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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi working in a shelter I've been pondering lately if euthanasia for overcrowding is the best solution. I'm just having a really hard time making
sense and accepting the ending the life of a say otherwise perfectly healthy, adoptable dog just because there is no room for him in the
shelter. About half of all unwanted dogs that enter shelters are euthanized. Now the only other realistic option i see is letting them roam, which I'm internally debating if is perhaps the better option. To take in only what the shelter can hold- the more healthy and adoptable ones as no-kill shelters do, and let the other ones free after neutering/spraying them,and just be like stray cats in my country, and send help to the injured ones and put down the very sick and aggressive ones. Ofcourse with this or the current system in place there are advantages and disadvantages, the real question what outweighs what.
The advantages of this being implemented i see are ofcourse no more unnecessary killing of healthy adoptable dogs. Instead of us making that choice and putting their life and death in our hands, leave it to nature to decide-survival of the fittest and luckiest. The dog is given the basic right to
exist like a homeless person is regardless of their suffering or non-benefit to society. Another advantage is a greater chance of finding a home if they are in our faces and not out of sight. I know many people that rescued strays because in public the stray approached them or they felt sorry for them. Otherwise good chance those dogs would have never found another home and might have been euthanized. Also being in the public eye i think support for more no-kill shelters,foster homes,rescue organizations would increase. The biggest advantage i believe is this would put pressure on governments to eventually pass laws regarding neutering/spraying which will create the greatest benefit for the problem at hand of over-breeding and overcrowding.
One must also look at disadvantages of this alternative system. The big one being much more suffering. But what is more cruel, letting a dog die a slow death from thirst and hunger, or killing it? Then again is nature itself cruel or is it just is, and it is us who perceive it as cruel. Should it even be up to us the dogs fate of life and death if the dog isn't ours in the first place?...Other disadvantages are more accidents, and lots of all kinds of unfortunate incidents. It will not be pretty especially in the beginning but i think in time would improve as their numbers decrease.
Or should things stay as they are? Otherwise healthy adoptable dogs are euthanased everyday and the streets are clean without strays in sight thus most people have no idea of the problem at hand. Working in a shelter it is my everyday reality. The question is, is it the right one? thoughts?
 

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I think that it is completely necessary. There are simply too many dogs out there, and not enough homes. It makes me very very sad, but i'd rather them be put down than starve to death, get hit by a car, shot, e.t.c.

Leaving it to nature is not a legitimate possibility in my eyes. Dogs would overrun neighborhoods and cities, and cause massive damage and become dangerous. Do i enjoy seeing healthy dogs put down? Heck no. But unless a better solution is found, I don't think it's avoidable.
 

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You said you work in a shelter? I work in one too, and I'm horrified that you can think letting dogs to languish on the street to slowly die is ok, whether compared to euthanasia or not. I would much, much rather see a dog put down than "left to roam", and I will tell you why.

First of all, comparing feral cats to stray dogs is not fair to say. Cats are physically and psychologically very different from dogs. They can feed off rodents and small birds, as which are prevalent even in the most urban of areas. Dogs typically cannot find proper sustenance, and even if there is a good amount of decent prey many breeds are not very good hunters, so they will be forced to live by scavenging, which can cause severe problems for the dogs' health. Psychologically, cats are very similar to wild ancestors and can happily and easily live on their own. Dogs typically, can not. We have bred them to need us so much that even severely abused, neglected or feral dogs can and will seek out humans and dogs will always do best in a home. Not only that, but stray cats rarely pose a threat to the human population. At worst, they may spread some zoonotic disease. But feral dogs? Ones that are very likely starving? Dear god that's horribly dangerous! Packs of feral dogs will start killing for food, and killing not just rabbits and squirrels, but cats, and probably even cannibalize small dogs and puppies. And of course...they will very likely attack, kill and perhaps even consume people, most likely children. When I was a child there was a dangerous pack of ferals in the area, and we have a small, local zoo. The dogs were scaling the fences and eating every animal they could. The idea of having animals like that in a residential area is very, very bad.

