Code of Ethics – Respect for the communities we work with and serve;Integrity in our actions;Responsibility for our decisions and their consequences.
We generally do not directly accept owner surrenders. It is rare that we will have an open foster or an appropriate foster home available at the time of the request. If a resolution cannot be found to help the owner keep their pet, we may offer to courtesy post the pet and process applicants as we would for a dog legally under LGAR. These decisions are based upon a myriad of things and it is up to the Board of Directors to determine the appropriateness of each circumstance.
Occasionally we may be able to legally take an animal into our rescue that is being relinquished by their owner. To the extent possible and in an effort to prevent the animal from being relinquished to a high kill shelter, we will consider such a request and with the simple majority vote of the board, will determine next steps. In order to assess the viability of bringing the animal into the “rescue, the following information on every owner surrendered pet will be collected:
Name, address and contact information of all owners
Name, species, breed, sex, color, markings, age and weight of animal
Reasons the animal is being surrendered
Whether the pet is microchipped and, if so,
the chip number
Type, brand and amount of food the animal eats
Name and contact information of veterinarian
All veterinary records
Whether the pet is spayed or neutered
Date of most recent rabies shot
Date of most recent vaccinations
Any medical issues, including heartworm, distemper, special needs
Any behavior issues
If the animal has lived with children or other pets and, if so, how the animal behaves with them
How the animal behaves around strangers
Any housetraining issues
Any prior bite issues
Any behavior training completed
Before we get into the formalities of our policy, please know this: For LGAR, euthanasia is defined purely as an act of mercy. This act should be reserved for situations when an animal is irremediably suffering and a veterinarian has determined that the animal has no chance of recovering an acceptable quality of life, or the animal’s behavior doesn’t allow him/her to be a candidate for rehabilitation (see our aggressive dog policy).
These decisions are never easy and while we all strive for a “no kill” world, the reality is that sometimes the humane thing to do is to set an animal free when their future is more painful than anything in their past. We are their voice and with that comes the responsibility for doing the right thing, even when it is hard. So please know that our commitment is always first, do no harm. But if/when that time comes where we need to put their interest before our heart, please, be there in support, not condemnation. I can assure you sometimes the greatest gift we can ever give is to let our furbaby go when THEY are ready, even when WE are not.
LGAR provides a lifetime commitment to all animals that come into our care by arranging for a foster home until they are adopted into their permanent home. While we do not euthanize any animal for time or space, unfortunately, there are some instances where euthanasia is the best or only humane option for an animal in our care. Each animal is evaluated as an individual and assessed under the circumstances as a whole. Euthanasia is only considered after an appropriate investigation of other viable and reasonable options. The following outlines the circumstances in which we consider euthanasia for an animal in our care, how that decision is made and how it will be carried out.
Circumstances that may require euthanasia
LGAR only considers euthanasia as an option for animals that are suffering mentally, emotionally or physically and have a poor prognosis; are experience unremitting pain or mental suffering that cannot be reasonably alleviated; or pose danger to other animals, themselves or people. Euthanasia is not an option we take lightly and it will be done only when it we have determined that is the only humane option for the animal. In short, it is an act of MERCY.
Medical: We will do as much as we possibly can to ensure quality of life for our dogs until the very end. We will use all the resources at our disposal and ask our veterinarians to do their utmost. However, if there comes a time when nothing more can be done to relieve a dogs pain, it becomes evident there is no hope for recovery from a debilitating illness or injury, and we are at the point of contemplating whether or not it is humane or loving to prolong the dog’s life, we would work with our vet to help us make the difficult decision about whether to humanely euthanize the dog.
Behavioral: We know that all breeds have dogs that exhibit dog aggression. Some dogs do well with other dogs, and some dogs don’t. In these cases, rather than euthanizing the vast majority of dog-reactive dogs, we think it best that they simply be the only dog in a home.
However on rare occasions sometimes a dog presents such a danger to humans that the only responsible thing to do is to humanely euthanize them. Those are few and far between, but they exist, and as responsible members of a community, where others’ safety could potentially be in jeopardy, we believe that sometimes humane euthanasia is the right thing to do. In a case like this we would first work with trainers and behaviorists as well as medical professionals to assess the likelihood of rehabilitation and implement a behavior modification/training program to the extent possible. If the training program fails and a dog is deemed “red zone” we will again work with our vet to help us make the decision about whether or not we should humanely euthanize the dog.
How we make the decision to euthanize
For standard medical cases (as described above), we will defer to the judgment of our veterinarians in making euthanasia recommendations. For those rare, controversial medical cases where the animal’s quality of life may be unclear, the board of directors will request a second opinion from another licensed veterinarian and/or specialist if appropriate, convene to evaluate the data, consult other resources if necessary and make a determination by a simple majority vote. The foster provider for the animal in question will also be allowed to participate in the discussion and request a vote.
How the animal is euthanized
The only method of euthanasia that LGAR finds acceptable is that recommended by the American Veterinary Medical Association, specifically the use of veterinarian prescribed sedatives and FDA-approved euthanasia solutions administered in as comforting and loving a situation as possible. The foster provider or another representative from LGAR will be responsible for taking the animal to one of the organization’s partner veterinarians for euthanasia. Whenever possible and appropriate, the foster provider or other representative from LGAR will remain with the animal during the entire process.
However on rare occasions sometimes a dog presents such a danger to humans that the only responsible thing to do is to humanely euthanize them. Those are few and far between, but they exist, and as responsible members of a community, where others’ safety could potentially be in jeopardy, we believe that sometimes humane euthanasia is the right thing to do. In a case like this we would first work with (multiple) trainers and behaviorists as well as medical professionals to assess the likelihood of rehabilitation and implement a behavior modification/training program to the extent possible. If the training program fails and a dog is deemed “red zone” we will again work with our vet to help us make the decision about whether or not we should humanely euthanize the dog.