Friends of Pets (FOP) is a true no-kill facility. We will honestly share our data regarding number of entries and outcomes. We always face an annual 30% to 45% mortality rate, despite how hard we try to save every one. Our mortality rate is a function of the poor standard of health of homeless felines in our community. Stresses from abandonment/separation are the underlying contributors towards death. We receive continuous phone calls urging FOP to take-in far more felines than we can possibly care for. The public simply must be helped to understand the horrors pets experience when abandoned to shelters.
It is FOP’s belief that the best thing to help local cats and dogs is for each shelter to announce to our citizens and veterinarians the total numbers of pets that die while in that organization’s care. I am sure if these astounding numbers of deaths were made public, more would be done, or demanded, and actions taken to break dependency on shelters for the disposal of unwanted pets.
As it is, the numbers of animals crossing the threshold of shelters are unbelievably high; and it is the policies of shelters that are the very cause for so many pets ending up there. The worst offenders are facilities that never turn any cat or dog away and accept each for free. This type commonly works for governments.
It is my perception that the public is continuously deceived by the marketing efforts of shelters’ which portray their organization as ‘no-kill’ for purposes of increasing public support. The truth is, death rates of pets is likely not much reduced from years past, despite this ploy. Sadly, I know people naively surrender pets even faster because of the phony no-kill claim implied by shelters.
The shelter industry has twisted the concept of ‘no-kill,’ redefining it to mean that only an animal they deem adoptable will be kept. In the new definition, if staff can ‘justify’ an animal to be euthanized, then it simply is not counted as a ‘kill.’ This justification includes animals showing signs of treatable illnesses or conditions, disabilities (such as a missing eye, as demonstrated in Bennet’s photo above), age, the not-easily-adoptable, semi-tame, fail a behavior test, or show signs of fear in the strange and crowded environment. Animals become scared and sick when they are handed over to a shelter. This is especially true with cats. It is truly impossible for the naive public to navigate through this twisted meaning of ‘no-kill’ and make the best decisions for their pets.
I cringe when some shelters talk about its 92% adoption rate because the shelter had already eliminated from the total number, all the pets that failed their system. Again, the public naively knows no different.
The shelter industry promotes the dysfunctional act of shipping pets from a town with a pet overpopulation problem to another town, or state, that has its own overpopulation problems. Sometimes a pet is shipped to two or three different towns. Few, if any, originating senders actually know, or are even able to fi nd out, the fi nal outcomes for the animal. It is out-of-sight and out-of-mind relief because too many new animals are coming in the front door. People naively believe good comes from sending pets away. But, in reality, the innocent animal likely went from a bad situation to a worse one. Or, as the saying goes, ‘from the frying pan into the fryer,’ especially cats. It is probable some pets who could not withstand the trauma of movement are euthanized in a shelter in the second or third town of the route.
The underlying problem is that a shelter has minimal, if any, accountability to the general public and can spew whatever message it wishes, truth or not. This explains why the public is at extreme disadvantage when dealing with one. Also, some shelters form cozy relationships with the Media to promote only the positive side in an article. Yet, shelters may be doing detrimental work behind the scenes.
In my opinion, the public deserves the absolute right to know two basic facts: In a given period of time, what is the total number of cats and dogs that entered the facility? And, what were their outcomes? The public can figure out the rest. Armed with these informative facts, the public, veterinarians, and shelter staff can face the realities and identify steps for improvements. When shelters are intentionally silent on this matter, our community is held back from finding new and better courses of action.
The overflowing numbers of animals taken to shelters are a direct result of shelters’ policies and pet overpopulation. Overpopulation is immediate consequences of lack of effective spay/neuter programs. In reality, when the problem is handed over to the shelters, the most economical way to deal with overpopulation is euthanasia. One of FOP’s goals is to correct the problem before it gets that far.
Again, we are sure the public and veterinary professionals will do more to help prevent the overpopulation problem if they know the full truth about the end resulting in suffering and death. Those who hold the keys to solving this dilemma are community leaders, shelter staff, veterinarians, donors, the Media and an educated and engaged public. All need to be involved to effect change.
In closing, FOP’s criteria for euthanasia are posted on our website and we strongly adhere to these principles. We work to keep cats out of shelters, including our own facility, because cats do poorly in them. Since January 1st, 2020, seventy-six cats have crossed our threshold. Of this number, twenty-nine died, either with assistance or not. The remaining forty-seven felines have either been adopted or are still waiting for homes.
With this fact known, it is easy to speculate the high mortality rates for other shelters that never turn any away. We urge the public to understand this reality and make informed choices.
What FOP can best offer our community is our Spay/Neuter Clinics. Thus far in 2020, seven-hundred and seventy-nine felines have been altered. Likely one-half were females which mean at least 1,500 unwanted kittens were not born from one breeding cycle alone. And herein lies the answer.
Please work to end the suffering and neglect by spaying or neutering your feline. And please keep them out of shelters.
All of us at Friends of Pets