Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Let's Talk

Today I had some email conversation with a reporter that I have a great deal of respect for, a straight shooter of a guy. He pointed out something to me and I have decided to put it up so we can all contribute.

Should Winograd be blamed for each and every failure of a no kill shelter? Of course not, don't be silly. But indirectly he can be blamed. Winograd flys under the radar, just low enough so he can say it was not his fault. Just because a shelter doesn't pay for a consultation with him doesn't mean they can't follow his lead and program. Prior to Winograd, private shelters would declare no kill, it has been around for a long time, but not open door shelters owned by the public. Private shelters can do what they want, they don't answer to the public. But Winograd took the term "no kill" much too literally (his inexperience probably). If he were bringing something new to the table, it might be different. All he has managed to do is combine all the ideas that other people had been doing for a long time and write a book. He doesn't offer anything about how to get these things done. Just saying to fundraise doesn't tell how to go about doing it, organizing, publicity, etc. So basically, shelters are left to their own devices after his consultations. And that is why they fail.

I want to put in an excerpt from an article written in 1998. Please note in this article that there are contradictions to the story Winograd gives in this day and time. Despite a contract to the contrary, the Director of SFACC states that they euthanize the animals TURNED DOWN by the SF SPCA.

But Roger A. Caras, president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, wrote in a newsletter last year that no-kill ``is more hoax than fact.''

Caras' primary target in the article is Avanzino and the San Francisco SPCA. He wrote that Avanzino's figures of euthanizing only 200 of the 5,000 animals the San Francisco SPCA handled is deceptive.

``The no-kill shelter propagandists would like the publicized figures to stop right there,'' Caras wrote. ``However, the city facility (San Francisco Animal Care and Control) . . . handled around 18,000 animals in the same 12-month period and euthanized more than 6,700 of those.''

No-kill critics maintain that private, nonprofit shelters keep their euthanasia statistics low because they refuse to accept injured, ill or behaviorally disturbed animals, which city-run control shelters must take.

Carl Friedman, director of San Francisco's Department of Animal Care and Control, has an adoption pact with Avanzino's SPCA. Many of the dogs and cats Friedman euthanizes are ones turned away by Avanzino's organization.
``I don't think anyone really knows what `no kill' means,'' Friedman says. ``Our SPCA claims to be a no-kill facility, but yet they do euthanize animals -- of course, nonadoptable ones.

``The unfortunate thing about this no-kill philosophy is that it sets up a good guy/bad guy relationship. How many times have I heard, `I don't want to go down to your facility. You kill animals there.' I say, `Come on down, and help me not kill them.' It's no good saying we're a no-kill facility; then down the block, 6,000 animals are being killed. Everyone can see through that.

``I can't talk for whoever at the Duffield Foundation is going to hand out the money, but it probably will be Rich, and he knows what it's like. And he knows the only way to have fewer animals killed is for private and municipal (agencies) to work together. That's what he and I do now.''

So that leads to the next topic, just how many animals have died in the name of "No Kill"? This movement has pitted the humane community against itself. We need someone who can bring us together, not tear us apart such as Winograd has done. It has painted a picture of shelters that is turning the public away, thus reducing adoptions and killing animals. No one will bring their family to a shelter when they think they will see cruelty and dead animals. This painting of the shelters as death camps only serves to drive away the public but it adds to his agenda. Sometimes I wonder if this is deliberate to make his shelters look better or to force more shelters to accept his religion.

