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« Finding common ground for Oreo's Law | Main | More on No Kill Communities vs No Kill Shelters »

February 16, 2010

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Fred

The Toronto Humane Society is undergoing some massive changes right now and part of the discussion is whether or not it will be a no-kill facility. There is a lot of support for the idea but, as expected, there is also a lot of opposition for probably just those reasons you mentioned. I'm getting the feeling that some of the failures associated with shelters which have rebranded themselves no-kill (those ones that don't have open admissions or who end up warehousing animals in poor conditions for much too long) without understanding that they can't have a no-kill shelter without the development of a no-kill community have given the term no-kill a bad name.

It is heartening to hear, though, that more communities are getting the idea that no-kill can't be achieved by a shelter alone and that more and more shelters are making the effort to forge links with their communities to end animal homelessness together.

Nathan J. Winograd

We need to be careful about the implications of this line of thinking. A shelter which says killing is wrong and chooses not to take in more animals than they can humanely care for is not derelict because it refuses to kill animals. And it sort of buys in to the idea that open admission shelters cannot be No Kill. I don't believe that it is the No Kill shelters who are giving it a bad name, but the killing shelters that are trashing No Kill to justify their own killing by painting it as darker.

While the goal, of course, are No Kill communities, we should welcome No Kill shelters. The animals they do take in do not get killed by animal control. And the more shelters in a community, whether open admission No Kill or limited admission No Kill, keep those animals out of kill shelters.

That's good stuff. And part of the process to becoming a truly No Kill nation.

Splitting Hairs: As an aside, HSUS did nothing to help Richmond, so it is not really accurate to describe the Richmond SPCA as the HSUS model. The HSUS model has been killing.

Robin does not criticize Wayne Pacelle so he'll use her as an example when it suits him, and ignore her when it doesn't.

Brent

Nathan,

I'm going to have to disagree. While it's great that a shelter decides that killing is no longer acceptable in their shelter, passing off the killing to someone else isn't terribly noble IMO. I want to provide a very simplified version of exactly what is happening in Kansas City (and many parts of the country) right now.

Let's say there are two shelters in the city -- both with fairly equal capacity and open admission. Both are putting down 200 animals a year.

Now lets say, Shelter A decides that it is now going to be no kill -- and one of the primary ways it is going to do so is by limiting intake. So while they take other actions to adopt out a few more animals, they limit intake, they denying animals & send 150 animals that they normally would have killed to shelter B. Now, shelter B, which was already killing 200 animals, is now killing 350 because shelter A isn't taking them in.

Meanwhile, shelter A starts promoting itself as "no kill" while shelter B gets blamed for all their killing. So donations flood to Shelter A, Shelter B ends up with fewer resources, and their killing goes up. Eventually, with the increase in animals coming in, and depleted resources, Shelter B ends up killing 450 animals in year 2 of Shelter A becoming No Kill.

Is shelter A helping by becoming "no kill"? Or hurting the cause?

If a shelter becomes no kill by limiting admission, they are indeed sending more animals to kill shelters are they not?

I don't want to criticize shelters who are no kill shelters because they have decided to save rather than kill -- but it is imperative that we take a community approach so that all animals in the community are being saved -- instead of leaving the only the few open admittance shelters in the community to deal with every other shelter's castaways.

MichelleD

The bigger point here is creating a No Kill shelter is not the end goal. Until we end the killing everywhere we aren't "No Kill". This is probably more of an issue in the KC Metro because we have about 22 different cities in one area. We're saving them all in one city and have a bloodbath 5 miles away...

Until feral cat caretakers can live without fear...until we quit killing animals just because they're not altered...until we quit ripping dogs out of their homes for having a blocky heads...until we end the killing IN OUR ENTIRE METRO we have not reached our goal. And then we still won't be done until we're a No Kill Missouri, Kansas and beyond.

Fred

I think one of the problems we have in Toronto as we discuss the future of our Humane Society is that we are getting hung up on terminology. Whether a shelter labels itself no-kill or low-kill, as long as the policies and procedures are in place that move the shelter and the community around it towards zero kill of healthy adoptable animals, what's the diff? Or maybe I'm wrong and the label is important - but at the same time it is most definitely divisive.

