Saturday, December 15, 2012


This is an impressive piece and the author insists we spread it around. Glad to do so.

“If you are one of those people who believes you “love” animals but continues to defend killing based on a belief in pet overpopulation, I want to understand why it is that—when the very thing which you have publicly lamenting all these years as the “tragic” cause of animal killing turns out NOT to exist—you do not celebrate, but rather, go on the attack in its defense, even as HSUS—the flagship of the killing establishment—has abandoned you in the belief. Here is my survey for you:”–Nathan Winograd
Nathan Winograd wants to know why you still don’t trust him. I mean, you love animals, right? You hate that they die in shelters–right?  Didn’t you hear? The numbers just don’t add up. There is no companion animal overpopulation crisis. There are more than enough homes for all of the animals who are needlessly dying in shelters–so why aren’t you celebrating? What’s wrong with you?
According to Winograd, the data supports his claims that there are 17 million potential homes for the 3 million animals who are currently dying in shelters’ revolving doors, thus proving that companion animal overpopulation is a myth. Winograd says that shelters all over the country have adopted his patented shelter reform principles and literally ended their euthanasia of adoptable animals–overnight. Yet there are holdouts within the animal protection community who say it’s just too good to be true and Winograd wants to know why. And now he’s asking. Sort of.
Nathan Winograd is challenging naysayers to refute his evidence–in survey form. And while his survey reads more like a cry for help than a pet overpopulation survey, you have to admit it’s an interesting way to frame his argument. So, let’s take the bait. Let’s take his survey right here, right now, together, where our answers may actually count for something. As we go through each question, think about how you would answer it.
I believe that there are too many animals (“supply”) and too few homes (“demand”). The latest data says three million dogs and cats are killed but for a home. I believe demand exceeds supply because my data shows demand is___________________ [fill in number of homes annually, please state whether this includes replacement homes (a pet dies or runs away), new homes (a first pet) and expanding homes (a second, third, etc. pet), as well as your source].
Answer: No one really knows how many animals (“supply”) are entering our shelters and being euthanized there. While some states require animal releasing facilities to report their intake and disposition of animals to state agencies, others don’t, and there is no centralized national agency counting animals. The National Council on Pet Population Study & Policy identified and mailed intake and disposition surveys to over 5,000 shelters that handled a minimum of 100 animals per year in 1994, and repeated the survey for the following three consecutive years. While the endeavor was remarkable in its ambition, the results were disappointing. With only 20% of the polled shelters responding (even after reminder cards were issued throughout the year), the NCPPSP abandoned the collection of data using survey cards, with the following disclaimer:
It is not possible to use these statistics to estimate the numbers of animals entering animal shelters in the United States, or the numbers euthanized on an annual basis.  The reporting Shelters may not represent a random sampling of U.S. shelters.”
The NCPPSP is conducting new research, tracking the intake of animals and their disposition in eighteen US shelters and weighing the data against the human populations of the communities each shelter serves. The NCPPSP is hopeful that the formula will be useful in developing hypothetical annual and quarterly shelter population tracking trends that will allow them to estimate the number of animals entering shelters in other areas, in the future. Until all shelters report their numbers to their respective states, and each state reports its data to a centralized agency (like the USDA) , we can only guess at how many animals America’s shelters handle every year, even with sophisticated hypothetical tracking formulas.
The Asilomar Accords has designed a comprehensive standardized annual statistics table to track shelter trends, but like the NCPPSP survey, shelter participation is completely voluntary, and fewer than 200 shelters are currently participating.
Estimates for combined shelter euthanasia numbers range from 3 million to 10 million, but no one really knows for certain how many animals are dying in shelters, not even Nathan Winograd. And while Winograd limits the discussion of pet overpopulation to shelter animals, adoptable animals entering shelters account for only a portion of all homeless animals (“supply”). A study published in 2003 puts the number of homeless feral street dogs (“supply”)  in America at 33 million animals. In his book “Introduced Mammals of the World: Their History, Distribution, and Influence,” John L. Long writes that several American cities have homeless feral street dog (“supply”) populations of as many as 50,000 animals. Long estimates that feral cat (“supply”) populations in the US are as high as 70 million animals.
I should probably discuss why I’m answering this question backwards.  Nathan Winograd clearly asks about the “demand” end of the equation in his survey, not the “supply” end. Well, I’m not disputing that there are 17 million American households that may potentially be persuaded to adopt a shelter animal rather than acquiring an animal elsewhere. I’m not disputing it because it’s a pet products industry survey statistic, and purchasing the data ranges in cost from several hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on which marketing research firm you purchase it from. We’ll just have to take Winograd’s word about the 17 million potential homes for now. Some of us have bills to pay.
