Jump to content
BC Boards

Recommended Posts

There is a guy at my work who twice has brought up that when one of his pets needs to be put down, he shoots the animal. I’m not sure how the subject came up either time (once it was the two of us, the other time we were in a small group). I certainly didn’t move the conversation in that direction. Both times I gave him zero response other than changing the subject when we were alone and ignoring his comment in the small group.

 

Now, I fully understand that it used to be shooting an animal was the way you provided a humane death. And I also fully understand that I wasn’t raised around firearms and am not personally comfortable with guns. I don’t live in the country (this guy does, but my area is rural with small towns). From childhood on, whenever one of our pets needed to be euthanized, we took them to the vet’s. And that is enough of a grueling experience for me.

 

I am wondering about people’s thoughts on shooting a pet when you could have a vet put the animal down. It isn’t a money thing for this guy. I am just curious and probably morbid. I can’t imagine shooting one of my pets, unless that was the only way I had to put them out of their suffering. But again, I have never shot an animal and don’t fully understand what that would entail. Thanks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

When one of my horses need to be put down, I call on my neighbour, and he/she is shot (and then bled). Most of the people here would send them to the slaughter, I don´t.

Being shot by someone who knows what he is doing is a very humane death imo.

Don´t do it with dogs though, wen that need arises they are put to sleep by the vet (I have my vet closer at hand than most people ;) )

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can see shooting a large animal (livestock), though I have seen that go badly, but I can't imagine it being a truly humane way to destroy a small pet, unless the animal is already moribund/immobile. I wouldn't be able to live with myself if the shot didn't result in an instant kill.

 

J.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nay nay on shooting a dog...imho man's best friend an all deserves to be euthanized. But the other extreme, I have a friend who has a reef tank and euthanizes his fish (with solution in a cup) when they get sick and can't be saved. I have a tank too, but my sickies get flushed.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I honestly don't know what I'd do. I know I'd have to shoot it if the animal was injured so badly it wouldn't be humane to take the time to get the vet, but otherwise? I am, as of yet, entirely undecided.

 

If shot correctly, the animal feels no pain at all. With euthanasia, they at least feel the needle. But euthanasia doesn't involve blood and a loud noise. I just don't know-it's just a bridge I'll have to cross when I come to it I guess.

Link to post
Share on other sites

As others have said, I am OK with humanely shooting livestock if necessary. Someone else would have to do it as I do not have a gun. I would want to make sure that that person knows what they are doing so it is done right. (i.e. only one shot)

 

I could not do it, nor could I watch, if one of my pets was shot. Although I really wish there was a better way to euth than stressing the animal with a trip to the vet. I have considered changing to a vet that makes home visits just for that reason, but probably won't.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If an animal, large or small, is horribly suffering due to trauma or sudden onset medical condition without timely access to a DVM, a gunshot may be reasonable and humane. There are many parts of this country which are long distances from the nearest vet.

 

With any reasonable option at all, I couldn't shoot a beloved pet.

 

We had a mobile vet come to euthanize one of our dogs a while ago. Still hard, but not a bad experience for the family. -- TEC

Link to post
Share on other sites

I live in an area where finances can be a big concern for many. Practically speaking, it's much cheaper to shoot a pet and more convenient than driving an hour to get to the clinic, plus it is a private experience for the owner. Some people (and I hate to say it, but usually men), don't want to be seen blubbering in front of the staff, let alone in the crowded waiting room. We've had clients pass out when their pets were euthanized because they were so emotional. That sort of thing could be really embarrassing or could add extra stress for someone during a difficult time. On the flip side, I've had clients who refuse euthanasia and insist their animals die "naturally" at home. That's where palliative care comes in.

 

One of the biggest things that I've learned about end of life situations is that they are deeply personal decisions. What I would do may not be the same thing someone else would do, but as long as the owner is doing what they can and the animal's needs are being met (ie relief from suffering through palliative care), I feel comfortable letting the owner decide how they want to handle things.

 

My neighbor shot his dog a few months ago. I see him daily and could've easily walked over there to put him to sleep, but in his mind, it was his duty to take care of it.

 

I've both euthanized and shot livestock, but I've never shot a dog (and don't intend to). I find it much easier emotionally on me to euthanize them, but if done correctly, shooting is a humane method of killing. I try not to judge others during such a difficult time :(.

Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a thought-provoking question.

