Friday, September 19, 2008

Words That Kill

Another "blog" has a "guest" blogger who is somewhat confused about the killing term "no kill". From reading this blogger it is obvious to me that the woman has not been in the field of humane work for very long. I oppose and hate the term "no kill" and in my humble opinion, the term alone has killed more animals than necessary.

If you didn't know anything and heard the term "no kill", how would you interpret it? Just as it sounds, no killing. Wrong, even the "no kill" open door shelters have to put animals down, those that are very ill or severely injured (hopefully). So it is not true to the definition that John Q. Public interprets. Closed door shelters who pick and chose animals may not have to "kill" and thus they can use the term honestly.

The term "no kill" is most certainly deceiving to the uninformed public. This is evident in those shelters who are under the "No Kill" banner with the incredible increases in owner and public surrenders after declaring "no kill". But this "guest" blogger is either ignorant on the subject or in denial. The numbers are there for all to see. Rancho Cucamonga went from an average of 50-100 surrendered pets by the public to over 4,000 and it continues. The director of Rancho Cucamonga has pleaded in two newspaper articles in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin that the shelter is not "No Kill" in order to curb the influx of these surrenders. Rancho Cucamonga is now paying $12+ per person per year and cannot obtain "no kill". So this shows it is not a matter of money as some would claim.

I will be the first to admit that shelters throughout the country can be improved. But they have to operate within budgets and the powers that be have never allowed decent budgets, budgets that would include programs to help curb the influx or help people retain their pets. Most shelters barely make ends meet with their budgets. I have said for years that animal control didn't make the problem and they don't have the means to solve it. Yet they are blamed by "No Kill" because the ignorance and inexperience of this movement in regards to animal control and shelter.

When you tell the public that a shelter is a "kill" shelter, do you think you are helping the animals? When you describe the "horrors" in an open door shelter, do you think they will beat a path to come and "save" the animals? C'mon, we're talking the public here, they dispose of their pets without regard and we expect them to come running? They run, but the other way. They go to Petsmart and adopt. So using the negative terms such as "high kill" shelter, dog catcher, and pound only turn the public away. "No Kill" has actually pushed the public away from our shelters and thus more animals have lost their lives. Roger Caras, longtime President of the ASPCA, once was quoted as calling "no kill" as a hoax. Although the ASPCA gave up animal control to follow their mission statement and essentially became a "no kill" shelter, he preferred that they didn't use the term. Caras, who could be considered an expert on words in that he authored about 60 books and was a commentator on television, felt the term was deceiving and hurt our shelters. He felt that it took away the volunteers the open door shelters need and they would go to the "no kill" shelters. It did and does.

We, the humane community, have an obligation to help the shelters rather than turn on them. Maybe we don't agree with some things that happen at shelters but rather than broadcast them to the public, we need to work from within to change these things. How many people actually sit in budget meetings or serve on Ad Hoc committees? How many people voiced themselves at public forum during city council or county meetings? How many people "lobby" their elected officials and try to educate them on a regular basis? The "rescue" groups don't take their time to do these things. And that is another term I don't like - rescue. I don't consider taking a pet from an owner with a donation as a "rescue". I don't consider going to the shelter and picking out the cute, fluffy, adoptable animals as "rescue". I refer to these groups as adoption groups because that is what they do. Call one of these "rescue" groups to get puppies out of a storm drain in a thunderstorm and they will tell you very quick that they don't do "rescue". Only animal control does rescue in the best sense of the word. What I am trying to say is that we have sat on our duffs long enough, it is time that we, the sensible ones, to make ourselves known. Get out there and get involved in the bullshit of politics. The politicians are the ones who hold the key to getting it all.

I see the "No Kill" movement losing it's momentum. But before it does, there will be a one last effort and it will be a good one. Right now, we have the tools to fight "No Kill" but we must continue to keep as a goal to stop the euthanizing of animals because of space and time. We must educate the public as to their role in all of this and that means putting the blame where it lies, on an irresponsible public. Taking the focus off the public and their role is hurting the animals as demonstrated in the high surrenders in the "No Kill" shelters.

