We are sometimes asked if CAWS is a No-Kill animal rescue group. Well, any animal CAWS takes on is not euthanized unless the animal is severely ill or injured, and it is more compassionate to end the suffering. So with rare exceptions, any animal we assume responsibility for fostering and placing (we don't have a shelter facility) will stay in the CAWS program until a home is found. No matter how long.
However, no animal rescue organization, including CAWS, ever has enough shelter space or foster homes. As a result, no organization, including those that provide lifelong care for animals, is able to accept every animal for whom help is requested.
And all of us realize there is a reasonable chance those animals we cannot accept will be taken to one of the shelters that euthanizes. To combat this sad reality, CAWS and other rescue organizations strongly promote and financially support the spay / neuter of pets. Your donations allow us all to provide hundreds of spays / neuters for animals that otherwise would not have this important care.
As long as our shelters, of all types, are asked to accept, or are required to receive, more unwanted animals than they can keep humanely or place for adoption, the issue is much larger than whether any organization does or does not euthanize.
The issue is whether our street, our neighborhood, our society is "no-kill" or not; whether we ultimately depend on the shelters that euthanize to take the animals no one else can.
Only individual actions, including the actions we can encourage others to take, can change this dependence on shelters that euthanize as the final option for unwanted pets, and unwanted litters.
So, in addition to your financial support of rescue organizations, please act locally when you can.
- Offer to drive, pay, or whatever it takes to get a spay / neuter for that pet you know about who has no chance of being fixed unless you step up and do it.
- Remember, you are doing this for the cat or dog, who simply cannot arrange this sort of thing for him or herself!
And although it may not seem to be convenient or easy, please consider making room in your home and heart to foster a cat or dog for an animal rescue and adoption agency. There are never enough foster homes to give these animals the chance they deserve. And you will be rewarded many times over for your compassion.
A Special Word About Salt Lake City/County Animal Services
This agency does its best to deal with our animal overpopulation within the scope of its designated purposes and resources. Animal Services does not have another fallback agency to which they can refer people who bring in unwanted animals. They must take them all. No matter what reason is given.
Our experiences as CAWS volunteers and as citizens working with Animal Services staff is that they are responsible and professional people, who care deeply about these animals who for whatever reason no longer have, or never had, a responsible or caring home.
Their work includes an ongoing adoption program where potential homes are screened and the pet is altered before it is adopted. But, as we know, there are simply more animals allowed to be born than there are good homes for them.
As a result, the shelter staff also has the emotionally demanding job of caring for, and euthanizing, many of the animals. Their compassion and commitment ensures these animals are well cared for while they are at the shelter.