Another story out of San Francisco also contradicts statements that Winograd makes concerning mandatory spay/neuter and breed specific legislation. This is the city he brags about.
S.F. sterilization law successful in reducing pit bull population
Marisa Lagos, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Not long ago, pit bulls occupied about three-quarters of the dog kennels at San Francisco's Animal Care and Control shelter. Now, only about a quarter of the unwanted canines at the shelter are pit bulls.
The numbers of pit bull terriers and pit bull mixes abandoned and euthanized in San Francisco have fallen drastically since the city implemented a law 18 months ago requiring that pit bulls be sterilized, animal officials say.
Animal Care and Control Director Carl Friedman said the city has impounded 21 percent fewer pit bulls since the law passed than during the previous year and a half. The number of pit bulls euthanized has dropped 24 percent.
The law grew out of the uproar over the fatal mauling of 12-year-old Nicholas Faibish, who was attacked in his Inner Sunset District home by two pit bulls that had not been sterilized. The boy's mother had left him alone in the family's basement and cautioned him not to go near the dogs, one of which had bitten the boy earlier in the day.
Friedman says fewer pit bulls are being abandoned to the pound because fewer are being born, thanks to the spay and neuter requirement.
"Something is working," he said. "I wouldn't bet the house it's all because of the ordinance, but nothing else has really changed."
Animal control officers have confiscated 38 pit bulls from owners who refused to comply with the law, Friedman said. About 500 pit bulls have been spayed or neutered in San Francisco in that time, he said. Animal Care and Control does the operations, as well as the SPCA and a free mobile clinic from the Peninsula Humane Society that visits the city twice a month.
Because it was targeted only at pit bulls, the spay and neuter ordinance required a change in state law to allow cities and counties to impose "breed specific" requirements. San Francisco's SPCA, which does not believe in targeting particular breeds, acknowledged that it has seen an increase in the number of pit bulls brought in to be spayed and neutered.
"This law has been a success in reducing the euthanization of animals, and we do support that," said SPCA president Jan McHugh-Smith.
But many animal groups would prefer that the process be voluntary - a tactic they say is working in the East Bay, where pit bull advocates and animal control officials have focused on educating the public of the need for sterilization instead of making surgeries mandatory.
"We have seen it become much more difficult to own a pit bull in San Francisco, especially if you're a renter. The law has brought an added stigma to the breed," said Donna Reynolds, executive director of the pit bull advocacy group Bad Rap.
"In the East Bay we're ... supporting dog owners and offering resources to help people make good decisions, and we're seeing huge numbers pour into the doors to get their pit bulls fixed," she said.
People on both sides agree that spaying and neutering is good for pit bulls because it minimizes the number of unwanted pups and blunts aggression in males.
San Francisco's law allows animal control officers to issue a fix-it ticket to noncompliant dog owners, requiring that the pit bull be sterilized within two weeks. Animal Control officers also hand out information on low-cost and free surgeries.
Officers follow up with visits to the homes of owners who have not complied. A first violation can bring a citation and $500 fine; more than one citation can land an owner in jail and result in the city seizing the dog.
Usually, however, Animal Care and Control officers don't let it get to that point. If they return and have to write a citation, officers will take the dog from the owner - sometimes forcefully - spay or neuter the animal and return it, unless the pit bull is aggressive or officials believe it is being used in dog fights.
In the past 18 months, the agency has issued about 250 fix-it tickets, of which only 30 or so are outstanding. It has handed out 204 citations.
"We don't want to criminalize this - there are a lot of people that can't afford to spay or neuter their dogs," Friedman said. "The whole idea is not to take the animal away unless they pose a danger."
One day last week, the Animal Care and Control shelter on 15th Street in the Mission District had only three pit bulls out of about three dozen dogs total. Pit bulls still can be difficult to place with owners: Sandra, a friendly, energetic, 8-month-old brindle pit bull, has been waiting for a new home since June.
Friedman stresses that the law did not reflect an official desire to condemn pit bulls. The breed is more a problem because of the sheer number of the dogs than because of their disposition, he said.
"I've seen pit bulls make wonderful companion animals - they are good for families and children," Friedman said. "I understand where (opponents) were coming from, but I didn't want to see us going the same routes as other communities that are banning certain breeds altogether. In my mind, this is a very good compromise and it's been a success."

When I speak of his personal agenda, I am reminded of him walking away from "alleged" cruelty and suffering for the sake of writing a report. When he has been in these "death camps" and saw a dog suffering, what has he done to relieve the suffering? Did he ask staff in the shelter to do something, maybe they were unaware of the suffering. Did he call the police to report a felony cruelty? Did he do anything at that moment to relieve the suffering? No, he walked away and no one was aware until his report was submitted. He didn't give shelter staff an opportunity to explain.

