Kim Alboum of the HSUS says take cupcakes to your pound

 

“The general public, they don’t understand all the issues,” said Kim Alboum, NC director of the Humane Society of the United States, to about 40 people, most of whom were members of the general public (the rest were Person County Animal Control employees or county administrators), who gathered for a meeting Thursday evening in Roxboro, NC.

The event was billed as a “grassroots meeting on animal welfare,” by HSUS and its front group, North Carolina Voters for Animal Welfare. Many of the attendees were Person County residents who expected to discuss issues surrounding the Person County pound, a gassing facility where 67% of the pets who came in were killed during 2011. (The gas chamber will reportedly be “phased out” over the next year. If you’d like to know why it takes a year to get rid of a gas chamber, email Person County Manager Heidi York at hyork@personcounty.net and ask her.)

“The reason I’m here tonight is that we have got to get our commercial dog breeder bill passed,” Ms. Alboum said. She also had much to say about farm animals and spent a lot of time telling attendees what kind of meat to eat (local, sustainable and certainly not veal), discussing tail-docking of dairy cows and opining about the life of pigs on a small-scale farm: “These animals live a good life and the worst day of their life is they day they get slaughtered,” she said.

How about the worst day in the life of a dog or cat in an NC pound? Well, Ms. Alboum didn’t have much to say about the animals in the state’s so-called “shelters,” because she was much more concerned with protecting the delicate feelings of the people who work in them. In fact, Ms. Alboum thinks the staff at your pound (you know, those people posing drugged kittens with cigarettes in their mouths for fun Facebook photos?) should be exempt from the expectations placed on other public employees, namely that they perform their paid duties conscientiously even in the face of challenges.

“We cannot treat our shelter staff badly and expect them to be their best and care for the animals. It’s not fair,” Ms. Alboum said. So, if your pound staff is callous, uncaring, negligent or even downright cruel to the animals that have been entrusted into their care by taxpayers, its because people aren’t nice to them. They have every right to take it out on the animals, says Ms. Alboum of the HSUS.

“I can’t tell you just how far it goes to just stop at the shelter with some cupcakes or cookies if you have an issue and say ‘let’s just chat,’ ” Ms. Alboum said. So if your shelter is needlessly killing healthy and treatable animals while blaming the “irresponsible public” for their failure or hiding behind the myth of “too many animals, not enough homes,” just take them some cupcakes! Just be sure to include several copies of “No Kill 101,” “Dollars and Sense” and the Cliff Notes version of Redemption. While you’re at it, take some to your city council members or county commissioners, too.

But back to the worst day in a shelter pet’s life. Ms. Alboum seems to think that for some it would be the day they go out the door (alive) with an “uncredentialed” rescue,1 calling that “terrifying.” Alboum is obviously of the same mindset as “catch and kill” sheltering pioneer Phyllis Wright, who famously said, “I’ve put 70,000 dogs and cats to sleep… But I tell you one thing: I don’t worry about one of those animals that were put to sleep… Being dead is not cruelty to animals.”

“It’s great whenever your euthanasia numbers are incredibly low,” Ms. Alboum said. “But we have a shelter in North Carolina where the euthanasia rates are one of the lowest in the entire state and they cannot tell you where one of these animals have gone from that shelter. Not one. There’s one group that solely pulls from that shelter and distributes them away. Thousands of animals.”2

I can tell you one place where those animals have NOT gone: into that pound’s dumpster.

What is Ms. Alboum really saying here? Some NC pounds can’t even keep track of the animals that are currently inside the shelter. Who actually expects them to know the location of all the ones who left alive? What pound has any idea where any pet goes after it is released to a rescue group? I have a foster dog pulled from my local high-kill pound through a rescue, and they really don’t care where he is unless he shows up there again. And what pound has staff who have the time or are willing to follow-up and track down animals who made it out? And why would they?

What Ms. Alboum is really doing with all her talk of “uncredentialed” rescue groups is creating a smokescreen to divert attention from the fact that HSUS really doesn’t care about the killing of shelter pets. Shelter killing is the leading cause of death for healthy pets in the United States, but HSUS and other “humane” organizations spend much effort and energy fighting against legislation that would end it. So Ms. Alboum’s job, as a representative of a group committed to defending pounds and their killing, is to direct people’s outrage away from the issue of killing and onto something else, like the rescue groups that are saving many of the animals.