 

We have (well, let's be honest, Ed has) put down by shooting a number of animals - our dairy goats that needed euthanasia and those of them and their offspring that we were butchering; sheep we butchered; horses that had reached the end of a quality life; a cow that prolapsed and was too damaged to save. But the only small pet that was put down in that way was Ed's beloved old cat Tass, who let us know late one evening that the time had come and going to the vet at that hour was not an option. He loved her enough to take her outside and put her out of her suffering, and it was hard on him.

 

He's always been the man and the one to pull the trigger. In the case of butchering, I'm the one holding the knife that I pass to him and I take the gun after he's done the deed. Well, except for the deer that I shot out of the strawberry patch. I had to kill her after having brought her down with my .22 (we had a permit for our commercial strawberry patch and problem deer).

 

If I had a dog that was suffering and I could have the courage to put them out of their misery right then and there, I would hope to be able to do it. I stand with those who make that decision for the benefit of the animal, but I don't know that I'd have the fortitude to do it. Maybe if one of the dogs or cats was injured in such a way that they were obviously in great pain and would not live but would suffer in the interval it took to take them to the vet. In that case, I'd pray Ed was there because I don't know that I could be brave enough to do what my mind said should be done to relieve their pain right there and then.

 

We've killed a lot of animals over the years, mostly for butchering small livestock that we ate. Ed's a good, steady hand with a weapon but not every single first shot has been a last shot, and it's that one or two that would haunt me except that I know we did the best that we could for the animal in the circumstance.

 

Ed shot a dog once that was harassing a calving cow. She was a semi-feral stray coon hound that the neighbors fed out of compassion for her but none of us had been able to catch her, and newspaper ads, etc., did not bring anyone to claim her. He hated having to do it; he felt sorry for her but he had to protect his cow and her calf. He called the neighbors after and they were understanding but it really wasn't their dog, either.

 

In my mind, I believe that a swift death from a good shot in the peace and comfort of home is a better alternative for the animal than to be taken to the vet for euthanasia, but it's usually not better for the person or people involved. Our sensibilities count for a lot, too.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My uncle does it. He loves his dogs but when the time comes it's his responsibility to put the dog down. He plays up the matter of factness of it but I know it's a really hard thing for him to do. Could I do it to my own dog...?? O hell No...!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

We live in an area that people just love to drop off cats and dogs and just drive away. When I was growing up we didn't have "animal control." We had the neighbor with cows, the neighbor that raised chickens, and another neighbor with goats.

If we couldn't find somewhere to take them, one of these men would end up shooting whatever animal was harassing the livestock. Then we had me, wanting to bring all these animals home and having my parents tell me-- "when you grow up, and have your own house, YOU can make these decisions..."

My dad was one of those men whose "job" was to put down our animals. I remember very well a dog of ours that had gotten a taste for chickens, and my dad explained to us what had to happen. It wasn't easy, and it was one of the few times I've seen my dad cry.

Of course this is also the man that shot 3 pitbulls off of his dog, carried Ted (his dog) to the vet, and nursed it back to health-- wound care and everything. Towards the end of Ted's life (8 yrs later), my dad would carry him outside to "do his business" and hand-fed him daily. That was one dog my dad couldn't bring himself to put down. Ted ended up passing away in his sleep a few years ago.

All that said, you have to do what you have to do. I, personally, can't do it. I'd have to choose going to the vet to get it done. For food... well that's a different area altogether and it doesn't bother me very much. I'm just not GREAT at it and prefer going to our local farmers for our food.

Link to post
Share on other sites

A very thoughtful discussion, all. Thanks for that.

I think it's a deeply personal decision and one most likely to be found in rural areas, on the farm or ranch. I'd prefer a pet be allowed the dignity of the needle. But then again, maybe dying at home in a favorite, peaceful place with a favorite person and instantaneous lights-out isn't bad, either. I'm not the one to say.

Years ago, I put down a horse. He had broken a leg in pasture, a severe break that showed the separation of the bone even with the skin intact. There was no humane way to get him to a vet and no vet within 3 hours who could come take care of him. So, since I had the gun, I did it. A single .44 special in the forehead did the deed so promptly that his chin was the first thing to hit the ground. But because the horse was not mine, I was able to disassociate myself from the task enough that I wasn't upset. I was just ending needless pain, and then I could walk away and let the boss' backhoe do the rest.

