Category Archives: No Kill

Lincoln County commissioners vote to adopt no-kill policy; Rowan activists protest gas chamber

Lincoln County took a step forward Monday when commissioners voted unanimously to adopt a No Kill policy at the county shelter.

According to a report in the Charlotte Observer, the initiative to push Lincoln County to adopt the programs of the No Kill Equation was led by a group of animal advocates who say they have committed more than 1,000 volunteer hours to the effort. The county will seek donations, grants and sponsorships to fund the initiative.

If Lincoln County succeeds it will be the second No Kill community in North Carolina. North Carolina has a very successful No Kill community in Polk County. The Foothills Humane Society, which holds the animal control contract for Polk County (and parts of northern Greenville and Spartanburg counties of South Carolina), had a 98.95% save rate in 2012, up from 96.55% in 2011. The Lincoln County shelter had dog and cat kill rates of 55.23% in 2012 and 52.93% in 2011.

In Rowan County Monday, dozens of animal advocates demonstrated against the use of of carbon monoxide to kill the county’s shelter pets. Advocates also presented a petition with more than 9,000 signatures to county commissioners and spoke during the public comment period of the commissioners’meeting. The Rowan County pound had a dog and cat kill rate of 47.81% in 2012, which was significantly lower than the 2011 kill rate of 76.47%.

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Lies, hypocrisy and death

There is a great hypocrisy in the humane movement. While shelters decry the public’s irresponsibility, shelters reject responsibility for the animals in their care. And while they tell the public not to treat the animals as disposable, they treat animals exactly that way by killing them-and literally disposing of their bodies in landfills. In fact, they will even deny that they are killing. The Humane Society of the U.S. held a workshop on “euthanasia” at their national sheltering conference in March of 2006. According to the speaker,

“We’re not; we’re not killing them… in that ‘kill’ is such a negative connotation. It’s… we’re not killing them. We are taking their life, we are ending their life, we are giving them a good death, we’re humanely destr- whatever. But we’re not killing. And that is why I cannot stand the term ‘No Kill’ shelters.”

Animal shelter professionals from coast-to-coast applauded in agreement, but more disturbing is the nation’s “euthanasia” expert professing an Orwellian logic: killing is not killing, killing is kindness. And when you deny all responsibility, the impetus to change your own behavior disappears. ~ Nathan Winograd, Irreconcilable Differences

An animal facility that kills a significant portion of the animals that come in is not a “shelter.” It’s not a “humane” society or an animal “protection” society, nor is it preventing cruelty to animals. It’s a pound.

If your local pound’s kill rate is higher than its live-release rate, then make no mistake, it’s primarily in the business of pet killing. It’s a pet-killing facility. North Carolina has a lot of pet-killing facilities.

When organizations like the Humane Society of the United States and the North Carolina Voters for Animal Welfare give “Shelter We Love” awards to pounds that kill more animals than they protect, they are saying: “We love pet killing facilities.”

Some of these pet-killing facilities shove the animals into a metal box designed to suffocate them to death, in which, according to accounts, they “gasp for breath, their insides burning. They claw at the floor and throw themselves against the walls of the chamber in an attempt to get out.” When the HSUS and NCVAW give “Shelter We Love” awards to  such pet-killing facilities, they are saying “We love gas chambers.”

The pet-killing facilities and their defenders try to make you to believe that they have no choice but to kill massive quantities of animals. They eagerly propagate the myths that “pet overpopulation” and the “irresponsible public”  “force” them to kill pets.

Oh, except we are not supposed to call it killing. They want folks to think that what they are doing is merciful and kind, so they say they “euthanize” the pets, or “put them to sleep.” Because killing animals would be bad.

Euthanasia means “the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.”  Killing healthy and savable pets, i.e. at least 90 percent of the animals that enter shelters each year, is not euthanasia.

And it’s completely unnecessary. Currently, at least 83 communities (and counting) in the United States have ended the killing of healthy and savable pets in their shelters. (Seven of these communities are just to the north of us in Virginia: Albemarle County, Arlington, Charlottesville, Fluvanna County, King George County, Lynchburg and Powhatan County have all achieved No Kill success.)  They did it by implementing programs and partnerships that keep animals out of the shelters in the first place or get them out (alive) as soon as possible after they come in.

