The Humane Society of Delaware County (HSDC) is a managed intake shelter, meaning that we do not euthanize due to time or space.  We reserve euthanasia for animals who are suffering mentally or physically, are terminally ill, or are considered dangerous to themselves, other animals and/or humans.


The HSDC is committed to the preservation of life and to the objective use of approved methods of euthanasia, when appropriate, guided by medical standards and a reasonable interpretation of the purpose behind euthanasia. Factors contributing to the euthanasia of any animal include quality of life, along with the risk to the health and safety of themselves, other animals and/or

humans.  The HSDC resolutely affirms that we will not euthanize for reasons amounting to insufficient operational capacity such as space, manpower and the like.


The HSDC Staff and Board of Directors recognize that the subject of euthanasia is emotionally charged and, at times, difficult for any reasonable person to reflect upon. We also recognize that the subject is a ‘moving target’ and requires both reflection and open discussion in order to minimize its practice across our country.

Approval of Euthanasia

Given the sensitivity of the practice of euthanasia and the HSDC’s desire to maintain transparency and objectivity, the euthanasia of any animal for reasons other than owner requested euthanasia shall be approved via signature by:

  • The HSDC Director

  • The HSDC Veterinary Medical Director        

If an animal’s behaviors are unable to be managed and the animal is deemed a danger to itself, other animals and/or humans, a Behavior Coordinator who works with that particular species shall be consulted.

Acceptable Reasons for Euthanasia

Euthanasia may occur at the HSDC due to the following:

  • Owner requested/authorized euthanasia.  An animal owner may request euthanasia.  However, the HSDC Staff has the right to decline this service if the HSDC Staff determines that the animal still has quality life remaining and that the animal can live comfortably.

  • Deteriorating medical or behavioral condition that is causing an animal to suffer.  If an animal is treatable, the HSDC will attempt to do everything within reason, and within the HSDC’s resources, to properly treat the animal to manage its medical and/or behavioral condition(s) so that it may live a comfortable and safe life.

  • Immediate or serious danger.  If an animal poses an immediate or serious danger to other animals and/or humans, alternative options will not be considered.


  Medically Necessitated Euthanasia

  • Is used for an animal who is suffering from a disease, injury, and/or a congenital or hereditary condition that adversely affects the animal’s health, or is likely to adversely affect the animal’s health in the future, and who is not likely to become “healthy” or “treatable” even if provided the care and attention typically provided to animals by reasonable and caring animal owners/guardians in the community.

Behaviorally Necessitated Euthanasia

  • Is used for an animal who has, or who develops, a behavioral or temperamental characteristic that poses a health or safety risk or otherwise makes the animal unsuitable for adoption and who is not likely to become suitable for adoption even if provided the care and attention typically provided to animals by reasonable and caring animal owners/guardians in the community.

Evaluations of Animals

Each animal admitted into the HSDC shall be evaluated initially at intake.  Animals placed in the HSDC adoption program shall continuously be evaluated for medical and behavioral considerations.


Evaluations are intended to identify:

  • Animals who are suffering mentally, emotionally and/or physically.

  • Animals with a poor prognosis, protracted painful recovery or incurable illness.

  • Animals who are non-responsive to treatment or who suffer from an affliction for which treatment is not reasonably available.

  • Animals who pose an unacceptable danger to themselves, other animals and/or humans.

  • Animals who have a condition that, by itself, may not necessitate euthanasia, but when combined with another condition(s), warrants euthanasia.           


                                                                                                 Adopted  7/29/2016

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