Euthanasia is a topic that draws a lot of questions. Unwanted and abandoned animals face many final outcomes such as starvation, injury or illness, which involve a great deal of pain and suffering. Properly done, humane euthanasia is a quick and painless transition. Many people fail to understand the full process so they can't understand; euthanasia is the final act of kindness that can be shown to an unwanted or abandoned animal.

“Think not disdainfully of death, but look on it with favor; for even death is one of the things that Nature wills.” - Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

  1. Who decides which animals are to be euthanized?
    The final decision to euthanize is made by the Animal Control Officer or the Animal Control Supervisor. The age, health, temperament and available shelter space are all major considerations. Those animals that would not qualify for adoption generally are those with aggressive behavior, or those whose physical state involves pain or on-going suffering.

  2. How are animals euthanized?
    Euthanasia, the act of facilitating a humane death, is done by injection at the Rexburg Animal Shelter. Approximately 8 seconds after the injection the animal becomes unconscious and its heart stops functioning within 30 seconds. The procedure is a quick and painless one.

  3. Doesn’t it bother the staff to have to euthanize so many animals?
    Shelter workers are torn by the conflicting emotions of knowing they are doing the only thing possible to correct pet overpopulation problems which they did nothing to create, and at the same time suffering from the pain and even some guilt about it. They are the type of person who loves animals, and are usually owners of pets of their own. This makes it all the more difficult to euthanize any animal. Most of the time the shelter staff spend is in caring for and working with these animals, but very often the only part that is considered is the final minutes of what may have been months of care. It is important to remember these facts when dealing with shelter personnel.

  4. Why can’t you be a “no-kill” shelter?
    There are three ways a shelter can be considered a “no-kill” facility. The first is if the shelter does not perform euthanasia on site, meaning that they take the animals to a veterinarian or other facility to perform the euthanasia. The second is that they do not euthanize “adoptable” animals. Adoptable is defined by the organization so an “unadoptable” animal might simply be one that has been there more than five days. At the City of Rexburg Animal Shelter we do not feel these first two are honest representations of a “no-kill” shelter. In order to operate a true no-kill facility, an organization must limit the number of animals it receives to those it has room to house at any given time, or the animals suffer from overcrowded and stressful conditions. In a world where there are many more animals in need of homes than there are homes available, a true no-kill shelter can only maintain that status by turning most animals away. Those denied admission must be taken elsewhere, to be adopted or euthanized. While no-kill shelters can help some of the animals in a community, they can't meet the needs of the majority of stray or at-risk animals who are served by “open-door” shelters like the City of Rexburg Animal Shelter. The City of Rexburg Animal Shelter is a low kill facility meaning that out of the animals placed for adoption very few are euthanized, however we hold too much integrity to call ourselves “no-kill” when we do euthanize animals.

  5. Why are so many animals euthanized?
    Far more animals are turned into shelters across the country every day than there are permanent, loving homes available for them. Ideally shelters shouldn’t have to euthanize healthy, loving animals. Yet animals, like humans, need more than food and shelter. They need affection and responsible companionship. Without it they suffer. Shelters can provide a temporary, caring place to house unwanted animals, but it is no substitute for a permanent home environment. If we can’t offer the opportunity for a permanent home for every animal in our care, we have the responsibility to release these animals from suffering, and to make sure this release is humane as possible. We also have the responsibility to work toward a time when all pets will have responsible, caring owners and euthanasia is no longer necessary except as an escape from suffering or to protect people and other animals.

  6. Some Important Statistics
    • A dog can have as many as two litters each year, with an average of six to nine puppies each litter. Cats can breed three or more times a year, with an average of four to six kittens per litter.
    • According to Humane Society of the United States, one female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 dogs in six years. In seven years, one cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 cats.
    • Nationally only 25 to 35 percent of shelter animals are adopted to new homes. Only one out of every nine dogs born in the U.S. will have a permanent home. Only one out of every 15 cats will have this opportunity.


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