Editor, Commonwealth:

If the Leflore County Humane Society in Greenwood is turning away 10 animals a day (“Shelter stretched: Facility not accepting animals from public,” Nov. 12), then it can no longer call itself a shelter, because it is failing to provide a vital service that defines such an institution.

Animals who are turned away by shelters do not miraculously disappear. They are often neglected, abused, killed, given away to irresponsible people or simply abandoned on the street to die from injuries, diseases, exposure and attacks by predators. If unaltered animals are abandoned, they will add exponentially to the homeless animal crisis.

Recently, a woman who was turned away from a “no-kill” animal shelter in Florida allegedly drove a short distance away and abandoned 10 cats and a dog beside the road. Within a 24-hour period, 20 cats were left outside a shelter in Ohio that only accepts “adoptable” animals if space is available. And a 6-week-old kitten who was abandoned in a Florida shelter’s parking lot after being turned away at the door was fatally hit by a car.

Turn-away policies aren’t fair to animals or to the citizens who fund shelters and rely on them for help. If shelters really want to protect animals and serve the community, they must keep their doors open to all animals.

Teresa Chagrin
Animal Care and Control Issues Manager
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
Norfolk, Virginia

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