Policy Statement on Euthanasia
The Champaign County Humane Society is an "open admission" shelter. We accept animals in need of shelter regardless of their age, condition or adoptability. We make every effort to place all animals into loving and responsible homes, but when an animal is unsuitable for placement as a pet, it is euthanized by licensed technicians who use the most humane method available.
Some of the factors that might result in an animal being euthanized include aggression towards humans and other animals such that they may pose a threat to the community; medical conditions that will likely result in poor quality of life for the animal; population density or space available at the shelter; or contagious diseases that would place the rest of the shelter population at risk. Such decisions are made on an individual basis for each animal.
Decisions to euthanize an animal are never taken lightly at CCHS, but we accept responsibility for them because our goal is to help as many animals as possible within our capacity to do so.
We will not unnecessarily shift the burden of euthanasia to another facility in order to avoid it.
Through humane education, we hope to contribute to a future when all companion animal caretakers accept responsibility for their animals and no animal will be unwanted or abused. Until that day arrives, CCHS will continue its mission of educating the public, preventing cruelty and promoting the welfare of all animals. (Passed by the Board of Directors February 8, 2006)
Our Philosophy on Shelter Enrichment and Training
Champaign County Humane Society (CCHS) believes that the best way to train and rehabilitate homeless animals is through reward based training. Positive reinforcement involves immediately rewarding (i.e. food, praise, toys, etc.) an animal when it responds with a desired behavior. The beauty of positive reinforcement training is that it increases the likelihood that a good behavior will be repeated.
Through reward based training, shelter staff and volunteers are able to increase adoptability and enhance overall well being of shelter animals, while at the same time decreasing unwanted behaviors.
Many animals arrive at the shelter and find themselves surrounded by unfamiliar people. Harsh training techniques and positive punishment are strongly discouraged because they can cause unnecessary stress and be unsafe for both the animal and the handler. Reward based training is a calmer, more gentle approach that helps to promote a bond between animals and people.
At the Champaign County Humane Society, environmental enrichment (i.e. food dispensing puzzle toys, auditory stimulation, socialization, etc.) is used to help minimize stress of shelter animals, promote exploration, increase physical activity, and decrease boredom. Studies show that the physical and psychological well being of homeless animals can be greatly enhanced through contact with humans and other dogs. At CCHS our goal is that all dogs are walked at least twice per day and staff members and experienced volunteers supervise dog-to-dog playtime when appropriate.
Position Statement on the Retail Pet Industry
Because there are many homeless pets awaiting adoption in virtually every community in central Illinois, the Champaign County Humane Society strongly advocates that persons wishing to acquire a pet consider adopting one from a licensed animal shelter or rescue group.
Individuals who are committed to acquiring a specific breed of animal should not rule out animal shelters as a source; pure-bred animals are often available for adoption at such facilities. If the desired breed cannot be found at a shelter, we recommend turning to a reputable breed-rescue group or a responsible breeder. The Champaign County Humane Society does not support purchasing or otherwise acquiring animals from large-scale commercial breeders or the retail outlets they supply.