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« No Kill Communities vs No Kill Shelters -- and why confusing the two endangers the movement | Main | Another Rally for Rambo and Brittany »

February 17, 2010



ALL of them? Even the incurably sick/suffering? Even the irredeemably vicious/dangerous?

Surely we don't want dogs to suffer because of a philosophy.

Shouldn't we be focusing on the many many dogs that are killed needlessly and cruelly, for being the wrong breed/size/color; having correctable temperament and health issues; killed for "lack of space" etc. ?


Yes, by ALL, I mean all healthy and treatable animals.

We will always have euthanasia -- where because of sickness and other major health problems, or because the dog is so phschologically damaged it is untreatably aggressive they must be euthanized.

You've been around long enough to know what I mean by that.

Nathan Winograd

Again, I think it misses the point. First of all, open admission shelters can be No Kill. Second, how does one shelter saying "we won't kill" force any other shelter to kill? It is a re-spinning of the idea that shelters that do not take in more animals than they feel they can without resorting to killing are somehow derelict in that they refuse to kill animals. In fact, all the animals they take in are animals that don't go to a kill shelter. Also, it comes dangerously close to the false idea that "open admission" is better even though many "open admission" shelters are little more than open doors to the needless killing of animals. While I have always supported the goal of No Kill communities, I think there is a blame being attached by Fred (unfairly) that implies that until ALL shelters in a community decide to do the right thing and rigorously and fully embrace No Kill, that somehow No Kill shelters in that killing community are violating some duty. That is just plain wrong.



By this theory, every shelter in the country could decide to become no kill tomorrow just by limiting admission. They wouldn't have to change adoption policies, or hours, or laws that take animals out of homes unnecessarily, or increase foster homes or anything else -- they could just put a sign on the door that says "we're full" and the excess animals become someone else's problem.

By this definition, my home is a no kill shelter.

I don't think anyone is saying that open admission shelters can't be no kill -- in fact, I'd argue that no one should really consider themselves no kill unless they are open admission -- which I think is completely doable.

I don't mean to imply that open admission shelters that kill are better than limited admission shelters that don't -- but honestly, if the solution is simply to say "we're full, we can't take more" and leave them to go somewhere else to be killed, then that's not solving the problem. That's just moving it. And if moving the problem is the goal, then I've missed the entire point of the movement.

At some point, in a community, someone has to be open admission and take in every animal. And as a community, it is our responsibility to be sure that every healthy and adoptable one finds a home. Killing is still dead, regardless of who is doing it. And if that isn't the goal of the movement, then I apparently missed the point.


No one is critizing for NOT killing but let's be realistic about the fate of the extra animals. This is about being honest on the state of "No Kill" in a community.

I'd like an answer to Brent and Ted's question from the last post.

500 animals

No Kill Shelter A with capacity for 150

Open Admission Shelter B capacity 150 and gets the extra 200 that A refused

What do we do with the extra 200?

Nathan Winograd

I'm reposting this because not sure if people have moved beyond the first article on this:

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.


It wasn't my intention to imply that it's an all or nothing deal for all shelters in a community to go no-kill. It was my intention in the previous post's comments, to give a real world example of where a shelter had a sort of no-kill policy which went awry because they didn't have the proper protocols in place for working with the larger community. The result was that the animals turned away by the no-kill shelter ended up at animal control which was then required to take them in and, as per their policy, ended up killing some of them. I suppose animal control could change their policy to match that of the no-kill shelter and declare itself no-kill with limited admissions and turn down those animals arriving at its door from the other no-kill facility. Now we've got both agencies no-kill and a bunch of animals wandering the streets. This line of thinking doesn't make sense to me.

I think we all know that the only way to solve this problem and achieve lower animal kills overall is to get the wider community involved so I'm not sure why we're having this debate. Seems like we're talking at cross purposes here.


Nathan, you're correct. If shelter A becomes limited admission no kill and all over flow animals then go to shelter B, shelter B does not have to kill the animals. HOWEVER, unless they also change their policies (either to limited admission "no kill" with animals wandering the streets OR to open admission with many new policies & programs in place to ensure that all healthy & treatable animals find homes) then, yes, the second shelter WILL have to kill the "extra" animals.

I haven't gotten the impression that anyone thinks that Shelter A is a "bad" shelter for taking on only the animals that they can handle and I don't think anyone is necessarily knocking the shelter B's that haven't adopted a wide range of new programs that will allow them to find homes for all of the "extra" animals so that the killing of healthy and treatable pets can stop.

