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At What Point Is It Cruel To Keep An Animal Alive?


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#1 Curmudgeon

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 05:10 PM

I thought this situation might make for an interesting debate!
I have a friend that gets very emotionally wound up with animals, dogs in particular. She is the type that sees a dog on the side of the road and immediately assumes it is abandoned and takes it home. Well, she somehow became involved in the rescue of some severely abused/neglected pit bulls.
Chances are, these dogs were being used to raise fighting dogs. They are females, not spayed, and have had many litters of pups. The dogs had been beaten and starved, and were severely infested with fleas..overall a disgusting situation.
From what I understand, two of the dogs were mostly just malnourished and are recovering with good food and flea treatment. One of the dogs, however, has a variety of health issues, and this is the one she is caught up in.
The dog has been shot twice, and has the bullets lodged in her to prove it. One is dangerously close to her spine and she has a lot of trouble with controlling her back end because of it. She has tumors on her vulva and they do not know if they are cancerous yet.
When she was first brought into the vet, she had severe stomach issues and the vet suggested she be put down. The story had been on the news, however, and some animal lovers donated money for the dog to be treated. Hundreds of dollars later, the dog still has the tumors and now they are trying to get donations for the surgery to remove them.
If it is cancer, they are talking about raising more money to put the dog through chemotherapy, which will cost thousands.

Do you feel that it is cruel to keep putting the dog through treatments? Or is it worth it to give her a chance?
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#2 Curmudgeon

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 05:16 PM

Here is my opinion!

At first, I thought it was great that the dogs were being rescued. I was a bit apprehensive, however, about trying to adopt out dogs that were from fighting bloodlines. I have NO issue with pits, but any dog bred to fight that also has a history of abuse could potentially be unpredictable, especially once fattened up and feeling better!
The point that I started to feel a little sick about it was when they suggested raising the money to put the poor thing through chemotherapy. If the dog has cancer, in my opinion, it would be most fair to give the dog a dignified end, with a full belly and her last memories being of affection. If this was a private person wanting to spend that kind of money on their own pet, I would have no issue. The fact that the money is coming from donations is what bothers me. Imagine how far that money could go to help dogs that are perfectly healthy and adoptable! Why pour it into one dog that may not even make it, or may turn out to be unsuited for adoption?
Ultima Star "Tima" - 1997 Arabian Mare - Arabian sport horse extraordinaire
Ghost Sandy Man "Lumpy" - 2002 AQHA Geld - Enjoying his newfound hunter side
Miss Thermo King Bee "Bug" - 2001 AQHA Mare - Schoolie deluxe
Waller's Mr. Jazzy "Jazzy" - 2000 AMHA Stallion - Cute farm mascot
Impressed by Surprise "Cricket" - 2008 QH Filly
Gracie - 1994ish? off track something - Dressage prospect in training
Miss Rolling Thunder - 2009 TB/Perch filly - Future sport horse
Indy - 1990 grade mare - Best beginner horse on earth!

Also owned by an Australian Shepherd, a Pomeranian, a barn cat and three Silkie chickens.

#3 ozland

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 06:27 PM

I don't have a problem with the donations, people can spend their money however they choose. Nor do I have a problem with treating cancers on an otherwise healthy dog. But with this dog's issues, I feel it's kinder to let her go.

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#4 Serah Rose

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 06:27 PM

Better a minute too soon than a second too late, IMO. I have a *very* hard time with people who spend thousands and thousands of dollars of DONATED money to save a personal pet. An acquaintance down on the island last year raised SIX thousand dollars to get surgery on her dog. It annoyed the helk out of me. Put the poor thing down and put that money towards saving and bringing back to health *multiple* animals! argh! (sensitive subject for me, as my dog is getting older, and while she has no health problems yet, I know it is gonna happen sooner than later, and I'll have to make that crappy crappy decision. )
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#5 Ivory Annie

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 07:03 PM

Depends, I made a choice to put down a horse last winter that some people may have kept alive, he somehow cut his leg, a small 3/4 inch slice that somehow was deep enough to cut through his superficial tendon and into the deeper tendon. Vet gave me many options, which included very expensive surgery that was only a slim chance of ensuring he would be pasture sound, it included a good years worth of stall rest and would at the best give him a life of limping around a pasture....he was barely four and I just couldn't do that to him,.he loved being ridden and hated being in a stall more then anything.....it was more humane in my opinion to peacefully put him to sleep


But I also had a very old gelding that had cancer and I let him live his life until the lord decided to take him, he lost alot of weight the last few months but he was happy, content and peaceful until he went to sleep and never woke up, some say it was abusive to let him get that skinny but he really was happy, and I don't regret that either


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#6 Kina Kat

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 07:40 PM

The dog has been shot twice, and has the bullets lodged in her to prove it. One is dangerously close to her spine and she has a lot of trouble with controlling her back end because of it. She has tumors on her vulva and they do not know if they are cancerous yet.
When she was first brought into the vet, she had severe stomach issues and the vet suggested she be put down.