In the face of the growing success of life-saving shelters, how can anyone justify the killing that continues in almost all NC pounds?*

It’s quite simple: they lie. They falsely claim that open-admission and animal-control shelters cannot be No Kill. An example from the FAQ on the APS of Durham (2011 kill rate: 68.23 percent) web site: “Many no-kill (or limited admission) shelters sharply limit the number and type of animals they will take. If they’re near capacity, they’ll refuse to take in additional animals, forcing the owners to find another place for the animal.”

Open-admission No Kill shelters do have pet-retention programs designed to keep pets in their homes whenever possible. Or some, like the Lynchburg Humane Society, ask pet owners if they can wait for an open space before surrendering their pets. But open-admission No Kill shelters don’t flat-out refuse to take owner surrenders. Makena Yarborough, director of Lynchburg Humane Society wrote: “No, not everyone waited and honestly not everyone could wait. There were situations where, for the sake of the pet or due to a lack of options, we couldn’t ask the pet owners to wait.”

The claim that open-admission shelters cannot be No Kill is just a bald-faced lie.

Another popular lie, which you can see in action at the FAQ section of the Person County pound’s web site, is “There is no such thing as a No Kill shelter. We do have to humanly euthanize animals due to overpopulation, sick, injured, and unsocialized and aggressive dogs.” So how exactly is it that in 2011 the Person County pound “had” to “euthanize” almost 68 percent of the pets that came in while in the Foothills Humane Society, the open-admission animal control shelter serving Polk County, only had to practice TRUE euthanasia on 3.4 percent of their pets?

Considering the population of each county, the FHS actually took in MORE animals per capita (1 for every 9 people) in 2011 than Person County did (1 for every 16 people). So there’s no claiming that somehow “pet overpopulation” exists in Person County while it does not in Polk County. Is there something terribly, inherently wrong with the pets in Person County that’s not a problem in Polk County? Did all of the responsible, conscientious pet owners move to Polk County, leaving places like Person County stuck with nothing but the irresponsible, neglectful ones?

The real difference is that the leadership and staff of the Foothills Humane Society decided not to blame the public and pine for some magical day when everyone would spay and neuter and no one would ever relinquish a pet.  With the help of their community, they did the hard work of implementing the programs and services necessary to protect and save the lives of shelter pets.

It’s time for the rest of North Carolina’s so-called “shelters” and groups like HSUS and NCVAW, which pass themselves off as the vanguard of the “humane” movement, to ditch the blame and the lies and follow suit.

Even if we were to assume for the sake of argument that they are right, if we assume that not a single No Kill community exists, what difference would that make? None. Instead of fighting efforts to create one, they should be dedicating themselves to figuring out how to bring them into existence.~ Nathan Winograd, Their Own Worst Enemies

*The notable exception being the Foothills Humane Society in Polk County, which has a 2012 year-to-date save rate of almost 99 percent.)

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Filed under HSUS, NC county/municipal pounds, No Kill, North Carolina Voters For Animal Welfare, Polk County

Super Freaking Awesome Job Opening: Dare County Animal Control/Outer Banks SPCA

The Dare County Animal Control/Outer Banks SPCA have an opening for a “Director of Animal Care and Control.” There’s already one notable difference between that job posting and the one advertised by Sampson County last Sunday: see the word “care” in the job title?

See what other differences you can spot between the Dare job posting below and the one by Sampson County:

Director of Animal Care and Control
Dare County Animal Control/Outer Banks SPCA

The Dare County Animal Control/Outer Banks SPCA located in Manteo, NC is looking for a results focused and dynamic individual who possesses strong management skills, high energy and accountability to oversee the daily operation of its shelter. The position is responsible for the direction of staff and volunteers, including fundraising, community relations, adoptions and animal control. The ideal candidate will have a proven record of strong leadership, demonstrate excellent communication skills and represent the organization in a professional manner. The successful candidate will have strong HR, PR and teambuilding skills and will work with community members, donors and other animal welfare organizations to effectively communicate the organization’s Mission and Vision. Dedication to building a no kill organization and compassionate animal care a must. Full job posting and job description can be viewed at http://www.obxspca.org. Qualified individuals should submit a cover letter and resume via email to applicantobspca@gmail.com or by mail to Outer Banks SPCA, PO Box 2477 Manteo, NC 27954.

