Shelters kill. So why call them Shelters?

This topic is depressing. Here's Gemma being cute.

This topic is depressing. Here’s Gemma being cute.

1. a place giving protection from bad weather or danger.
2. a place providing food and accommodation for the homeless.
3. an animal sanctuary.
4. a shielded condition; protection.

Shelters kill dogs and cats. So why do we call them shelters when they don’t offer actual shelter?

Do you know what we call places where we keep unwanted things for picking over by strangers until they are regularly thrown away? Garbage Cans. And do you know what we call places we send the old and infirm to die because we can’t handle it ourselves? Hospice. And do you know what we call places where we send our offspring when we can no longer take care of them in hopes a new family will raise them? Orphanages.

I find it rather unfortunate that we’ve combined these four concepts into one institution for dogs and cats. It really does not make much sense to merge a homeless shelter with an orphanage with a hospice with a garbage dump. All the priorities are different.

In humans, no one would support treating orphans like garbage or treating the homeless like terminal cases. Garbage has lost its utility, its potential. Orphans must be cared for to become independent. Terminal cases are guided with love into death and the homeless are guided with love back to self sufficiency. These are all very different tasks.

When you “rescue” an animal from the shelter, who are you rescuing it from? That’s right… the shelter. Not the location, the THREAT. It is the SHELTER which is the threat to the animal. THEY are the one who put a death sentence on that animal and it is THEM you are “rescuing” the animal from.

Much of the AR hysteria dwells on blaming breeders and owners for putting dogs in shelters, but it is not breeders or owners or anyone else but the shelters who put the death sentence on those animals.

Why don’t we “rescue” children from orphanages? Maybe because they don’t slaughter kids if they aren’t picked up after 72 hours. Likewise, grandma isn’t given a countdown when she enters hospice to die fast or get the shot. And we don’t gas our homeless, at worst we return them to the streets.

We can dig deep in to all the reasons and major causative factors for why people leave their children in orphanages or foster care, why adults end up homeless or chronically on the streets. And we can wring our fists at why people throw away things which we believe still have value. But first I think we need to ask why we think the same institution is necessary and sufficient to handle all these cases well.

Breeders don’t kill dogs, they create them. Owners don’t kill dogs, they care for them. Only shelters make it their business to routinely kill dogs. Don’t blame breeders, don’t blame owners. They were told that shelters provide shelter. When you get self righteous over buying a used dog, which you aggrandize yourself with the title of rescuer of a rescued dog that needed rescuing, recall that the only danger that dog faced was from the “shelter.”

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About Christopher

Christopher Landauer is a fifth generation Colorado native and second generation Border Collie enthusiast. Border Collies have been the Landauer family dogs since the 1960s and Christopher got his first one as a toddler. He began his own modest breeding program with the purchase of Dublin and Celeste in 2006 and currently shares his home with their children Mercury and Gemma as well. His interest in genetics began in AP Chemistry and AP Biology and was honed at Stanford University.