No Kill Blog Offline

July 26, 2010 by  

I am offline from blogging until after the No Kill Conference.

For those new to the blog, here is what the No Kill Blog is all about. These are the top blogs for 2010:

The Decade That Changed Everything

Our History Through Cartoons

Biological Xenophobia

Turn Your Shelter Upside Down

Is No Kill a Bipartisan Issue?

The Tragedy of San Francisco

The Rot at the Heart of our Movement

It’s the “Can Do” Within Us That Will Save Lives

Where Have You Gone Best Friends?

The top blogs of all time are on the right under “Essential Blog Reading.”

Don’t forget to:

Read the books

Support the cause

And remember the golden rule: no more excuses, no more compromises, no more killing.

Back in August…

On the Heels of Defeat, a Great Victory

July 23, 2010 by  

For the last several months, I’ve been like a little kid, bursting to tell a very exciting secret. Today, thankfully, I can let the cat out of the proverbial bag: This morning, the Governor of Delaware signed into law the most sweeping, progressive companion animal protection legislation in the United States. The law was modeled on the No Kill Advocacy Center’s Companion Animal Protection Act and spearheaded by the non-profit No Kill shelter Faithful Friends, in Wilmington, Delaware.

Like Oreo’s Law sought to do, the Delaware Companion Animal Protection Act mandates collaboration between shelters and rescue groups. A shelter cannot kill an animal if a rescue group is willing to save that animal’s life. But that is just the beginning. It also makes convenience killing illegal—shelters can no longer kill an animal when there are available cages or the animals can share a cage or kennel with another one. Specifically, the Delaware CAPA states:

Animal shelters shall ensure that the following conditions are met before an animal is euthanized:

(i) The holding period for the animal required by this chapter is expired;

(ii) There are no empty cages, kennels, or other living environments in the shelter that are suitable for the animal;

(iii) The animal cannot share a cage or kennel with appropriately sized primary living space with another animal;

(iv) A foster home is not available;

(v) Organizations on the registry developed pursuant to §8003(d) are not willing to accept the animal; and

(vi) The animal care/control manager certifies that the above conditions are met and that he/she has no other reasonable alternative.

The law also requires posting “all stray animals on the Internet with sufficient detail to allow them to be recognized and claimed by their owners,” requires shelters to maintain registries of rescue groups willing to save lives, and requires shelters to post statistics (intake, adoption, reclaim, transfer and killing rate).

It is groundbreaking, revolutionary legislation which will save the lives of thousands of animals every year. And not only proves that No Kill advocates can successfully legislate shelter reform, but that we can do so without a single large animal protection organization being involved, a fact which begs the next logical question: why haven’t I talked about this important legislation before?

While the No Kill Advocacy Center worked with supporters on the language of the bill, we did not discuss it publicly, fearing that the large animal protection groups would work to undermine its passage, just as they did in New York, just as they did in San Francisco, just as they tried to do in California in 1998 (Hayden), and just as they try to do everywhere reform advocates are trying to end the systematic killing of animals in their communities.

We knew that the merits of the bill would be immediately obvious, in fact, common sense, to Delaware legislators, who would be inclined to pass it were there not supposed “animal protection leaders” insisting that saving animals rather than killing them is a bad idea. And we were right: because the Delaware Companion Animal Protection Act passed the legislature unanimously. I repeat: there was not a single vote in opposition, not one. Why?

To legislators, to the Delaware animal loving public, to the shelters and rescue groups who participated in the passing of this bill, there was nothing controversial about it. No fear mongering about hoarders, no fear mongering about dog fighting, no fear mongering about overcrowding, no fear mongering about costs, no fear mongering about notice requirements being unfair to small rural shelters, no fear mongering about anything. The bill mandates that animals be given every opportunity for life, and no one thought that would be a bad or controversial idea. In other words, there was no HSUS, no ASPCA, and no Best Friends. It seems that in order for shelter reform legislation to be allowed to pass, the supposed leaders of the animal protection movement itself can’t be involved.

While the law is now the most progressive companion animal protection legislation on record in this country, and can only be considered an unqualified victory for the No Kill movement, some of the No Kill Advocacy Center’s recommendations were not accepted. Nonetheless, Delaware, the first state to ratify our nation’s constitution, continues to lead the way in embracing the legislative framework necessary to ensure justice. And we will build upon this framework in the coming years to strengthen protections for animals even more.

Kudos to you, Faithful Friends, for being true to your name, and our deepest gratitude to the animal loving citizens and legislators of the great state of Delaware. One down, 49 to go.

To arms, my fellow activists, to arms! It is time to storm the state capitols with the power of our ideas, a belief in the righteousness of our cause, and the understanding that only through legal protections for shelter animals can we ever hope to end their needless killing, sustain it indefinitely, and finally build a truly humane society.