Contact Information: Outer Banks SPCA Dare County Animal Control 1031 Driftwood Drive Manteo, North Carolina 27954 (252) 475-5620 spca@darenc.com http://www.obxspca.org/

See one, near the end of the first paragraph? “Dedication to building a no kill organization and compassionate animal care a must.” 

But there is also something missing from this ad that’s very prominent in the Sampson ad (which is believed by some to have been written to closely match the skills and experience of incumbent interim director Lori Baxter): the Dare county ad is missing the requirement that the applicant know how to kill animals.

This just made my day.

(Thanks to Lindsay for alerting me to this job posting.)

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Filed under Dare County, NC county/municipal pounds, No Kill

Is it ethical to fly shelter pets from one high-kill zone to another for adoption?

Last Saturday, the Suncoast Animal League in Palm Harbor, FL flew 20 dogs from North Carolina and South Carolina to Tampa to adopt out as part of a Pilots N Paws rescue event.

The first thing I thought when I read this was “Wait a minute, Florida’s kill rate is not much better than in the Carolinas, right?”

Don’t get me wrong–I am very happy that these dogs have found homes, as I’m sure are the people who are working hard to get them out of the NC and SC pounds. But what about the pets being killed in the pounds around Palm Harbor? I know that No Kill is growing in Florida, but to my knowledge, it hasn’t been achieved there yet.

So I turned to the Google. Palm Harbor is in Pinellas County. In 2011, Pinellas County Animal Services killed 55 percent of the animals that came in. Just to the west of Palm Harbor is Hillsborough County, where their animal services agency killed 49 percent of the animals that came in during 2011. (Or 64 percent if you are looking at the animal control statistics. I’m not sure what the difference is.) Just to the north of Palm Harbor is Pasco County, where 59 percent of the shelter animals animals were killed in 2011.

Why is Suncoast Animal League flying dogs in instead of saving the ones that are being killed right under their noses? The news article mentions that all of the dogs were small breeds or small mixes such as Chihuahuas, poodles, Pomeranians, min pins and spaniel mixes. Generally, small dogs are considered easier to adopt by shelters and rescues than large dogs.

Now I won’t go so far as to say that Suncoast is passing up the local animals because they prefer easier-to-adopt ones (mostly because I know saying so would fill my comment queue with vitrioloic, misspelled “get your facts straight” comments), but it does make me go “hmmm …”

I know that many shelter pets from the Carolinas only get out alive thanks to rescues who fly or drive them north … often to places where the local shelters also kill lots of pets. I certainly would not wish death on the transported pets instead of the life they are getting, but I can’t help but wonder if the pets in the destination communities are dying in their place.

So I guess this is an invitation to comment (maybe not angrily, please) on the ethics of shipping pets from one kill community to another. What do you think?

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“Shelters in NC are not doing the job entrusted to them”

 

Nathan Winograd posted to his Facebook page yesterday  an infographic debunking pet overpopulation that stimulated a lot of debate and questions. The whole exchange is worth reading (particularly if you have questions or doubts about No Kill), but I thought Nathan did a great job of replying to one comment in particular.

Commenter:

Trying to get behind this — but hard to here in NC when I have 7 dogs at my house alone. I’d be happy to drive a couple of them somewhere where there aren’t enough dogs.

Nathan’s reply:

You have seven dogs because shelters in NC are not doing the job entrusted to them. They are killing in the face of lifesaving alternatives. They are causing unbelievable torture by gassing them. Many of them, like Davidson County, do not even try. In fact, they want to kill, putting cats and kittens in the gas chamber with raccoons in order to sadistically watch them fight (while laughing) before turning on the gas. And you have a Dept. of Ag which has declared war on rescue groups with the blessing of the pro-kill Humane Society of the United States office there, limiting the amount of animals who can be rescued from those “shelters.” That is a very different problem.