Kill proponents like Ms. Alboum like to talk about all the scary bad things that COULD POSSIBLY MAYBE happen to a pet after he leaves a shelter. They cultivate the false notion that “killing is kindness” and perpetuate the fallacy that there are “fates worse than death” to try to justify the needless killing of healthy and treatable animals. Then after the animals are dead, they say, “He’s in a better place now.” Really? Did you ask him? Terrible fates could befall any of us at at any time. How many people would actually choose to be killed in order to avoid the future possibility of something bad happening to us?

Sure, there are a few unscrupulous groups who call themselves rescues and some well-meaning rescuers who over-extend themselves and end up not being able to honor their commitments. That’s not a good thing. But did any of their actions result in the deaths of at least 226,199 dogs and cats in 2011? Because that’s (at least) how many pets were killed by the staff of North Carolina pounds last year. The statewide kill rate was almost 65 percent. Many of the pets who escaped being killed did so thanks to the tireless work of rescue groups.

During the question period, a member of a breed rescue group said he’s tried to rescue dogs from many shelters who tell him “we don’t deal with rescues.” Ms. Alboum said that’s the rescue groups’ fault because they aren’t nice enough to shelter staff. “I am not going to argue you on that point. Many of our shelters have been burned. Breed-specific rescue groups will go to our shelters and treat them like they’re useless and have no knowledge about animals. And so a lot of our shelters have said, you know what, I’m not working with any of you.”

And Kim Alboum of the HSUS thinks sacrificing the lives of shelter pets to protect the delicate egos of pound staff is just fine. An organization that takes millions of your dollars every year ostensibly to protect animals is far more concerned with protecting the feelings of the people who choose to kill them (and in some cases, abuse them horrendously first.)

Ms Alboum also defended shelters who don’t allow volunteers. “One thing I have seen is that animal advocates want shelters to have a volunteer program.” Yes, indeed, because at some shelters (Granville County pops immediately to mind), volunteer efforts are the only way anyone ever sees photos of the adoptable pets in the pound or strays who may have someone looking for them. If it weren’t for at volunteers at some NC pounds, many would be tied for last place with Montgomery County, which adopted out just 12 of the 1,199 pets who came in during 2011 and had a 99 percent kill rate.

“A lot of shelters are reluctant to have [a volunteer program],” Ms. Alboum said. “There are many reasons why. Sometimes county attorneys don’t want volunteers there, sometimes the shelter director has too much on their plate and they can’t manage volunteers.” Sometimes the pound director just wants to be left alone to kill animals in peace. Ms. Alboum thinks that’s fine, and told her audience that people should volunteer in ways that involve staying away from the pound, like applying for grants or helping to “credential” rescues.

“There are so many things out there that they need that don’t involve handling the animals.” Ms. Alboum said, completely missing the point about why people want to volunteer at pounds (A CLUE: it’s because people care about the animals and would like to give them some actual attention and affection and hopefully help get them the exposure they need to get out alive). She says stay out and hands off. Unless you’re bringing the pound workers cupcakes, of course.

And so, having pretty much delivered a smackdown on anyone who thinks shelters should be saving more animals and has ideas about how that can be be done, Ms. Alboum said, with a straight face, “We all want the same thing.”

Really?

“Really. Everybody wants the same thing,” Ms. Alboum said. “The No Kill movement, the, you know, adoptable only movement,3 our shelters, our animal advocates. We all want to euthanize less animals and get animals out the front door.”

Then why do you keep standing in the way?

1  I don’t really know what this means. Ms. Alboum kept talking about “uncredentialed” rescues and an HSUS “credentialing packet” that’s available for shelters to use to make sure rescues are legitimate. She didn’t say what it entailed except that it requires tax-exempt status and reference checks. Back

2  Ms. Alboum did not name the pound, but I’ll go out on a limb and guess she means Bladen County, which had a dog kill rate of just under 11 percent in 2011. Their cat kill rate, however, is almost 64 percent, bringing their overall kill rate to 33 percent. That’s really not exemplary, but the bar is set so low in NC it makes Bladen possibly the sixth lowest kill rate in the state (hard to say because our reporting system is haphazard and unenforced).

