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LETTER: More than numbers on a balance sheet

To the editor:

There’s obviously no excuse for bludgeoning unwanted dogs to death, as was allegedly done by a man who reportedly couldn’t afford euthanasia by a vet, nor find anyone to take them (“Man accused of animal cruelty admitted online that he ‘put down’ his dogs” Feb. 19/19). But animal shelters help proliferate such crimes when they erect barriers to admitting unwanted animals, including “surrender” fees, waiting lists, and other misguided and downright dangerous “no-kill” policies.

More and more shelters are turning animals away for lack of space and refusing to accept sick, elderly, or unsocialized animals – or any cats at all – because doing so hurts their “saved” stats, leaving these animals literally out in the cold. When shelters make it difficult, if not impossible for people to do the right thing and bring in unwanted animals, they set up animals for horrific deaths like these poor dogs endured.

Veterinarians are unfairly being forced to leap into the breach created by turn-away shelters, but they can help by setting up charitable funds for indigent clients and/or offering to waive euthanasia fees.

If shelters really care about saving animals – not just making their euthanasia numbers look good – they must admit all animals, no waiting lists, no surrender fees, and no excuses. Cats and dogs are more than numbers on a balance sheet: They are vulnerable beings who need our protection.

Teresa Chagrin

Animal Care & Control Issues Manager

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

Norfolk, VA

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