I'm not sure if our Humane Society ever officially labeled itself as no-kill but it sure portrayed itself that way. Unfortunately, it didn't maintain dependable enough partnerships within the local community with respect to fosters, rescues, volunteers, etc. to sustain its philosophy. Lacking sufficient resources and people, too many animals ended up sick and dying in their cages and that's part of the reason why THS management and board of directors now find themselves in the precarious position of being charged with animal cruelty amongst other things.

One fallout of the THS' way of doing things was that a lot of animals showed up at the doorstep of city animal control after their owners were turned away by the THS because of the constant overcrowding there. Animal control was then forced to deal with these animals, some of which were euthanized, and then that allowed the THS to finger point at animal control decrying their high kill rate. All highly hypocritical behaviour.

So, unfortunately, I can understand why the term "no-kill" has a bad name amongst some people in Toronto and maybe this is the case elsewhere. I absolutely believe no-kill is possible because it has been proven to be possible by, obviously, you, Nathan, and others. I'm thinking, though, that it might be more expeditious to just work on the policies and procedures, work at re-establishing community ties, work at recruiting and supporting volunteers, work at achieving the same goals we all want, than to have it stall while trying to figure out how to label what it is we're doing.

savingpets

I read this post and went away to have a think about it before commenting, because normally Brent, I think you're absolutely on the money... but this I'm not so sure.

I think it takes a new level of maturity for a shelter to say; we're taking in more pets than we can rehome. Lets release some of our animal control contracts to other organisations and start working on some proactive outreach.

"If a shelter becomes no kill by limiting admission, they are indeed sending more animals to kill shelters are they not?"

Not necessarily - if the shelter down the road is No Kill too. The whole idea of No Kill is moving away from this 'martyr' approach - we have to kill because no one else cares. And starting to share the load (and the valuable pound tenders that often go along with it), bringing into the 'system' more resources as a whole.

We have huge problems with certain shelters in Australia taking over ALL the pound contracts for entire sections of state: like 100,000s of sq kilometers. They create 'super pounds' pull in all the resources from all the councils, block other organsations from coming in and then complain that they can't possibly rehome all the pets they're receiving and kill the majority of them.

In states where these guys don't exist, there is a multi-layer approach; council pounds, feeding to local rescue, breed rescue and other shelters. The resources and load is shared.

Where you're saying 'limiting intakes disadvatages other shelters and the animals themselves' I see the truth is often exactly the opposite;

NOT limiting intakes disadvantages the growth of other shelters and rescue organsiations by monopolising community shelter resources and the pets themselves.

I know that limiting intakes is not part of the No Kill equation; but in this case strategically engaging their community on many levels could very well mean the Richmond SPCA is able to outperform (through keeping pets in homes, increasing s/n uptake and improving the rate of adoptions) their previous performance, actually saving more pets than when they were open admission.

Brent

Saving Pets,

Your final paragraph is exactly what I'm talking about. Taking a community approach really is the only way to reach the end-goal of a no kill community.

But if the Richmond SPCA is limiting intake, then at that point, it's great and all that they are not killing any animals -- but how is the Richmond COMMUNITY doing?

If they are just denying entry to any animals that they don't have room for, and they are just deferring the killing to someone else, then the situation isn't really improved -- certainly not for the animals.

The end goal should be that everyone is working together to end the killing in the entire community. Not one shelter. Everyone.

In Kansas City metro, we kill about 15,000 animals a year -- in a city that has probably a 1/2 dozen "no kill' shelters.

As an entire community, we're FAR from no kill - -in spite of having no kill shelters. I don't think our situation is all that unique as far as US cities go.

If we are ever to become a no kill COMMUNITY we have to end the idea that the no kill shelters are "saving theirs" and start looking for ways that everyone can work together to end the killing. Everywhere. We can't just defer it somewhere else.

