Keywords: law, animal rights, shelter euthanasia, animal shelters, USA, United States, legislation, public policy, legal protection, habitual killing, quality of life, society, fiscal impacts, individuals, communities, pet overpopulation, no-kill nations, companion animals, dogs, cats, pets
The true costs of euthanasia in animal shelters: a comprehensive examination
This paper first seeks to establish the claim that, as a foundation, a legal basis exists for promoting a more rigorous animal rights structure - making it feasible to change the current US legal configuration. It then moves on to discuss the body of public policy that provides the impetus behind such proposed changes, namely that habitual killing of shelter animals negatively influences several areas that affect the quality of life in our society. Specifically, this second section assesses the far-reaching costs incurred through shelter euthanasia, including the following: impacts on individuals; impacts on communities; fiscal impacts; detriment to the animals themselves; lack of impact on pet overpopulation (i.e., the current solution is ineffective in at least some of its goals). The final section proposes a plan of action to move our communities forward, towards a no-kill nation, focusing on both critical mental shifts needed and legislation designed to prevent an influx of companion animals from entering the system in the first place.