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  • Writer's pictureDavyd Smith

Freedom To Live

Many traditional shelters in Colorado are pulling out all the stops to oppose No Kill philosophies and programs and they are being disingenuous, at best, about it. Other times they are just flat out lying. We can only deduce from this behavior that they are uncomfortable with the No Kill tenet that every healthy or treatable homeless pet deserves the Freedom to Live.


Recently the Larimer Humane Society (LHS), Denver Dumb Friends League (DDFL) and Humane society of Pikes Peak Region (HSPPR) turned their backs on a shelter in need.

Linda had a rescue asking to take her and help her. The Larimer Humane Society (Colorado) chose to kill Linda.

They demanded the Freedom to Kill any animal they accept and absent being allowed that freedom, they chose to no longer pull animals from that shelter.

They are promoting this through their new marketing philosophy called “Socially Conscious Sheltering”. This approach is based on the same “humane” approach to how we treat livestock. Yes, you read that right, DDFL, HSPPR, and LHS believe treating homeless pets like cattle destined to be slaughtered is the most humane approach to modern day animal shelter management. Does that make any sense to you?

Not only are they using a decades-old philosophy designed for livestock as a standard, they are going one step further and smearing the No Kill social movement while promoting this antiquated philosophy. Any google search on the programs and services of No Kill Equation will tell you everything they are saying is misinformation, misdirection, or outright lies. They say No Kill doesn’t medically care for animals. Medical rehabilitation is one of the eleven elements of the No Kill Equation. They say No Kill warehouses animals. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Equation focuses on keeping animals from entering shelters in the first place through a series of programs (pet retention, proactive redemptions, high volume/low cost spay neuter and TNR of community cats) and focuses on getting them out of the shelter environment as quickly as possible (comprehensive adoption programs, foster programs, rescue group liaison, and community involvement/public relations). Those who cast No Kill philosophies in a negative light are lying about it, presumably because they fear change.

Linda, with other dogs sitting obediently.

No Kill advocates have worked tirelessly for more than a decade to improve the fate of shelter animals in Colorado. The guidance and information provided by No Kill advocates have propelled shelters to perform better. But we know there is still work to do.

According to PACFA statistics for 2017, Colorado had 25,000 more adopters than homeless pets entering the Colorado system in the state. In spite of this, we imported over 36,000 into the state from out of state. Over 17,000 homeless cats and dogs lost their lives in our shelter system. Estimates say at least half of those were healthy or treatable. In a system where we have 25,000 more adopters than healthy and treatable pets entering our system, this is inexcusable.

As this is happening, examples of “Socially Conscious Sheltering” shelters policies are coming to light. In Larimer, two dogs named Barb and Linda was surrendered to Larimer Humane Society. Linda was originally adopted out from a rescue Found Nation that were willing to take her back. She was surrendered by owners that said she was not getting along with their new dog. Found Nation said they would not only take the Linda back, but had resources to work with her. Larimer decided Linda was better off dead.

Barb got out and fought with another dog. The person breaking up the fight was bitten. Barb’s rescue also offered to take her back. Socially Conscious Shelter LHS killed her instead.

Socially conscious Sheltering is not what it sounds like. It is a premise based on livestock treatment (animals destined to be slaughtered from the moment of birth or used to produce some commodity like milk). It is based on the Five Freedoms while ignoring the sixth and most important freedom: The Freedom to Live.

It offers political cover for shelters to exercise the Freedom to Kill, for any reason, at any time. The Larimer Humane Society examples are proof of that. This is nothing short of a betrayal of the public trust.

Davyd Smith is the President of No Kill Colorado.

Watch this video on this same topic:


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