There is a difference between a shelter limiting their admission to only what they can handle so that the animals can be saved elsewhere (which is a scenerio you layed out) and having a shelter just save what they can, and then let someone else, at the end of the line, do the killing for you. One is doing a no kill community. One is just creating a no kill shelter. That's the distinction I'm trying to make -- maybe, or maybe not, successfully.


savingpets

"There is a difference between a shelter limiting their admission to only what they can handle so that the animals can be saved elsewhere (which is a scenerio you layed out) and having a shelter just save what they can, and then let someone else, at the end of the line, do the killing for you. One is doing a no kill community. One is just creating a no kill shelter. That's the distinction I'm trying to make -- maybe, or maybe not, successfully."


Gotchya *nods*

And I don't think anyone working with modern No Kill techniques would disagree with that.

Which is why I think we're wrong about these guys; I think in their instance the words 'limiting intakes' means working smarter, not harder.

Brent

And I admit to not being intimately familiar with everything going on in Richmond. It may or may not be a good example.

But I feel strongly that we must be making a community approach to the problem...not just focus on individual shelters.

Ted Moore

I'm the captain of a lifeboat with room for 10 people. I'm in mid-ocean, and the water temperature is 35 degrees F. There are other lifeboats in the area, but they are full, barely visible in the distance, or both. I have 2 open seats.

Nathan paddles over. In he comes.

Brent swims up. Welcome aboard.

Then we spot Michelle, clinging to a barely-floating piece of debris.

Michelle is young and, we note, very pregnant.

Fred, sitting up in the bow, is 86. He's wheezy and becoming delirious. He told us earlier in the afternoon he has no family and that his health has been declining for years.

I’m the captain. I am responsible for the lives of all aboard. I have a revolver. No one else is armed.

Michelle is now clinging to the gunwale, and I have hold of her wrist. She looks me straight in the eye. So does Fred.

What do I do?

The staff of the shelter I volunteer for asks itself this question several times a day. They'd rather be building more lifeboats, or better yet making sure ships don't sink in the first place, and they spend as much time and money on these noble endeavors as they can.

But today, right now, all the kennels are full, a young collie mix abandoned in a foreclosed home has just arrived, and an 8 year-old, 3-legged pit mix in the back kennel has just started its second year looking for an adopter.

I'm in charge of the shift that day. All the collie breed rescues want purebreds. All the other "no-kill" shelters are full. The pound has a 3-day hold policy.

What do I do?

Fred

Hey Ted, well, first of all, why do I get to be the delirious old man? :)

I'm looking for the same answers you are but here's what I would do as a start. Turn on the rescue beacon. I think Brent's point about community involvement, about getting help and giving help to the community outside the shelter is key to saving lives and those relationship need to be built up over time.

At the Toronto Humane Society, there are several Pit Bull labeled dogs who have been warehoused there for a quite a while. These dogs faced several obstacles from ever getting into decent homes, the biggest of which was the bloody anti-Pit Bull law in Ontario, but the previous management's unwillingness to work with outside rescues certainly didn't help. Now with the newish management, there has been a more proactive approach to working with rescues and after several weeks of e-mails and discussions and assessment tests and fundraising and a bunch of other stuff that I'm sure I've missed, those dogs will be going to rescues where they will be free from the laws that would have had them killed in this province. They're not in homes yet, but it's a big first step.

There are loads of similar stories coming out of the city facility where I volunteer at where staff actively contact and work with rescues, fosters, transporters and other volunteers to try to place homeless pets. Working at establishing strong ties with the community may not save the animals you've got right now (or it may, who knows?) but it will most definitely help save animals that arrive in the future.

MichelleD

Is Emily in the boat? Throw her out...

This is why I work on the educational, political and legislative side of this equation. Hoping to reduce the numbers that come in the door in the first place...

sigh....

Ted

Fred:

Somebody had to be the old guy.

Your points are well taken. As are, of course, Nathan's. But the "lifeboat problem" is as old as the study of ethics, which is what we're discussing here, at its essence.

Somebody (or, in our case, some dog) is going to die, because the resouces (seats in the boat, space in the shelter/rescue/foster/pound) can only save so many. As we all work to build more boats, we have to make these decisions until they come on line, do we not?