(Thanks so much to Alison for alerting me to the comments! Also, I hope Nathan Winograd doesn’t mind that I feel I’m on a first-name basis with him even though we have never met!)

 

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Filed under gas chamber, HSUS, NC county/municipal pounds, No Kill

Euphemisms and memory holes in Robeson County

Ron Houston just wants people to know about the No Kill Revolution. Given that the Robeson County pound killed more than 61% of the pets who came in during 2011, he thought maybe they could use the good news that there is an alternative to the killing.

So a couple of days ago Ron posted a link to the No Kill Revolution Facebook page and the No Kill 101 pdf to the Robeson County pound Facebook page. “I also shared a volunteer rescue group [Blount County Humane Society] and the success they have had and encouraged those on their page to become more involved to ultimately save more lives and that killing was totally unacceptable any longer,” he said.

I’m pretty sure Issue #3 in the decree below is about YOU, Ron:

I would like to address 3 issues that have come to light on our page in recently. First, the issue that all animals in the shelter are not listed. You are right, they are not. There are some animals that cannot be listed including those that are sick, injured, feral, quarantined, etc. Even when Lori and Sara were here, they NEVER listed every animal in this shelter. Secondly, the issue of urgents. ALL animals in this shelter are and should be considered urgent. I find it disheartening and sad that many do not want to work to save an animal until they think it is in its last days or hours. NO animal should have to be "marked" or on a "list" to be saved; ALL should be worked immediately; their lives depend upon it. Please consider all urgent from this point on. And, finally, the issue of negativity. I have reminded you several times that this page will not tolerate negativity. This page was created soley for the purpose of promoting our animals and saving lives. Negative comments about this shelter, its staff, or its supporters will NOT be tolerated. Any and such comments will be deleted and could result in you being blocked from commenting. If all the energy that is being used to tear us down was used to build us up, think of all the lives that could be saved. Wanda

You see, the Robeson County pound Facebook page has a purpose. It’s a place where pound workers use crisis marketing, a rather  disturbing and increasingly popular practice in which the people who have the direct power to choose NOT to kill the pets, or volunteers who allow no criticism of the pound or the staff, post them on Facebook with captions like “This precious baby will DIE tomorrow unless we get a commitment” (as if the pets are just dropping dead of their own accord) or, “We need to make space! We don’t want to have to pts!” (which puts the onus for killing on the rescuers if they fail to liberate the pets).  Meanwhile, very caring people work double-time to get the pets out, valiantly trying to save as many as they can. It’s unsustainable because it burns out the rescuers who, no matter how many pets they save, can’t seem to stop the endless “URGENT!” posts.

In Robeson’s case, when the rescuers don’t “work” animals well enough, they apparently get a rebuke from Wanda (presumably Wanda Strickland, adoptions coordinator) , who finds  it “disheartening and sad” that rescuers don’t want to do her job for her for free “until they think [a pet] is in its last days or hours.” Because c’mon, people, when you kill as many healthy and treatable pets as the Robeson County pound does, they are ALL “super urgent” the moment they come through the doors.

But mention that there is a positive, life-affirming way to SAVE most of the pets who enter animal shelters, and you’re on shaky ground, buster.

“Think of all the lives that could be saved,” Wanda says, if you would stop talking all that nonsense about how healthy and treatable pets should not be killed. Oops, can’t say killed … the proper term is “euthed” or even better, “pts,” short for “put to sleep.” Because what Robeson staff really do is read the pets a bedtime story and sing them lullabies until flying unicorns carry them over The Rainbow Bridge, where they are greeted by Scruffy, the dog your parents told you “went to live on a farm” when you were a kid.

This is the pound that keeps half its kennels EMPTY at all times because it’s easier to clean that way and they claim it reduces disease outbreaks. And yet …

Distemper Won't Leave Us...

Robeson pound staff killed 700 dogs between the end of March and the end of May 2012 following repeated distemper outbreaks. “Think of all the lives that could be saved,” if the Robeson County pound would only vaccinate, which is the cornerstone of distemper prevention in a shelter.

