written by MJ Hall
director of the New England Haven for Animals
Recently, several of the municipal pounds in the Greater
Boston area have gone to "no-kill" status. This is wonderful news but I
cannot help but greet it with mixed feelings. The Haven is a no-kill
organization and I wish more groups and pounds would and could be
However, there is a pet overpopulation crisis in this
area. You can see it every spring as hundreds of "free kittens" appear
on bulletin boards and in classified ads. We decry shelters and pounds
for euthanizing animals, and yet so many of us have animals who are not
spayed or neutered. One man once told me he did not neuter his cat
because he rarely let him out, and it is not like he would come home
pregnant. No, but someone else's cat will. While some animals are not
altered because of owner ignorance, many others remain intact because of
the often high veterinary costs of spaying and neutering.
The reality is that no-kill pounds and shelters have
limited capacities. When a no-kill facility is full, it is full. That
means that it cannot accept any more animals, and people must then take
their pets to a "kill" shelter. Desperate owners who have tried
everywhere, and do not want to send their pet to a "kill" shelter where
he might not make it, are forced to do so. This is an awful situation
for all involved.
I firmly believe that when any group elects to be a
no-kill facility, that group must also make every reasonable attempt to
curb the pet population in its demographic. Some of the recent no-kill
towns are host to some of the most expensive veterinarians around. While
we can say that a responsible pet owner must know and understand the
costs of pet ownership, the reality is that there are pet owners who
cannot spend a $100 or more to get their cat neutered or spayed. Other
people are caring for strays and feral colonies, and the cost of
altering so many animals can be prohibitive.
The Haven does not adopt out any unaltered cats or dogs.
That is the rule. No vouchers or deposit system. Every animal is altered
before eligible for adoption, including kittens as early as 8-10 weeks.
I would call upon all no-kill pounds and shelters to do the same. Ask
your vets to learn early spay/neuter procedures. Don't adopt out any
animals that are not altered. There can never be enough homes when there
are so many animals.
It is wonderful to go home at night knowing that The
Haven is a no-kill facility. But so long as there are so many homeless
and unwanted animals out there, it will never be enough. We must work to
end the population crisis. Only then will we truly achieve a home for
The New England Haven for Animals
11 Elton St.
Boston, MA 02125
Source: Paw Prints
The New England Haven for Animals' newsletter
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