When an open-admission shelter which takes in numerous feral, injured, sick, and behaviorally challenged animals reaches red-alert levels for its euthanasia numbers, is this entirely their fault? Especially when other shelters serving the region are limited admission, no-kill shelters with more “choice” pets available for adoption (for example, adorable young dogs and puppies flown in from out of state)? The president of the St. Lawrence Valley SPCA in New York, Karen Cunningham, does not feel that way, and in addition, feels that Best Friends Animal Society is engaging in a pattern of harassment after she rebuffed their repeated offers to work with her shelter. The SPCA has sent a cease and desist letter to Best Friends. It is unclear what practices, policies, or philosophicies of Best Friends it is that Cunningham takes issue with, but this is certainly a story to keep your eyes on.
It is worth nothing that when it comes to adopting pets, virtually everybody subscribes to a “no-kill” philosophy – at least at the most basic level. After all, what kind of monster doesn’t want every adoptable shelter animal saved? We all do! But of course, it can never be that simple, because when we move beyond the basics, many people – well-meaning people who share the same goals – have strong disagreements on how shelters and rescues should be run, on animals and public policy, on how adoptions should be handled, and even on how we define terms such as “adoptable” or “saved.”