PETA concedes that the idea of a no-kill shelter is worthwhile, but the reality is quite different in no-kill shelters across the country. "If you don't euthanize animals due to overcrowding, they get into fights," PETA senior vice president Daphna Nachminovitch told Slate. "They injure each other. They kill each other. They spin around and throw themselves against the cage. They stop eating. They get sick, and they eventually die. This is the reality."
Both sides of the no-kill debate agree about how to change the reality at shelters where euthanasia is not an option, but it's going to take a good deal of time, money and effort:
Shelters should have partnerships with rescue groups and veterinarians. They should be staffed with caring volunteers who look for good homes, not just any home. They should offer animals exercise and attention. They should actively push spay and neuter programs.
And, Palmer points out, they should have your support. "If you're looking for a shelter to support, these are the things you should care about," he writes. "They are what make the difference between a good shelter and a bad shelter. You may be able to avoid the difficult philosophical question of whether euthanizing shelter animals is humane."