When and only when the discussion includes all homeless animals, those who enter shelters and those who make a hard living on the streets, can  we even begin to discuss “supply” and “demand” ratios.  So the companion animal overpopulation crisis is officially back on. In anticipation of this startling new development, Nathan Winograd issued the following statement on the online survey form:
“* Even if “pet overpopulation” was real, shelter killing would still be immoral. Advancing a practical over an ethical argument has long been the safe haven for those who want to justify untoward practices. Even accepting the sincerity of the claim, even if the practical calculus was correct, protecting life that is not suffering is a timeless and absolute principle upon which responsible advocates must tailor their practices. Every action they take must be subservient to preserving life. Ethics will always trump the practical and the two are seldom so inexorably linked that an untoward action must follow some fixed practical imperative.”
Let’s move on now.
“There are roughly 70 communities representing about 200 cities and towns across the U.S. that achieved No Kill, many of them overnight simply by changing the way the shelter operated. Some of these communities are small, some large taking in over 20,000 animals a year and they cover the demographic spectrum (urban, rural, liberal, conservative, affluent, impoverished, municipal shelter, private shelter). They are not “turning animals away” as they are open admission municipal shelters. Animals are not sitting in cages and kennels for years (see No. 5, below). This is logically inconsistent with pet overpopulation since they adopted their way out of killing, many times before a comprehensive spay/neuter program was in place. Yet I can prove that pet overpopulation is real in spite of these successes because ________________________________________________.”
Answer: Let’s talk about shelter admission policies first. “Open-admission” shelters take all strays and owner-relinquished animals on presentation. Many open-admission shelters utilize “drop boxes” that make it possible for persons finding stray animals, or those wishing to surrender owned-animals to relinquish those animals outside of normal shelter hours. “Limited-admission” shelters limit their intake of animals in any number of ways. Shelters that restrict their intake to specific species or breeds are limited-admission shelters. Shelters that restrict their intake based on space availability, or that use scheduling and waiting lists for admitting animals, are limited-admission shelters. Shelters that restrict their intake to healthy animals only, excluding animals who may require humane medical euthanasia, are limited-admission shelters. Shelters that require owners surrendering their animals to pursue all alternatives prior to their relinquishment, or to pay exorbitant relinquishment fees, are limited-admission shelters. Shelters that do not take all strays and owner-relinquished animals upon presentation, are limited-admission shelters.
The “70 or so communities representing about 200 cities and towns” (0.06% of the 35,000 cities and townships in America) that Nathan Winograd refers to in this question, are shelters that have “live release” rates of 90% or higher. “Live release” rates include animals who have been adopted and who have been relinquished to rescues and fosters. “Live release” rates also include animals who are transferred to other shelters and holding facilities, both inside and outside of the community. There is no data supporting Winograd’s claims that shelters are “adopting their way out of killing animals.” Many shelters are simply transferring their way out of killing animals.
I recently polled dozens of the shelters Nathan Winograd claims are “not  turning animals away,” and many stated that they do in fact limit their admissions. Some decline to accept owner-surrenders for medical euthanasia, and many limit their admissions due to space constraints. Some schedule admissions, or have waiting lists that are weeks and months long. Several accept either stray animals or owner-surrendered animals–but not both. A few limit their admissions to animals who fit their established adoption profiles, or require a medical screenings prior to admission. All rely heavily on rescues and fosters to make room for new animals. Nearly all of the shelters I contacted were candid about their realities: They limit their admissions so that they can limit their euthanasia. They limit their admissions for the health and safety of the animals who are already in the shelter. Shelters limit their admissions to give the animals they already have the best possible shot at being adopted, but at the expense of the animals they have to turn away.
Shelters that limit their admissions can focus their limited resources on “live release” rates, but the animals they refuse to admit may still go on to be euthanized elsewhere. They are not ending the euthanasia of adoptable animals in their communities, they are simply redirecting it elsewhere.
Shelters are turning animals away, and they’re admitting to it. Over 34,000 cities and townships are euthanizing greater than 10% (the national average is 50%) of the animals their shelters admit, and there are still more companion animals than potential homes for them.
“There are communities with per capita intake rates 20 times higher than New York City that are No Kill, higher than the intake rates in most communities. This is logically inconsistent with pet overpopulation. Yet I can prove that pet overpopulation is real in spite of this information because ______________________.”
