Changing the Future of Animal Welfare in N.E. Kansas
Let’s openly discuss Helping Hand’s position regarding the terminology “No-Kill”
In our continuing effort to keep supporters informed about the many facets ofHelping Hands Humane Society (HHHS),I believe now is a good time to once again discuss this topic openly. The term “No-Kill” vs. “Open Admission” shelter is an emotional and essential question which needs to be addressed using facts.
The question is:“Will Helping Hands Humane Society be a no-kill shelter when it moves to the new building?” The answer has been and continues to be:“No, we choose to remain a responsible, open door, open admission facility.” As an Animal Rescue and Resource Center, an essential part of our mission is to help educate the public with facts. If a facility claims to be a “true” no-kill entity and refuses to euthanizeanyanimal … two things will likely happen: they will turn an animal away to face possible euthanasia somewhere else or, if space is not an issue for them, they may house that animal in a cage where it could be forced to live a lengthy existence in unacceptable and inhumane conditions. Sadly, until spaying & neutering are the norm in our society, there just are not enough homes for all the animals being delivered to shelters across the world. We unquestionably wish there were, no doubt.
There are fates worse than death, one being cruel and unnecessary suffering. The fact is, there are times and conditions where the most humane action is to help an animal stop suffering. In addition, there are times when a responsible and legally liable shelter knows they cannot adopt a particular animal into a home because of proven prior aggressive behavior. I will tell you those decisions are heart wrenching and never taken lightly - ever. At HHHS, no one person makes these decisions alone; there are evaluation methods and several conversations which occur before an animal is allowed to be euthanized – it is a last resort. Euthanasia can, in effect, save a life or lives when we can utilize kennel space for more adoptable, less aggressive or sick animals. We deal with a tremendous number of animals being brought into our shelter every day, and it is important to let people know we will accept their animal under any circumstance without a fee. Without question, admitting them is more humane than being dumped along the highway where they are left to defend themselves against traffic or other dangers such as extreme weather or dangerous animals. Countless animals have been left just outside the city limits in hopes they may wander into a yard where they will find a loving home, but sadly, the few that actually do are by far the exception. Being an open admission shelter helps area safety and keeps health risks more in check. This year Kansas is seeing an increase in rabies; Shawnee County has been documenting this fact. We would rather an animal be brought to us than dumped, running the risk of contracting rabies which poses risk to animals and humans alike.
We are under contract with the City of Topeka and Shawnee County to take in strays Animal Control officers pick up. Stray animals brought to us by Animal Control are placed on hold, and we follow all state laws pertaining to strays for the time they are required to be held, hoping their family comes to reclaim them quickly. These contracts are fees for specific services rendered. We provide the animals basic vaccinations and evaluate their physical health at the point of admission and kennel space is assigned.
The move to our new location will provide more kennel space; but once we fill that additional space, we will then be faced with making tough decisions again. Our new mobile adoption center will help us get more animals into new homes, and we will continue taking all steps possible to eliminate euthanizing for space. Some of the many activities we are doing, and you can help us are: donate money or time (or both), foster animals needing a home, sponsor an adoption fee, help us identify transfer partners, and strongly promote low or no-cost spay and neuters. These actions help make a genuine difference, and we will continue to make those happen to reduce euthanasia to the best of our ability.
In the new shelter we have a wonderful new “education conference room.” We plan to bring school-aged children in from around the area to talk with them about the responsibility of pet ownership. Experience indicates the kids who have been exposed and learn about the animals generallygo home and eagerly share thatinformation with their family. Those kids grow up and become tomorrow’s educated and responsible pet owners.
It is important to understand that “No-kill” is not the same as “No-death.” HHHS is committed to becoming the destination place for pet information; and above all else, we are committed to compassionate and quality attention for all pets in our care. From the staff and board of directors of Helping Hands Humane Society, our heartfelt thanks to each of you for your continued support and belief in our efforts. As we all work together, more animals will be saved; and we thank you for your assistance, volunteering, donations, and overall support to help us save lives.