Unfortunately "No Kill" is making it even more hard to get the job done. Not only do we have to deal with politicians and the public, we have to deal with the ignorant people who follow this movement. That's why we have been set back into the dark ages. According to Clifton Merritt, spay/neuter has made a tremendous difference in the last 20-30 years as indicated by the numbers in shelters. But "No Kill" fights our efforts to promote spay/neuter. You have to ask yourself, who benefits from keeping our shelters in chaos. Who benefits from keeping the humane community in chaos. You know the answer.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

One Down (Philly) One To Go (NHS)

Well, finally, PACCA is out. Hopefully that means Whinograd's program is out as well.

There has been issued an RFP on short notice for animal control service in Philly. PACCA has had a lot of trouble. The State went in and found many violations in the keeping of animals. PACCA was able to clean up their act long enough to get the State to give an okay but it was still a mess. Whinograd's hand picked director ended up not being "committed" enough. So if he picks them and they fail, why does he blame the system rather than himself?

Whinograd claims that the PSPCA wants the contract for monetary reasons. Beg your pardon, but a $2 million dollar budget for handling 30,000 animals would make you run in the other direction. Rancho Cucamonga has a budget well over $2 million dollars and only handles 5,000 animals a year and they can't make his program work. Rancho is now spending $12+ per person, per year on animal control and cannot claim "no kill". Their "public" surrenders are seven times what the animal control officers bring in. The world is beating a path to their door to surrender pets because they are "no kill". You can't proclaim yourself as a "no kill" shelter when the others around you aren't. Where do you think people will want to surrender their pets, a "no kill" or a "kill" shelter? These "public" surrenders are not people picking up animals on the side of the road, they are owners wishing to avoid fees, hard looks, and lectures. And the poor pet ends up in the shelter with no history and no name. This is the legacy of Whinograd's program, needless suffering of the animals.

I predict that one day people will spit on the ground before saying Whinograd's name. It will turn out that he has done more to cause suffering for animals than anything before or after. I have learned that "No Kill" does not allow itself to see the suffering. "No Kill" has contributed to the devaluation of our pets as well. We need to be upping the value of pets, not putting them out on two for one sales. We're not selling shoes here folks. These are lives that we need to consider valuable and treat them as such. We need to make it harder to get a pet, not easier. Our disposable society throws away things they get for free or on sale.

Now only Nevada is standing and only because public records can't be gotten because of the non profit status. And I can see that it has begun for NHS the questions that they can't answer, the complaints, the firing of employees who speak out. All the things that indicate the beginning of their downfall. Only problem is that the animals will have to suffer until it is done. Has anyone looked at the poor dogs on NHS Pet Harbor. One is 15 years old, had to have been someone's pet for all that while. I can't go back and look at all the older dogs they have. You know these dogs will sit in cages for the rest of their lives, chances of getting out are slim to none. Ask yourself, would this be what you want for your pet? Not for mine.

Keep working to save our pets from this Whinograd and his cronies.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Can You Make Up Your Mind?

First I hear that shelters should turn away owner surrenders. Give those folks stern looks, a nice lecture and some brochures and send them merrily on their way to live happily ever after with their pet. Now I hear that shelters should not turn owners who are in foreclosures away and to stop blaming the public for being irresponsible. This follows on the heels of saying that one should sacrifice everything in order to keep their pets and anything less is being irresponsible.

It's so confusing. Okay, let me see if I am reading this correctly. Now you are saying that shelters should be there to help in these times of need with foreclosures. I agree with that. But when shelters are full and more coming in all day, every day, and they need space to accommodate strays to be held in case they have an owner, it only stands to reason that owners would be told that their pets are subject to euthanasia. Taxpayers cannot bear the burden of boarding animals for people who are in crisis.

So, yes, information can be given to people in foreclosure about re-homing their pets. But you and I know that there are thousands, nay, tens and hundreds of thousands of pets out there looking for homes. Of course, according to Winograd, there are plenty of homes, so one has to ask, why so many pets are still looking? Adoption groups are always full unless, of course, you have a nice donation to go along with the relinquishment of your pet. I doubt that people who are in foreclosure have nice donations to give. And the limited admission shelters are always full. So what does that leave? The open door shelters and abandonment.

