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XUEQING XU

Prof. McClure

Writing 39C/ AP Essay

25 May, 2018

Killing Stray Dogs in the Animal Shelters

Introduction

Dogs have been described as man’s best friend for decades. This is because of the

relationship that continues to exist between man and this animal. Both man and the dog rely on

each other for some crucial needs. Humanity relies on the dog for protection and constant

company while the dog requires food and shelter from the humans. This relationship has existed

since time in memorial. In some extents, trained dogs help in security operations as well as

hunting thus proving to be of great help to man. Due to the nature of several dog births, the

numbers of puppies are more than that of humans. While human delivery results in one or two

babies, the dogs’ birth could produce more than five puppies at once. There are more than

50million registered dogs in the world. As it is commonly said comparing the birth rate of

humans and dogs leaves at least one human for 15 puppies each day. This kind of statistic proves

that is virtually impossible for all dogs to be taken care of by people. Despite the regular calls for

humans to adopt more pets and care for them, it is impossible to care for all the breeds on the

planet thus leaving more animals in the shelters and some as stray animals. The United States

remains on the forefront of caring for stray dogs and cats by having multiple of shelters across

the country. However, there will be a more serious social problem: stray dogs in the animal

shelters will be euthanized so as to manage the number of dogs in the shelters. According to the

article, Rate of Euthanasia and Adoption for Dogs and Cats in Michigan Animal Shelters, Paul
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C. Bartlett, a researcher who studies on large animal clinical sciences, states that “In 2003,

Michigan shelters discharged 140,653 dogs. Of these, 56,972 (40%) were euthanized; 40,005

(28%) were adopted” (Paul). And on the scientific website, American Humane.org, the statistics

demonstrates that in 1997, roughly 64 percent of the total number of animals that entered shelters

were euthanized. And also 56 percent of dogs and 71 percent of cats that enter animal shelters

are euthanized. This problem is now worth the attention of the public and the government, if the

problem has been neglected, then the victims are not just those stray dogs, more likely the

human. Based on some researches, the problem of rising number of puppies and the euthanasia

by the shelters can be solved by can be reduced by devising ways of birth control, mobilizing

people to adopt more and controlling the heat cycle.

The Definition and Reasons for the Problem

The biggest reason is that those dog shelter organizations want to maximize their benefits

and profits. Prosecutors show that the staff in the animal shelters kill dogs in order to free up

space for animal shelters for more profitable activities. Laura A. Reese is a professor at MSU and

her works on the researches about animal welfare policy and local governance and management.

She shows that “As a result, estimates of animals in shelters range from 3 million to 8 million,

and due to overcrowding, euthanasia is common” (Laura). From this data, we can conclude that

according to a larger amount of demand, the number of stray dogs in the dog shelters exceeds the

maximum that can be accommodated, and in order to give enough space and care to some dogs

so that they will decide to euthanize most other dogs. The staff in the dog shelters will inject

sedatives into dogs and then give euthanasia to dogs. With the purpose of maximizing their own

benefits, people deprive the stray dogs of their right to live. Definitely, even though some people
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realize that it is very unreasonable to implement euthanasia for stray dogs in the dog shelters,

they still violate morality to abuse dogs. According to the article, Euthanasia in Animal Shelters:

Management’s Perspective on Staff Reactions and Support Programs, Jennifer C Brandt, who is

a clinical social worker and her medical specialization is social worker- clinical, states that

“While care and adoption are the primary goals of virtually every animal shelter, an estimated

three to four million cats and dogs must be euthanized by shelters each year” (Keith, 570). Based

on this source, because of the need for benefits, human beings directly contribute to the

euthanasia of stray dogs in the animal shelters.