Or do we?

Nathan Winograd

This is just a rehashing of the too many animals, not enough homes argument. And assumes that someone in the community has to be doing the killing. Not only does this ignore the data, but the success of communities that have become No Kill overnight when open admission shelters embraced the philosophy and rigorously implemented the programs. There's enough room in the lifeboat for all animals. I will be the first to criticize a shelter that does not save as many animals as possible, but I cannot accept the argument that any No Kill shelter, even "limited admission" ones, are forcing the killing onto any other shelter. No one is forced to kill. No one.

Stephanie Feldstein

Excellent post, Brent.

It's important for shelters (and rescuers) to know their own limits, but if they're not out there educating people and working with other shelters and rescuers, then they're really only saving the limited number of animals they can take in. It's better than nothing, but it's far from the No Kill dream.

Looking at the big picture is key. You don't become a no kill community by having a bunch of no kill shelters doing their own thing. It's the "community" piece that will save animals - when people stop placing blame and start working together to make it happen.

Brent

Nathan,

Completely agree that if open admission shelters embrace no kill they can become no kill quickly (not that it doesn't take a lot of work -- but it can be done).

But doesn't the very act of limiting admission basically say that there are more animals than we can find homes for?

If we can agree that open admission shelters can be no kill, and that there are enough homes for all the pets (which we do), then why the need to limit intake?

Ted

Well, I've noticed no one has accepted the challenge of my "lifeboat problem". The dilemma, however, of choosing who lives and who dies continues for shelter managers every day.

I get to influence how a major urban shelter operates, so this matters to me. Like many, I suspect, who sees first-hand what the river of unwanted pets actually looks like, I tend to think tactically, not strategically, and practically, not theoretically. This is limiting, I acknowledge. So I appreciate Nathan's and Brent's tacit advice to change the premise to resolve the unresolvable (a solution that should appeal to Star Trek fans everywhere).

Thanks for the broader perspective and the intellectual ammunition for my next discussion of how to become more sanctuary than shelter.

Brent

Ted,

It sounds like you probably run a pretty good shelter....so you are likely doing a lot of these things already. However, there are two things that shelters need to do to eliminate the number of times they have to shoot Fred. If you want to keep from having completely full lifeboats, then you need to do two things:

1) Minimize the number of people swimming in the water
2) Get more people to shore so the boats can go back and help others.

It essentially comes down to minimizing intake, and maximizing adoptions.

Minimizing intake includes things like low-cost spay/neuter clinics, targeted spay/neuter outreach in poor communities and minimizing laws that cause animals to be removed from homes unnecessarily because they are certain breeds of dogs, not altered, or over the pet limit. As well as the animals are well-cared-for and non-aggressive, they should remain in the homes if they have them already.

Meanwhile, the second part, is increasing adoptions: more convenient shelter hours, off-site adoptions, increase use of foster homes, increased collaboration with other shelters and rescues, getting rid of ridiculous, across-the-board adoption requirements (like mandatory fencing requirements) that cause people to not be able to get their pets from you.

Doing all of these things - -and doing all of them really well -- can help save Fred's life. And if you're doing all of these things extremely well -- then chances are, you're not killing too many animals in your shelter.

Fred

Alright, that's it. Next time, I'm starting my own metaphor and it's going to involve being stranded on a spaceship, limited oxygen supply and a space alien *I* control who eats people.

Brent

Sorry Fred. We will do the spaceship metaphor next time and you can be the hero -- Buzz Lightyear, Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers....you get to pick.

Thanks for being a good sport.