Philly is such a good example of his mentality. Philly was a shining star, his hand picked director was wonderful and look how they increase the live release rate. Meanwhile back at the ranch. Animals were suffering horribly during the time he was praising Philly and his director. It wasn't until the truth was coming out that he turned like a snake and condemned Philly and his hand picked director. He is quick to condemn, not so quick to help. Did he offer to step in, just from the kindness of his heart, not to mention to make up for picking a lousy director? No, he just condemned and blamed everyone else. He said it was poor management, well, duh, remember, you picked her, praise her, and then threw her to the lions. Sounds like some of my relationships.

And Winograd loves to say that he will grant interviews to anyone including the breeders, doesn't mean he supports them. This is the ultimate slap in the face. How stupid does he think we are? If you are a supporter of civil rights, you don't do interviews with the KKK. There is an implied impression when you are interviewed by an organization that you are accepting of that organization and what it stands for. Considering that the breeding industry is now using Winograd to fight new legislation that can only help animals, I would say that he has thrown his hat in with them. I think it goes to show one thing, that he is in this for his own personal gain and that is all. Giving credibility to breeding by granting interviews, falling in with them to fight legislation, saying there is not a problem with too many pets (what a whacked out way to determine this), is undermining decades of hard work by dedicated people.

Winograd is a man of contradictions. It's not his fault, it is never his fault. And he fails to learn how to improve his program so that it just might work with his denial of failure. I see him as a wannabe. He wants to be Avanzino, he wants to be Sayers, he wants to be Wayne. He wants a Dave Duffield to put $239 million in his hands. It will never happen, Winograd.


Anonymous said...

The problem is that Winograd and his affiliate Best Friends are saying they ARE No Kill. They ARE the No Kill movement.

They say they are going out to cities around the country to "make" them No Kill

They have nearly branded the name No Kill

Even where Winograd does not consult, he still goes and tells the lies and creates the empty fantasy by giving one of his sales talks (for example, in San Antonio.)

He goes in, falsifies his successes, covers up his failures, and then tells cities and towns that if they just buy into his product, buy his book, donate to him, and do his voodoo, they will magically become No Kill.

Of course they don't! Winograd and Best Friends have never succeeded at it themselves.

But they are selling this No Kill product (and this deception) more than any other group and declaring themselves THE No Kill experts.

So, yes, at this point in time, the blame CAN be laid with Winograd.

Most sane people in the humane world understand the limitations and failures of No Kill.

But Winograd (and Best Frends) still keep trying to tell everyone it is a shining success.

HonestyHelps said...

Very nicely said. And you are right, they have never really succeeded themselves. Any time that a shelter turns an animal away they lose the title of no kill. Either the animal is killed in the road or killed at another shelter. It's six of one and half dozen of the other. TC SPCA turns animals away when they want to make an appointment. And Best Friends is noted for turning animals away, just recently in their own neighborhood, they refused needy pit bulls. But there was no media coverage of these pit bulls, no donations would be forth coming. These guys are in the wrong business, they could rake up in marketing.

Anonymous said...

What can I say, Honesty. You're an amazing writer and reporter.

In spite of the seriousness of the subject, you can really throw a treat for the unsuspecting reader:

"well, duh, remember, you picked her, praise her, and then threw her to the lions. Sounds like some of my relationships."


Truly, what a talent you are!

BTW---I'm not going to throw you to the lions. I am a lion, but on the virge of Virgo. Not to worry. I got the loyalty from the lion.

Aren't baby lions cute?

Commenter #1: What a tribute to read this.

"He goes in, falsifies his successes, covers up his failures, and then tells cities and towns that if they just buy into his product, buy his book, donate to him, and do his voodoo, they will magically become No Kill."

Sounds like all the feral cat groups selling their product, including Alley Cat Allies and their affiliates. Selling their voodoo product. "They ARE the no-kill movement. They own it and feed off each other alright."

Them's are fightin' words becaue they are the no-kill experts, raking in the dough.

--Big voluptuous deceivers and marketing experts for those grand donations. Makes your heart sink into the pit of your stomach and makes your stomach sink.

