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A statement about the very difficult subject of euthanasia from the Board of Directors of the Humane Society of Port Jervis/Deerpark

The Humane Society of Port Jervis/Deerpark shares the goal of many animal welfare organizations of ending the euthanasia of healthy and treatable companion animals.  No one organization or type of organization can achieve this goal alone: we believe that this is a community-wide problem requiring community-based collaborations and solutions.


It is our ultimate goal to be a community leader in fostering a change in the social and other factors that result in the euthanasia of too many animals, including the failure of some pet owners to spay and neuter, properly socialize and train, provide adequate veterinary care to, or otherwise take full responsibility for companion animals.  To address these issues, we will work tirelessly to improve adoption rates, help return lost animals to their owners, promote reasonable-cost spay and neuter programs, provide education, behavior and training support, and assist with cruelty investigations and enforcement of animal control laws and regulations where appropriate.


Although we, like many shelters, have limited resources, aging facilities and our shelter is often at capacity, we are working to improve facilities as resources permit and it is not our practice to euthanize for lack of space or because a certain time frame has passed.  We are currently considered to be an open access shelter, and although we may ask pet owners or other members of the public to wait until we have the space to house animals that they need to surrender, we make every effort not to pick and choose what animals we try to help.  We accept the very young and the very old, pregnant or nursing, sick or disabled, sweet-tempered or with serious behavioral challenges.  Some animals come to us badly injured, neglected or abused.  The Humane Society also serves an important public safety function, providing law enforcement departments in nearby towns and cities a place to bring animals found as strays, reported as aggressive and seized in the course of performing their duties.


No one at the Humane Society of Port Jervis/Deerpark wants to euthanize animals.  It is a heartbreaking responsibility and one which we do not take lightly.  We believe that those considered for euthanasia should be carefully evaluated as individuals and not compared to others and that all available alternatives, including medical treatment, training or behavior interventions, or transfer to an appropriate and willing rescue group or sanctuary, should be investigated.  We take very seriously our ethical responsibility to protect people and other animals from those animals in our care that exhibit severe aggression or harbor deadly communicable diseases or untreatable medical conditions that cause suffering.  When the difficult decision is made that euthanasia is necessary, we are committed to ensuring that it is performed as humanely as possible and that these animals are treated with the compassion and dignity that they deserve. 


The Humane Society of Port Jervis/Deerpark recognizes that many different stakeholders in the animal welfare community, and in society as a whole, have a passion for and are dedicated to the goal of saving animals' lives.  We also acknowledge that, while there may be seemingly contradictory differences in how different individuals and organizations  approach euthanasia, we should all agree to look for common ground, put aside our differences and work collaboratively to focus our efforts on the ultimate goal of ending the euthanasia of healthy and treatable companion animals. 

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