The sin of not killing animals

April 13, 2016

humane-societyI was in my 20s when I appeared before a grand jury.

My sin? Not killing dogs and cats.

Let me explain.

I was president of a humane society that held a contract to do animal control for the small capital city in which we lived.  A shelter manager ran the operation and techs were on staff to do the dirty work (of euthanasia).

Our city contract called for holding animals only a certain amount of time before putting them to sleep.  But, there were times when we had the space so we kept some adoptable animals past their “expiration date.”

On of the euthanasia techs took her duties very seriously. Some would say TOO seriously. She was a by-the-book type and didn’t like it when we held animals that should have been euthanized.  I don’t think she was a bad person or cruel, not particularly. She was just self-important and all that time she spent killing animals perverted her view. Plus it’s possible she didn’t like some of our board of directors and wanted to strike at us.  Humaniacs, as we were called, are a special breed and usually acquired tastes. We didn’t like having to kill homeless animals and so when we  could give a few an extra chance at a forever home, well, we did.

So sue us.

And that’s sort of what happened.

The euthanasia tech reported us to the city and the next thing we knew, we were up before a grand jury.

I mean. Seriously?

Yep.  I was, maybe, 28 years old.

No lawyers or other people are allowed into the Grand Jury Courtroom and so I was all by myself –and terrified– during my testimony, gripping the table in front of me hard so I wouldn’t pass out.

In the end, it all went away, but it left a deep mark on me.

humane-societyMy association with the humane society showed me the dark side of humanity but it also showed me that there are angels in the world, angels who take seriously their responsibility to protect animals–because animals can not speak for themselves.

It was hard to see all those cute but homeless animals at the shelter and tougher to walk away from them. At one point during my humane society tenure I had two dogs and five cats and thankfully, three acres of land which made it easier.  Today, Riley is our only pet but we give money regularly to animal charities. And we support the spaying and neutering of pets. Period.

I have a soft, soft spot in my heart for people who work with homeless animals because I know what it’s like. It’s hard. It’s heartbreaking. And it is truly God’s work. Just ask St. Francis of Assisi.

So when I saw the video I’m sharing in the link below, all I could do was sit watching with tears falling down my cheeks..  The people who pulled this off should be sainted.

And, as Michael said the other day, “I’d beat the shit out of the perps.”

Here’s the post and video that touched my heart so deeply. Love to know what you think.


40 comments on “The sin of not killing animals
  1. Cried my eyes out. Hope the 9th one is OK. Can’t understand how someone could have done that to such a gentle dog.

  2. Anna Palmer says:

    This is heartbreaking. Heartbreaking. I want to un-read this…but then I wouldn’t have another reason to hold you in esteem.

  3. Barbara says:

    My husband has been a volunteer at 2 shelters, mostly to get his cat fix because I’m allergic. The folks who work at these shelters are saints in my opinion! One of my friends is a serial foster mom to the most amazing dogs who are in rescue organizations across the country. She started with one and I believe she has now adopted 4, plus the new ones that come and go. It is inspirational!
    The Amish, here in Lancaster County, PA, are the worst offenders of puppy mills. You wouldn’t think that would be the case, but sadly it is. My neighbor has 2 puppy mill rescues who were ‘husband and wife’ for 4 years before she got them. God only knows how many litters they had. It is one of the most inhumane things in the world.
    The people in your story should get medals!! I’m always suspicious of folks who don’t ‘like’ animals. I feel there is something wrong in their dna.
    See you tomorrow in Vegas!!!

  4. I have heard it said you can tell a lot about a person from how they treat small children and animals. And I totally agree. Thanks for sharing. Supporting your local Humane Society is an excellent way to help put this abuse to an end. Thanks for sharing.

  5. candy says:

    I thought all shelters were non kill now. Eye opening and so sad.