I'd need a little more info. How bad is her back end? Is she happy? In pain? What kind of stomach issues? How old is she?

Deciding whether to put a dog through chemo would be very, very hard for me. That would be for me, not the dog. Dogs live in the here and now and don't fear the end the way we do. A peaceful end is easy enough for them; I'm the one who would want to keep the animal around.



#7 Blondyy

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 08:24 PM

Well, most certainly the best thing for the dog maybe to put him to sleep...and that probably is a good idea, eventually. However, I see nothing wrong with someone wanting to fight on.


With the amount of animals that suffer at the hands of us for our products and entertainment, something like this doesn't really make me want to stand up and shout to the world that it is cruel treatment. Is the animal uncomfortable? Probably. But the other things we do to animals, not to mention how people with illnesses have to go through the pain and treatments and just can't legally check out with a shot...it simply is a part of life.


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#8 Kina Kat

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 09:11 PM

Is the animal uncomfortable? Probably. But the other things we do to animals, not to mention how people with illnesses have to go through the pain and treatments and just can't legally check out with a shot...it simply is a part of life.

I don't see how one has anything to do with the other. Many people suffering from illness would choose to be put out of their mercy anyway. But the fact that other animals suffer does not mean my own should. If the pain or suffering is not able to be relieved, it's my duty to free my critter from it. And we do have the legal option of doing so.

I hate it when people let their animals suffer because the person is not ready to move on. Part of me certainly understands, but it's heartbreaking to see.



#9 Curmudgeon

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:06 PM

The dog is still sitting at the vet, waiting for donations so they can continue with the surgery :/
A huge part of me thinks that because it was on the news, they feel they have to try and force out a happy ending.
Ultima Star "Tima" - 1997 Arabian Mare - Arabian sport horse extraordinaire
Ghost Sandy Man "Lumpy" - 2002 AQHA Geld - Enjoying his newfound hunter side
Miss Thermo King Bee "Bug" - 2001 AQHA Mare - Schoolie deluxe
Waller's Mr. Jazzy "Jazzy" - 2000 AMHA Stallion - Cute farm mascot
Impressed by Surprise "Cricket" - 2008 QH Filly
Gracie - 1994ish? off track something - Dressage prospect in training
Miss Rolling Thunder - 2009 TB/Perch filly - Future sport horse
Indy - 1990 grade mare - Best beginner horse on earth!

Also owned by an Australian Shepherd, a Pomeranian, a barn cat and three Silkie chickens.

#10 Mz Rat

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 01:04 AM

Sounds like this dog would be much better off being PTS. With the other issues, why put her through surgery and chemo? As for being on the news, they can put on the news that despite the valiant effort to save her, she could not be saved. Also announce that any donations left over would be used to help the other dogs seized with her.
When I was 16 my horse got tetanus. My parents would not have him put down because they were afraid I would blame them for killing my horse. I watched him change from a proud beautiful horse to a bag of bones in pain. I swore then never to do that to another animal. I have kept my promise regardless of how I felt about the animal.

#11 Kina Kat

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 01:40 AM

A huge part of me thinks that because it was on the news, they feel they have to try and force out a happy ending.

I think you're probably right. :mecry:



#12 Little Cow

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 05:21 AM

In general, I worry about any situation where someone uses the media to gain attention for a severely injured or abused animal. I am also very suspicious when someone asks for funds to pay for a specific animal at a rescue. Call me cynical, but I think it's exploitation. If you can't afford the care of an animal, you shouldn't take the animal in, regardless of whether or not you are a rescue. If there is truly no one else to take the animal, than euthanasia is probably best. I get frankly, quite irritated when rescues that are barely affording the animals they have, snatch up a high profile animal to use as free publicity. I find it dishonest at best and possibly criminal.

