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Op-Ed: 'No-kill' shelters are a myth

Metro reader and dog trainer Pat Miller responds to the recent Metro article "Philadelphia animal welfare groups unite into a new 'no-kill' coalition."
dog shelters
Dogs without homes face uncertain futures. Photo: Getty Images

Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble, but so-called “no-kill” is a myth. I have worked professionally with animals for more than 40 years, 20 of those in an open-admission shelter. No-kill is an admirable goal, and 90 percent sounds nice, but it’s a lot of smoke and mirrors.

Just label an animal "unadoptable" and it doesn't count in your statistics. The so-called no-kill movement has spawned an industry that hands animals off to any and all comers, giving rise to an exponential increase in hoarder cases, where animals, many who came from “no-kill” shelters, suffer and die in horrendous conditions.

The numbers at the end of the article are meaningless, unless you know what happened to the 62 percent of dogs and cats that "survived." Now living in hoarder homes? Dumped to live and suffer short lives on the streets as "community ferals"? Sentenced to suffer for years in cages at so-called "no-kill" shelters? Adopted indiscriminately with lowered adoption standards to homes where they may — or may not — receive good care?

12,000 fewer dogs and cats received… Where did they go? Just because they didn't come to the shelter doesn't mean they are living happily somewhere over the rainbow. It often just means shelters have successfully discouraged people from bringing animals there – but they may end up someplace worse

We need to shut down puppy mills and irresponsible breeders if we ever want to make a real difference in the challenge of too many animals and not enough homes.

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