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Animal Shelter Director Commits Suicide Over Guilt And Shame Of Euthanizing Dogs

In Taiwan, Xinwu Animal Protection and Education Centre director Jian Zhicheng committed suicide after being harassed and threatened for revealing the number of dogs she was forced to euthanize in a news report.

The 31-year-old animal lover worked hard to rehabilitate animals and promote adoption. But that didn’t stop critics from attacking Jian with threats and insults, calling her names like the “butcher with beauty” and the “female butcher.” You can imagine how deeply that would devastate someone who had dedicated her entire life to saving as many animals as she could.

The tragic truth is that shelters need resources to care for animals. When resources run out, so does the lifeline for homeless pets.

“The reality is that there are simply not enough homes to go around for the millions of unwanted animals who are euthanised every year,” said Elisa Allen, Associate Director of PETA in a story by Daily Mail. “It’s left to shelter workers like Jian Zhicheng, who love animals so much, to do society’s dirty work because so many people fail to do the one thing that could alleviate the animal overpopulation crisis: spaying and neutering animals.”

When Jian exposed the fact that she was forced to euthanize 700 dogs in just two years, she came under heat from the public and simply couldn’t bear the guilt and shame of it all.

What people don’t realize is that Jian–and shelter workers like her–are really heroes. Elisa Allen said it best by explaining that shelter workers not only save animals, but they “do society’s dirty work” when they have to alleviate overpopulation.

“Public animal shelters are allowed to carry out mercy killings when they are running out of space, according to Taiwanese law,” a member of staff from the Office of Animal Care and Control in Taoyuan told Daily Mail. “Since this is an animal shelter, it cannot refuse to take in stray animals, when there are more coming in than leaving, and in order to maintain the standard of the living quality of animals here, this is allowed.”

The Daily Mail reports that the Xinwu shelter could only hold 500 dogs and 100 cats, a fact of which the scrutinizing public probably wasn’t aware. Even now, the shelter is almost at capacity, housing 410 dogs and 94 cats.

Jian was found unconscious by her husband and police after injecting herself with the same euthanasia drugs used on the dogs. She passed away in the hospital a week later.

Daily Mail reported, “According to Chinese media, she left a note, explaining how she had become too distressed with the fact that she had to put too many dogs to death. However, Jian’s last words have not been published in full.”

This is a tragic story with an important message: those who are forced to euthanize animals have one of the toughest jobs in the entire world, yet they do it for a greater good, which is to provide for the animals that they can save.

The only ones who can truly prevent widespread euthanasia is us, the public: we must be responsible pet owners by spaying and neutering. We can adopt from shelters. We can volunteer, and we can donate. And we must commit to caring for our animals for their entire lives. 

(h/t: Daily Mail)

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Written by Karen Tietjen

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