The Animal Humane Society (AHS) is an organization that provides shelter and care for millions of animals every year. AHS has long been considered a no-kill shelter, meaning that they never euthanize an animal unless it is suffering from a terminal illness or injuries. However, recent reports have called into question whether or not AHS actually lives up to this standard. Let’s take a closer look if is the humane society a no-kill shelter.
What is a No-Kill Shelter?
Healthy animals are defined as those who are not suffering from a terminal illness or injuries and are able to be placed into homes. Treatable animals are those who may have an illness or injury that can be cured or healed with proper medical treatment.
The No-Kill Movement
The no-kill movement began in the late 1970s in response to the large number of animals being euthanized in shelters every year. The goal of the movement is to end the euthanasia of healthy and treatable animals in shelters and instead find homes for all animals in need.
There are currently over 700 no-kill shelters in the United States. In order to be considered a no-kill shelter, an organization must have a save rate—the number of animals who leave the shelter alive divided by the total number of animals who come into the shelter—of at least 90%.
Is the AHS a No-Kill Shelter?
According to their website, the AHS has a save rate of 92%. However, there are some important factors to consider when looking at this number. First, it is important to note that the AHS only reports on dogs and cats—not all animals who come into their care. Second, the AHS only counts animals who are adopted, transferred to another facility, or returned to their owner as “saved.” Animals who are euthanized are not counted in this number.
This means that the 92% save rate reported by the AHS does not give us a complete picture of what is happening at their facilities. In order to get a better understanding of how often animals are being euthanized at the AHS, we need to look at their published intake and outcome numbers.
According to their 2018 Annual Report, the AHS took in 8,076 dogs and cats last year. Of those 8,076 animals, 3,435 were adopted, 2,864 were transferred to another facility, and 1,877 were returned to their owners.
There are many factors that contribute to why an animal may be euthanized at a shelter—including age, health status, behavior issues, and space constraints—but it is important for organizations like the AHS to be transparent about their practices so that potential adopters know what they’re getting themselves into when they adopt an animal from them.
In the end
As much as we would like it to be true, there is no such thing as a perfect no-kill shelter—every organization has to make tough decisions about which animals they can and cannot save based on various factors beyond their control. That being said, it’s important for shelters like the AHSto be upfront about their policies and procedures so that potential adopters can make informed decisions about whether or not they’re ready for pet ownership.