I think the point has been that all of the interested animal welfare parties in a city need to work together to maximize resources and decrease killing because it's simply not fair to expect shelter B to work magic (with presumably limited resources) then point the finger at shelter B as a killing machine. [From what I've read, many of the programs that lead to an open admission shelter becoming no kill involve cooperation/teamwork with individuals of the COMMUNITY, rescues & other organizations of the COMMUNITY and with other nearby COMMUNITY limited admission no kill shelters. So in reality, often a no kill open admission shelter is the result of everyone deciding that it's time to have a NO KILL COMMUNITY network.)


I used to make the sad,(and now I realize wrong)assumption that "kill" facilities were necessary, and once bought into the pet over population BS. After adopting my mutt from KCMOs kill facility this summer, I finally opened my eyes and realized the error of my views- and how many things were sick and wrong with our communities animal welfare industry.

To get anywhere, the kill facilities and the no kill facilities must stop battling one another and come together. While I do not believe that anyone off the street should be able to adopt an animal, certain blanket rules put forth by rescues or "no kill" shelters inhibit good dogs going to a good home for arbritary reasons. Adoptions must increase in every realm of the sphere. Opening up space in our no kill groups helps save the lives of those in our kill groups. This needs to be done as often and efficiently as possible. I am still at a loss when it comes to the limited hours and lack of adoption events in KCMO. I understand that things have improved, but it still appears to be much of a death camp to me. I went there after they privatized, and the place was depressing to say the least. I can only imagine how it was before. I wanted to adopt a death row dog, and I am so happy that I did. My experience finally opened my eyes, and I was able to find a passion for something that I did not know existed in myself. I believe ALL healthy, adoptable animals should live, and that nobody has the right to play russian roulette with their lives. I believe that people need to get off their butts and stop making excuses for poor policy and down right laziness. The plight of the shelter mutt lies deep inside of me, and my lifetime goal is to make an impact and have a part in turning KC into a no kill community. I am attending the no kill conference in DC this summer, and am super excited to be in a room full of people who embrace the same ideals I do. I look forward to meeting/seeing many of you there.


Kelly, thanks for adopting and I'm thrilled that more Kansas Citians will be in DC. Should be a great conference.

I want to be sure to note that some of the no kill shelters do a really good job of not having blanket rules that limit adoptions (Many of our rescue groups, however, are terrible about it) -- but yes, the overall point is that we ALL have a responsibility to make this happen so we cease killing pets in this metro (as is the case in all other metros).

Meanwhile, not only is it important that the shelters that are doing it wrong quit making excuses, it is also important for some of the shelters that are doing it right to quit letting their city lawmakers off the hook for their bad policies that are making it harder for shelters in other parts of the metro.

Melody Kelso

I think that you have missed Nathan's point and have completely overlooked what happened in our own neighborhood with Kansas City Kansas recent accomplishments. People are not being open minded and old points are needlessly getting rationalized.What you know is not helping us here in Kansas City because you are unable to apply it. What do you do with the extra 200 animals? You use the current resources to find them homes. It's a snowball effect after that. It can be done overnight.

Who is talking about fair? Certainly not the animals that are being put to death. How about a different measurement of fair? It's not fair to kill a bunch of animals because a shelter isn't willing to do its job. It has nothing to do with magic, it has to do with an educated decision to make a reasonable plan to do what we tell our donors we are going to do. There is no other job market that I have been in that I could go to my funders and say, we fail 70% of the time, but give me money.

I will start keeping better statistics now that I know the ridiculous criteria that has been adopted. If I don't take it and kill it, someone else will have to take it and kill it. Out of the last 12 pets that I have turned away, we took in several at a later time, and only one ended up in a kill facility. The rest of them found homes, used us, kept them, etc. We help people come up with other resources and many people regardless of their situation would never take a pet to a kill facility. And I think that maybe we have completely failed to realize that our citizens are largely no kill in their thinking. Some of them will pay outlandish monies, drive to the end of the world, and keep an animal for a considerable length of time even though they have no intentions of keeping it. Why is that? They believe that their current options are not good enough. Some people don't think that we are a good enough option because of things that we do or don't do.


What's ridiculous is that the idea of a No Kill Community is so controversial to people that support No Kill.

No one said "You're not doing enough" (esp you Melody). It was "our job as a animal welfare community isn't done while the killing continues". And in Fred's example he is talking about overall killing not going down. In our Metro community I believe we are reducing the killing a LOT...but again, our job isn't done until the bad policies/laws are repealed and replaced with life saving polices everywhere.

The success in KCK did not happen overnight - that took YEARS AND YEARS of trying to negotiate with horrible leadership in KCK intent on killing. And years of HSGKC building alliances to where they had people ready and willing to help. And a No Kill Community is nowhere on the horizon for KCK with BSL and MSN in place and for KCMO with its current leadership.

So who is responsible to use their "current resources to find them homes" for the "extra 200" question? All things being equal, both have implemented the proper procedures, both have the same capacity, they will fall on the shoulders of the open admission shelter. But I think they are my responsibility as well...

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