanctuary, some people just do it for the wrong reason or if they do have good intentions they dont have the skills or resources to do it. however sancturies do play a vital role in saving homeless animals, if they were not there how many more animals would be wondering the streets as they are turned away from shelters.I do believe that puppy and kitty mills should be shut down and pet breeders should be heavily regulated with strict limits on the number of breeders they can have and how many litters are produced. of course this would push up the price of domestic pets but people who are willing to spend $3k on a pet is less likely to dump it and in a better position to maintain it. I know alot of poor people would be disadvantaged but if you cant afford to feed and house your kids then u cant do it for an animal. I also believe that all pets should be desexed before they leave the breeder to ensure there is no excuse by the buyer as to why they didnt get it done. I breed commercial and pet rabbits, all pet rabbits I breed I do so for showing, the excess are sold as pets however I ensure that the prospective owner is suitable, I have turned away many people. I also follow up with the buyers to make sure the rabbits are going good and they fit in with the home, I also make it clear that for whatever reason they can return the rabbit without judgement, so far only 1 has ever been returned as the bunny was aggresive( she now lives in retiremrnt with her mum). Basically until all animal breeders take this approach then there will be a continuing problem. I like to think of my farm as being a mini sanctury as I have taken in 6 dogs, 2 cats, a few rabbits, chooks and even a black sheep who lives inside with us who was destined for the chop because he wasn’t white. I’m reaslistic that Ican only care for so many animals on my own and I wonder where these animals would be if I didnt offer them a home. People need to be better educated about caring for an animal, laws should be put in place relating to the breeding and sale of animals and society needs to rethink its position on an animals place in society and lastly there should be very strick laws for animal cruelty that are actually enforced.
    PETA needs to rethink its opinions and actions, rather than do it the PETA way or no way, they should be looking at how they can help people change how they treat animals.

    Amanda says...

    July 27th, 2009, 9:30 am

    1. This piece is not about no-kill. It is about doing what is right for the greatest number of animals, and thinking not only of those who are right in front of you at the shelter you volunteer with but also unselfishly considering the animals you know need help even if they aren’t in front of you.
    2. Companion animals do not belong in cages indefinitely. Warehousing is wrong, plain and simple; it makes the selfish people who insist upon it feel better, perhaps, to put their own needs first, but that doesn’t make it right.
    3. Pamela, what about all the wildlife your ferals are killing? They deserve better than to have an unnatural, non-native predator stalking them in what few areas of habitat they have left.

    Don’t Weep for Willow « Mystik’s Blog says...

    July 31st, 2009, 1:13 pm

    [...] care for sick or injured animals. They also often refuse to euthanize animals or take them to open-admission animal shelters—which is why so-called “no-kill sanctuaries” often wind up being a “front” for [...]

    SANDRA DENEAAULT says...

    August 2nd, 2009, 7:14 pm

    NO MORE PET SHOPS ….. WHY NOT START BY CLOSING ALL PET SHOPS THAT EXIST…..NO MORE BREEDERS OF ANY SORT,

    W says...

    August 4th, 2009, 9:14 am

    Lex, why don’t you tell people who want pet rabbits to look at http://www.rabbit.org/adoption/overpopulation.html and adopt homeless rabbits from death row instead of paying you to manufacture more rabbits for money? Are you afraid to lose business even though you are causing the deaths of many rabbits and hiding the truth?

    And why the hell would you try to save some rabbits while you breed others to be sold and killed? Why don’t you sell the ones you adopted so they can be killed, just like the ones you bred? Is there some kind of difference? Is it “bad” in your eyes for one black sheep to be killed for chops, but “good” for millions of other sheep to be killed for chops? Why?

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