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Destroying, castrating or spaying animals
07-07-2007, 03:00 AM (This post was last modified: 05-13-2013 02:52 PM by Director Michael.)
Post: #1
Destroying, castrating or spaying animals
BS"D

Hello Rabbis and all,

My family and I have a 12 year old pet dog that is beginning to have a miserable existence due to conditions related to his advanced age. His medical problems are also causing our family stress because we don't like to see him in discomfort and his condition is unfortunately causing him to wake me up several times during the night and thus affecting my sleep. I know that animals, together with their lives, were given into the hands of mankind and so man has no right to wantonly destroy and should not be insensitive to cruelty toward animals. My questions are:

Is there any prohibition against ending this dog's life early in order to relieve him of his suffering?

If not, what is the least cruel way of ending his life?

Am I under any obligation to attempt to extend his life or temporarily improve his condition if it would come at a great monetary expense to me and my family?

Thank you,

Travis

For only with this may one glorify himself - contemplating and knowing Me, for I am Hashem Who does kindness, justice and righteousness in the land, for in these is My desire - the word of Hashem.
Yirmiyahu 9:23
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07-13-2007, 07:06 AM (This post was last modified: 07-26-2007 03:53 PM by Director Michael.)
Post: #2
RE: Destroying an Animal
Shalom Travis,

There are several facets to your question. One facet is the prohibition of cruelty to animals; another facet is "baal tashchis," the prohibition of destroying (wasting) something.

For Gentiles, a Torah prohibition of cruelty to animals applies only when the person actively causes the animal pain or torment; if the person is passive, for example not treating a sick animal or not feeding an animal, he is not considered liable for being cruel to animals under Torah Law. (However, civil laws about this might be enacted by the the secular authorities.) In a similar way, we find cases in Jewish Torah Law where an animal dedicated for sacrifice becomes unfit for the Temple alter, but yet we are not allowed to redeem it or benefit from it in any way, so it is put out in a field and not fed, and it is left there to die on its own.

Aside from the uncommon issue of unfit unredeemable sacrificial animals, if one was to actively kill an animal not for the use of its hide or flesh, etc., but just for the sake of killing it to put it out of its misery with no material benefit to a human, then one has transgressed on being wasteful by destroying one of G-d's creations wantonly. Nevertheless if it was a case of preventing the animal from harming others (e.g. if the animal became rabid, or demented and violent in its old age), then one would be allowed, and even obligated, to kill it so that it would not harm humans or human property (e.g. other domestic animals). The owner of an animal is certainly responsible that his animal does not cause harm to others.

Rabbi Yitz
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07-25-2007, 11:44 AM (This post was last modified: 07-26-2007 04:05 PM by Director Michael.)
Post: #3
Destroying pests
rabbiyitz Wrote:There are several facets to your question. One facet is the prohibition of cruelty to animals; another facet is "baal tashchis," the prohibition of destroying (wasting) something.

For Gentiles, a Torah prohibition of cruelty to animals applies only when the person actively causes the animal pain or torment ... if one was to actively kill an animal not for the use of its hide or flesh, etc., but just for the sake of killing it to put it out of its misery with no material benefit to a human, then one has transgressed on being wasteful by destroying one of G-d's creations wantonly.

What about pests (i.e. flies, mosquitoes, ants, mice, etc.)? I had a fly get into my house and now there are quite a few. I've been trying to shoo them out a window, which has worked well, but there are still more in the morning. Can a Noahide kill them with a flyswatter or rolled up newspaper or should (s)he use insecticides or flypaper?

Thanks,
Donny
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07-26-2007, 03:58 PM (This post was last modified: 07-26-2007 04:05 PM by Director Michael.)
Post: #4
RE: Destroying pests
Yes, a Noahide is allowed to kill pests which make him uncomfortable, at-risk or annoyed by entering his living space. The pests may be killed by any convenient means, but they should not be needlessly tortured. For example, if possible a quick-kill mouse trap should be used, instead of something like a glue trap which kills the immobilized mouse by thirst and starvation. It is permitted to keep a cat which will kill mice.
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07-26-2007, 04:03 PM (This post was last modified: 07-26-2007 04:10 PM by Director Michael.)
Post: #5
Pests and my cat
ProudNoachide Wrote:Would it be OK to attract or bring flys or other bugs in or to buy animals for my cats to enjoy (hunting and) eating in my apartment? Is it cruel to the pests and animals if I did that? I am making my cats happy and giving my cats a better standard of living. I do it for their enjoyment and emotional health and not only to remove the pests from my house. They have commercial cat food to eat as well. And it is possible that my cats may "choose" not to kill and/or eat the pests that I bring in. What shall I do?
Thank you!

