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Home arrow Opinion arrow Take in all animals

Take in all animals

Before I became involved with the Animal Shelter, a very small kitten appeared in my garden.

This fragile fellow was skin and bones with very runny eyes.

I had three choices: take it to my vet and pay $50 to $80 for him to be euthanized; turn a blind eye and put him in some weeds to die; or, fortunately for Union County, take him to the Animal Shelter for a humane death. All animals die, either humanely or inhumanely.

In any economic climate, but especially now, there are many individuals who own or find diseased or aggressive animals; they don’t have the money to take those animals to the vet. 

Our Animal Shelter has been a community resource for over 17 years. It is time for everyone to take a realistic look at this issue. 

My intent is that we open a dialogue, to establish effective communication. I want to define “no kill,” “limited admissions,” “open admissions” and “sanctuary” or “rescue.”

According to the Oregon Humane Society in Portland, no-kill shelters are more accurately defined as “limited admission” facilities.

The term “no kill” has, unfortunately, become a marketing tool rather than an honest description of the enormous undertaking of providing care for homeless pets. 

“No kill” does not mean no euthanasia — a key point often lost in this discussion. A limited-admission shelter takes only adoptable animals; there are many more animals left in the communities.

According to PETA, “Although it is true that ‘no-kill’ shelters do not kill animals, this doesn’t mean that animals are saved. Open-admission shelters are committed to keeping animals safe and off the streets and do not have the option of turning their backs on the victims of the overpopulation crisis as ‘no-kill’ shelters do.

No one despises the ugly reality of euthanizing animals more than the people who hold the syringe, but euthanasia is often the most compassionate and
dignified way for unwanted animals to leave the world.”

Best Friend in Utah is the best example of a sanctuary; they are truly no-kill. Rescues are not community shelters like the Animal Shelter in La Grande and they often call themselves no-kill.

Until late 2011, the Animal Shelter was an open-admission shelter. In December, the Animal Shelter’s website stated it was a no-kill shelter. John Brinlee, Blue Mountain Humane Association board president, clearly stated this on different occasions. 

We have options besides a no-kill shelter:

• Last-year the State Veterinary Board (http://www.oregon.gov/OVMEB/) removed the proposed ruling necessitating on-site veterinarians to euthanize. The Animal Shelter can continue to be an open-admission shelter and euthanize in their facility as has been done for 17 years. This is contrary to what John Brinlee stated in his recent public comments.

• Alternatively, the Animal Shelter can be an open-admission shelter like OHS and send the unadoptable animals to be euthanized by a local vet. This option is probably more expensive than having a certified euthanizing technician employed at the shelter, where immediate attention can be given to a sick or aggressive animal.

The main problem is unwanted animals. Until we all understand the importance of spaying and neutering, this debate will continue to flare.

In the meantime, my recommendation is that the Blue Mountain Humane Association be an open-admission shelter and take in all animals, as they have in the past. The choice can then be made whether local vets or certified shelter staff provides euthanizing services so that animals do not die an inhumane death.


Jane Sabin-Davis was a Blue Mountain Humane Association board member from 2003 through 2009. She served as the director from 2006 through 2009. She currently lives in Bend.

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