But anyway, back to Ron.  His post about a proven way to end the needless killing of healthy and treatable shelter pets was deleted.

So he posted asking why:

Ron said the third comment, by RCAS, came after a separate exchange concerning a mother cat and her kittens who had been killed by pound staff:

Someone asked about a mother cat and her kittens that they were to rescue and she was told by [a volunteer] that they had been “euthed” on Friday but that they had another mother and kittens (including a stray the mother had adopted) that “only had until Monday before PTS”. I posted “Put to sleep??!! Don’t you mean killed or murdered!” All of these posts were deleted and this is where RCAS posted “Ron any comments that reference killing, murder, slaughter, or type of euth will be deleted”. I then posted my last post “You have to be kidding me”.

That post was deleted as well, and Ron was banned from posting.

Meanwhile, the pound staff and their volunteers, like those at most pounds committed to the old, broken system of “save a few, kill the rest,” will continue (for now) pretending  that No Kill doesn’t exist or is impossible and responding to criticism by claiming the killing is inevitable until other people do Magical Thing A that will bring about change.

Fortunately, the old beliefs are falling apart under criticism and the growing success of the No Kill movement, and a trickle of communities implementing the No Kill Equation is turning into a river. Six months ago, there were 30 known communities with open-admission shelters saving at least 90 percent of the pets who came in. Two weeks ago, that number became 50! (As of this writing, the total is  currently at 52. Check the No Kill Communities blog often and see the number in the upper left keep rising.)

According to Nathan Winograd, almost half of the 800 attendees at this year’s No Kill Conference came from shelters, many of them municipal facilities facing public criticism over high kill rates. The No Kill Revolution is steaming ahead, showing that change is possible even in places like Robeson County.

For those of you who are advocates living in communities where the local shelter is still killing; who are rescuers and animal lovers that find the door to the shelter closed to you despite their claim of an open door philosophy; who work at shelters that still have a long way to go, it can be very easy to get cynical and discouraged—to hear from some of the speakers and hear about their 90%, 95% even 98% save rates; to see your situation as not hopeful by comparison; to see the road as too difficult or even impossible to climb. Take heart.

Every community that has achieved success was once steeped in killing, was controlled by a “good ole boys” network, had a media and city council that appeared indifferent. In short, a situation that seemed impossible to overcome. But they did it—individuals just like you because they refused to give in to cynicism and defeatism. Cynicism breeds inaction because it creates the illusion that the problem is insurmountable. It allows the status quo to continue: “They are too powerful.” “Our City Council ignores us.” “No one cares in the South.” ~The Adjacent Possible

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Filed under NC county/municipal pounds, No Kill, Robeson County

Defining No Kill Sheltering

Lisa B:

I’m reblogging this YesBiscuit post as-is because it clears up so many misconceptions about what No Kill is and is not. I have discussions about this topic regularly because so many people mistakenly believe that No Kill means warehousing pets in cages or kennels forever, keeping suffering pets alive despite their pain or adopting out truly vicious dogs. In fact, all No kill means is not killing healthy or treatable (medically or behaviorally) pets by harnessing the compassion, energy and resources of your community to save them.

Originally posted on YesBiscuit!:

Note: Like all posts on this blog, the following is representative of my opinions and not intended to represent the views of any shelter or other group.

Dahlia (ID #633902), an adoptable cat at Austin Animal Center in TX, as posted on Facebook.

What No Kill sheltering is about:

Saving every healthy pet who enters the shelter, regardless of arbitrary criteria such as age or body shape, by adopting them out, placing them with fosters or transferring them to rescue groups.

Saving every pet whose illness or injuries are treatable.

Saving every healthy/treatable feral cat.

Saving every healthy/treatable dog in need of behavioral modification unless -

(a)  Rehabilitative efforts have failed as determined by a behaviorist and no sanctuary options exist OR

(b)   A judge has deemed the dog too vicious to live with people.

Promptly and humanely euthanizing pets who are suffering and whose veterinarian determined prognosis…

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No Kill shelters don’t threaten to kill animals!

