The Beaufort County pound has a new boss, Todd Taylor, who has worked there for the past 5 years as an animal control officer.
I figured it’s a perfect time to write him a letter asking for his outcome statistics (2011 numbers were not reported to NCDA&CS) and maybe getting him to take a look at the No Kill Equation … and while I’m at it, what about that heinous, barbaric gas chamber? Here’s an excerpt from my letter to him:
The article in the Beaufort Observer mentioned that you don’t like the part of your job where you kill animals. That’s good to know, because perhaps it means you would be open to considering an alternative. There is a proven program to eliminate population-control killing that is currently being used with great success in open-admission public shelters just like yours in more than 50 communities across the US. The program is called the No Kill Equation, and you can read about it here. (I am also attaching a PDF file of a primer called “No Kill 101”).
Many of these communities are quite rural, much like Beaufort County, and six of them are just north of us in Virginia (Charlottesville, Fluvanna County, King George County, Lynchburg, Powhatan County and Williamsburg). Another rural Virginia community, Amelia County, is working on being that state’s seventh community to end population-control killing of healthy and treatable shelter pets. You can read about all of these communities here.
Most importantly for a small-budget shelter, many of the programs in the No Kill Equation are more cost-effective than impounding, warehousing and then killing animals. Some rely on private philanthropy, as in the use of rescue groups, which shifts costs of care from public taxpayers to private individuals and groups. Others, such as the use of volunteers, augment paid human resources. Still others, such as adoptions, bring in revenue. And, finally, some, such as neutering rather than killing feral cats, are simply less expensive both immediately and in the long-term, with exponential savings in terms of reducing births.
I have attached a PDF file of a publication called “Dollars and Sense” that describes No Kill’s cost effectiveness in detail (also available for download here).
A final issue I’d like to raise is your use of the gas chamber as a killing method. The gas chamber is a throwback to a less civilized time when it was introduced by humane societies as an improvement over far more brutal ways of killing animals, such as drowning, shooting and beating, and has been denounced as inhumane by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, the National Animal Control Association, and the American Humane Association. Use of the gas chamber has been banned in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Maine, Maryland, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming. Louisiana’s ban will go into effect in Jan. 2013. Beaufort County’s next-door neighbor, Craven County, discontinued the used of the gas chamber at Craven-Pamlico Animal Services last spring. Person County manager Heidi York has announced that their gas chamber will be phased out by July 2013. And the interim manager of the Sampson County pound has announced her desire to get rid of that facility’s gas chamber as well. Will you join this movement toward progress and ban the use of the gas chamber in your facility?
If you’d like to write a (respectful and polite) note to Beaufort County’s new animal control chief (other possible topics include asking him to actually list some pets for adoption on Petfinder or Adopt A Pet, the two most-used pet adoption sites, or maybe expanding their open hours to increase adoptions) you can send it to him at: firstname.lastname@example.org. More contact information for him is available here.