The subject of animal euthanasia is a difficult one, but the staff at the Society sometimes have to make decisions about whether an animal in their care is ‘put to sleep’ in conjunction with a qualified veterinarian.
The Society’s value that it ‘never puts a healthy animal to sleep’ is at the core of its practice, and health is viewed both in terms of physical and behavioural wellbeing. Animals with behavioural problems are given appropriate support to remedy their problems – generally with cats and rabbits this involves time and patience, and a socialisation plan; and with dogs (where the issues can be more complex) specific behaviour modification programmes are put in place. These programmes look at a range of areas – diet, exercise, ‘triggers’, ‘reactivity’, etc. – and staff are given guidance by training and behaviour experts both on and off the Island.
On the very rare occasion when the range of options has been exhausted, or where the dog presents a significant risk of injury to people or other animals, a meeting of the Dog Welfare Panel is convened to review the situation. The Panel comprises the Society’s Sanctuary Manager, its Kennels Manager, its vet and a registered clinical animal behaviourist.