Answer: Detroit has fewer human residents than New York City and they are dealing with a homeless feral dog population between 20,000 and 50,000 animals, and a feral cat population that is even higher. These animals aren’t represented in Detroit’s shelter statistics. Tens of thousands of homeless feral street dogs in a single city is logically consistent with companion animal overpopulation.
“Since puppy mills and pet stores that sell milled animals are only in it for the money, they wouldn’t exist if they weren’t making money by selling animals. And given that they wouldn’t be selling animals if there weren’t plenty of homes available, if pet overpopulation is real, why do puppy mills and pet stores exist? My answer is ______________________________.”
Answer: There are nearly 316 million people living in the United States today, 271 million of whom own cell phones. There are over 700 million operable used cell phones in the US–roughly 2 for every man, woman, and child. The average American cell phone user replaces his or her cell phone every 14 to 18 months, even though with proper care cell phones are designed to last up to five years.  Apple cannot make iPhones as fast as Americans want to buy them. There is no cell phone shortage, yet there are factories churning out new cell phones, and there are cell phone kiosks in every American mall, and in nearly every department and electronics store. Though some consumers may be considering purchasing a used cell phone, new cell phone manufacturers and providers are constantly assessing ways to tap that pivotal market.
There’s psychology behind consumerism, and trends in consumerism are closely studied. Information about our daily consumer choices is collected and sold to marketing research firms, and then resold to retailers throughout the world. But what motivates our choices as consumers?
Motivation has been defined as “a need that is sufficiently pressing to drive the person to act.” In “An Overview of Needs Theories Behind Consumerism,” by By David Ward (PhD), and Marta Lasen (BA), it is explained that our human needs fall into several basic categories; biological and physiological needs, safety needs, belongingness and love needs, esteem needs, cognitive needs, aesthetic needs, self-actualization needs, and transcendence needs, and what we acquire and why we acquire it is based on those needs. The data shows that we consumers acquire goods and services not only based on need, but also based on our incomes and opportunities. Pet stores and breeders give us lots of opportunities to acquire pets, and they breed them with our “needs” in mind.
Americans spent 2.14 billion dollars on live pets last year, according to American Pet Products Association, Inc. The pet industry is clearly a lucrative market, and animal breeders work very hard every year to increase their share of it. If the animal protection movement were matching the pet industry’s marketing budget for promoting live animal sales, dollar for dollar, promoting adoptions, we could still only expect to have 50% of the undecided market. That’s 8.5 million potential homes–for 100 million potential animals. Best case scenario.
Who’s promoting animal adoptions on a national level? The HSUS, and PeTA. Two of the groups most attacked by Nathan Winograd for not doing enough for companion animals.
“When shelters do a good job, when they keep animals alive long enough to be adopted, when they market their animals, when they have good customer service, when they fully implement all the programs of the No Kill Equation, animals live instead of die. And they are not sitting in cages or kennels for year. Average length of stay runs from 8 to about 14 days, about the time a dog spends in a boarding kennel when his family is on vacation. My response: ________________________.”
Answer: In an important paper regarding shelter cat stays, Dilara G. Parry writes: “At the San Francisco SPCA, where I have worked for the past 6 years, a cats’ average length of stay is 21 days. However, at any given time, five to ten percent of our cats have been in our facility for longer than 90 days, a stay we consider long-term. About two percent of our cats stay past the 120 day mark. And we have had cats stay as long as 240 days. When we analyze those cats who have been here longer than 90 days, we find that 8 out of 10 had presenting behavior problems. Other factors that contribute include serious medical concerns and/or old age.”
And some animals are staying in cages and kennels for years:
“Many of our readers were heartbroken to hear the tale of an 8 year old dog languishing in a rural Missouri pound after spending her entire life in confinement. Our inbox was flooded with your questions after we shared her Petfinder listing recently, and it was apparent that many of you were on a mission to spring Hailey from her kennel at the Dogwood Animal Shelter. We’re happy to tell you that mission has been accomplished.”~ Life with Dogs
Still, many shelters that are limiting their admissions to focus on adoptions are having great success. I applaud their efforts. I get why shelters don’t want to euthanize unwanted animals, and there are many unwanted animals. Open-admission shelters deserve love too, though, because they aren’t turning unwanted animals away, leaving them to fates that may be worse than death. I say this a lot, but as long as people consider animals to be disposable property, euthanasia will be the by-product of their ignorance.
Now it’s time for you to take the survey, on your own, and with your own answers. But instead of answering it on Nathan Winograd’s website (where your valuable insight will fall on deaf ears), answer it on your own blogs and discussion forums, where it may actually do some good. Spread this survey far and wide, and ask your friends to answer it for themselves. Oh, and I encourage you to be as emphatic as you want. Your CAPS LOCK is welcome here.


