HAMILTON, Ohio - Lucky the dog is, well, Lucky. She was thrown from a moving car into the parking lot of the Animal Adoption Foundation. The animal shelter got the older dog medical attention and volunteers give her love and attention each and every day.
“That's why her name is Lucky,” said Eric Johnson, executive director of the Animal Adoption Foundation in Hamilton, Ohio. “She's lucky she was left here. A lot of other places, she may have been put to sleep or something along those lines.”
The Animal Adoption Foundation is part of a growing number of “No-Kill” shelters around the country. Here, dogs and cats will not be euthanized unless it’s medically necessary.
But even Johnson admits “No-Kill” doesn’t always mean no kill.
"It depends. It depends on your organization. Most no-kill shelters are true to their word. We are true to our word. The only time we ever have to euthanize a pet is because of medical reasons,” Johnson said.
This shelter is helping set an example for the country. A country that, depending on the state or sometimes the county, dogs and cats have varying chances of being euthanized. Wayne Pacelle is the director of The Humane Society of the United States. He says in the southern part of the country, more animals are euthanized than in northern states.
"In states like New Hampshire, we're seeing very few dogs euthanized for space,” said Pacelle. "But you go to Mississippi or Alabama or a number of other states and euthanasia rates are much, much higher.”
Pacelle says the problem is societal. Many people don't spay and neuter their pets, which leads to the overpopulation of shelters, and in some cases, animals being put down.
"They're euthanizing 80 percent of the animals that come in because they are just flooded and overwhelmed with animals coming through the front door," Pacelle said.
At the Animal Adoption Foundation, a network of sorts has formed. Shelters that must euthanize will call AAF when they are overwhelmed, asking if they have room, so that animals don't have to be put down.
Two dogs were dropped off recently -- one of which was badly malnourished and the other was absolutely filthy. They are in quarantine and waiting to see the veterinarian. When they are healthy, they’ll be ready for adoption and will not be killed. Their lives are saved because they are at the AAF.
Meanwhile, Lucky the dog trots through the AAF center hallway like she owns the building. They hope she finds a home soon, but know, like her name implies, that she’s lucky to be alive and lucky to be in their care.
Eric Johnson says countless more animals could be saved as well.
"If we keep preaching the no kill movement, eventually, we can get to a point where euthanasia isn't an option anymore," Johnson said.
Full list of Tri-State shelters: http://www.wcpo.com/generic/lifestyle/pets/Tri-State-Animal-Shelters .
Animal Adoption Foundation: www.aafpets.org/ .
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