Humane Society of Henderson County, KY
Humane Society of Henderson County, KY Humane Society of Henderson County, KY Humane Society of Henderson County, KY Humane Society of Henderson County, KY Humane Society of Henderson County, KY
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Humane Society of Henderson County, KY
Humane Society of Henderson County, KY
Humane Society of Henderson County, KY
Humane Society of Henderson County, KY

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EUTHANASIA


As an open-door policy facility, we accept ALL companion animals for any reason and in any condition. Because of this, we do perform humane euthanasia on some animals.  It is our goal to find homes for 100% of adoptable animals, but unfortunately there are many animals that come through our doors that would be unadoptable for a variety of reasons.  First, we do not have a policy to euthanize any animal after a set period of time.  We do receive animals that are severely injured, have serious disease or other major health issues, or are aggressive due to their prior life experiences.  In many cases, the most humane solution for these animals is to euthanize them peacefully.  These are policies shared by the ASPCA, Humane Society of the United States, and American Humane Association, among others.  Our method for euthanasia is the one recommended by all of the previous organizations. In extreme overcrowding situations, we may also be forced to euthanize due to space.  In this case, the adoptability of each animal is evaluated carefully and difficult decisions are made.  If a healthy animal has been in our care for a long period of time, but has some characteristic that has made adoptability unlikely, we feel it is also inhumane to require the animal to spend their life living in our shelter, despite our best efforts to provide the best care while in our facility.

Despite our many resource and space limitations, we continue to have a euthanasia rate FAR below the national averages, especially for a facility that also includes animal control services.  As quoted below in a study by the American Humane Association performed in 1997, roughly 64% of animals entering an animal shelter were euthanized.  All other animals are either returned to their owner, adopted to new homes, or accepted to rescue organizations where they are guaranteed the chance at finding a home without worry of euthanasia. 

We take euthanasia very seriously and are continuously working on new community education programs to help reduce the number of unwanted companion animals.  The current number of new dogs and cats each year outnumber the availability of homes in this area.  It is only through an increase in the number of animals properly spayed or neutered that we can begin to combat this ongoing problem of overpopulation. 
From American Humane Association:

ANIMAL SHELTER EUTHANASIA

National euthanasia statistics are difficult to pinpoint because animal care and control agencies are not uniformly required to keep statistics on the number of animals taken in, adopted, euthanized or reclaimed. While many shelters know the value of keeping statistics, no national reporting structure exists to make compiling national statistics on these figures possible.

However, American Humane is one of the founding members of the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy. The mission of the National Council is to gather and analyze reliable data that further characterize the number, origin and disposition of pets (dogs and cats) in the United States; to promote responsible stewardship of these companion animals; and based on the data gathered, to recommend programs to reduce the number of surplus/unwanted pets in the United States.

Unfortunately, the most recent statistics published by the National Council are from 1997, and only 1,000 shelters replied to the survey at that time. Using the National Council's numbers from 1997 and estimating the number of operating shelters in the United States to be 3,500 (the exact number of animal shelters operating in the United States does not exist), these estimates were made:

  • Of the 1,000 shelters that replied to the National Council's survey, 4.3 million animals were handled.
  • In 1997, roughly 64 percent of the total number of animals that entered shelters were euthanized -- approximately 2.7 million animals in just these 1,000 shelters. These animals may have been euthanized due to overcrowding, but may also have been sick, aggressive, injured or suffering from something else.
  • 56 percent of dogs and 71 percent of cats that enter animal shelters are euthanized. More cats are euthanized than dogs because they are more likely to enter a shelter without any owner identification.
  • Only 15 percent of dogs and 2 percent of cats that enter animal shelters are reunited with their owners.
  • 25 percent of dogs and 24 percent of cats that enter animal shelters are adopted.

It is estimated that approximately 3.7 million animals were euthanized in the nation’s shelters in 2008. This number represents a generally accepted statistic that is widely used by many animal welfare organizations, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

For more information on the studies done by the National Council, please visit www.petpopulation.org

Practical solutions for reducing euthanasia numbers

American Humane believes that all dogs and cats adopted from public or private animal care and control agencies must be sterilized before being allowed to leave the shelter and supports passage of state laws mandating this practice.

American Humane supports the establishment and operation of low-cost spay/neuter clinics. The reduction in cost motivates those who cannot and those who will not pay the full cost for the operation and has proven successful in reducing euthanasia rates in communities across the nation.

American Humane believes the percentage of animals reunited with their owners would greatly increase if more pets were properly identified:

  • Be sure your pet wears an identification tag, rabies license, and city license. Include your name, address, phone number and pet's name.
  • Keep licenses current, as they help shelters locate pet owners. If you are willing to pay a reward, put it on the tag.
  • When moving, put a temporary tag on your pet. Include a phone number of someone who will know how to reach you.
  • Don't assume that your indoor pet doesn't need tags. Many strays in shelters are indoor pets that escaped.
  • Purchase special cat collars with elastic bands to protect your cat from being caught in trees or on fences.
  • In addition to ID tags, consider getting your pet tattooed or microchipped.  
Humane Society of Henderson County, KY
Humane Society of Henderson County, KY Humane Society of Henderson County, KY Humane Society of Henderson County, KY Humane Society of Henderson County, KY Humane Society of Henderson County, KY Humane Society of Henderson County, KY Humane Society of Henderson County, KY Humane Society of Henderson County, KY
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