 

If a shelter says you can pay them money not to kill an animal, it is NOT a No Kill shelter! Not only is the Boggs Mountain “Humane Shelter” in northeast Georgia neither “humane” nor an actual “shelter,” it is also apparently a huge scam, extorting money out of animal lovers by promising not to kill animals, and then turning around and killing them anyway.

Investigation exposes humane society ‘Lucky Dog’ program 

Pet owners from hundreds of miles away drive to a small humane society in the north Georgia mountains because they think they’re saving lives, but an undercover Fox5 I-Team investigation found exactly the opposite. For $100, customers could guarantee their dog or cat at the Boggs Mountain Humane Shelter would not be euthanized.The shelter even sent emails announcing when your lucky animal was adopted.

An insider, though, says much of it was a lie.

Anyone can use the term “No Kill” as a tool to pry open pocketbooks, like Boggs Mountain has. But make no mistake: a No Kill shelter is one that doesn’t kill, period (except for the few who are truly untreatable or non-rehabilitatable, usually less than 10%). A No kill shelter NEVER threatens to kill savable animals for any reason.

By criminally manipulating people’s compassion and wishes not to see adoptable animals killed, Boggs Mountain is endangering the lives of shelter pets across the country by casting aspersions on the concept of No Kill.

There is a proven path for lasting No Kill success, currently in use at a growing number of shelters across the US. Extorting money by threatening to kill pets is definitely NOT one of the steps.

 

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Filed under Georgia, No Kill, Things that are NOT No Kill

Why North Carolina needs a Companion Animal Protection Act

When people think of animal shelters, they have an idea that animals are killed there, but usually they think it’s only after the shelter staff made a good-faith effort to find the pet a new home. That’s what they do at a shelter, right? Well, not in Montgomery County, NC, where they kill 99% of the pets that come in, making no effort to promote them for adoption. (Montgomery County pound adopted out just 12 dogs out of the 1,199 dogs and cats that came in during 2011.)

Animal shelters in North Carolina play by their own rules for the most part. There is an Animal Welfare Statute that mandates licensing and inspection of shelters. There is an administrative code that’s primarily concerned with structures, sanitation and record keeping, but does not mandate that shelters or their employees try to save the lives of the animals they are supposed to be “sheltering.”

These examples (and many more that I cannot publish here because the volunteers and rescuers who shared the stories are afraid they will be banned for speaking out) illustrate why North Carolina needs a Companion Animal Protection Act.

A growing number of communities across the country are demonstrating that it’s possible to save all but the most hoplesssly ill, injured or vicious animals that come into shelters. These shelters and communities have leaders committed to running shelters consistent with the programs and services that turn them into safe places for animals to be reunited with families or adopted into new ones. Basically, they are committed to following a blueprint for success.

In North Carolina, however, most of our shelters are reliant on killing, following the same roadmap to failure that has resulted in high kill rates for years. Meanwhile, they manage to convince the public that “there is no other way.” There is no accountability or oversight, and whether an animal lives or dies is often subject to the caprice of a director or staff member.

Rather than letting the fates of our shelter animals be subject to whim and personality, our shelter pets need to be afforded protections by law. We need regulations over shelters similar to those that govern hospitals and other agencies which hold the power over life and death:  a Companion Animal Protection Act.

A CAPA law would:

– Establish the shelter’s primary role as saving the lives of animals
– Declare that saving lives and protecting public safety are compatible
– Establish a definition of No Kill that includes all savable animals including feral cats
– Protect rabbits and other animals, as well as dogs and cats
– Require shelters to spay/neuter animals before adoption
– Make it illegal for a shelter to kill an animal if a rescue group or No Kill shelter is willing to save that animal
– Require shelters to provide animals with fresh food, fresh water, environmental enrichment, exercise, veterinary care, and cleanliness
– Require shelters to have fully functioning adoption programs including offsite adoptions, use of the internet to promote their animals, and further mandate that animal control be open seven days per week for adoption
– Prohibit shelters from killing animals based on arbitrary criteria such as breed bans or when alternatives to killing exist
– Require animal control to allow volunteers to help with fostering, socializing, and assisting with adoptions
– Ban the use of the gas chamber
– Require shelters to be truthful about how many animals they kill and adopt
– Require shelters to notify people surrendering animals about the likelihood their animal will be killed
– Provide free spay/neuter for all feral cats and for the pets of qualified low income households
–Allow citizens to sue the shelter and compel compliance if shelters fail to do so

A statewide CAPA is clearly needed in NC, but while we are working on that, advocates can work to pass similar versions affecting their own shelter at the local level.

