International Journal for the Study of Animal Problems


The emotional effects of euthanizing unwanted animals on professional animal control personnel are examined using written statements and oral discussions of twenty-six euthanasia technicians at a workshop during a national session

of the Animal Control Academy (Tuscaloosa, AL]. Emotional conflicts arise in significant part from the dilemma that the same public responsible for the problem of unwanted animals also has a markedly negative perception of euthanasia,

and by extension, of those who perform euthanasia. During discussions, the euthanasia technicians revealed various strategies for coping with feelings of isolation, alienation, and sorrow. These included intellectualization, avoidance of unnecessary contact with the animals, and belief that the animal is being spared greater suffering. The participants tended to place the burden of guilt attached to destroying healthy animals on irresponsible owners rather than themselves.