If she’s talking about Bladen, then the group Ms. Alboum is eager to paint as possibly shady and “uncredentialed” is a 501(c)3 organization called “A Shelter Friend,” which would probably pass any “credentialing” program that required non-profit status and references from veterinarians and such. A Shelter Friend is the only way most of the pets make it out of the Bladen County pound alive. ASF provides temporary foster care, quarantining and veterinary care for animals before transferring them to other rescue groups. In 2010 they partnered with Elizabethtown Veterinary Hospital, the Bladen County Department of Social Services and Columbus Humane Society to start a low-income spay-neuter project, the first in their area. (My issue with ASF is that while posting non-stop urgent pleas to rescuers on Facebook, they don’t push for reforms at the pound itself–like adoption of the No Kill Equation–which would reduce the constant urgency that burns out rescuers.) Back

3  I have no idea what she is talking about. Back

 

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27 Comments

Filed under "Nobody WANTS to kill animals ...", cupcakes, gas chamber, HSUS, North Carolina Voters For Animal Welfare, Person County

27 responses to “Kim Alboum of the HSUS says take cupcakes to your pound

  1. I sat through this same “Grass Roots’ BS at Surry…they want to defend the shelters. Put the highest kill rates on a pedestal & label us radical loons if we do not agree to take them cookies…we should fear that they retaliate against the animals for OUR behavior?? I love the Stokes County Humane Society..they do their freaking Job, Kim Alboum cares more about sows & chickens than dogs & cats. She is brought in to put all animal advocates in their place..The Humane Society (Kim)is very good at kissing ass…a taste I doubt I will ever acquire. They will NEVER get another dime from me! I have been told by many she is a powerful woman in the animal world..and I want Puppy Mills closed down! But the most of her speech is about serving chicken salad from local farmers instead of wings at a party. Maybe she needs to spend some real time in these shelters…get to know these arrogant SOB directors that we try to make allies out of for the sake of the animals. IF SHE WORRIED AS MUCH ABOUT SHELTER PETS AS SOWS MAYBE WE COULD GET SOMETHING DONE.

    • I couldn’t believe it when she started telling us what kind of chicken to eat–complete with powerpoint slides showing how many more chickens die to feed your family of four boneless chicken breasts as opposed to whole chickens.

      • WendySW

        You go to these meetings with expectations of change & leave feeling defeated. I had to leave after I asked one question of a commissioner, if I had not left it would have been seen as here she goes again.. I was offended.

      • Shannon

        OMG of course get in my kitchen and bake .. what was I thinking? THis will solve the whole thing and repair the shelters system in NC. Silly me let me get to store after work today and get some baked goods going! thanks for the insightful information. I had my dealings with one of her foot soldiers in Harnett county in a work session board meeting. Kristen did nothing , but make my job harder as she sat there damning rescues in NC and how the shelters need to be more leery of them coming and getting their animals out. As we all are put in one category that all rescues sale animals on craigs list. We are just all so rich and making hand over fist in $$ as volunteers profiting off animals that we rescue according to her.
        Damn I didnt know that either. THANKS HSUS for all your insightful information.. Cupcakes and profit .. yes that will helps us get more in bed with the kill shelters so we can continue making this imaginery money you speak of . You really set the tone out there for all of us.

    • Laura

      I am from California and just read this article. Sounds like she has lost her way. Change.org is a website that you can generate a peition to expose her. If you posted it on facebook I know a lot of animal activists would sign it.

  2. Mary Hodges

    Sounds like Ms Alboum is full of SHIT!

  3. Mara Comitas

    I’mstunned over her saying it’s OK for shelter staff to be cruel & uncaring to the animals in their care because people aren’t nice to them (workers)! This is a truly frighteneing situation.