For a PDF CAPA brochure suitable for printing or sending to officials and legislators, click here. For the full text of a model CAPA law, click here. More resources on advocating for CAPA can be found here.


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Animal advocates demonstrate at Surry County kill pound; Surry County Humane Society calls them “idiots”

Last Thursday, about 75 animal advocates demonstrated outside the Surry County Pound to protest the high kill rate* after a failed inspection revealed inhumane treatment and other deficiencies at the facility.

One of the protesters’ demands was for the pound to actually make some sort of effort to adopt out animals instead of completely ignoring the free, online services that could get pets seen by potential adopters.

The good news is that there are now a whopping EIGHT animals listed on the Surry pound’s Petfinder page, which is eight more than were listed a week and a half ago. Their Adopt-A-Pet page, however, still lists the pound as being located in Nebraska and hosts no adoptable pet listings.

Meanwhile, Jim Hazel of the Surry County Humane Society supported the high kill rate at the Surry pound. (In 2011 Surry County killed 90.7 percent of the dogs and cats they took in, making it the sixth worst pound in the state.) “I think they do a really great job with limited resources. This is the best group of people I’ve ever seen here.”

Of the anti-killing animal advocates, Hazel said “a lot of them are idiots and you can quote me on that.”

In reply to the protesters,  County Commissioner Paul Johnson basically admitted he doesn’t give a fig about the animals in the pound: “I put people first, animals come second,” he said.  “we are not putting the county taxpayers in jeopardy and spending millions of dollars to do this.” Never mind that Facebook, Petfinder and Adopt-A-Pet are all free services …

The next step for animal advocates could be to write a letter or email to the Surry County Commissioners and the county manager, and let them know that increasing adoptions and reducing killing does not have to cost the county any more money. Here’s an excerpt from the email I sent:

Commissioner Paul Johnson was recently quoted as saying he does not support “spending millions of dollars” to fix your broken shelter system. The good news is: you can fix your shelter system, increase your lifesaving success and increase community support for your shelter without spending more money. Today, there are dozens of “No Kill” communities across the US that prove lifesaving success can be achieved at “open admission” municipal shelters in urban and rural, Northern and Southern, large and small communities.

They also disprove the idea that communities with high intake rates can’t be No Kill because of the antiquated and disproven notions of “pet overpopulation” and the “irresponsible public.” Best of all, many of these communities have proven that No Kill animal control is cost-effective and does not necessarily require increased expenditures on animal control.

Quite simply, it makes more economic sense to adopt out animals, transfer them to private non-profit rescue groups and increase the number of strays reclaimed by their families, all revenue positive activities that save the costs of killing and bring in fees and other revenues.

In addition, it just makes good bipartisan politics: In a national survey, 96% of Americans—almost every single person across the social and political spectrum—said we have a moral obligation to protect animals and that we should have strong laws to do so.

If you are interested in enacting good policy and improving your local economy, then invest in lifesaving at the Surry County shelter. Given the cost savings and additional revenues of doing so (reduced costs associated with killing, enhanced community support, an increase in adoption revenues and other user fees and additional tax revenues), and  the positive economic impact of adoptions, Surry County cannot afford NOT to embrace No Kill.

You can read more about how to run a humane, lifesaving animal shelter while saving money by downloading Dollars & Sense: The Economic Benefits of No Kill Animal Control by clicking here. (The blueprint for achieving No Kill in your community can be found here.

A multi-state study found there was no correlation between rates of lifesaving and per capita spending on animal control. The difference between those shelters that succeeded at saving lives and those that failed was not the size of the budget, but the commitment of its leadership to implementing alternatives to killing. In other words: YOU, the Surry County leadership, have an opportunity to make a positive, life-affirming change, which will benefit animals AND people in your community.

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Filed under NC county/municipal pounds, No Kill, Surry County