There’s hope for making Indianapolis a No Kill city

In November of 2007, when mtA hosted Nathan Winograd for a well-attended workshop, Winograd shared with us the inspiration and tools for bringing a community to “No Kill.”

At that time, many in the sheltering community rejected the term “no kill” and/or denied that it was possible. The political agendas of some organizations were oppositional and obstructive.

But progress has been made. Today, we witness organizations advertising their efforts to “help all Indiana animal shelters become ‘no kill’”. Commitments are made to “…put Indianapolis on a sustainable path to becoming a ‘no kill’ city. … where no healthy or treatable dogs or cats are ever euthanized.”

Kara Kenney of RTV6 posted an article on IACC’s new deputy director, Katie Trennepohl, on July 25. Headlined “New IACC head wants Indy to be ‘no kill’ shelter”, the article reports the current save rate at IACC as 85 percent, up from 49 percent in 2011. “Trennepohl said to be considered ‘no kill,’ the agency needs to get to 90 percent,” the article states.

We celebrate that the no kill discipline has been embraced by the Indianapolis animal welfare community. This is important progress!

Can we do better than 90 percent?

But can a shelter or community really be considered “no kill” if 10 percent of treatable/adoptable animals are still being killed? Are the animals who fall into that 10 percent less important than the 90 percent who got out alive? Maybe we need to rethink the criteria that define “no kill”.

The goal of the No Kill movement is not to reduce killing to some pre-determined level. It is to end the killing of ALL animals who are not irremediably suffering.

“A shelter or community achieves No Kill when it ends the killing of all animals, except those who are physically suffering irremediably. Irremediable physical suffering means an animal who has a poor or grave prognosis for being able to live without severe, unremitting pain even with prompt, necessary, and comprehensive veterinary care, such as an animal in fulminant organ system failure.”

Per the home page of Target Zero, an organization that is providing guidance to Indianapolis, “zero euthanasia of all adoptable shelter animals” is the goal.

That old hobgoblin word…

No discussion of “no kill” can be complete without recognizing the difference between “euthanasia” and “killing”. We must be honest and respect the dignity of those treatable/adoptable animals whose lives are ended for convenience or space.

Euthanasia: the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering.
— Wikipedia

Irremediably suffering animals are euthanized. Animals are not euthanized for convenience or space. They are killed.

The goal: 100 percent of treatable/adoptable animals — ALL — leave our animal care facilities alive. Euthanasia frees those whose suffering cannot be alleviated.

Euthanasia is compassionate. Killing is not.

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