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CDHS REALLY IS A NO-KILL SHELTER





People often ask me just what it means to be a no-kill shelter.  Well, if you want to be technical, there are many definitions of what "no-kill" really means.  I've done some research and have come up with several different scenarios whereby a shelter can call itself "no-kill."

There are no-kill shelters that absolutely will not euthanize any animal unless it is suffering from illness or injury.  And there are no-kill shelters who believe they are no-kill if they save all "adoptable" animals from being euthanized.

For those shelters, the definition of "adoptable" can be pretty limiting.  It may automatically rule out any animal showing a slight aggression, any animal with a minor medical condition or any animal younger than eight weeks of age.  The philosophy is those animals are not adoptable and, therefore, don't count.

There is no overarching organization or ruling board that decides which shelters can be called "no-kill."  It is up to the organizations themselves to determine what their mission and beliefs are and to title themselves accordingly.

Now I wasn't sitting at the table when the CDHS members who opened the shelter had their discussion and made their decision to be a no-kill shelter.  But, I'm pretty certain that their feelings were similar to my feelings.

I believe that CDHS is a true no-kill shelter in the strictest of terms.  We do not euthanize any animal unless they are suffering from illness or injury beyond repair, or have behavioral issues that cause them suffering and pain.

Our statistics for 2005, the year this article was written, show that we took in 277 animals and we euthanized one - Milo (pictured above), a long-time shelter resident who suffered from a head injury and who finally, one day, was overcome with seizures.  Shelter staff and a veterinarian made the final decision to end his suffering.  It was not an easy decision.  And believe me when I say all the staff members grieved for Milo like he was one of their own pets.

And really, that is how the animals at CDHS are treated.  They are treated like real pets.  They are not treated merely as residents, biding time until they can leave.  I have the utmost respect for the staff at CDHS.  Their treatment of our animals couldn't be more caring or consistent.

Over the past 10 years that I have been involved, I have seen many animals come to the shelter with any assortment of behavioral issues.  There are scared and unsocialized cats, dogs with no manners and those who have aggressive tendencies.

Many of these animals have been neglected and abused in their previous lives.  Through no fault of their own they have learned how to cope, sometimes in inappropriate ways.  Our employees, along with help from our dedicated volunteers, work with the animals to correct their behaviors.  They help them overcome their fears and teach them how to cope in more positive ways.

And, of course, they take the time to just plain love them.  It's amazing what dogs and cats will do for you if you just show them some respect and love. I have seen animals come to the shelter with minor illnesses and injuries, including things like eye or ear infections, mange or broken limbs.  The CDHS staff is very experienced with the myriad of medical conditions that appear at our door and, in cooperation with our veterinary partners, we treat them all.

I've also seen animals with catastrophic injuries and illnesses that one would think are impossible to treat.  We have many famous success stories, including Sadie, the Schnauzer who had extreme burns to her entire back and sides, Aubrey, the tortoiseshell cat who was suffering from infection and burns (a witness confirmed that she was burned because she was put into a microwave), and Kate, the Sheltie who was starving when we found her and, according to the vet, would have died within one day.

Who could believe that these animals with severe medical cases would be saved and today would be brightening someone's homes?  Well, CDHS's founders believed it, the CDHS staff believed it and our supporters and members believed it.  These weren't animals to be rejected. They were animals to be saved - and they were.

Our philosophy really does embody what I think is the true no-kill belief.  We give every animal that passes through our doors love, care and a second chance at finding a perfect, happy home.  No matter their medical or behavioral needs, they are taken care of and we send them on their way as healed and renewed animals.

We call ourselves a no-kill shelter, but we really are more than that.  We're an organization made up of individuals who love animals with all their hearts and who believe they ALL deserve a second chance at happiness.  We like to say that we are doing great things for pets and people, and you can believe that's the truth!


Our Philosophy:

"Our philosophy really does embody what I think is the true no-kill belief.  We give every animal that passes through our doors love, care and a second chance at finding a perfect, happy home.  No matter their medical or behavioral needs, they are taken care of and we send them on their way as healed and renewed animals."
- Cameo Skager, CDHS Board President