Now, a stable rescue that is meeting all the needs of the animals in their care, that has leftover money at the end of each month can, indeed, afford to take in another animal, and bless them for doing so. But if you are on the edge, don't snatch up a sad case with lots of media coverage because you're hoping for a "cash cow". That's despicable.

The vast majority of extreme abuse cases I see with lots of graphic pictures and solicitations for money should have been humanely euthanized, if for no other reason than the funds it takes to save one would otherwise save many. But, people are greedy and feel they make more money from an extreme rescue than from your average every day hungry animals that need help. I guess if you are an abused or neglected animal, it behooves you to get either very close to death or have a grievous injury. Otherwise, you will be likely overlooked in your he**hole and remain there for quite some time, if not die there.

I also believe the vast majority of "rescues" are scams or thinly disguised hoarders.

Edited by Little Cow, 27 November 2012 - 05:24 AM.

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#13 Ann Wheeler

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 06:44 AM

It is the peoples right to donate, to give the dog a possible chance, however if i wanted to donate, i would get other factors regarding her overall health, if she would survive sugery if cancer, depends on treatment, survival rate, along with her other health issues, complications. If her survival rate is only another
two/three years. I would not donate....it would only prolong her suffering...

#14 BuddyRoo

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 01:55 PM

Quality of life has to come into consideration in my mind. Our critters live in the here and now. If now sucks, life sucks. Sometimes when there's a good prognosis, it's reasonable for us to allow the animal to suffer a bit knowing that it's highly likely we'll have a good recovery. But when the prognosis is bad and the animal is suffering, I don't think it's fair. I think it's selfish of us.

My own dog is having issues that have persisted over 3 mos with major surgery to boot. I'm frustrated as all get out, but he's happy and waggy and not in pain. So we're pursuing more testing and treatment. But I don't feel comfortable letting him suffer.

The situation you described is one where I would be firmly in the euth camp. Especially since they're asking for donations. If someone wants to personally take on a tough case and the animal is not suffering in the meantime, so be it. But it just doesn't seem right to take a hopeless situation, throw a bunch of money at it, and let the animal suffer.
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#15 Kyra

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 01:23 AM

It really depends on the situation and the animal. With that dog, there is no emotional attachment to anyone(she's a rescue not someones pet) and she's clearly already lived a very hard life. I would not hesitate to put her out of her misery. Chances are even if she lived, she probably has behavioral issues from being neglected.

I love rescues, don't get me wrong, but it bugs me when they spend massive amounts of money trying to save an animal that has a very small chance of surviving or is in a lot of distress. It'd be better to spend the money on animals you know you can save and are more readily adoptable. But I know some people have a harder time putting animals down than I do. For me, unless it is my animal that I'm attached too, it's very sad, but not that hard, if you understand what I'm saying.

As far as personal pets go, I think when the animal is not living a quality life anymore(very senile,incontinent,blind,deaf) or spends more time in pain than not, that's when it's best to let them go. I've seen people with incredibly old animals that are so miserable and in pain that it literally makes me sick. The owners always say it's because of how much they love them that they can't let them go, but personally, I never want to have to remember a pet like that. It's selfish to keep them around when they're living a miserable life.

I am very opinionated on the subject, because I've seen far too many animals suffer and die because people wouldn't have them put down.

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#16 chino is neato007

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 12:14 PM

But I also had a very old gelding that had cancer and I let him live his life until the lord decided to take him, he lost alot of weight the last few months but he was happy, content and peaceful until he went to sleep and never woke up, some say it was abusive to let him get that skinny but he really was happy, and I don't regret that either



I think that's absolutely wonderful

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#17 Hoku

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 02:32 PM

When my ferret was sleeping all the time, not eating, and generally lifeless, I opted to put him down. He was fed his favorite treat while the needle went in, loved and held and I never stopped petting or talking to him.

Yet, when my other ferret was sick, I didn't put her to sleep. I wish I had. She ended up having a seizure in my arms, squeaking and in severe pain, for over an hour at about 12 at night. It was her that taught me to release my animals from their pain when they needed it. I kept her alive for my own pleasure, and I will never do that again. She helped me release many other animals from this world, and I hope she forgives me for letting her suffer.

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#18 Blondyy

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 03:10 PM

When my ferret was sleeping all the time, not eating, and generally lifeless, I opted to put him down. He was fed his favorite treat while the needle went in, loved and held and I never stopped petting or talking to him.