Anonymous said...

Read this several weeks ago and commented. It is a sound piece of information. Unfortunatley most of his followers will never see or read it. Hopefully however with its continued distribution enough peole will take a look so that it will make a difference. I found it very interesting that their are no reliable statistics about shelter populations available much less stray and feral populations so any conclusion he draws about their being enough homes is simply not true as no one knows how many homes would truely be needed.

Anonymous said...

I read this several weeks ago and believe it should be shared far and wide. I found it especially interesting that there are no relaible statistics on shleter pet populations much less stray populations. Consequently for no kill to say ther are plenty of homes for all is simply not based on any reliable facts and does a huge diservice to those trying to actually work the problem. Of course wrking the problem is not realy thier goal so no surprise her I guess.

Anonymous said...

What Winograd is issuing here is what is called in public relations and marketing sleaze terminology as a "message testing survey."

He and the breeder industry is trying to guage how their lies and propaganda has succeeeded and how it has failed.

He and the professional, big business breeder lobbyists that hire him are trying to figure out what LIES they need to develop and tricky language and propaganda they need to use to trick the No Kill rescuers into continuing to be the janitors for the overbreeding, overpopulating BREEDER INDUSTRY such as the AKC puppy mills, the pet stores, the online pet dealers, the dog fighters and the others that use pets for profit and overbreed and fill our shelters.

When the gullible pet rescuers that these breeders are trying to trick pass along to Winograd's breeding industry bosses what their concerns are, and where the breeders have failed to tell the right lies to trick the rescue community, the breeder industry through Winograd will RE_TAILOR new lies in hopes of being successful at tricking people.

This is just further proof that Winograd represents big business and animal profiteers.

He is just the sleazy face of their propaganda, avoiding regulation and responsibility, while the breeders hide behind him and hope they can lie their way out of responsibility for the overpopulation they created.

Message testing surveys, propaganda planners. The oil companies do it, the tobacco companies do it, the liquor industry, all the big business slime trying to figure out what lies to market to people to fend off responsibility

Pet breeding is BIG BUSINESS

This BIG BUSINESSMAN representative and lobbyist, Winograd, is using big business public relations and marketing tricks to try to trick mostly naive women with good hearts who don't know they are being manipulated by rich big business and professional liars

Expect to see businessman Winograd come up with new lies to protect his sleazy tax cheat breeder industry.