Could I shoot a companion animal? The only way I could possibly, even remotely conceive of it would be in the most dire of situations if nobody else was available to do it, and if the only alternative was terrible suffering. Over the years, I've had several dogs and cats put down at the end of their lives, and the sheer silence of the process is far easier on my nerves. No shaking hands, no fear of the first bullet not working, no feeling like I'm the killer.

And even in this hypothetical dire emergency ... I'm not sure I could. May merciful God preserve me and all of us from ever being in that situation.

~ Gloria



Link to post
Share on other sites

I can understand that if someone knew how to do it correctly, they might want to do it. No-one else would have to take responsibility for it, it would be at home, the dog would be in familiar surroundings with someone they trusted rather than at the vet with unfamiliar people, smells, and sounds.

 

Could I do it myself? I'd like to think so if the animal was suffering, but probably not. Even thinking about it is making me feel sick and guilty- it's the possibility that it would go wrong. Actually, no. Even if it went right it would likely be horrible.

 

I have known home euthanasia go wrong. It was a chicken with a head injury- brain exposed- and a botched decapitation. So that influences me both ways. I understand that it can go horribly wrong. On the other hand, if it was an injury that bad, even the car trip to the vet seems like an unnecessary amount of time for the dog to suffer. If I could prevent that, it would be better for the animal.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My husband always talked about it, many years ago he saw part of a documentary that involved ethunising a large number of dogs and them being thrown in a dumpster and he vowed that none of his dogs would ever be put to sleep on a cold metal table. In reality it was not something he could ever do. Our two border collies died at home, and our GSDx was put to sleap in the back of our truck, with him balling his eyes out. Now I would have a vet come to the house but at the time I did not know any that offered the service.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, my issue is with the fact that it can go terribly wrong if you do it yourself. I'm sure there are plenty of competent folks out there who can manage it with minimal/no stress/pain to the animal, but there are probably plenty of folks who *think* they are capable but who botch it horribly. I have a friend who did it once and was not happy with how it went and swore never again.

 

So I am not against home euthanasia via a bullet, but I do hope that people who go that route really know what they're doing so that the animal doesn't suffer needlessly.

 

J.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was living in Arkansas alone. I found a young ram half destroyed by coyotes. I only had a 22 pistol. I called everyone I knew trying to figure out how to shoot the animal and kill him with out prolonging his suffering. I found no one home to talk to. So I shot him in the head. He didn't die. He stood up, blood dripping and stared me in the eye before turning around and walking into the woods. I then had to get myself together and follow him into the woods and finish the job.

It is one of my most horrid memories of farm life.

Since then I have learned how to shoot an animal dead but if at all possible I never want to have to do that again.

I could never shoot my own dogs for fear of the same thing happening but make no judgments on those that are able to help their loved ones cross over.

It is a personal choice and I hope we keep it that way.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Gloria wrote:

And even in this hypothetical dire emergency ... I'm not sure I could. May merciful God preserve me and all of us from ever being in that situation.

 

Not sure I could either but I also hate to see an animal suffer. At the point it does not become about me but about them.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, my issue is with the fact that it can go terribly wrong if you do it yourself. I'm sure there are plenty of competent folks out there who can manage it with minimal/no stress/pain to the animal, but there are probably plenty of folks who *think* they are capable but who botch it horribly. I have a friend who did it once and was not happy with how it went and swore never again.

 

So I am not against home euthanasia via a bullet, but I do hope that people who go that route really know what they're doing so that the animal doesn't suffer needlessly.

 

J.

The neighbours I recruit for this job work in the local slaughterhouse, very experienced. I would not let anyone do this to my horses. The bleeding I do myself, and yes one has to swallow a bit. But for the animal it is not a bad way to go, it is done at home, no stressful transport etc.

That a euthenize smaller animals like dogs per injection has more to do with my feelings, for the bystanders it is a lot more peaceful than the bang and blood of a shot. For the animal I think it does not matter at all. A well placed shot is no suffering.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Debbie, I think I was to upset to even think of using the internet show me how to shoot something correctly. Amazing, I'm pretty sure if you can think about it, it's on the internet.

Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a good page to share, and thank you, Debbie.

 

For anyone faced with having to euthanize livestock there are diagrams that be quickly accessed provided you have the ability to access the web. There are some examples on this page http://jackson.ifas.ufl.edu/stockman/summer_02.shtml

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...