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PETA Promotes Cruelty and Killing in Lake County, Florida, and Elsewhere

Updated: Jun 7, 2019

No Kill advocates across the nation were thrilled when Lake County, Florida Commissioners recently announced plans to transition the municipal animal shelter to No Kill. Naturally, people who care about animals are thrilled, especially since local advocates in that community have painted a pretty terrible picture of the animal care at that facility. Look at the video below, for example, from a Lake County animal advocate to get a sense of where things have been there.

The video above does not appear to be an isolated case. Advocates there also state that the way the so-called "feral" cats are currently handled is downright inhumane. Any cat deemed feral, even though it might be a terrified house pet, is put, into a group into dog kennels in a noisy room just off the main dog ward. There, the cats are held, according to local rescue groups, terrified, for 24 hours and then killed. The fact that the County Commissioners have committed to taking over the shelter, and reforming it, with the help of No Kill advocates, should be seen, therefore, as nothing but great news. But, true to form, for the attention-seekers at the so-called animal rights organization known as PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), the exciting announcement was an opportunity to stir up trouble to try to derail the reform effort.

In an article in the Daily Commercial, PETA is quoted making multiple false and derogatory statements about No Kill, while advocating for mandatory spay/neuter (MSN) laws.

Before saying more, we have to be perfectly clear: low-cost and no-cost spay/neuter programs are a critical component of the No Kill Equation. Mandatory spay/neuter laws, however, are not, because they do far more damage than good.

What many people have thought of as "pet overpopulation" over the years has become to be better described as "shelter overpopulation." When shelters take in animals they don't need to take in, and when they also fail to adopt sufficient numbers of animals, or release them to rescue, or return them to their owners, overcrowding in the shelter is the natural byproduct. This dynamic is well explained in this article by Mike Fry titled Pet Overpopulation: Myth, Meme and Zeitgeist.

What MSN laws do is give animal control yet another reason to seize or impound animals, leading to increased shelter intake. At the same time, these laws make it more difficult for people to reclaim their pets, because they need to pay the costs of spaying or neutering in addition to the costs of impoundment, etc. That results in reducing live outcomes. Increasing intake and reducing live outcomes leads to increased killing, not less.

It is, however, understandable when people outside the field of animal welfare don't immediately understand the link between MSN and increased killing in shelters. Animal advocates have been, after all, reflexively shouting "spay/neuter" whenever the topic of killing in animal shelters comes up. That is, therefore, what our elected officials hear and are likely to focus on, when people in their communities complain about animals being killed in shelters.

MSN laws are, at their core, a way of shifting responsibility for failed shelter policies and practices from the shelters themselves to the pet owning public. The underlying message really is, "If you people would just spay or neuter your pets, we would not have to kill any." Not only is that a way of deflecting from failed shelter operations, MSN has never been effective at ending killing in animal shelters. The communities that have ended the killing of healthy or treatable have done so by changing their shelter protocols and embracing No Kill programs, not by further punishing pet owners.

While it is understandable that County Commissioners might not understand that initially, there is no excuse for PETA to continue promoting MSN, while also actively working against important reforms at this and other shelters around the USA.

PETA, for shame.

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