What is "No-Kill," and how does
the SPCA of Westchester fit into that category?
"No-Kill" defines a movement, a goal, rather than being an absolute.
A decade ago, the term was coined as a barometer for measuring change, as just one piece of the larger puzzle. It was not meant to condone warehousing of animals or to be taken literally.
Today, "No-Kill" means the elimination of euthanasia for healthy, adoptable dogs and cats.
"No-Kill" doesn't mean no euthanasia. A responsible "No-Kill" organization will euthanize an animal with an untreatable disease, who has lost the quality of life, or a dangerous dog who has a major potential for injury to the public or to another animal.
The SPCA of Westchester's "No-Kill" policy:
The SPCA of Westchester follows the guidelines set up by Maddie's Fund, established a decade ago in California: to make all reasonable efforts to find new homes for every healthy and/or treatable dog and cat who are ready to be placed when entering a shelter.
What is "healthy?"
On intake, the animal shows no signs of behavioral or temperamental characteristics that would pose a health or safety risk or otherwise make the animal unsuitable for placement as a pet.
What is "treatable?"
Animals who are not healthy but are likely to become healthy if given reasonable medical, behavioral, foster or other care. Animals who are not healthy and not likely to become healthy, regardless of care provided, but who would likely maintain a satisfactory quality of life if given reasonable care, including long-term care. This does not include any animal determined to pose a significant health or safety risk to humans or other animals.
The SPCA of Westchester is an open-admission shelter. We do everything possible to make sure an animal gets a "forever" home and has a good quality of life, but there are times when the quality of life is not what it needs to be. In those cases we must make the difficult decision to euthanize an animal. Nonetheless, our "save" rate is greater than 95%, far more than most shelters, even the largest, most-respected "No-Kill" organizations in the country.