Denver CO

Muddling of No Kill definition

I was very disappointed when I spoke to a rescuer the other day from an organization I have a lot of respect for. I know they do good work and genuinely care about the lives and well-being of homeless pets.No names, because they are not bad people or a bad organization, but the three things stated that stood out were:

  1. No Killshelters only take in adoptable dogs.
  2. Open shelters focus on adoptions they make
  3. So called “No Killshelters send dogs they can’t adopt over to the open shelters and let them euthanize them.

It caught me completely off guard. Because I had heard this is exactly what would be said if you supported No Kill. I had read it from multiple No Kill adherents’ essays. I was truly shocked to read something sent directly to me with these message points as if they were taken from the “how to discount a No Kill supporter” handbook.

I know there are organizations that misrepresent their activities at times, and I am sure there is an unsavory organization touting itself as No Kill which does exactly what I heard.  When I learn about that I would happily out them.

But that is not what No Kill means.

You can take the phrase No Kill and follow the No Kill declaration for one.  The declaration states:

“Life to all healthy animals and to all sick, injured, or vicious animals where medical or behavioral intervention would alter a poor or grave prognosis;”  See full declaration here.

That does not include pawning animals off to the shelter to be killed.  I understand that may be done by some distortion of the term and calling them No Kill, but that is not a No Kill philosophy.

So here is someone I know does not want to see animals killed (I avoid “euthanize as a word to avoid confusion that is somehow kinder) but still cannot grasp that No Kill is reaching for the perfect game.  One where nothing stops you from the goal of saving every possible homeless pet that crosses your path.  And never killing healthy animals.

What was doubly upsetting was the definitive and general statement defining No Kill as that it meant ALL organizations claiming to be No Kill actually do this.  Not some, all.

It’s terribly unnerving to see this kind of misunderstanding inside the subculture of people trying to help homeless pets.  I realize that Nathan Winograd as one of the most outspoken people in the movement of No Kill will regularly attack someone for being a killer of animals.  Sometimes I applaud the shock value of his extreme articles as they get attention, and at other times I wince a little at the fact that he can give fuel to detractors trying to the move the public against No Kill as false and fanatical.

Regardless of how you feel about the tactics of some of the No Kill leaders, they are not condoning, and would condemn any organization practicing this type of activity.

No Kill really needs people that will not only profess, practice and evangelize the philosophy, but hold those accountable who abuse it.  And when someone tells you No Kill is something different than the tenets of the No Kill Declaration and other writings for people truly trying to make a difference, you have to speak up.  I plan on it.



Bark Away!