No-kill shelter addresses backlash over ‘behavioral euthanasia’ for several dogs

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A no-kill animal shelter in Hampton, Virginia, has released a statement about their need to put several dogs down. Animal Aid Society commented on the so-called “behavioral euthanasia,” which was required for four dogs in their care.

The organization writes:

Recently our Board of Directors came to an unanimous decision to euthanize four of our dogs. These dogs have been painted on social media as adoptable, thriving, and “happy” but that sadly is not the case. After consulting multiple certified experts in canine behavior evaluation and therapy, veterinary behaviorists, and looking at the most recent science that these individual professionals base their recommendations on, we have deemed these dogs to be psychologically suffering, unsafe to adopt out to the community, and high risk to keep in a shelter environment for the safety of our volunteers.

Explaining that the dogs’ history made them unsafe to adopt to the general public. The shelter writes:

These dogs have extensive bite histories (level 4 and level 5 on the Ian Dunbar bite scale), and behavior concerns that are also leading to a low quality of life.

Acknowledging the the decision was difficult to make:

This was an incredibly hard decision to make. We are all grieving for these dogs and only ask that our community understands our decision to euthanize these dangerous dogs.


Euthanasia is always the very last option and never a decision that anyone takes lightly. We want to thank every one of our volunteers and friends that have loved and taken care of Beckham, Coco, Lillian, and Willow. We appreciate everything that you have done to help them try to find their way in this scary world. Sometimes we just can’t save them all, no matter how hard we try.

The majority of the comments on the shelter’s post reflect understanding for the difficult decision that was made.

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