Killing Unwanted Pets

Even though the North Carolina legislature is not in General Assembly right now, various committees continue to work in Raleigh on problems facing the state. One legislative panel will study why North Carolina 's animal shelters are euthanizing so many unwanted or discarded pets. North Carolina kills about twice as many animals in its shelters as the national average.

We are not talking about privately funded shelters, all of which we know about are "no-kill," such as Paws Place and the Humane Societies. We are talking about county operated facilities often popularly referred to as "dog pounds." The counties call them "animal shelters," but they are not shelters in the sense of refuges. They are holding pens, where the unlucky animals, usually dogs and cats, wait for new, and, in some cases, first-time owners, and often seem to sense their certain doom if they are not adopted, evidenced by competitive tail-wagging or purring.

How long they have before euthanization, or the cruelly euphemistic "being put to sleep," usually depends on the shelter's population. If it is a large one, their time is short; if it is small, they'll have a better chance of surviving. The reason the kill-ratio in the state's publicly operated animal shelters is so high is because their monetary support is so low. With adequate funding for space, shelters could extend the "keep time" long enough to give those innocent animals a better chance for life.