Categories: animal sanctuary

Can animal shelters refuse animals?

Somebody asked the question whether animal shelters can refuse animals. The answer must depend on the type of animal shelter we are referring to.

There are a wide range of animal shelters. Two types are the no-kill rescue animal shelter and the traditional, open admission shelter.

Picture of cat in shelter like being in prison. Picture in public domain.

Open admission

The open admission shelter should not refuse an animal. However, historically the number of unwanted animals is larger than the amount of available space in America’s animal shelters.

Because of that inbalance, open admission shelters receive too many requests to take in animals. They don’t have the space to house them. Therefore they have to euthanise some to make room. The ones they euthanise are the least likely to be adopted, the sick and those with behavioral problems. The selection process is open to abuses and distortions. For intance how do you assess behavioural issues at a shelte where the cats are stressed?

Orange cat in shelter. Picture in public domain.

No-kill

The no-kill animal shelter is a growing trend as far as I can tell. This is because a lot of people don’t like the idea of killing animals at shelters. It undermines the whole purpose of the shelter. It makes a mockery of the word “shelter”.

But no-kill shelters must limit the number of animals that they take because they would run out of space if they didn’t. There has to be some way of limiting numbers either kill or ban entry. Are they selective in the animals that they take? The answer is probably yes. I guess they select the least adoptable animals. All the ones that are sick and so on. They have to prioritise. They have no other choice as long as there are more unwanted animals than there are spaces at shelters. The ones they can’t take probably end up at the open admission shelters where they might be euthanised.

There is some leeway in this system. No-kill does not mean a 100 percent save rate. Some animals are killed. They save rate is 90 percent as I recall.

Shelter cats are the best and there are many to choose from. Picture in public domain.

Selection processes

It occurs to me that both the no-kill shelters and the open admission shelters select cats on a similar basis but in the former they are not taken in and in the latter they are euthanised. Is that a fair comment? Do I have this wrong?

Rescue cats at shelter allegedly mislabelled. Pic in public domain.

Wider issues

The wider issues are important. Animal rescue shelters are in the business of reacting to an overpopulation of animals. It’s a reactive process.

They mop up the mess. The key is to stop the mess being created. The preferred method would be to stop cats and dogs breeding informally creating unwanted animals. Many local authorities in the USA are wrestling with the means to achieve this goal. It is very difficult because laws dictating how people should look after their cats and dogs are hard to enforce. And, also, people do not like the interference of local authorities on these matters. They like their freedoms.

Cat sisters in shelter cage hug each other. Photo in public domain.

The hidden deaths

A lot of people do not feel the pain and distress caused by the euthanasia of millions of companion animals and animal shelters across America or indeed any other country. I chose America because that is the biggest market for companion animals. It’s the most interesting and the most discussed.

Because the wider public don’t sense the immorality and difficulties of euthanising millions of animals it goes on unabated. There has been some progress to be fair. The kill rate at animal shelters in America has dropped remarkably over the years. There is work to do. Many healthy animals who would make great companions are killed in the back rooms of shelters.

I would like an animal rescue expert to comment on this post. It needs an expert touch.

Some more on animal shelters

Cats and dogs are calmer at shelters when they are selected online because of the coronavirus pandemic

NEWS AND VIEWS (COMMENT): Because of Covid-19, one animal shelter in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Assisi Animal Sanctuary, is using the ...
Read More

Domestic cat with longest neck

Olivia, who was living at Anne Arundel County Animal Care & Control at the time the photograph was taken, has ...
Read More

More cats than dogs abandoned during coronavirus pandemic

It seems that dogs are beating cats as a lockdown favourite companion animal. The Association of Dogs and Cats Homes ...
Read More

Factors affecting the success rate of shelter cat adoptions

Not all cat adoptions from animal shelters are successful. They don't lead to a relationship for the lifespan of the ...
Read More

What animal is it? Ah! It’s a cute matted cat.

This is one of those recurring "matted cat stories". They pop up on the Internet from time to time. They ...
Read More

Is the typical North American animal rescue in hock to their vets for thousands of dollars?

A sadly typical case of unwanted domestic cat abandonment shines a light on the debt that some animal rescues owe ...
Read More

Big-hearted teenager opens animal shelter

Anápolis, Brazil: Remember the name Eduardo Caioado as I think he'll become famous one day. He has a huge heart ...
Read More

Animal shelter stored dead cats and dogs in freezer

NEWS/VIEWS - KENTUCKY, USA: This is not the sort of news you want to hear about an animal 'shelter'; a ...
Read More
Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

Recent Posts

Birdfeeder placement to help avoid attack by cats

I can think of two instances (but there are many more) of exposing, through good…

3 hours ago

My neighbour’s cat asks to be let in all the time, so is he neglected?

It is not uncommon for neighbourhood cats to want to visit neighbour's homes. You won't…

8 hours ago

Radon gas increases the chance of your cat getting lung cancer

Background Radon gas is a mysterious substance which appears to be all around us, all…

9 hours ago

12 facts about the Nebelung cat

Here are 12 listed facts about the Nebelung cat. I hope you find them useful.…

22 hours ago

21 reasons to take your cat to the vet

Here is a list of reasons to take your cat to the vet. Richard H.…

1 day ago

Panicking man, giggling woman and complacent cats fail to catch a terrified mouse

I can understand the minor chaos caused by a mouse brought into the home by…

1 day ago