No Kill Bill

Denver animal shelters want to let sleeping dogs lie.

Before that sophisticated discussion can even take place, Smith says, shelters have to come up with more reliable numbers. Right now, different shelters calculate the number of saved adoptable pets differently. "Some shelters change the definition of Œadoptable' depending on the resources they have on a given day. For example, if a five-year-old spayed black Lab with a good temperament has been up for adoption for a week, and then a dozen one- or two-year-old dogs with good temperaments come in, the black Lab may not be adoptable anymore, even though she's the same dog she was the week before. That's why the system doesn't work," Smith explains. "What we in the Alliance agreed on is that if the animal was adoptable at one time and you have to euthanize it, it's still considered adoptable, so now you can't include that animal in your unadoptable numbers."

The very notion of labeling animals as adoptable or not is part of the problem, according to Meghan Hughes, who sits on the board of the Animal Rescue and Adoption Society. "The term 'limited admission' says we pick and choose which animals we take," Hughes says, explaining that ARAS, which is a cat-only shelter, doesn't discriminate based on an animal's age, health or disposition. "It really doesn't represent our mission. It only benefits those that euthanize. People have a right to know what happens to the animal they relinquish. If we take the animal, you can be sure it won't be euthanized unless it's suffering and a vet recommends it."

Although Alliance members haven't received the cooperation of ARAS and MaxFund, they're going ahead with the changes and are training their staffs about what the new terms mean.

MaxFund's Bill Suro believes some shelters are 
barking up the wrong tree.
Anthony Camera
MaxFund's Bill Suro believes some shelters are barking up the wrong tree.

The question now is, will pet owners be even more confused than ever?

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