He laughs at No Kill pet rescuers as he lies to them.

Anonymous said...

Well results don't lie. So I will be interested in keeping my eye on two shelters this spring as the intakes pick up. One is Austin which will need to raise $75K or so to update the 50 year old Town Lake facility to hold more animals despite a new 12 million dollar facility being filled up in almost no time. The other is Rockwall Texas which has been no kill since roughly August with two majotr disease outbreaks and was privatized under the premise that the new organization could do a better marketing job. Animals held even during this slow time have contiued to increase despite the "new" marketing efforts and the shelter coordinator resigned in November after a record 12 weeks on the job. Note that the only experience the "rescue" had was their closed admission rescue group prior to being given a $400K contract to run the open admission shelter. For the record I do not wish for either one to fail but I believe at a minimum we will put to rest the "no cost" component of the no kill movement and are well on the way to putting to rest the "no over population component". I hope I am wrong because it is the animals that will suffer with those failures.

HonestyHelps said...

Anon:00 Each No Kill failure is bittersweet. The animals are paying the price for this war, for sure.

Anonymous said...

What is sad too is that this new shelter coordinator that came in with the rescue group for Rockwall to run the shelter was all full of energy and excited about the new opportunity. Just the type of person you would want. But in a short period of time I believe she saw the hand writting on the wall as likes on Facebook failed to materialize into volunteers or fosters. Each week they have to "beg" for 3-4 people to go to their offsite adoption event despite over 700 likes on their Facebook page and ohs and ahh's at every cute puppy picture they post. But when they post for help pretty much silence as all the ohs and ahhers vanish. It is painfull to watch and to realize the people who are trying to do the right thing with a flawed philosopy are suffering too. Guess that is what happens when politics trumps sanity.

HonestyHelps said...

Anon:37 I invite you to write about the situation in Rockwall and include any links. Send in as a comment and I will convert it to a blog post. Just a suggestion since you seem to be more apprised of it than I am. You can send it with a handle for yourself, no names, unless you are game.

Anonymous said...

This maybe a bit off topic but does relate to numbers so maybe it will fit here or you can put elsewhere. I received a post on my Facebook page from Mr. Clinton via No Kill about a shelter in Henderson County Kentucky that had been able to lower the EU rate substantially and was a new example of how no kill could be done almost over night! Title of the article is "We're rocking: After first year shelter reports lower euthanasia rate, higher adoption and rescue numbers". Outstanding, as an animal lover I am always glad to hear about any organization or group that has been able to save more animals regardless of what type of shelter it is!

2010: 731 or 40% Euthanised
2011: 862 or 45% Euthanised
2011: 65 or 5% Eutnanised

I guess if I had stopped reading there I could have gone to bed warm and cozy with a new sucess story. Unfortunatly, I read on. According to the article the biggest reason for the lowered euthanasia was that the shelter simply stopped taking animals from other counties! Now I can understand why one county does not want to support another counties animal population but it appears (although not stated) that some of the other counties may not have a shelter! So it begs the question where did all these animals go? Do I see limited admission here?

More facts:
2010 141 or 8% rescued
2011 214 or 11% rescued
2012 294 or 24% rescued

Now I am certainly not against rescues but where did the animals go? I know it is a short article so I don't expect full details but a rescue at best is simply a transfer of numbers from the shelter to another group with no knowledge of the final out come. While I hope for the best I am not sure I would put all these animals in the "saved" column.

More facts:
2010 824 or 45% adopted
2011 685 or 36% adopted
2012 695 or 56% adopted

Wow adoption percentage is way up outstanding! Or is it. The number of animals that have been adopted to a forever home have actually decreased since 2010 by some failry substantial percentages and numbers. I actually kind of like 2010 and 2011 better since more animals were adopted out as opposed to not being taken in or being "rescued" with an unknown fate.

I mean no criticism to those at that shelter as I am sure they are working hard and I do ot know them. But is it just me or is no kill celebrating a sucess that has actually resulted in a lowering of the adoption rate by restricting intake and transfers to rescues for an unknown fate?

