Why shelters might kill an animal

By isak, June 3, 2011


This is a partial list that is being circulated around showing reasons why an animal may be killed in one of our kill shelters. In my opinion, it is simply a list of excuses for the purpose of either easing someone’s guilt about needlessly taking a life or granting them a pardon for their laziness. I say this because most of my pets would be dead based on this list and that would be based on interviewing them at home on their own turf. Now add the shelter environment which hardly seems like a warm and friendly place…

I can’t see why killing animals based on this list is necessary. Did anyone think to ask them if they wanted to die? I have seen animals more dead than alive choose to fight the fight for life… and win. But that’s a whole other post.

How do your pets stand up to this test?

  • Aggressive towards humans
  • Behavioural
  • Blind
  • Cat flu
  • Compulsive, obsessive, stereotypic behaviour
  • Congenital defects
  • Contagious (quite vague)
  • Critical distress
  • Deaf
  • Declared dangerous
  • Dental disease
  • Dominance aggression
  • Dominant behaviour
  • Ear mites
  • Escape behaviour
  • Excessive vocalization
  • Failed BA (behaviour assessment)
  • Fearful/aggressive
  • Feline leukemia
  • Feral
  • FIV positive
  • Guarding behaviour
  • Hair loss-demodex
  • Hair loss-non specific
  • Hair loss-ring worm
  • Head trauma
  • Heartworm positive
  • Humane grounds
  • Hyper reactivity to stimuli
  • Hyperactive

  • Idiopathic aggression
  • Injured
  • Kennel cough
  • Kennel crazy
  • Lack of pigmentation (albino)
  • Litter box aversion
  • Neurological problems
  • Old
  • Orthopedic problems
  • Owner request
  • Parvo
  • Parvo contact
  • Poor condition
  • Seizures
  • Separation anxiety
  • Sick
  • Spraying stress
  • Tick paralysis
  • Timid/fearful with accompanying anxiety
  • Too many cats (space)
  • Too many dogs (space)
  • Too young
  • Trauma
  • Unsocial
  • Wolf hybrid
  • And of course, in some areas, just because of BSL (Breed Specific Legislation: the dog “looks” kind of like a Pit Bull or other legislated breed)


I myself fail this test on many points. Please don’t take me to a shelter when I get even older than I am.


  1. Lehnanne says:

    I worked (very briefly) at a municipal run “shelter” that killed dogs and cats because it was Mon-Wed-Fri. During the 6 months I worked there we were never “FULL” and when I asked why we didn’t give the animals more time to find homes or do something about the high PTS rate I was told it was too much work for the people who worked in the shelter cleaning up the cages and runs. I was naive and thought that working at an animal shelter people would actually give a damn about animals. Only a few who worked there did – to most it was a paycheck. Some too busy worried about their acting careers or trying to get on to the “real” police force – or playing Sudoku when they could have been saving lives. Several years later and I am still trying to make up for having worked in a place like that – it haunts me to this day. I did manage to rescue one of the intakes … a little black dog that would have surely been put down because she was an owner turn in. She is one of the many joys in my life. Little devil dog that she is. = )

  2. Jen says:

    all of this is true…just that most choose to ignore it…heartsick…

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