Yet, when my other ferret was sick, I didn't put her to sleep. I wish I had. She ended up having a seizure in my arms, squeaking and in severe pain, for over an hour at about 12 at night. It was her that taught me to release my animals from their pain when they needed it. I kept her alive for my own pleasure, and I will never do that again. She helped me release many other animals from this world, and I hope she forgives me for letting her suffer.


I'm sure she forgives you. :(

So many people don't realize that pain and suffering is apart of life. While we should try to ease it as much as possible, for lack of a better word, crap happens.

People lay in hospital beds suffering on a daily basis because people can't let go and accept that maybe humane euthanasia should exist for humans too.

Apparently, we are too "proud" of our species simply because we can't let go.

Never look down on someone because they can't let go of an animal. Pain and suffering is no good way to go but unfortunately, it comes with living.

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#19 Ivory Annie

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 03:12 PM

I think that's absolutely wonderful



Well I think its a case of knowing your animal also, I knew my horse, I knew that he was still happy to be alive, I got him from a very abusive neglectful situation, I was told he had maybe a month when I got him (vets prognosis) due to his poor condition (starved) and his cancer, including tumor behind his eye that made him blind on that side. The man I bought him from had cut the tumors off his neck and chest with a knife and covered him in used (he insisted it had to be ran through the car to work) motor oil, into the wounds. Which effectively killed most the tissue on his neck and chest leaving him forever bald on either side of his neck and chest and left side of his face. he passed over night six years later.

He taught me so much and was an inspiration to others when I rode him in 4h bc even though he was ugly as sin, he had so much heart, fair board tried to prevent me from showing him bc of his look,.had to get three different vets to evaluate him and all approved that at that point his cancer was all cosmetic. He was a very proud horse and loved life

The only time I saw him suffer was three days before he passed, he wouldn't let me near him....he still ate and grazed but the light had started to go out and I'm firmly believe he knew it was time and was trying to make it easier on me and preparing me....the last night he ate dinner at 6 I checked at ten pm.and he was standing in his favorite part of the pasture and at 6 that next morning he was laying in the same spot....there was no scuff marks in the grass or anything showing he suffered, it was like he simply laid down,.closed his eyes and didn't open them



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#20 Mz Rat

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 12:05 AM

Mostly, the animal will tell you when they are ready. I learned to let go when I was 16. My horse got tetanus. My parents would not put him down. They told me later the reason they didn't was because I needed to be the one to make the decision. I watched him go from a proud sleek horse to a bag of bones. I promised then that I would never let another animal suffer like I made him. I have kept that promise for over 40 years. It is never easy but you do what you have to do.

#21 Alaskandraft

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 01:19 PM

Sounds like people pulling on peoples heartstrings to get media attention to their cause..I have to wonder just how much this vet is sucking up in donated money for treatment... We have several of those around here that prolong the said treatment as long as the money is coming in then knocks them in the head when the money runs out...

She needs to be put down.. Age has matured me to this level of not letting the animals suffer for my personal "FEELINGS". I have come to realize after owning many and burying many that I am not GOD and no matter how much money I pour into the vets pocket, they can only give me a few more months with my pet. I have found my reasoning to be selfish on my part.

I have so much compassion for them and a big heart for those that have suffered from others, but have grown up enough to realize their quality of life under constant vet care is no way for them to live. I have to make my mind up soon with BJ , my old kitty ..he is so Arthritic I fear soon he will have issues getting up. I won't let another animal under my care suffer like I did with our epileptic rottweiler and the boxer with cancer because I kept hearing words of "HOPE" from our vet. Especially when he can afford to keep his Christmas lights on all year and I budget the time I turn mine on...

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#22 DaisyTenPonies

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 11:28 PM

Because a dog was bred or trained to be a fighting dog does not mean the animal is human aggressive. On the contrary .. a dog who has been fought has to be proven as not human aggressive or they would be DQ'd.

I feel strongly that the animal should be put down. I advocate putting an older healthy dog down instead of sending him to the pound if one has to make that decision.

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#23 E&CSchune

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 08:41 AM

Mostly, the animal will tell you when they are ready.


The problem is that the caretakers or those responsible for the animal's welfare need to be willing to listen. And sadly, some people are so anti-death/euthanasia that they will do whatever they can to keep an animal alive, even if it's suffering and the quality of life is null.

Just because an animal is alive doesn't mean it's healthy, recovering, or living a full quality of life.