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Supacase's avatar

What does using the "heartstick" to put down an animal mean?

Asked by Supacase (14495 points ) January 6th, 2011

I am “friends” with a shelter on FB and they posted about a dog in another shelter in the next state who would be put down today if not adopted or sponsored. I posted, asking for more details about the dog b/c they didn’t mention her age or weight and I could not find details on any of the linked pages.

Someone left a message after me saying this facility is ”(in)famous for using the “heartstick” to put down dogs. One of [the state’s] most shameful “shelters…”

What does this mean? They keep the dogs one week, then euthanize each Thursday, :( so I don’t think he means they use a heart condition as a reason.

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20 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I think you may be better off not knowing.

janbb's avatar

It sounds like some invasive method – perhaps a shot to the heart – that is a cheap but cruel way to euthanize the dogs.

coffeenut's avatar

“heartstick” is a cheaper way to euthanize animals….apparently not that pleasant….....
But they can’t keep the animals forever…..also the amount of animals that need to be put down is insane…..so ya….it needs to be done….in a cost effective way….

blueiiznh's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe is correct. You dont want to know.
I support only no-kill shelters.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@coffeenut When does cheap make barbaric ok?

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Supacase : You can Google this, I did and I know why no one wants to explain it here.

coffeenut's avatar

I never said it was ok….also it is’t barbaric…..beating them to death with a baseball bat, or having a mass drowning, or electrocuting them in their cages…..Barbaric.
If you feel a need to blame someone for these deaths….blame the original owners…
-dumping animals on the street…..
-Abusing animals…that need to be taken away…
-not spade or neutering their pets
.....and so on….
Then no support for shelters that take in the animals…..and not being able to find someone to adopt them….
It’s not ok…It’s necessary.

Taciturnu's avatar

I will try to explain tactfully.

Heart sticking is injecting into the heart vs. a blood vessel.

The biggest issue with this is that a dog or cat who is conscious is usually going to fight a long needle penetrating their chest cavity, and the administrator is not going to easily inject the heart. Many times other organs are punctured, and the animal will die of a secondary cause, rather than the lethal injection itself.

This is not considered a “bad” way to go if the animal is heavily sedated, and is sometimes recommended if the animal has some severe circulatory problems, but I’d bet a shelter who is doing this would not be sedating. (When I worked at a veterinary clinic, I never saw this method utilized.)

I have to say, I think it is pretty barbaric, and I don’t see it having much cost saving ability, either.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

We’re talking about taking a life, which is bad enough, but as @Taciturnu just explained, not cleanly or painlessly. That’s barbaric in my book.

coffeenut's avatar

no one tell about how fish, pigs, chickens, turkeys, cows….and other animals are “possessed”....lol

Blueroses's avatar

At our practice, I only saw “intracardiac injection” used a handful of times. Our doctors hated doing it but it was the best option for a few animals. I am talking about half-dead wild birds that people would bring in to us, small rodents or newborn, severely deformed pups or kittens.

The only reason to choose this method was if it would be more traumatic and difficult to access a good vein. Animals were always masked down with isoflurane gas before injection.

Supacase's avatar

Yeah, I can see why no one wanted to explain. :( I know I could have googled it, but I was afraid of how graphic some of the links might be.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Any chance that the place happened to be in Youngstown, Ohio? Our pound is notorious for being a heartstick facility. Lots of animal rights people raise a big fuss about it, but we haven’t had much luck in changing things.
It really is a brutal way to put an animal down. Unnecessary.

stratman37's avatar

I feel so sorry for people who run/work those shelters. Obviously they got into it because they love animals and want to do anything they can to help them, but then so much of their time and energy goes towards having to kill the thing they love! Is there any worse dichotomy than that?

Blueroses's avatar

That’s a very sensitive answer @stratman37. It’s like a forestry major who loves the wilderness and then discovers the job involves marking off areas for clear-cutting.

Unfortunately there aren’t enough resources in the world to support every shelter pet but there are more humane options for the sad but necessary population control. The “heartstick” seems to be the opposite of euthanasia (“good death” by definition)

blueiiznh's avatar

@stratman37 so right on the dichotomy. More animal fostering is needed to help this too.

rooeytoo's avatar

This is why euthansia is done, millions every day. I wish it were done in a more humane fashion but the numbers are so overwhelming they do it the easiest way for the human not the animal.

My question is why the hell is anyone allowing their dog to go unneutered? I do exempt serious show breeders who sell pups with a “return to me at any time” policy. It is the backyard breeders and the hideous amish puppy mills who should be heartsticked for bringing unwanted animals into this world just for the sake of making a quick buck. When I had animals to place, they never left my care until they were desexed because too many people want their kids to see the miracle of birth. And never let a dog go to a family unless mom is there and wants the dog because she is the one will be end up taking care of and tending to the dog.

All pets should be microchipped at birth and when one ends up in a rescue facility the breeder should be responsible for funding its euthansia. Course what would happen would be that the puppy mill owner would claim the dog, take it home and breed it if it is not desexed or shoot/drown/electrocute if it is.

Blueroses's avatar

Right on! @rooeytoo If I had $10 for every time I heard the “witness the miracle” line + $5 for every child who didn’t give a shit + $20 for each unwanted pet born from those unions… I could personally end the need for kill-shelters in my town.

TotallyPisces1975's avatar

It means to let go of something you love and to do whats right and say goodbye.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@TotallyPisces1975 : Did you read the question correctly, or the thread? The word was “hearts t ick” not heartsick, referring to a specific type of euthanasia.

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