The MSPCA-Angell recognizes that euthanasia is a very complicated issue and can be an emotionally difficult issue. However, the MSPCA-Angell believes that shelter euthanasia is necessary in some circumstances. While the MSPCA-Angell euthanizes animals primarily with severe medical or behavioral issues, in many parts of the country, the number of lost or unwanted animals surrendered to animal shelters exceeds the number of adopters. Euthanasia may be the only humane course of action for some of these animals. However, euthanasia should not be a primary tool for combatting overpopulation.
The MSPCA-Angell believes that every homeless or unwanted animal should have a place to go for safe shelter and care. We believe euthanasia is the most humane option in situations where an animal is seriously ill or injured or for animals who pose a danger to the safety of people or other animals. We also feel it is important to provide affordable euthanasia services at the owner’s request when a pet is terminally ill, suffering, or presenting with severe behavior issues. We believe animals and communities are best served when our goal is to place every safe, healthy, or treatable animal, while also providing resources to help keep animals in their homes.
The MSPCA-Angell advocates the use of sodium pentobarbital, administered by trained personnel via injection, as the preferred method of euthanasia. When appropriate for the species, the MSPCA-Angell advocates for the use of sedation prior to the administration of sodium pentobarbital.
If an animal is euthanized, the MSPCA-Angell believes that the physical and psychological stress experienced by the animal should be minimized. Providing a humane death requires training and compassion. Utilizing effective techniques and offering low-stress handling can help provide a peaceful end of life experience.
Therefore, in support of these beliefs, the MSPCA-Angell will:
- continue to reduce pet overpopulation by actively promoting responsible pet ownership and by making sterilization surgeries available and affordable to the public.
- conduct public education programs to increase awareness of pet overpopulation where it exists.
- continue to be a place for owners to turn when they can no longer care for their pet.
- continue to be a place for abused, abandoned, and stray animals.
- conduct an adoption program with the goal of finding responsible, loving homes for as many adoptable animals as possible.
- conduct community outreach programs that provide meaningful, affordable resources to help keep animals in their homes.
- euthanize animals when necessary using the most humane methods and materials available.
- conduct an ongoing euthanasia training program for MSPCA-Angell shelter staff that includes training in respectful and compassionate animal handling, euthanasia methods, and materials.