Jason Huff

I always believed that the shelter had a responsibility to meet the communities needs. The only way that a shelter can do that is by meeting those of the animals that we serve by treating them like pets who are going to be rehomed. In most cases, the paradigm of spay/neuter, obedience, enhanced adoptions is addressed when speaking about the no kill paradigm. The enhanced adoptions tend to be a product of increasing off site adoptions, decreasing fees, having adoption "specials."
I think that we may have missed this one important topic. Only about 15-20% of the population adopts their pets from an animal shelter. In a market that is a billion dollar industry, that is not very encouraging. In Kansas City, "about" meaning that it's hard to get real numbers from the shelters... about 20,000 pets were killed last year. We have about 2 million people in the metro. With that said, this sounds like a marketers dream. We have to look at ourselves, and try to quit blaming the public, when only about 30% of them are responsible for about 70% of the problem and we have to be willing to say what is wrong with our current system? We don't use the community as our resource, we use it as the enemy. We spend millions of dollars to house animals in uncomfortable, inappropriate enclosures where they are often forced to eat, sleep, and play where they poop and pee: a highly undesirable pet trait. I don't feel humane when I donate large junks of money to places that have no vision or insight into how a pet is to be cared for in the first place. Shelters need to stop using excuses like pet overpopulation as a reason to sit back and do nothing. The resources are already in place for us, we just have to start to use them so that this can get done.
Frankly, if the kill facility wants to argue, criticize, and belittle the no kill facility, then people just need to donate and support the no kill facility. They will eventually be able to take in more and more animals into the appropriate environment and the inappropriate one will thus be eliminated. No one said that doing the right thing was easy, it doesn't mean that you just sit back and don't do it though.
So ask yourself this: why don't 75-80% more of our pet owning public use the shelter to get their new best friend: new best friend is 60% likely to be ill/diseased; new best friend is likely to have an evaluation done by a non behavioral professional; new best friend may be covered in poo and his environment is not pleasant to the nose; new best friend lives in a place where my family and I cannot talk or think and the counselor yelled at us the whole time trying to drown out the incessant barking; shelter has collected very little data on new best friend and does not have adequate staff to assist me with my adoption.
The idea behind TPC is to take in as many animals as possible to train, socialize, and to use this teaching humane society model to role play appropriate reactions and interactions to the pet as a whole. If the community does not get a role model, it's doubtful it can change. It seems hypocritical to suggest to an adopter that caretaking the pet is a value when we have him pooping in his bed and drinking next to it. It seems like common sense, but it obviously is not. TPC pays attention to the overall medical, behavioral, emotional, and physical needs of each cat and dog. We have reduced euthanasia rates in many shelters, reducing some to no kill status itself.
Our noses aren't in the air, our heads aren't in the clouds. We believe that a better use of resources even in poorly designed shelters is what is in the best interest of the pet. We believe that cleanliness, exercise, stimulation, and well rounded nutrition is the only way to improve the fallacies that we currently have.
I agree that kill facilities must be supported when they are working to reduce deaths/killing and when they are working to increase impact through a variety of programs and avenues...however, if they aren't looking at this..if they don't know or won't share their statistics, then it's hard to make progress.
We are currently servicing about 600 pets per month. And while we are a no kill, limited admission facility...the pets that we care for long term live in a cage free, clean, non noisy environment. We are the place that you leave your pet to when you die because you know that it will be taken care of in an intimate way by true animal caretakers.
Last year, KCK ACO was euthanizing over 70%. Today, because of our efforts and HSGKC And several other amazing groups...that number is at 4%. No pit bulls died, no old dogs died, no feral cats died... We know that it isn't enough to sport the name unless we are taking responsibility for our neighbors who have not developed similar resources, but it's silly for those neighbors to feel burdened by the killing if they too aren't developing resources that are available and seem to work. The resources are there for the asking and we just need to do it now, today, so no more animals get killed.
This no kill philosophy for me came to a head in 1995 when I pitched it to a local group who thought I was half mad, then at a big shelter who hired me to make them no kill but had all kinds of problems with the extra $75,000 per year that it cost, even though the community seemed more than happy to pay it. Killing for remodels, killing for convenience, killing because someone had a bias against the animal for one reason or another....our KC shelters are euthanizing more than the average no kill and yet saying that none of them were adoptable. Is it possible that some deteriorated physically/emotionally? Is it possible that some needed different resources developed? I'm told no. And yet, some euthanize as much as 20% and then get upset when the statistics that they have out there are posted.
Last of all, I would like to point out, I have worked in facilities that killed most of their pets. I have chosen pets to be killed, and I have killed adoptable pets. I felt at the time that I had no other options, but I worked hard to make sure that I could understand the problem fully and I have developed programs that rehab and train pets quickly and an environment that is fun to show them in. Regular discussions about creating adoption resources is required here...building fences for elderly people so they can own a pet; giving free classes and behavioral assistance to pets that are abused, special needs, so that people have the support that they need to provide for them; thinking outside of the box for every single life that is entrusted to us; exhausting every resource for every one of them to the best of our ability. We are versed in nutrition, shelter training; shelter animal evaluations; adoptions; rehabilitation; etc.

