Many pet killing facilities in this country are enabled by caring volunteers and rescuers who buy into the Save a Few, Kill the Rest business model. How it works: The pet killing facility allows members of the public to care for, network and rescue certain pets so long as the public plays by its rules. The rest of the pets are killed. The rules that must be obeyed typically center around silence on the part of the enablers – no speaking to the media or posting online about the truth of what goes on at the shelter.
How do compassionate people stand by silently while healthy/treatable pets are being killed all around them? It a two-pronged attack – one from without and the other from within. The pet killing facility tells the rescuers and volunteers:
- We’re not monsters. No one here wants to kill pets. We’re animal lovers, just like you.
- It’s the public’s fault that we have to kill pets. With the exception of you guys, the rest of the public is irresponsible and uncaring.
- We’re all on the same team. But if you speak to the media about what goes on here, people might get the wrong impression and stop donating. That will only hurt the animals.
The rescuers and volunteers carry the weight from there and tell themselves:
- If I publicly tell the truth about what happens at the shelter, I won’t be allowed to walk dogs/foster kittens/rescue pets any longer and then the animals will have no one to be kind to them because the people here are monsters.
- The people here aren’t monsters. They only kill pets because the irresponsible public forces them to do it. I am a member of the public and so are all the networkers, adopters, fosters, donors, rescuers, volunteers and transporters that I know. Before we got involved with the shelter, we were all just regular pet owners. I guess I and everyone I know are all exceptions. Yes, that must be right because only uncaring people would surrender their pets to these monsters.
- The people here aren’t monsters. After all, they are allowing me to save a few of the pets. And saving a few is better than saving none so I am going to keep my mouth shut and play by their rules in order to maintain my privileges. If I don’t, they might kill Fluffy, whom I’ve been working on getting into rescue for 2 weeks, in retaliation. I can’t risk these monsters killing Fluffy.
Do you recognize yourself in any of these statements? This is how our broken shelter system’s status quo of Save a Few, Kill the Rest is maintained. The monsters sell it and the compassionate public buys it. If you buy it, there will always be a place for you at your local pet killing facility. Because there will always be a Fluffy. They will dangle a Fluffy in front of your face forever and taunt you with their power of life and death.
If however you decide to empower yourself to be free from this mindset, to put the responsibility for Fluffy’s protection on those paid to protect her, and to stand up for what you know in your heart is right – that ALL SHELTER PETS HAVE THE RIGHT TO LIVE – let me know. I’ll stand by you.
We don’t have to accept saving just a few. We can save them all. As compassionate pet advocates, we must reject the myths of pet overpopulation and the “irresponsible public” that have been put forth in an attempt to justify needless killing. It is our duty to publicly condemn the notion that saving shelter pets is a “privilege” which directors extend only to those who play ball. We must organize, not to enable more killing by keeping quiet, but to garner legislative support for the Companion Animal Protection Act to protect pets from monsters.
Take back your power. Giving it up was a tragic mistake but one that can be made right – unlike killing. Save them all, kill the excuses.