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  • Writer's pictureDavyd Smith

Let's Set Misconceptions Straight About No Kill

As an animal lover and an advocate for the No Kill movement, I recently saw a post filled with misconceptions, misdirection, and misinformation about the movement. I believe it is important to address these false assumptions to dispel any confusion that might prevent people from supporting the cause.

First, let's be clear that the No Kill movement is not new, despite the post's insinuations. As a founding member of No Kill Colorado in 2011, I know that the movement has been around for decades and has evolved during that time. I was late in finding it.

Moreover, it is inaccurate to assume that the No Kill movement is solely represented by Best Friends. While Best Friends has a massive brand in promoting No Kill, it is not the only organization that is committed to the cause. The No Kill movement is a movement, not a national organization, and its success is most often achieved by local advocates. To that end, there are nuances in the approach, implementation, and goals of various No Kill advocates. But not the No Kill Equation.

The core of the No Kill movement, however, is simple: to save all healthy and treatable homeless pets. The words "healthy and treatable" and "euthanasia" are at the center of the movement, and the goal is to save every healthy and treatable homeless pet, while acknowledging that euthanasia is necessary for pets that are untreatable or a danger to the public with a poor prognosis for behavior modification.

The Animal Evaluation Matrix provides a guide to determine when a homeless pet is treatable or untreatable. No Kill advocates have never suggested saving untreatable pets or those that pose a risk to the public. Unfortunately, many of the pets killed in shelters are healthy or treatable, and their deaths are often attributed to their behavior.

No Kill abides by the definition of euthanasia, which involves killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals, such as persons or domestic animals, in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.

The No Kill movement has been successful in reducing the number of shelter pets killed by 97% since its inception, and pet owners can credit this success to the No Kill advocates who pressured organizations to implement life-saving programs and services.

Despite the success of the No Kill movement, some regressive animal welfare activists and organizations continue to oppose it, claiming that "Safety First" is at risk if all animals are saved. This argument is irresponsible and alarmist, as No Kill advocates do not discount the safety of the public. While there are some animals that are hopelessly aggressive and cannot be rehabilitated, we have evolved and developed behavior modification techniques that allow us to save pets that were previously considered unsalvageable.

What’s remarkable is as No Kill continues to strive for this, every year it is opposed by regressive animal welfare activists and organizations, and when communities do improve, they often usurp credit and talk about how they did it. Progress would not have happened without No Kill advocates pushing the shelter system upward and onward.

Finally, claims that No Kill is limited admission is false. There are open-admission shelters that succeed at No Kill, saving every healthy and treatable pet that enters the shelter. This fact is irrefutable, and those who claim that it is impossible are either lying or not paying attention.

The No Kill movement is love: a compassionate, life-saving movement that has had incredible success in reducing the number of shelter pets killed each year. We need more people to join the cause to save animals and help advance the goals of the movement. It's time to set the record straight and promote the truth about the No Kill movement.


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