The emotional effects of euthanizing unwanted animals on professional animal control personnel are examined using written statements of and discussions among 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 which is 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 a variety of 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 on themselves.
Owens, C.E., Davis, R., & Smith, B.H. (1981). The psychology of euthanizing animals: The emotional components. International Journal for the Study of Animal Problems, 2(1), 19-26.