This is not forbidden, since it is the cat that is killing the pests. But if the cat is already well-fed by other means, it does show a certain lack of compassion. Consult your expert veterinarian for additional options for keeping your cats happy, emotionally healthy, and living the good life.
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02-29-2008, 08:55 AM
Post: #6
Question Why is it wrong to "fix" animals?
There is an overpopulation of cats and dogs already, why is wrong to fix them?
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03-01-2008, 08:36 AM (This post was last modified: 03-01-2008 08:38 AM by Director Michael.)
Post: #7
RE: Why is it wrong to "fix" animals?
BS"D

G-d did not give permission for humans to harm animals unless it is for some useful purpose that a person will benefit from. If you want to keep a pet but you don't want it to produce offspring, you can just make sure to not give your pet an opportunity to breed. If there is some practical beneft that you personally will gain from having the sterilization operation performed on the animal, then it is OK. For example, you might want to stop your male cat from damaging things around your house by repeatedly spraying them and creating bad odors, IF you are having that problem.
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04-02-2008, 01:13 PM
Post: #8
Unwanted Pets
My parents have two cats at their house that have been in the family for about 12 years. Because of damage to property caused by the cats, and a general unwillingness to continue caring for them, they want the cats out of the house, and there is no one else in the family with the ability to take them.

So I have two questions relating to this situation:

1. Who is considered the owner of the cats and therefore responsible for them? My brother and I are the ones who initially brought them home some 12 years ago, but after we went off to college and began living in places that didn't allow pets, they've been living at that house, and under the care of my parents, for most of their lives. And it is my parents that have to deal with them now since neither my brother nor I are in a position to take them. So who must make the decision about what happens to them?

2. If we are unsuccessful in finding a suitable adopter for them, what are the implications of giving them to the local animal shelter? As I understand it, they don't set specific time limits, but since these cats are older, they will most likely not be adopted and therefore have to be put down once more space is needed for new, younger arrivals. Is it considered cruelty to animals, or "destroying one of G-d's creations wantonly," to leave older, unwanted, but not necessarily sick and dying pets with a shelter, knowing they have a chance of being adopted, but most likely euthanized?

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

PL
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04-11-2008, 12:28 AM (This post was last modified: 04-11-2008 12:42 AM by Director Michael.)
Post: #9
RE: Unwanted Pets
novanoahide Wrote:My parents have two cats at their house that have been in the family for about 12 years. Because of damage to property caused by the cats, and a general unwillingness to continue caring for them, they want the cats out of the house, and there is no one else in the family with the ability to take them.
So I have two questions relating to this situation:

1. Who is considered the owner of the cats and therefore responsible for them? My brother and I are the ones who initially brought them home some 12 years ago ...

From your account of the history of this situation, you would be justified if you left the responsibility for the cats with your parents, since they have already accepted practical responsibility for these pets for many years. If they claim that the cats belong to you, you can remind them that you abandonded your ownership of the cats years ago. Of course they have the option to seek secular legal advice about that if they want to. But if the situation starts to get contentious, you should consider the merit you will have in being careful to honor your parents.

If it is just a problem that the cats are damaging your parent's property, they can be de-clawed for this reason, or humanely confined to an area where they won't be able to cause damage.

novanoahide Wrote:2. If we are unsuccessful in finding a suitable adopter for them, what are the implications of giving them to the local animal shelter? ... Is it considered cruelty to animals, or "destroying one of G-d's creations wantonly," to leave older, unwanted, but not necessarily sick and dying pets with a shelter, knowing they have a chance of being adopted, but most likely euthanized?

If you leave them at an animal shelter where there is a reasonable probability that they will be humanely treated and eventually adopted, you can rely on that probability to remove your parents from responsibility for the lives of the cats, if they leave you with no other acceptable choice.

Our overseeing Rabbi, Rabbi Moshe Weiner, says it appears that a person has no permission from G-d to perform a “mercy killing” of an animal. This means that if one sees an animal that is sick or injured, even it if will surely die, he should not kill it just from the desire to end its suffering. If there is a practical benefit the person can legally derive from some part or all of the animal's carcass, it is OK to kill the animal and follow through with that purpose.
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04-11-2008, 03:16 AM (This post was last modified: 04-15-2008 04:22 PM by Director Michael.)
Post: #10
Castration of sheltered pets
Michael,

You said, "If you leave them (cats) at an animal shelter where there is a reasonable probability that they will be humanely treated and eventually adopted, you can rely on that probability. . ."

At my local animal shelter, they castrate every animal brought to them. Would it be alright to take a male animal to such a shelter?
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