You can't say anything about "nature taking its course" in terms of canine survival, because again, have been so manipulated by humans that nothing about their population or ability to survive is natural anymore. Nature IS cruel, and there are animals that starve in nature, but dogs are domestic creatures, not wild.

It is a daily crime that so many dogs are put down every day because they are unwanted, and rescuers everywhere are working to promote neutering so that population is reduced. On that count, I do agree we need to promote that to stop the killing. I hate seeing dogs get put down, and I'm grateful every day for my shelter's amazing live release rate. But letting dogs run free? Not a good idea at all, for people, dogs or other animals.
 

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Letting them roam as an alternative to shelter euthanasia?

That's pretty ridiculous.

Stray dogs suffer big time. They get hit by cars/trucks/motorcycles. And it's not always an instant death. A lot wander around injured. Some get hurt bad and suffer for hours before they finally pass. They bleed out internally or struggle to breath because their lungs are damaged. Stray dogs also get into fights with each other or get attacked by other dogs. They are prone to getting harassed by unking people. Sometimes they become very suspicious of people and are a bite risk, or cannot be caught. They suffer from fleas and ticks. They can get fleas and ticks so bad they die of anemia. They get worms. They get mange, which will slowly kill them. They suffer from parvo and distemper, and ultimately die. They get exposed to extreme weather, and can die from it.

There is no "nature" when you're a domestic dog living in a concrete jungle with cars and disease. Domestication usually means that the species is now reliant on people for care and unable to survive on their own. Dogs are our responsibility to care for. They're not wild animals to be left so "nature takes course".

I'm not sure if you've witnessed a euthanasia. Euthanasia is only a moment of suffering from a small needle prick. They go unconscious, just like they do before getting spayed or neutered, and then their heart slows, then stops. It happens in a matter of seconds. They're usually passed already before the entire amount of solution gets injected. It's very peaceful. Compared to animals I've seen come into the clinic I work screaming in pain, thrashing, flailing, snapping, biting, bleeding from the mouth/nose, struggling to breath etc. from injuries they've sustained running loose? Sorry. I would never choose that for a dog.
 

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I have to agree with the others. I know it seems very inhumane, but it is better than letting them roam free and suffer. The shelter in this town does not put down healthy animals anyway. They only put down ones with health/aggression issues that have been there for a very long time. I doubt most shelters would willy nilly put down dogs, I'm sure they are careful and consider it with extreme caution. It is a necessary evil. We just cannot, realistically, adopt out all dogs to great homes. It is a noble dream and something to work for, but it will probably never happen. Just keep positive and focus on helping out as much as possible to minimize euthanizing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thank you guys so much for the helpful insights and other perspective i wasnt seeing so much. You guys are right that since we've altered them to be domesticated they are our responsibility to take care of them, not nature, which sadly includes euthanizing them to save them a worse fate. I just wish there was another way and it sadens me to think about those that are euthanized that perhaps could have lived out a forfilling life if they had been given the chance. Either way there will always be victims, in the streets and the shelter.I guess the best we can hope and work towards atm is for a rise in neutering/spaying to help end the death and suffering
 

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I am not fond of this whole 'let feral cats roam after neutering them' thing. It is hell on native wildlife, especially songbirds.

As far as doing the same thing with dogs...in many cases the dogs will get along fine (see the strays in moscow for instance) but in some instances, these dogs will attack other animals, including pet cats and dogs, and in some cases people. This is unacceptable.

How would you feel if you neutered some dogs and then let them roam, and they mauled a child? Killed a child?

Let's take you out of it. Do you think of someone gathered up stray dogs, neutered them, and then let them loose, and these same dogs later killed a child, do you think that person should be charged with the crime of reckless endangerment and spend some time in jail? I do.
 

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I disagree with letting them roam. But I also disagree with euthanize a perfectly healthy dog. I had to put my girl down not even two months ago due to cancer, I can't even fathom putting down a perfectly healthy dog just because there is no room.

I understand there are many dogs in shelters, don't get me wrong. I don't necessarily have a solution, and I'm willing to admit that. But I still don't think that it is the right to do.
 
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