The realty industry is reporting finding more and more pets left to die in foreclosed homes. This is a result of certain lines of thinking that have left the public with a bad image of open door shelters. So bad that people will actually leave a pet to die a long, lingering death rather than take their pet to the bad "pound". This new way of thinking is now killing pets by leading people to think the shelter is a bad place, worst than the fate of starvation, alone, abandoned.

I don't know about you but this is not right. I read the article by Christy Keith at and Winograd's blog and just had to say, "Make up your minds". Either the shelters turn away owner surrenders or they don't. And if they don't, with the state of budgets, the economy, and the housing market, then something has to give and that is usually in the form of euthanasia. When Keith and Winograd come back to this planet, maybe they can tell us what are they thinking or are they thinking?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Affects of the Insurance Industry on Certain Breeds

One of the biggest problems of placing dogs is the insurance industry "red lining" certain breeds. The Insurance Industry Institute has considerable information on this subject.

You might want to check your homeowners insurance policy if you have a pit bull or a rottie. You may not be covered if your dog bites the mail carrier or meter reader. The Postal Service reports over 3000 bites just last year.

According to my friend in rottie rescue, one insurance company has a list of 25 dogs they won't insure. That includes poodles and chihuahuas. My friend does ask to see a homeowners policy prior to adopting out one of her rotties. She has to turned many people away.

At this point, maybe we need to solicit the insurance industry regarding "No Kill" and how it wants to force people to adopt these "red lined" breeds. Also the insurance industry can help to bring about mandatory spay/neuter if they required dogs to be altered in order to be insured.

This is one of the biggest reasons why pits and other large dogs aren't being adopted from the shelters and one reason why so many are being turned in. With this in mind, where does "No Kill" stand? What if there are enough homes but these homes can't take a pit bull without losing the homeowner insurance? If you were a responsible homeowner and understand your insurance policy, would you adopt a pit bull and take a chance of losing your insurance? The answer is no and therefore more pits, rotties, etc., will be left in the shelters.

The Winograd program doesn't take nuances like this into account. This one item alone affects our shelters like nothing before has. And if we don't start paying attention to the insurance issue then it might be in the future that if you own a home, you can't have a dog and insurance at the same time. I feel this is the biggest factor in our fight at this point and we all need to pay attention to this issue.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I Have An Anniversary-Bow to God

Let me brag on myself, it is a one year anniversary of my book. Course the whole world is reading it and I have made lots of money. I need that money too because fewer and fewer are buying into my BS on "No Kill" so I had to do something to support myself. By the way, I now charge to speak to people and some are foolish enough to pay. Like PT Barum said, there's one born every minute and PT is definitely my hero.

My book outlines the history of animal control is this country. Course I don't give any footnotes or reference materials so one can check on my writing for themselves, don't want them doing that, might find out I "fudged" a little. Course "fudging" is my mainstay and people know that, so they give me slack.

My book, of course, tells everyone that I am the way and the Savior, there are no others before me, you will follow my commandments. (Oops, sorry, I had the bible sitting next to me) But it is true, I am the only way and I am big headed enough to say it.

I can picture now the types who are reading my book. As they sit in front of the TV eating bon-bons, haven't washed in days, and sinking lower into the sofa with the weight of their body, my book is providing hours of time to eat their bon-bons, they like books like this.

I just know that one day people will put my book on the same level as the Bible, they will proclaim me as the second coming and I will accept.

And never mind that my book didn't answer many questions as to how to accomplish "No Kill", you don't need to know that. I just put it out there and let you figure out how to force people to foster and volunteer or where all the rescues are going to come from to take the animals out of the shelters. Never mind that I forgot to add in a few things that would alter my perception that there are enough homes, and therefore there is no pet overpopulation problem.

Also the fact that I have had nothing but failures this past year has not hurt sales of my book. There's always the kooks such as the ADL-LA to threaten people into accepting me. And the hoarders, they love me too. So there will always be the outer fringe of mentally that will be there for me.

My book, "Back to the Dark Ages" is a must buy for all of you who have no idea what the problem is, for all those who breed and keep our shelters full. As long as the breeders are my buddies, I have nothing to fear. They will keep our shelters full and hopefully, I will get some work from it. Keep it up Breeders, I love you.

Another Satire by Honesty Helps.