I have never read or heard anywhere that limited admission shelters were missing the boat by not providing access to all of the pets that show up at their door, except from Kansas Citians. When that concept was introduced to me last year by a local advocacy group, I asked them to show me where to find that information, no one could. I'm hoping that you can. I have read Redemption many times.
What we do at The Pet Connection is develop a resource that is valid to the situation. We cannot always help every animal who needs us today, but we keep a log of those service gaps and talk about them frequently until solutions have been found and it is no longer a problem. I think that perhaps a commitment to care for well the ones that are currently under your roof might be an equally important place to start. There might be some negative outcomes, but I can't imagine that the positive would not outweigh them in the grand scheme of things.

And why isn't anyone talking about who is actually taking the paradigm and being progressive in working it to its potential in this community, why aren't we talking about what is currently being achieved and by whom: Humane Society of Greater Kansas City; HELP Humane Society; Kansas City Kansas Animal Control; Leavenworth Animal Welfare Society; Madison Animal Control; Spay/Neuter Kansas City; The Pet Connection; Purrfect Pets, Viner Rescue, many breed specific rescue groups that rescue 30-300 animals per year (ie Aussie Rescue; Missouri German Shepherd Rescue; Beagles and More; just to name a few.....these groups and their efforts are belittled because someone 5 miles down the road won't get off their rear and do the same thing for the animals in their care. It seems like another excuse. KCK ACO, an impossible, horrible siutation; turned around in less than 1 year. Targeted spay/neuter, targeted outreach, programs to match the communities needs.

Also, I have managed to keep my facility no kill, to help dozens of other facilities, even out of state, become closer to the goal and others have accomplished the goal. We have given money, time, resources, supplies, and support to these groups. When we were starting out in the Kansas City community, there was no big brother to assist us and in fact the big shelters in the area chose to hinder us if they could. I have never tried to hinder anothers program for fear that there animals may not be able to get what they needed. Perhaps being a big person with a clear agenda is also required. I once thought that everyone wanted to kill less animals and help anyone else that was completing this task, but I now know that it is only important if certain names are involved and otherwise it rarely matters.
I'm glad that other communities are there for us to look at, because otherwise KC may have never achieved this type of success. We are so close to being no kill in this area, we have a ton of resources, and very little cooperation. We need a leader and the non leaders are constantly causing friction to make sure that if they don't get the spotlight then animals will just continue to die until they can.

Brent

Jason,

I think TPC is a perfect example of a shelter doing it well. As an organization, you are doing absolutely everything in-house that is important for achieving no-kill in our community -- great pet retention programs, adoptions, low cost spay/neuter etc. Additionally, the community where you are located doesn't have a wealth of bad laws that are creating problems for other shelters either.

If every shelter in the city operated in the same fashion as TPC most of our problems would be solved.

I think it would be easy for TPC to rest on their laurels and say "we're saving ours" and not help out in the rest of the community -- which would be wrong. And fortunately you all have not. You're group is helping out many other areas and often see Melody taking in "overflow" animals from other places. It is this type of community based approach that is going to help KC get there as a no kill community.

FWIW, I think we may be closer than the number you are showing. With the success of the HSGKC program in KCK, along with the new privatized shelter in KCMO (which isn't perfect, but better) really put a dent in the number last year -- so I think we're lower than the 20,000 number.

Thanks for all you guys do over there.

