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Thursday Letters: The cruelty of ‘no-kill’ animal shelters

PETA — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — opposes "no-kill" animal shelters. / Kyle Telechan/Chicago Tribune Media Group

Contrary to the implication of a recent letter to the editor, PETA in no way supports “no-kill” policies, which are misguided, shortsighted, and downright dangerous (“Don’t make city animal shelters no-kill zones,” 3-21-16). When “no-kill” shelters are full (always) and as a matter of course for cats, they refuse to take in animals, who instead suffer and die on the streets, in fields, along roadsides and under sheds. These animals are far from “saved.”

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PETA regularly receives reports from “no-kill” communities, where shelters refuse to shelter animals, about free-roaming cats who are perceived as a nuisance being shot, poisoned and set one fire. A Chicago teen allegedly videotaped himself throwing a pot of boiling water on a homeless cat in just one recent horrifying example. And people who can’t — or won’t — care for their animals any longer (maybe due to illness, hospitalization, arrest, or a myriad of other reasons, some valid and some not) aren’t suddenly made responsible or capable because their local shelter won’t help. Instead, unwanted animals are abandoned on roadsides, left tied up behind (or inside) vacant houses when people move, and are cruelly killed by shooting, drowning, stabbing, strangling, suffocating, poisoning, or being tossed out windows of moving cars.

No one wants animals to have to be euthanized, but a quick, painless end can be a mercy to animals for whom the alternative is one that’s either slow and lingering or frightening and violent.

The euthanasia of healthy, adoptable animals at shelters can be reduced, and Chicago can help lead the charge by requiring guardians to spay and neuter their animal companions and by forbidding the sale of animals at pet shops, not by making magical proclamations that result in more animals suffering and in refusing aid to animals in danger. Until a community is “no-birth,” “no-kill” just means no help.

Teresa Chagrin

Animal Care & Control Specialist

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Norfolk, VA

Terrorists smears my religion of peace

I am at a loss for words after the recent tragic terror attack in Brussels, and can offer only my condolences and prayers for the victims and families. In times like this, even in a place so far from me as Brussels, I feel burdened by the feeling that my neighbors are grieving. Even as the tragedy continues to unfold, the wicked irony that the alleged “mastermind” Saleh Abdeslam’s name literally means “Righteous Servant of Peace” does not elude me. The crushing hypocrisy of this drug dealer and bar owner now turned religious extremist does not escape me. I am more than appalled by his actions and more than angered by how he dares to smear the message of my religion of peace. As an Ahmadi Muslim who goes to a Catholic university and frequently prays in their church between classes, I cannot comprehend their hypocrisy and am forever praying for my neighbors abroad.

Ismail Ahmad, Bolingbrook