On the other hand, staffs in the dog shelters sometimes feel that the dog’s disease will

make them very painful so that giving them the choice of euthanasia is the best way for them to

release and let them liberate. Not only those stray dogs will be treated unfairly, but also stray

dogs with diseases will be killed in the dog shelters directly. Kevin N. Morris, who is a director

of research at the Animal Assistance Foundation and he interests in the researches about animal

health and welfare and animal-assisted therapy, claims that “Although some euthanasia requests

were likely for relatively healthy animals, healthy intake is defined as the total intake minus the

DOA /euthanasia requests, because the majority is assumed to be either unhealthy or dead”

(Keven, 61), in the article, Trends in Intake and Outcome Data for Animal Shelters in a Large

U.S. Metropolitan Area, 1989 to 2010. As the scientific evidence, it exposes an undesirable fact

in the stray dog shelters. For those dogs in the shelters that are considered unhealthy, people will

target them for euthanasia because the shelters cannot allow diseased dogs to live with healthy

dogs in an attempt to prevent them from being infected with disease. In the other article, Effects

of Phenotypic Characteristics on the Length of Stay of Dogs at Two No Kill Animal Shelters,

William P. Brown, a scientific researcher who studies on the natural science, claims that “Few
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shelters in the United States are “no kill” facilities, defined as shelters that euthanize animals

only for reasons of critical illness or poor temperament” (William, 3). For the unhealthy stray

dogs in the dog shelter, it causes a big social issue. As we can see, the number of unhealthy dogs

is increasing, which means that this trend will lead to a large increase in the death of dogs in

shelters. In fact, if these dogs with diseases are euthanized directly in the shelters, they will have

no any hope of survival. Instead, if people can play the role of animal shelters to take good care

of them, they may have a glimmer of hope. However, from these evidence, we can see that facts

are not what we think. Over time, these stray dogs have no rights at all to choose to live or die

and protect themselves so that they are brutally executed.

On the contrary, not only those unhealthy stray dogs in the dog shelters, even for those

healthy dogs, they must eventually face the result of euthanasia. For example, in the New York

state, the government set bonuses to reward those who found and adopted stray dogs. As a result,

most dog shelters managers would rush to take those stray dogs back to the shelters and get the

bonuses. That sounds good, but it is not over yet. Gradually, as the number of dogs in the shelters

increased, there was not enough space for other dogs. In this way, managers would kill and

euthanize those stray dogs in the shelters in order to create more space for the dog after, thus

getting more bonuses and profits. Stephen Zawstowski is a Masters in behavior-genetics and he

studies on animal behavior and animal welfare issues. In his article, Population Dynamics,

Overpopulation, and the Welfare of Companion Animals: New Insights on Old and New Data,

Stephen points out that “During this early period of animal control, primary attention was paid to

ensuring that dog pounds were run as humanely as possible, providing proper treatment of

animals and performing euthanasia in a painless fashion” (Stephen, 194). Hence, the stray dogs
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that are not adopted will be either killed by sticks or drowned. In short, for whatever reasons,

whether or not they are healthy stray dogs, most stray dogs will face death in the dog shelters.

Historical Events

People cannot find a balance between protecting stray dogs and killing dogs, thereby

hurting the dogs. According to The Guardian, the leader of an animal shelter is a woman named

Carmen, who is 72 years old. Eight years ago, Carmen committed crimes by killing hundreds of

healthy dogs in the animal shelters, and all these dogs have been suffering for a long time before

they died. In addition, the report indicated that because Carmen had not given dogs a tranquilizer

so that Felipe was responsible for suppressing the dogs when Carmen injected the drug into a

healthy dog. Furthermore, the court said that Carmen used only a small amount of drugs to save

money, and did not administer euthanasia to dogs as prescribed. The most sinful is that, instead

of using intravenous injections, Carmen directly injected the drug of euthanasia into dogs’

muscle tissue, causing the dogs to undergo slow and painful death. Prosecutors accused Carmen

and Felipe of killing 2183 innocent dogs between January 2009 and October 2010, with the

purpose of emptying space in animal shelters for more profitable activities. This social problem

has existed for many years, but the government has neglected this issue for a long time, so it will

cause the dog to be slaughtered in the dog shelters, which is totally inconsistent with the original

intention of the dog shelters. Hence, the problem of stray dogs’ death is caused by the public so

that people have unshirkable responsibilities.

