Here are two interesting articles:
Is the no-kill movement contributing to hoarding?
For a long while "no-kill" has gotten a free ride. I know some of my readers are advocates of a certain no-kill messiah, but I still have cats at my facility that have been here since the arrival of that messiah. According the no-kill mantra, that's my "fault."
So forgive me if I have a bit of an attitude. I would love to spend more time doing adoptions, but last night more cat tracks showed up at my door. We can all do BETTER, and I absolutely agree with that. But at some point, brain cells start breaking down.
Let me give an example that perhaps a lot of us can relate to.
Did you have a goldfish when you were a kid, or in college? You had that cute cheap little fish, and a bowl. Care is pretty simple. All you have to do is keep a gallon of water off to the side (to age-out the chlorine if needed), and every week, put the fish in an alternate container, clean out the bowl, add new water, and put back the fish.
For the first few weeks, you do this. One week you get busy, and the water gets murky. You are horrified and don't want your friends to see how you are neglecting the fish. You clean the bowl. But now you know the fish isn't going to die immediately with murky water. You get busy again. The weekly new-water changes stop. One day you notice the water is green. Oh my God! You clean the bowl again, feeling very guilty. But the fish survived the green water, too. So you are less concerned the next time you let the water get green.
One day, you notice a fish floating in the bowl. The low-oxygen conditions have finally killed the fish. We flush him down the toilet, feeling bad. We turn the bowl into a terrarium, which also ends up dying of neglect. The bowl gets pushed off into a corner until it gets broken or thrown away.
You have experienced the mental progression of an overwhelmed hoarder. If you, or someone you know, has killed a goldfish in this manner, you know a little tiny bit about what it's like to directly kill an animal due to purposeful neglect.
Excuses like "I've been so busy," "My parents were ill," "The kids were supposed to take care of the fish," "the pet store should have told me goldfish actually need a aerated fish tank and can live for decades" or "we really did care about our fish" don't cut it. You killed the fish, period.
All we are talking here is changing the water once a week for a simple little fish. And we wonder how people who step forward to care for countless abandoned animals can "not see that animals are dying." Oh, they can physically see it. But emotionally they don't want to see it, because it feels like they aren't capable of fixing it."
That is one reason I believe some shelter directors resort to euthanizing--not just for immediate space but to have "extra cages." I think they get a rush of relief seeing, for just a little while, a shelter that doesn't appear to be out-of-control.
ABSOLUTELY it would be better to adopt those animals out in creative ways. ABSOLUTELY it may be time for that director to move on and make space for someone who is fresh and ready to take a new step forward. But is that shelter director "evil."
Were you evil when you killed your fish?
So, how do we stop everyone from killing more fish, and more rescued pets, via this helpless neglect?