  6. That must have been a tough job. I can’t even imagine. It’s frightening to me how people think of animals and how they’re treated. I have two rescues myself. It kills me when someone gets a dog and then takes them back to a shelter because they’re either bored with them or they’ve outgrown their cuteness. Some guys are too macho to allow them to be spayed and neutered. In Asia, they eat them. Ugh!

  7. My friend is currently in this exact situation. So upsetting. I’ve seen a video similar to this one but with an adorable cat.

  8. Crystal Gard says:

    I absolutely hate the idea of putting down poor animals that could have a forever home but just didn’t find it in the allotted time. If i bring a stray into a shelter I now go only to no kill shelters for that reason.

  9. Skipah says:

    28 years old and facing a grand jury I can only imagine how daunting that was! Your passion for animals is heart warming.

  10. That is so heartbreaking. Our shelter has a no-kill policy and I am so happy. I will gladly support shelters who don’t euthanize. We are getting ready to get a rescue puppy. We haven’t had any pets due to my immune system, but now they think its okay. We’ve been dying to have another pet. Our Jack was killed in 2010 and he had been a member of our family for 12 years. Of course, we were all devastated so it has taken time, but we’re ready.

  11. Rosemond says:

    Wow. I have all rescue animals and have volunteered at shelters. Still donate to lots of animal causes. It is beyond heartbreaking. I’m truly hoping that as we become more enlightened as a society that we will change our respect for animals. It is better than it was 100 years ago but animal cruelty and overpopulation laws need to be strengthened and more humane education in schools is vital. Good for you for doing this!


  12. Faye says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. It takes a special person to work with animals – personally, I am not strong enough to handle the euthanasia piece. There is something wrong when something like what you describe occurs… What is wrong with humanity??

  13. Tanisha A Parker says:

    This was hard to read because I respect life.

  14. Christina says:

    Good for you for standing your ground! I can’t even click into the video, I’ll take your word that it is disturbing. Love the pooches!

  15. Lori says:

    You have a good heart, mind, and soul to help these poor animals. Hard to believe you had to go to the the grand jury. So glad you are passionate about helping these dogs.

  16. cori says:

    This was a really hard post to read. In a perfect world, there would be no unwanted humans and animals. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. I’m sorry you had to go before a Grand Jury about all this.

  17. Lee Gaitan says:

    I am cheering for your rule-breaking past! It is indeed God’s work. And in the rescue/shelter business, having a heart as kind as yours is both a blessing and a curse because it must break anew nearly every day. Thank you for being brave and good! 🙂

  18. Allison Hill says:

    I thought I could handle reading this but now that I have I realized I should have known I couldn’t. Heartbreaking

  19. Silly Mummy says:

    It’s funny because I have to say that I’m really not much of an animal person myself. I like cats, really don’t enjoy other pets. Probably wouldn’t keep legions even of cats. A one spayed female type is me. However, I nonetheless do find it really heartbreaking to hear about animals being mistreated, or put down because they are homeless. We domesticated these animals and made them dependent on us, and I do think we owe it to them to protect them. I wouldn’t own a dog because I find them irritating & I am not interested in putting that kind of commitment into caring for a pet. But I don’t like to think that any of them are hurt or unhappy, because they are innocent and they don’t deserve it. So it makes me angry that people do get dogs who actually also don’t want to put the work into it – don’t do it if you don’t want to treat them well. It is so sad that so many of these animals we breed are needlessly put down because people don’t bother to take responsibility for a dependent creature they chose to have. I entirely agree with what you did – if you don’t need to put them down, give them a chance. Killing for the sake of it is ridiculous.

  20. My 8 year old lab mix is a rescue pup and I can hardly stand the idea of what may have happened to him. We got him from a kill shelter and I am a huge animal advocate. Glad you stood up for your beliefs.

  21. This is really sad especially when there are so many programs to help spay and neuter animals. If people would adopt instead of shop… there would be less breeding and these shelter animals would get homes

  22. I adore you for not killing animals, and for giving them every chance possible. And how a person could possibly do something like this is so far beyond me. Humanity is cruel…but can be just as kind.