I wish there were a way these people could be fined hugely for the scams they pull on innocent bystanders. Bunch of crimminals.

Anonymous said...

I thought you might be interested in this

You now all the Tshirts, tote bags, greeting cards, merchandise that Best Friends sells online in its gift shop, web site, and mailings?

It's isn't revealed but the profits from all that merchandise sales goes personally to the FOUNDERS of Best Friends

Michael Mountain, and the rest

They personally take the profits from all the sales of things that Best Friends sells as it sells its No Kill agenda

This IS what No Kill is about, Winograd and Best Friends style.

It IS a business and a living for these people, not a charity.

Anonymous said...

So Winograd and PACCA failed in disgrace and was fired. PACCA was abusing animals. PACCA was handing out unaltered pit bulls to God knows whom. PACCA handed out 50 dogs to a known abusive hoarder who killed at least one.

Well, look here. Douglas Rae of PACCA just went and got himself another job.

In Indianapolis.

Can you access that link?

Douglas Rae is now misrepresenting his past and saying he succeeded in Philadelphia.,

And he is trying to do the same thing to animals and people in Indianapolis.

Do they have any idea how he and his Winograd crew failed in Philadelphia?

This is what seems to happen. The Winograd No Kill people fail at one shelter, and move on to another to do the same thing.

HonestyHelps said...

That link didn't work but I did go into the paper and do a search. There is a story this morning about the animal advisory committee and Rae has announced that he will stop "killing" pit bulls. Wonder how he will stop the pits from killing the children?

Anonymous said...

Sorry about the link

A google search for article "Can Pit bulls be Saved" by Heather Gillers on should bring the Rae article up

HonestyHelps said...

We need to write to Heather and encourage her to do more stories, looks like she is into the issue. I can't find her email but maybe letters to the editor.

Anonymous said...

"This is what seems to happen. The Winograd No Kill people fail at one shelter, and move on to another to do the same thing."

Bunch of animal abusing crooks.

And, yes, #4. I was very interested to read about Best Friends. It only comfirmed all my questions and fears about the Best Friends-type groups and their allies. I was always so confused, wondering what the sam-hill was going on; Why the lies.

You've got the crux here. After all is said and done:

"It IS a business and a living for these people, not a charity."

Just bursts your bubble and makes you so angry at yourself for falling into their traps. All of them. Bunch of scam artists.

Just this bit of information on your comments about this group and their affiliates inspired me to copy it and put it right up on Craigslist in answer to the guy who wants to start a no-kill shelter after I discovered my old friend didn't write it in order to make some people mad. I really thought it was a joke, so I borrowed this bit of info and amplified it in attempts to stick it to the no-kill experts out there just to get them mad.

Didn't do anything. No response.
No fights, no attacks. Rats! Oh, well.

"There is a story this morning about the animal advisory committee and Rae has announced that he will stop "killing" pit bulls. Wonder how he will stop the pits from killing the children?"

Such a good question, Honesty. Just terrifying. I wonder why the city doesn't sue these people for wreckless manslaughter?

It's so tragic on both sides. Both the children and the dogs are so innocent. It's just not their fault. Neither the children nor the dogs are to blame for the no-kill fanatics' agenda.


HonestyHelps said...

I think the statement about how will he stop the pits from killing the children is a good one. That's the question that needs to be asked, not how to stop killing the pits.

Anonymous said...

So much of this problem stems from silence. Silence of employees. Silence of volunteers. Silence of boards of directors when self-serving, failed,selfish Executive Directors or Chief Operating Officers are passed along from one animal welfare organization to another...SAY SOMETHING, PEOPLE. Rank and file employees and volunteers usually are in their positions because of their desire to care for unfortunate animals. Often, if these people speak out, their positions in their organizations are threatened. Then, not only do these people have a fear of losing their jobs, they also can experience guilt feelings of losing their jobs and thereby "abandoning" the animals they care so much about.

And by "SAY SOMETHING," I don't mean an eye roll or negative innuendo at lunch during some conference or meeting with a colleague. This isn't just some organization's bottom line at stake. It's lives. It's standing up for what is right, what is humane.