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Euthanasia Policy at SJRAS

We are often asked by the public about our euthanasia policy.   To understand our policy, it is first important to understand that SJRAS is an "open admission" shelter which takes in unwanted pets from owners as well as serving as the impoundment facility for thousands of municipal strays. As such we provides a temporary refuge for homeless and unwanted animals of  all types.

Although our goal is to place in good homes as many of these animals as possible, we also realize that euthanasia of an animal may sometimes be necessary.   The following are examples of situations where euthanasia may be necessary:

→        An animal exhibits aggressive or other dangerous behavior such that it poses a threat to the safety of people or other animals

→        An animal has a medical condition that is beyond our resources to treat, no rescue organization is available or that will likely result in a poor quality of life for the animal. Illnesses of a very contagious nature, would place the rest of the shelter population at risk of serious illness, may also result in euthanasia.

→       An animal shows signs of severe stress from the shelter environment such that the animal is suffering an unacceptably poor quality of life.

→        As is the case with most open admission shelters, at certain times intakes exceed the space to humanely house every animal that arrives at our doors and a most difficult choice has to be made.

We are also often asked whether we set a maximum amount of time that we will hold an animal. The answer is NO, we do not set a maximum amount of time that we will hold an animal, nor do we have a maximum age. In general, as long as the animal remains adoptable, the animal is coping adequately with the stress of shelter life & there is space to humanely house the animal, we will continue to provide shelter & care for the animal and to make every reasonable effort to find the animal a good home or a place in a reputable rescue.

It is important to point out that every euthanasia decision is made on an individual basis for each animal. Every decision is made after careful consideration by multiple trained and compassionate staff members who are familiar with the behavior and health of the animals. Euthanasia is carried out by the most modern humane means - a painless injection of sodium pentobarbital - administered by gentle, caring and trained shelter personnel.

While, under certain circumstances, euthanasia will be necessary, SJRAS will continue to work hard to greatly reduce the need for euthanasia by, among other things,:

  • using all reasonably available means to promote adoptions;
  • maintaining a foster care program;
  • transferring animals to other approved shelters and rescue groups;
  • providing ill and injured animals, which are otherwise adoptable, with veterinary care to the extent our resources allow;
  • directly addressing the root of the problem - the overpopulation of unwanted pets - by providing low-cost spay/neuter services and microchipping;
  • making available humane education classes to any local schools or social groups
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