  23. sue says:

    Carol this is such a sad but important post and good for you for standing up for these innocent animals. I don’t understand cruelty to humans or animals. I think it is worse for the animals as they don’t have a voice. Thank you for bringing this video to our attention.

  24. I cannot fathom a life without the wonderful fur companions I’ve known and loved. It’s hard for me to grasp the concept of euthanasia. What a lovely article about a not-so-lovely topic. Thanks for sharing your story. I’ve enjoyed your writing!

  25. GiGi Eats says:

    I just finished reading that with my MOUTH OPEN!

  26. So, so sad. I applaud those who rescue the unwanted, save them from death. I don’t say the following to “applaud” myself, but our precious pit/pointer Mickey was left to be put to death as a pup when his mentally challenged owner stepped on his back legs, breaking them both, then told the vet to just euthanize him because he had no money for the surgery. Thankfully the vet has a huge heart and decided to reach out for someone to rescue the pup and carry him through his first three months while his pinned-together legs healed. We did and our lives have been better because of it.

  27. Needless death of such sweet animals that could benefit a lot of people out there. There are a lot of other options available instead of putting them down. I can’t help but be sad and shake my head in disapproval at the inhumanity of it all.

  28. Stacey W says:

    So heartbreaking!

  29. I could not imagine having to have the job of deciding if an animal needed to be put down. We have volunteered with many animal rescue groups trying to save dogs from this fate. It is always hard when you can’t save them all.

  30. Liv says:

    Wow. I believe that’s why they call it a HUMANE society. I dont think its a job I could ever do.

  31. Bree Hogan says:

    I have nothing but admiration and respect for anyone who works with animals, particularly those who have been abandoned or mistreated. The horrors they must see…I can’t even begin to imagine. I can’t believe that you were forced to defend your actions to a judge when all you were trying to do was give an innocent a chance to live. Heartbreaking post but a real eye-opener. Thank you for sharing

  32. Amber Starr says:

    This was so tough to read. I can’t imagine how heartbreaking it was to have to continually witness the loss of such sweet life.

  33. Lawrence Hamilton says:

    God has a special place in his heart for folks who look out and fight for the defenseless and the voiceless. People and animals. The video is beautiful and awesome. I agree with Michael and would take it a step further: I think people who abuse and harm animals in any manner should be spayed/neutered themselves. How sadistic does a person have to be to want to harm or kill an animal for no reason? #salute

  34. One more reason for me to hold you in high esteem, Carol.
    I’m glad to see that people are doing a lot more to protect animals in India too. But the sad stories also continue…

  35. That must have been awful to go through. I cannot even imagine. We have a lot of no-kill shelters around here, I wished I could adopt more animals, but where I live I can’t. Hopefully when my husband and I have a house of our own someday, we can adopt a bunch of dogs!

  36. Heartbreaking. I was a teen when my neighbor (on the town council, no less) accused my dog of biting her (my dog never bit anyone). She hauled me into court and I was ordered to have my dog euthanized. I felt like Dorothy with the Wicked Witch. I never did follow the court’s orders, though I reported back and told them that I did. I put my dog into hiding at my grandmother’s house instead.

    Anyway, good article. Sad. Effective. Thanks for the read.

  37. Jamie says:

    I’m so glad they took the time and effort to find her babies. Sweet, yet sad story with a happy ending. I don’t think I could ever work at an animal shelter. I would end up with a house full of pets just trying to save them all lol!

  38. Liz Mays says:

    I’m glad you fought the good fight. It was totally worth it, and I wish for more kind hearts in the world like you!

  39. I’m not even sure what to say about this! It’s horrible that you and the society and the animals had to go through that, and wow what a video!

  40. What a heart breaking situation to be in. I wanted to volunteer at the SPCA but since it is a kill shelter I didn’t think I would be able to handle it. That video was rough to watch.

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