1. What is a "No-Kill" facility?
A no-kill shelter is best defined as a facility that takes in animals and divides them into two categories: healthy and adoptable, or non-rehabilitatable. Those animals that are in the first category may live at the shelter for the entirety of their life. Those in the second may be euthanized.
2. How is this different than a traditional facility? They're still killing animals!
A traditional "pound" or animal shelter will routinely euthanize animals that have been with them for too long in order to make way for incoming animals. Older animals are euthanized to make way for younger ones. These facilities do not differentiate between treatable and untreatable animals; they are simply euthanized by age.
3. So what is an untreatable animal and what is a treatable animal?
According to California State Law SB 1785, also known as the Hayden law, an adoptable animal is considered to be:
Eight weeks of age or older with no signs of behavioral or temperamental defects that could post health or safety risks or otherwise make the animal unsuitable for placement.
Animals that have manifested no sign of disease, injury, or congenital or hereditary condition that adversely affects their health or is likely to in the future.
They may not euthanize older cats that are deaf, blind, disfigured or disabled as they are still adoptable.
Treatable animals that are not adoptable when received but with proper treatment can be adopted are not to be euthanized.
Sick, traumatized, young or unsocialized cats must receive appropriate medical treatment, behavior modification and/ or foster care to make them healthy and ready for home placement.
Animals that are permitted to be euthanized under California's law are as follows:
Younger than 8 weeks
Those animals that have behavioral or temperamental defects that would make them unsafe to have in the home
Those that are a health or safety risk or otherwise unsuitable for placement
Animals who have manifested signs of disease, injury, congenital or hereditary conditon that affects or is likely to affect in the future
4. How to they handle population control in their shelters if they rarely euthanize?
When a shelter reaches their maximum population they will turn owners away. This is why they are very active in spay and neuter programs.
5. My shelter is a limited admission no-kill shelter. What does this mean?
Limited admission shelters will only accept animals that they feel they will be able to adopt. They don't want the burden of dealing with an animal that falls into the "euthanize" category as it takes away resources that may be better used in other areas of the facility.
6. How are the no-kill facilities staffed?
No-kill shelters rely heavily on volunteers for their staffing. They assist in shelter operations, work with socializing the animals, promote adoptions and work as foster parents to help ease the burden on the shelter.
7. What adoption programs are used at no-kill facilities?
You will almost always learn that your pet is or will be spayed or neutered before coming to your home. Some shelters may stay open longer to allow working families to visit and more and more are looking into cageless facilities where the animals and people are better able to socialize. They may also work with local pet stores to put some pets out in small kennels where they can be adopted at the store- you may see this in many Petco's and Petsmarts around the US.
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