MichelleD

Well, Jason is referring to KCDA/me when writes of an advocacy group saying open admission was a requirement of be a truly No Kill shelter. Obviously from Nathan's posts, I got it wrong and its not a requirement according to Redemption. I fully think it was implied with the insistence No Kill does not mean limiting admission - there are enough homes for all of them. Tompkins County was referred to in every sentence as an open admission No Kill Shelter - as is NHS. There is a dramatic difference between being limited admission and being open admission - let's not kid ourselves. There is also a difference between being a rescue v. a city contracted shelter.

And the whole limited admission issue is a huge point of opposition to No Kill across the nation. One I've always considered unwarrented as I didn't realize that was actually a part of the plan. So I don't think we're unique in our stance.

You write 'I always believed that the shelter had a responsibility to meet the communities needs.' It seems logical that if someone shows up at their city contracted shelter wanting to relinquish a dog (for whatever reason) then it should be accepted. KCK AC (relating to your example of the great work HSGKC has done) is also impounding more animals that it can serve - hence the reason they have to be sent somewhere else so those resources are tied up unable to serve their own community. All of these pit bulls have to go to a non-BSL city - like KCMO. And Lord knows KCMO (that accepts animals from ANYONE that shows up at their door) has enough of their own to deal with (also largely because of bad policy.) I digress as I'm now getting into city policy...the point being is what goes on in one city in the metro directly and indirectly effects the others.

I also don't understand why people are missing the simple point of this post. There was no admonishment of No Kill shelters and support of kill shelters - animals are still dying needlessly. Our job is not done until we save all of the animals in our community. Creating a No Kill Shelter is a step on the path but not our end goal.

And I'm still waiting for a good answer to Ted's question. What is he supposed to do until the day he gets the other boats built?

Carianne

Brent, EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT Write-Up. This is an issue in our community. The shelter I am affiliated with does euthanize animals that we deem very unhealthy or very unsafe. With that said, we are one of the only shelters in northeast OH that does adopt out bully breeds as a habit. People criticize us for our euthanasia practices while they do not take in any bully breeds or harder to adopt animals. I find this hard to digest since they won't even take these animals.

Truly, I believe no kill has to come from a community effort, where hard to adopt animals are shared through identified strengths of shelters in the area.

calmassertive

The article makes an excellent point, but then goes on to blather fluffy-think.

The excellent point is that the term 'no-kill shelter' is a scam -- my house is a no-kill shelter, by the common definition, yet I don't claim some sort of moral superiority or that I am the 'model' of how to cure animal overpopulation. The author is to be congratulated for pointing out the hypocrisy in the use of the term.

The fluffy-think that follows, however, that if we just could magically become no-kill Communities, that let's all just wish it to be so and voila, no more overpopulation, this is living in a delusion. Overpopulation is the problem in the Real world, and singing songs by the campfire holding hands isn't the solution.

The REAL SOLUTION is to educate children as to how all those cute dogs they imagine waiting for forever homes are going to be KILLED, by the MILLIONS, because people insist on breeding 'their' special dog. You want to end overpopulation, sponsor field trips to the shelter and tell all the kids the Truth when they are standing in front of the dog cages, namely that the cute dog in front of them will be KILLED tomorrow, to make room for another cute dog that will be KILLED the next day, all because someone grew up and got a dog and decided not to spay or neuter it. Show kids gruesome charred lungs and they will grow up non-smokers. Tell them the truth about spay/neuter and they won't think it's cool to make more puppies. This shattering of the 'cool' illusion, especially in places like LA where so many people think it's cool to breed the pit-bull puppies which comprise a huge percentage of the dogs euthanised, has to be taught to people when they're young, so they don't grow up to become breeders. Just passing some fantasy ordinance banning euthanasia just ignores the overpopulation reality of the situation, something every bit as pretentiously bogus as calling yourself a no-kill shelter.

An adjunct to the scared-straight solution is to focus spending on free spay/neuter services. Much money is spent on administrators rather than on animals, both at local shelters and in national organizations like the HSUS. An excellent article on improving adoption rates, reducing costs, etc, is at the following:

http://topdogblog1.blogspot.com/2009/07/how-to-find-homes-for-hard-to-place.html


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