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Owner Requested Euthanasia
Episode 2216th July 2020 • The Best Friends Podcast • Best Friends Animal Society
00:00:00 00:34:31

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Starting in the 1970s, the animal sheltering movement slowly began to reject the practice of automatically euthanizing animals surrendered by the public at the owner's behest. This service, known as owner requested euthanasia (ORE), is still offered in many communities but only after consultation with the owner and the shelter staff and veterinarians. If the animal is determined to have an adequate quality of life, then other alternatives to save the life are considered.

Making end of life decisions for our own dogs and cats is difficult and emotional, and it’s no different in the shelter environment. And while it may feel inappropriate to second-guess these owner requests, it becomes a necessity as the data shows that OREs can be a significant portion of a shelters deaths. Healthy or treatable animals that are killed may be accounted for in the “ORE column" even though they are saveable. If OREs are excluded from the data, then the “save rate” (a calculation for the percentage of pets who leave the shelter alive) will be higher than it should be if the ORE’s were accounted for differently.

The latest lifesaving data shows that more than 50,000 dogs and cats may be in this category. The number of animals killed nationally is 625,000 so this is not a trivial issue. It’s delicate and may be uncomfortable, but this conversation has to happen if our goal is to treat each animal as an individual with a chance at life.



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