You do not have the right to kill a dog
You also shouldn't have to carry the burden
I recently promoted the Do No Harm Act, model legislation I wrote for The No Kill Advocacy Center, which would make it illegal for anyone, including shelters and private veterinarians, to kill healthy and treatable animals. A reader responded by asking whether the ban on killing would apply to an otherwise healthy dog brought to a private veterinarian for “euthanasia” when the dog may be “aggressive.” Phrased another way, are the goals of protecting dogs and people mutually exclusive? Here is why they are not and why veterinarians should not be allowed to kill animals who are not irremediably suffering.
A study found that “over one-third (36.9%) of dogs originally brought in by their owners for euthanasia could, upon further evaluation by staff and discussion with owners, be made available for adoption…” It further found that these animals “had medical or behavioral concerns that were amenable to resolution, as opposed to all having terminal health conditions or intractable behavior problems.”
Given that those results are based on shelter assessments, subject to narrow determinations of “adoptability,” the actual percentage is substantially higher. Indeed, a comprehensive study found no compelling evidence for the notion that there is something behaviorally wrong with the vast majority of dogs in shelters. Most dogs labeled “behavior” are normal as “surrenders often say more about the people doing the surrendering — about ‘owner-related factors, needs, and expectations’ — than the dogs being surrendered.”
A subsequent study found that dogs, like human children, go through a rebellious adolescent phase, and this is the time they are most likely to be relinquished or killed for “behavior” and “aggression,” even though the behavior is transitory, does not pose a safety risk, and can be managed.
In addition, progressive shelters have successfully rehabilitated dogs brought to them specifically to be killed (“owner-requested euthanasia”), even for an alleged “history of aggression.” Sugar, for example, was surrendered to a local shelter because her family said she was “aggressive toward people and other dogs.” She was put through a rehabilitation regimen while in the shelter and later in a foster home’s care. Sugar “trusts humans/new dogs she meets the first time.” She also found a loving new home with another dog. Had she been taken to a veterinarian to be killed, she would never have been given the chance.