HonestyHelps said...

Anon:50 No Kill has always been a numbers game plus a lying game. It's up to us to dig for the truth and I have yet to find No Kill to be truthful about anything.

Anonymous said...

Is that pile of crap from Ryan Clinton the Lying Austin sleaze lawyer that the city council told off when he presented his pack of lies created by Rick Berman's puppy mill squad?

He should have his license reviewed because he seems unable to tell the truth and unwilling to disclose who is funding him.

Anonymous said...

"Rescued" means that Ryan Clinton and his gang of thieves either gave them to a hoarder or lab animal dealer to kill, or let them die of disease in a cage or kill each other. That way they don't go on the euthanasia numbers. Death by torture doesn't count according to Winograd no kill.

That is what Winograd and his lackeys got caught doing in Philadelphia, letting animals die or giving them to torturers to kill so they could artificially screw with the euthanasia numbers.

Anonymous said...

Henderson County KY already got caught giving animals to hoarders who killed them, I'm almost certain. The hoarder was arrested for animal cruelty. Does anyone remember this?

They were giving out unaltered pets to any lunatic that would take them in an effort to be no kill

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to watch Austin this spring as the intakes pick up. New shelter is already full, a significant budget increase request was not granted by the City after multiple years of double diget increases and Austin Pets Alive needs to come up with $75K or so just to make the old facilty they are using safe enough to house a few more animals. Additionally, the City finally got smart and will not allow the import of fuzzy wuzzies to prop up Austin Pets Alive funding and adoption numbers. We will proably never see it but it would be interesting to see the total numbers by year of the animals now "Warehoused" in Austin at taxpayer expense. Remeber "no kill is no cost and there are not too many animals you just need to beat on the shelter enough so they adopt them all out since shelters are full of lazy people and they do not care." At least that is what I read, lol.

Anonymous said...

Seriously? All I ever see is you spewing a bunch of lies and hate. I have yet to see one SINGLE shred of proof to back up any of the outrageous claims you make about Nathan. Just because you sit and say it day after day, does not mean that it is true. He has never taken $ from breeders. He does not support puppy mills. You people are delusional. He is the best thing to ever happen to animals, period.

HonestyHelps said...

Anon:02 Seriously, are you that stupid? The proof is all around you, take the fucking blinders off.

He was caught red handed protecting a cruel puppy mill while in Tompkins. That is a fact. The Ithaca Journal called him out on it, the Ag Dept. told him he failed to do his job. Nathie's response was that he was reducing the numbers gradually. What does that mean? He left poor dogs and puppies in those conditions so he could look good on paper.

I ask you when was the last time you saw Nathie at a disaster or busting a dog fighting ring, or busting cruel puppy mills. The answer is NEVER, EVER HAVE YOU SEEN NATHIE DO ONE FUCKING THING TO HELP ANIMALS.

Now you take your misguided, uninformed opinions about this vile and evil man and put them where the sun don't shine.

Unknown said...

"Potential homes?" Many of the homes supposedly available belong to people who don't want or shouldn't have pets at all.
Pet pushing is wrong. People getting pets because they're advertised as "good stress relief" or "fun" are usually disappointed.
My husband and I laughed so hard at the commercial on TV about pets "relieving stress."
We had a dog that ate our couch, but that wasn't the half of it. The cats the ran around like lunatics all night long were far from stress relieving.
The dog was rehomed to people with more space. One cat ran away during a move and could never be found. The other cat was given to a friend because of a move. A third cat was killed by a dog (guess the breed.)
Personally, I'm done with pets. I don't want to take care of,or grieve for, any more animals.
Not everyone wants to be an animal savior. It seems that Nathan Winograd is under the assumption that everyone with space should be adopting shelter animals.
It's expensive to have a pet and it's a huge responsibility. Where does he get off assuming every home without a dog or a cat potentially could and should have one?
The way young adults move around, they should NOT be encouraged into pet ownership. Landlords rightfully often forbid pets.
I don't like the self righteous and deluded attitude this man has.