No easy answers

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Recently publicized incidents involving New Jersey and Connecticut animal shelters raise important questions for everyone concerned about the plight of unwanted dogs and cats in America.

As reported on, the Montclair, NJ, case highlights the controversy and confusion surrounding the use of the term “no-kill” in association with animal centers, shelters, and so forth. Taken on its face value, the term implies that no animal admitted to the facility will be euthanized for any reason. But as experts in the field quickly point out, that’s not necessarily the case. While policies likely vary, some, like those in place at the shelter in question, do permit euthanasia under extenuating circumstances.

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Meanwhile, the director of one Connecticut shelter is wrestling with an entirely different issue. For years, many northern shelters, adoption and rescue groups have been “saving” unwanted dogs and cats from southern states where – for numerous reasons – their fate is uncertain. According to published reports, the Branford shelter director is wondering if that’s still a good idea. Her argument is that there are plenty of pets in need of good homes in Connecticut as it is, and that their needs should  be prioritized.

I’m not about to weigh in on either one of these debates. All I know is that any way you look at it, there is no easy answer.