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A COUPLE OF LETTERS in your Oct. 27 issue about the problems of the Washington Humane Society (WHS) mention that some of the detractors of the WHS are trying to attract a city contract with promises of a “no-kill” animal shelter.
I have seen a few such shelters elsewhere, and there’s something that should be kept in mind. Yes, it’s true that these shelters won’t kill any animal that they accept. What isn’t trumpeted is that the shelter won’t accept every animal. The no-kill shelters only accept the young, healthy, cute, and generally attractive animals that are most likely to be “adopted” quickly. They will refuse an old or sick animal, and if you leave such an animal on their doorstep, they will phone the municipal animal control office to have it dragged off, even though they know it means immediate death. These “no-kill” boutiques are essentially tax-exempt pet stores and actually accomplish very little good, since ordinary pounds and shelters will also be delighted to take attractive animals, but they do have fast turnover, high revenues, and their solicitation campaigns—that make them sound like the Mother Teresa of the animal kingdom—siphon donations away from the shelters that try to care for the less promising creatures even while they become burdened with a greater proportion of them.