Animal control is a tricky problem. The need to euthanize animals due to overcrowding in shelters is disheartening for those who work in animal shelters. This why San Antonio, Texas plans to create a no-kill policy in its shelters which will take effect in 2012. This comes after one week where 925 out of 1,004 animals brought into its shelters needed to be killed. This policy seems to be the way to solve this problem, but animal welfare advocates say that no-kill shelters are not always the best solution to animal control.

About six to eight million dogs and cats are sent to animal shelters each year. About half are killed. Animal Care Services have taken in 50,000 dogs and cats and euthanized 95 percent of them. They traditionally used a gas chamber in which to do this, but now they use lethal injection, which is said to be more humane. To put an end to this excessive killing, the ASPCA has created “Mission: Orange” to reduce euthanasia in five communities throughout the country. Likewise, The American Humane Association has created “Getting To Zero” for the same purpose.

No-kill shelters do have the potential for success. This is especially true if they partner with other local facilities. However, if there is no backup plan, shelters can end up taking care of animals for up to years at a time, causing overcrowding and health problems for the animals. So instead of being killed, they are forced to suffer in cages. Some shelters will only take in animals that they are sure can be adopted. Others adopt out animals that could pose a threat to its owners just to clear space for more animals. The key is to keep no-kill shelters full and to stop taking in new animals until new space is available.

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