  4. Totally brilliant article and report Lisa. It invokes much I would like to share it is difficult to know where to start. Thank you for having the fortitude to sit through the propaganda. Almost word for word everything that woman said is from the HSUS playbook of many years ago. I may be able to decipher the footnotes. 1. Meant the ever growing threat of animal hoarders (even though they are a minute portion of the rescue world and hoarding in general is a mental illness that effects less than 1% of the population) This is part of the new party line of the Big 3 to instill more fear as a result of the burgeoning success of No Kill shelters. More on this at my recent posts on Pet Advocates Network Facebook page. She also revealed the HSUS true interest in kill shelters – making money off of them. They sell the shelters all of their “helpful” nonsense, kits and programs. ( Including how to build their own gas chamber). 3. I believe she was trying to imply no kill means limited admission. NCVAW is also a front group for Peta as you can see by looking at my early discussions with them on the Pet Advocates Network Group page on Facebook and in all reality so is HSUS. Yeah they pretend to have some minor differences but most of them are card carrying pet hating vegan Peta members too.The Big 3 really do all want the same thing, the public’s money and to keep killing – but only cats and dogs, as they have endless sympathy for all other creatures. Lastly, I couldn’t help but point out the let them eat cake condescending and pet killing celebratory gestures that seems to be the rage as was also evidenced by Peta last week by sending a basket of cookies to Shelby County’s shelter to commend them on ( as it turned out almost) losing their almost 100% No Kill success rate after four years with a card that read “Thanks for doing the right thing”. There is an interesting discussion regarding this ( and you can see me innocently taking the Petaphiles to task and getting them to admit their real motives) going on the Allison’s Gourmet Vegan Facebook page as she was bearer of these tidings of joy. Also I teared up when I saw the callous pics of the (I’m sure now dead) pets they used for their sick entertainment.

  5. P.S. I forgot to mention I have had reports that the shelter workers have no problem eating those treats or their lunches in the kill room, even between kills, and with dead pets all around them.

  6. Great article! time to call these people out on there crap.

  7. mikken

    See? Once again it’s the irresponsible public’s fault that so many shelter workers are abusive and negligent. If only we’d brought them cupcakes sooner, think of how different things would be!

    Someone is not living in the real world, methinks.

  8. lynn bowman

    Thanks for the update. I am a shelter volunteer and I don’t need cupcakes! I just enjoying taking a poor dog for a walk and giving them a little attention. I hate seeing the “parade” to the death chamber. A cupcake won’t fix that.

  9. As I am advancing in age you often would be right on matters involving recall but having been on the top of the sales hierarchy for years – I know this one. This scene still cracks me up. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xkqxh_coffee-is-for-closers_news LOL. Uh oh Lisa maybe you have pastry on the brain and you know what that means (cookies, cupcake,doughnuts) there may be a job waiting for you…. Anyway, in case anyone did not get what I meant – like HSUS for example – the parallel line for kill shelters would be “cupcakes are only for killers”

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  11. lynn bowman

    You guys are crazy! I am glad to see you can find some humor in the situation. I ain’t being sarcastic. You made me smile. I will never look at a cupcake without remembering all this tho!

  12. Mel

    I went to one of these back in June in Rowan County. And it\’s clearly the same exact spiel – chickens and cupcakes. So disheartening.

  13. Who is this woman and what planet did she come from? Sure there are some shelter workers who really feel for the animals they work with but there are a lot who are callous and indifferent at best and others just make me shudder; we have all heard stories about the ones who abuse animals. How can anyone say – even a complete – idiot that dead is a good thing? 70,000 animals? These women remind me of some of the Nazi’s and they do just as much bragging about their kill rates and as much obfuscating as to why. HSUS is a farce and having read the article and some of the truly bizarre remarks in it and practices HSUS sanctions, I am more convinced than ever that they and PETA are run by psychopaths and sociopaths. It’s terrifying to think that these people are recognized as being dedicated experts in teh animal welfare field. Why is she spouting off about what to eat? How the hell is that related to saving shelter animals. If we took photographs of piles of dead animals, abandoned collars and leashes and put them on teh front page of every major newspaper, the average American would be shocked and appalled but unfortunately we are too absorbed in Boo the Pomeranian or Honey Boo Boo or the Kardashians and we have no time for life or death issues, we more interested in cute. How incredibly sad for the animals and for us as a society that we are so vapid and mindless we annot see what is going on in front of us.

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