Not Ending Euthanasia, But Saving All

Over the past few years, I have spoken with several animal shelters who have higher euthanasia rates and believe becoming nokill (90% live outcome rate or higher) was impossible.  It has always been frustrating trying to explain to them how nokill works and that they need to shift their focus from anti-euthanasia to pro-live outcome.  It seems to be the same thing, but the shift in thinking and implementing programs with that mindset is the difference between a successful nokill shelter and one that probably will not be successful.

I recently read a wonderful blog post (Good intentions, but the wrong focus) from Mr. Toellner’s KC Dog Blog about this and it just hit home.  Below is an excerpt from him – I encourage you to read it and use it to change the thought process of the leaders at your local shelters:

“The focus should not be on ending euthanasia — it should be on saving them all.

It’s a subtle difference, but important. From my experience, the focus of “ending euthanasia” sets up a mindset of looking for space at the shelter to put more animals when they come in. “We can’t kill them, so we have to find somewhere to put them”. Inevitably, the result is overcrowding, lack of space, etc. Exactly what Genessee County is experiencing here.

However, when the focus in on saving them it, changes the mindset entirely. Instead of focusing on where to put the animals, the focus becomes: How do I get more adopted?  How do I move more to rescue?  How do I get them treated? What foster home can they stay in while they get better? How do we get more out humanely and alive?

It’s a subtle difference, but an important one. And in my experience, focusing on saving a lot of lives is far more effective as a strategy than focusing on how to just not euthanize them.”

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