A recent article by reporter Craig Malisow in Houston takes on the quality of care and level of killing in the City animal control shelter. Although the article is critical of the agency, it also includes some unfortunate characterizations about my career as a lawyer, my experience in sheltering, and the success of Tompkins County which are factually wrong. So that they are not repeated in an effort to undermine No Kill in Houston or elsewhere, I want to clarify the inaccuracies.
The municipal shelter in Porter County Indiana used to kill roughly 115 dogs and cats per month, young and old, healthy and sick, friendly and aggressive. There were even allegations of cruelty. After firing the long term director and staff, they now kill about 7 hopelessly ill animals or aggressive dogs a month. They did it overnight.
Before Redemption was released, I realized that the book would result in attempts to assassinate my character. This week I spent 90 minutes on the telephone with a reporter from Houston who asked me a lot of questions around my integrity and character. The line of questioning was based on the rumor and innuendo of No Kill detractors like Pat Dunaway in order to undermine my efforts and maintain a policy of killing in our shelters.
On January 12, 2009, no cats were killed in the Austin pound—Town Lake Animal Center—for the first time ever. But Town Lake Animal Center (TLAC) did not celebrate or put out a press release. That’s because TLAC had nothing to do with it.
As a movement, we have been willing to pass all kinds of laws such as mandatory spay/neuter to empower animal control by regulating the public’s behavior. Now that we know that laws of these kind exacerbate killing, and now that we know what is really causing the killing—shelter policies geared to killing—we need to pass laws that do the reverse: that empower community groups (volunteers, foster parents, rescue groups, feral cat caretakers, adopters, taxpayers) by regulating how animal control operates.
My website has a new look and new features. It includes a bookstore, a virtual shelter tour, and more. It also includes an integrated blog. As a result, the current blog at nathanwinograd.blogspot.com will no longer be updated.