Guest Post: Outraged Over Oreo

Many have heard the tragic story of Oreo the dog who survived being thrown off of a building by her owner and who was recently euthanized by the ASPCA. The ASPCA has been criticized for putting her down. The following is a response to some of the criticism from someone who loves animals and works with shelter dogs everyday…

First of all, euthanasia is defined as “easy death” and occurring in a “relatively painless way as an act of mercy”. The accusation that the man neglectfully, cruelly, and dishonestly, chose instead to kill Oreo using a drug called “Fatal Plus” (the brand name, not the actual drug name of Sodium Pentobarbital) is misleading and manipulative. You can be upset that the dog was euthanized rather than transferred to a no kill facility, but please, make your argument solid by representing facts instead of bias.

I take personal offense at the statement that large shelters are in reality staffed by those who would rather “perpetuate the violence and betrayal by killing”. As a staff member responsible for performing euthanasia, I can tell you that euthanasia is never easy, far from enjoyable and an unfortunate reality for many of these shelters.  We are an open admission shelter (unlike no-kill facilities). Which means, we never turn an animal away. Because we choose (and yes, it is a choice) to evaluate animals and not rehome -or allow the animal to spend the rest of its life in a kennel as can happen at no-kill facilities- for aggression, we are able to take in on average 65 healthy, behaviorally sound dogs and puppies per week. Dogs and puppies that were facing euthanasia at other shelters due to lack of space and resources. I agree that everyone has a right to their own opinion, but starting a smear campaign against an animal welfare organization due to a difference in philosophy only leads to a further lack of public support, ultimately resulting in more euthanasia decisions. Until there is not an animal shelter left in the country who daily faces euthanasia of perfectly easy and rehomeable animals, I will defend the decision to euthanize aggression rather than transfer to another facility. Once every behaviorally sound dog/cat/ferret/parrot/rat/rabbit has a home, then the animal welfare community should begin making those great strides in behavior modification and rehabilitation.