FAQ's about Pound Seizure
Q. If animals are to be used, is it better to use animals who would be euthanized anyway, rather than breed other animals?
A. Euthanasia of animals in shelters and pounds is a result of irresponsible animal breeding and overpopulation, and research and education industries should not exploit this unfortunate reality. The primary purpose of shelters or pounds is to provide a safe haven for companion animals who have been given up or are lost.
Biomedical interest groups that promote the use of animals in research, testing, and education state that random source animals are abandoned, ‘unwanted’ animals, not people’s ‘pets.’ In some cases, shelters that provide animals to these industries cannot even try to find a proper home for the animal—they must first fulfill the quota expected of them. Common sense indicates that the most desirable animals for research or educational purposes would be healthy, well-behaved, and well-mannered. These are the same qualities that deem an animal ‘adoptable.’
Q. Are companion animals still being stolen from people's homes for use in laboratories?
A. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the agency that enforces the Animal Welfare Act, continues to fine dealers who violate the Act by obtaining animals by deception. Although laboratories only want animals with documents regarding their acquisition, that does not prevent dealers from falsifying the information. In advising people on how to find lost or stolen companion animals (see "Safeguarding Pets"), the USDA suggests that they contact research facilities in their area to be sure the dog or cat is not at the research facility. If animal theft is a myth, a government agency would not make this suggestion.
Q. Does pound seizure happen in my state?
A. Please see Your State
Q. Isn't it okay to use shelter or pound animals for veterinary students to learn important surgical or other medical skills?
A. While it is important that future veterinarians and veterinary technicians acquire the proper skills to perform surgery or other medical procedures on animals, the use of animals from pounds or shelters is entirely unnecessary. Many veterinary schools use real–life patients in their teaching hospitals, models, and other non–lethal ways of training students. It is also important that future veterinarians and their staff recognize that companion animals in shelters are worthy individuals, as are companion animals living in human homes. Many vet students gain surgical experience as a community service by performing supervised spay and neuter surgeries on animals from shelters or low-income communities. Some schools have also instituted Educational Memorial Programs, through which clients can donate their deceased companion animal for use in teaching.