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EUTHANASIA: Also called mercy killing is the act of putting to death painlessly or allowing to die, as by withholding extreme medical measures, a person or animal suffering from an incurable, esp. a painful, disease or medical condition. The act of abolishing life in the healthy, without consent, for any reason, cannot be called Euthanasia.
The Animal Rescue Site

Monday, September 17, 2007

Residents of Johnson City Tennessee

Dear People of Johnson City, Tennessee

While many cities around the country are adopting the No-Kill animal shelter model, a grave injustice is being perpetrated right under our noses. Scores of perfectly healthy dogs and cats, are imprisoned and then killed within 1 to 3 days of arrival at 525 Sells Avenue Johnson City Animal Shelter.

We are being told that there is a cat over-population and that there are 45 cats to every human but we know that the average life span of cats is barely 10 -15 years while that of humans is 72 years.

Very few animals are being adopted at this shelter despite good intentions. The majority are killed. This type of killing must not be called euthanasia. This article is not disparaging of the people who work at the center. It is an indictment of the underlaying philosophy of this high-kill rate center.

During my visits to the shelter I see young healthy mother cats with doleful, beseeching eyes nursing their kittens, robust large cats barely able to move in small cages, youthful cats, shy little kittens and entire families of cats and dogs begging to be freed. Some kittens, oblivious to their impending death play naughtily with dangling toys. Across from the killing-fields, is a picnic area. People are playing ball, laughing and enjoying each other while lethal injections, justified as euthanasia are given a few yards away.

I imagine the animal shelter transformed into a place of joy and life. Staff members smile and converse with visitors, cats and dogs bask in the sun. A sign blazes, “Proud to be a No-Kill Shelter as decreed by the great people of Johnson City.” I thought to myself that a society is judged by their attitudes towards the old, the poor and the least. Animals trust in us, just like most of us trust in God. To betray such trust hardens people and kills compassion.

But whose fault is it? A board member of the Humane Society, who is also the editor of a neighborhood newspaper, told me just this morning that the problem lies with the (a) mentality of the local people who will just not spay or neuter their pets. The Humane Society will even pay for this service, all the owner has to do is ask. (b) owner’s who turn their own pets in ©) over population and too many animals coming in/being called in for impounding. (d) irresponsible breeders.

By the way, she refused to publish this same" letter to the editor" and told me that I should not be writing about things I know nothing about and that the letter was too negative and that the folks at the shelter do great work.

No doubt the people working at the shelter are excellent, good and compassionate human beings, doing worthy work in getting some of the animals adopted. The real problem is the Kill philosophy of the shelter itself. The rationale for transgressing the universal principal of the sacredness of life; an innocent animal's life, is simply the lack of space and cages! Death must be meted out to one to make the cage available to another.

Jesus tells us that we must be shining lights in the darkness. We must shine the light into the practices of Kill - Shelters. We must ask for transparency and an accounting of how many animals are being killed, how many are coming in, from where and from whom and how many are getting adopted.

Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

I asked further if the Humane Society would be willing to share the actual numbers on how many animals are being brought in, how many adopted, how many killed at this shelter. She said that was not possible, since the Humane Society is a private organization and that I should ask the shelter. But the shelter will also not release these numbers. So, we the public are left to merely believe, speculate and not actually know the truth.

This Johnson City Animal shelter on their website says that they are Not the Humane Society and that they are also not a Government organization. So who are they? They say it’s a joint venture between the City of Johnson City and them..but who are these "them"? The lady from the Humane Society says that they are city employees. But why does the Johnson City Animal Shelter’s website not say so?

Citizens of Johnson City, be witnesses to the truth and enliven Christ’s words by reforming this high-kill shelter into a life saving No-Kill shelter. The virtues of non-violence, patience, tolerance and love are made real by such initiatives.

This board member, (above) of the Humane Society tells me that a No Kill will never happen in Johnson City, but I say that the Humane Society is not bigger than the will of the people of this city and county. Her argument against promoting a No-Kill shelter is: "Where do the new animals coming in go, when the shelter is full." and " Where will the animals go, if building a larger shelter is considered." Good questions but so childish and rudimentary. Build a new shelter first--rudimentary dear Watson!

As far as educating the citizenry, bill-boards promoting Spay and Neuter programs could be placed in strategic locations. The Humane Society and the city itself could contribute towards that, as would many individuals and corporations, if the idea were presented to them in the right manner. High level barriers to entry into the business of breeding could be imposed by the city and county by requiring $10,000 or more for breeding licences. Existing breeders would have to renew their licences at higher costs. Veterinarians could be encouraged to not charge such high fees for their services and scalping level markups on medications.

Much more could be done to educate and demonstrate the benefits of Spay and Neuter Programs. Pictures of dead dogs and cats should be taken and made public, so that people can see the consequences of their irresponsibility just like the pictures of aborted fetuses. We should demand that our reporters be allowed to take pictures.

Church congregations and Pastors can raise awareness of this issue.

E.T.S.U students could start a group promoting a No Kill Shelter. Volunteering, fund raising or marketing for such a shelter could count as a course credit.

A No-Kill Shelter is imminent in Johnson City. I believe it will happen. It is only a matter of time and awareness. Will you be the 100th monkey?

Despite what critics allege, the No-Kill Shelter model works. There is a real blue print to achieving No-Kill success. It is the 6 step program as follows: (I). Feral Cat Trap, Neuter and Return Program (II). High-Volume, Low-Cost Spay/Neuter (III) Rescue Groups (IV.) Foster Care (V). Comprehensive Adoption Programs (VI.) Pet Retention (VII). Medical and Behavior Rehabilitation (VIII). Public Relations/Community Involvement (IX). Volunteers (X.) A Compassionate Director.

San -Francisco has proven it, and so have other progressive shelters around the country. Why not us? Therefore, let us all work together to make Johnson City a compassionate and caring city for all its earthly residents.

“This year, roughly five million dogs and cats—and countless other animals—will be put to death in our nation’s animal shelter. Their only “crime” is that they have no human address. Others may be sick or injured, but they could be saved with little effort. Unfortunately, they, too, will be killed. And still others are feral cats who should never enter shelters in the first place.”
The No-Kill Advocacy Center.


The JC Shelter states their goal as follows:

"It protects the rights of people against the dangers and nuisances of uncontrolled animals and protects animals from mistreatment and abuse from people."

This may be a laudable goal, but we say that very few of the animals being killed at the center are "uncontrollable." See for yourselves. Not all animals turned or collected into this high-kill center are people-abused animals. The fact remains that this is a High-Kill Shelter in need of immediate reform.

The Animal Rescue Site

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