Our Pet Euthanasia Policy

Our Pet Euthanasia Policy 

SPCA Penang will only accept unwanted animals from pet owners and members of the public with the full knowledge and understanding that the animal may be put to sleep. The SPCA abhors the practise of euthanasia, but under certain circumstances and conditions, we are forced to perform it. The public should not surrender an animal if they are unable to accept that the animal may be euthanised. Unwanted animals should only be given up to the SPCA as a last resort after every effort possible has been made by the owner to find alternative homes for them. This will greatly help reduce the burden on the SPCA. The SPCA is the only shelter that accepts all animals – be it strays, abandoned or unwanted by owners. This means  nearly 200 animals are received each month. An average of only 10 animals are found homes for each month.

Why do we practise euthanasia?

  1. Any animal that is handed to the SPCA becomes the property of the SPCA. Limited space dictates how many animals can be kept at any one time. We are only able to hold about 50-70 animals at any one time (depending on size & age). This means the SPCA is unable to keep all animals surrendered/rescued. Consideration should be made before handing the animal over. Calling a few days later to take the animal back may be too late.
  2. In determining the difficult decision whether or not to euthanise a healthy animal, the following are some factors that are carefully considered:
  • Age: Any young animals below the age of 2 months (8 weeks)
  • Diseased, sick and/or injured. Dogs with skin diseases as it takes a long time to treat. The SPCA cannot afford to treat these animals, especially when there are so many other healthy ones to keep for adoption.
  • Temperament of the animal. When the animal becomes aggressive or a nuisance.
  • Bitches that come into heat.
  • Adult animals – depending on age and potentiality of rehoming.
  • Overcrowding at shelter i.e. length of time the animal stays in the Shelter

How is euthanasia done?

The animal is humanely put down with minimum stress or suffering. The animal is given barbiturates by intravenous injection. Euthanasia is done by a veterinarian. As for the very young ones, chloroform is often used. This is performed by trained staff of the SPCA.

How you can help to avoid euthanasia?

Think before adopting or buying a pet. The lifespan of a pet (especially dogs and cats) can be more than 10 years. One cannot expect a pet or stray surrendered to the SPCA to be guaranteed a home. There is no guarantee that the animal will be kept for adoption. The pet owner must try to find a home for the animal. The SPCA does not believe in confining animals in its shelter kennels for long term as the quality of life would be severely affected. Do encourage pet owners to sterilise their pets. This will help us reduce the necessity of euthanasia. Encourage your friends to adopt unwanted animals from your local shelter and not buy animals from pet shops.

Observe the five freedoms:

  1. Freedom from Hunger and Thirst – by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.
  2. Freedom from Discomfort – by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
  3. Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease – by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
  4. Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour – by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
  5. Freedom from Fear and Distress – by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.


The SPCA is often blamed for putting animals to sleep when in fact the reality stems from:

  • IRRESPONSIBLE PET OWNERS who allow their pets to breed, thus leading to unwanted litters.
  • Pet Owners who adopt/buy and then abandon their pets when the novelty has worn off or when circumstances change.

The SPCA PENANG does not run a ‘NO KILL SHELTER’. It is an animal shelter that provides temporary housing of unwanted adoptable animals. This is no fault of the shelter, but of the previous pet owner. The public should not be mistaken by the fact that SPCA (SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS) should not be killing animals when it should be one of those preventing cruelty to animals.