No-Kill shelters should be relabelled ‘Low-Kill’

No-kill shelters
No-kill shelters
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

“Zero killing of any just not realistic..”

No-Kill shelters are allowed to euthanise up to 10% of animals if they are judged to be too old, too sick or too feral. I presume ‘too feral’ means or should mean not fully socialised but it can mean a lot more to shelter staff such as being ‘unfriendly’. This opt out clause of being ‘too feral’ is too easy to use. A cat only has to be anxious and defensively aggressive in a cage in a strange place to be assessed as too feral and be sent down the euthanasia route.

So no-kill is not 100% no-kill as Elisa discussed in her post. I guess most of us know it but not all the public do as the lady in the video found out to her cost and the cost of her cat.

The video below discusses this tricky issue. The presenter in the video explains how the animal shelter’s label of ‘No-Kill’ encouraged the woman in the video to let this particular shelter re-home a cat. The cat was killed prompting the suggestion that the no-kill label is misleading. The big issue is why does no-kill mean that up to 10% are euthanised. The lady in the video says that it is impractical to be 100% no-kill. Well then, let’s consider dropping the label…

What “no kill” really means for homeless pets in Utah

A Get Gephardt investigation has uncovered that thousands of animals die every year at so-called "no kill" facilities.

Posted by Get Gephardt on Wednesday, February 20, 2019

If the label is misleading to the public generally, there is a good argument that the words ‘No-Kill’ should be dropped and replaced with something like ‘90% No-Kill’. Or they could claim ‘High No-Kill’ or ‘Very Low Kill Rate”. The last label is clumsy but it is at least accurate. Perhaps a better label might be “Low-Kill“.

There are laws governing the description of products in shops. A seller cannot promote a product or service by describing it inaccurately as it would be a misrepresentation. For instance, a seller can’t say that a washing machine is the cheapest to run if it is not the cheapest. Or that an insurance policy is the best value if it is not. It is black-and-white situation as the video presenter states. Why do animal shelters get away with fudging it? Why are they allowed to in effect state that they are 100% no-kill, as the label suggests, when they aren’t?

The inevitable conclusion is that the phrase “no-kill’ should be dropped and a better alternative employed. I’d suggest “Low-Kill” as it rhymes with no-kill which means it could, hopefully, be introduced fairly easily. OR, they should be 100% no-kill. That’s the choice.

This issue has been around for a very long time. It is surprising that it is being ‘investigated’ now.

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

5 thoughts on “No-Kill shelters should be relabelled ‘Low-Kill’”

  1. The wheels turn so slowly in the world of animal care and control; that is unless the problem is the other way around! If it means more dollars in the city coffers or a policy change to kill more animals in the name of efficiency or something, no problem fast-tracking something like that. “Kill more animals? No problem, we’re already on that.” Yes, the public does take the “no kill” statement to mean what it says. In fact I believed it too.

    And doing anything for the sake of honesty, to say nothing of animals’lives these days is just inviting a lot of people to simply make a sick joke about it and move on.

    Low kill is the excellent choice and a no-brainer, which those with no brains should have no problem with. But then again it makes too much sense for most policy-making city officials. I’m sure many cities have already kicked that can down the road rather than do the right thing. The shelters likely object, saying they’ll get less business, which is correct, but they aresn’t supposed to be a for-profit operation. They keep forgetting that.

  2. Frances A Danna

    Well, I for one honestly never knew that some “No Kill” shelters have a 10% “Okay To Kill” policy. ? Thank you Elisa and Michael for opening my eyes. This is deplorable. I have heard many times about No Kill shelters sending animals elsewhere to be euthanized. That is a deceptive and dishonest practice. What about trying harder to support the lives of these unusual animal cases, and learning more from them to further help more animals? ?????️

    1. Well Frances, I read about this some time ago but never a big point of it but Elisa decided to open up the discussion. It is a misleading term.

  3. Out here in Seattle, we have several “no kill shelters’ that when an animal has been there too long, they send them down to another Seattle animal shelter to be put down there. That is one way they get around the “no kill” label – they don’t kill at their site. It is their dirty little secret – that comes directly from a King County Animal Control officer who had already quit her job because of what she saw they did to the animals.

    1. We have one as well. They also Tnr kittens and turn them loose instead of finding homes. It helps their live numbers.

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