Ethical Question

When addressing the issue of euthanasia of pets and stray animals, the following ethical

questions need to be addressed; is it immoral to end the life of a dog or cat? When is it

acceptable to seek euthanasia as a pet owner? What is the morally right procedure for pet shelters
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to use in terminating the lives of stray animals? All these questions should be discussed before

the vet official conducts the procedure. However, it is essential to acknowledge that the answers

to these ethical and moral questions vary among people in the society. as Peter Singer describes

in one of the interviews with New York Times, “It would be speciesist to claim that it is always

more seriously wrong to kill a member of the species Homo sapiens than it is to kill a non-human

animal” (Yancy and Singer). The ideas on the morality of the procedures differ depending on a

complex interplay of the views that have presented by the environment and upbringing of an

individual. Morally, Singer argues that all animals have the same rights as humans to live.

However, he argues that the people with the different opinion cannot be simply be dismissed as

speciesist.

Solutions for the Problem

The above paragraphs discuss the problem of euthanasia and killing stray dogs in the

animal shelters, and some researchers have done some research on the causes of euthanasia and

the response and moral judgments of people to euthanasia. Next, I will reveal the solutions that

the researchers are proposing this issue and how people face up to this social phenomenon.

Generally, I mainly talk about three possible solutions, which are sterilization program, adoption

program and the control of heat cycle. Lastly, there is the counterargument about sterilization

program.

The leading solution to stopping the killing of dogs at the shelters and homes is by

controlling the birth of the dogs at an early stage, which is called spay and neuter program. The

use of medication to decrease the increasing number of dogs on the planet will allow humans to

have a chance of taking care of the ones that are already born. The birth control solutions for pets
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vary from injections, medication tablets, surgery, implants and chemical castration. These

methods can be done for both males and females while some are specific of gender. The method

that is useful for both genders is the use of implants. As the expert on dog explains, “They are

inserted subcutaneously and studies are proving that it offers long-term contraception (just over a

year) in female dogs and cats, and, possibly, male dogs. Two common types are called Gonazon

and Suprelorin” (Dog first). These methods, as well as the mibolerone tabs, have no side effects.

Similarly, the chemical castration technique has been used over the years to cause permanent

sterility. However, the process is done with no anesthesia thus can be abusive to the animal. I

believe that increased advocacy on the animal birth control rather than euthanasia should be sort.

The processes of birth control are painless and will enable the people and local governments to

have a number that is manageable. These prevention processes will allow the dogs to live the full

cycle of life and experience natural deaths rather than the euthanasia procedures.
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Works-Cited

Paul C. Bartlett, Andrew Bartlett, Sally Walshaw & Stephen Halstead (2010) Rates of

Euthanasia and Adoption for Dogs and Cats in Michigan Animal Shelters, Journal of

Applied Animal Welfare Science, 8:2, 97-104.

Amaku, Marcos, et al. "Dynamics and Control of Stray Dog Populations." Mathematical

Population Studies, vol. 17, no. 2, 2010, pp. 69-78.

Davis, Rebecca. Understanding Volunteerism in an Animal Shelter Environment: Improving

Volunteer Retention. marquette university, 2013.

epublications.marquette.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1053&context=cps_professiona

l.

Keith A. Anderson, Jennifer C. Brandt, Linda K. Lord & Elizabeth A. Miles (2015) Euthanasia

in Animal Shelters: Management's Perspective on Staff Reactions and Support Programs,

Anthrozoös, 26:4, 569-578.

Kevin N. Morris & David L. Gies (2014) Trends in Intake and Outcome Data for Animal

Shelters in a Large U.S. Metropolitan Area, 1989 to 2010, Journal of Applied Animal

Welfare Science, 17:1, 59-72.


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Stephen Zawistowski, Julie Morris, M.D. Salman & Rebecca Ruch-Gallie (2010) Population

Dynamics, Overpopulation, and the Welfare of Companion Animals: New Insights on

Old and New Data, Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 1:3, 193-206.

William P. Brown, Janelle P. Davidson & Marion E. Zuefle (2013) Effects of Phenotypic

Characteristics on the Length of Stay of Dogs at Two No Kill Animal Shelters, Journal of

Applied Animal Welfare Science, 16:1, 2-18.