The NYC House of Horrors

July 17, 2010 by  


Thank you so much for your blog “New York City in Chaos”! I am a volunteer at ACC… Any volunteer who is caught talking about the circumstances at ACC is terminated, so PLEASE do not share where you got this information. But because of budget cuts, ACC is tremendously understaffed. And the walking program has been cut entirely, so most dogs in the main building (who are on hold or otherwise “not adoptable”) do not get walked, sometimes for days. They are trapped in their cage for days. And because the volunteer program is in disarray and has been for a year now (though the formal suspension happened only recently) there aren’t enough volunteers to step up and make up the slack. All we get are a lot of emails saying that the short-term pain is for the long-term good–but the dogs and cats in the shelter now are going to suffer and/or die before ANYTHING changes. And from what I hear about the new policies that will be put in place in September, when the volunteer trainings will supposedly resume, it will become very difficult for anyone to become a volunteer who can actually interact with the animals. It’s hard enough to convince people to volunteer at a kill shelter–now they want to make people jump through 20,000 hoops to do so. We are all so frustrated and so sad for the conditions of the animals who are not being given proper care. Their deaths are bad enough, but to see them suffer so much in the days and weeks before their ends when it is beyond unnecessary. And we are exhausted because there is so much need and no relief in sight. Needless to say, we are all beside ourselves. And we feel powerless because ANYONE who speaks out is branded a troublemaker, or even banned from the shelter. And with conditions so incredibly bad, every body in the building walking dogs and taking care of the cats counts.

Ever since I posted my blog, New York City in Chaos, I’ve been flooded with e-mails about conditions in city shelters. And they come with proof: internal New York City Animal Care & Control (ACC) documents showing that the shelter system is a mismanaged, uncaring house of horrors. Like the dog who ate off half of his own tail because his injury was not cared for properly for three days:

NYC is the recipient of over $20,000,000 of Maddie’s Fund money, the Mayor’s Alliance raises millions more on top of that, and the ASPCA took in $128,000,000 in one year alone, just down the street from the shelter. While these groups hoard millions, the animals:

  • go without basic care,
  • languish in filth,
  • are being denied needed medical treatment,
  • healthy and treatable animals are put to death, and
  • the shelter has warned it is running out of food to feed them.

And those who want to do something about it are prevented from doing so: rescue groups are being turned away, volunteers are being banned from the shelter, and anyone who expresses concern about conditions is summarily terminated.

The whole thing is an unbelievable, tragic, reprehensible betrayal of the animals. These are the groups that are the true hoarders–of money, of power, and for keeping animals in squalid conditions. And this isn’t even half the story…

New York City in Chaos

July 14, 2010 by  

Updated (July 15, 2010)

Further Updated (July 16, 2010)

Less than a month after the ASPCA and the Mayor’s Alliance succeeded in killing Oreo’s Law, New York City Animal Care & Control (ACC) has announced that it will not allow any new rescue groups to save the lives of animals until a new rescue policy is finalized at the end of August. Oreo’s Law sought to make such conduct illegal. According to rescue groups in New York City, the city pound “has suspended all new rescues that were recently approved.” These allegations were confirmed by e-mails obtained from ACC’s rescue coordinator.

The refusal to work with these groups is already costing the animals their lives. While groups like the ASPCA and Mayor’s Alliance claim that New York City is saving all healthy animals, the pound has contradicted those false assertions, killing hundreds in the process while stating “an overpopulation of adoptable animals requires us to humanely euthanize animals,” even as they are turning away rescue groups for the next two months.

On top of that, the pound has decided to renovate their kennels during the busiest time of year, cutting capacity, resulting in even more deaths. According to a July 1 e-mail obtained from ACC’s rescue coordinator:

The contractors are going to start work shortly on the final phase on the project, which involves replacing the floors in a significant portion of the building. We are excited for the many improvements that help make the shelter a better place, although the final phases of construction will pose challenges in addition those normally brought on by kitten season. Work on the floors is set to start Tuesday July 6th, and will be done in phases that have been carefully considered to have the least impact on our operations as possible. However, we will have to make adjustments for housing the dogs and cats and our housing capacity will be temporarily reduced until the project is complete. The work plan will initially impact our dog housing capacity, following by cat housing capacity, until the project is finished…

And it gets worse. In addition to claiming they do not have enough food to feed the animals right down the street from the nation’s wealthiest SPCA (the ASPCA takes in over $120,000,000 per year), the shelter is withholding pain medications from injured animals.

An e-mail obtained from ACC’s rescue coordinator says the above cat is in pain from an injury, but there are “No pain meds available to give the cat.” If rescue groups do not act within one day, the cat will be killed.

New York City is killing healthy animals, turning away rescue groups, running out of food to feed the animals, refusing to give pain medications to injured animals, and is doing construction during the height of the busy summer season, causing them to kill even more.

This is the model program touted by the Mayor’s Alliance, which will be featured at the Best Friends No More Homeless Pets Conference in Las Vegas this October by Jane Hoffman. This is the model program that Laura Allen of the Animal Law Coalition said NYS should follow in her opposition to Oreo’s Law.

Thanks to the ASPCA, Mayor’s Alliance, and Animal Law Coalition, New York City’s regressive pound has a license to turn away rescue groups and kill the animals they are willing to save. And thanks to Best Friends, Alley Cat Allies, and others who refused to support Oreo’s Law in deference to their relationships with these groups, that license is not being revoked anytime soon.

July15 update: It gets worse. I’ve been forwarded e-mails involving staff at CACC that confirm additional problems: cats and kittens in the “maternity wards” left without food or water, volunteers terminated for speaking out, animals wallowing in their own waste, lack of socialization, and sick animals getting substandard care. Where are the millions of dollars that the ASPCA and Mayor’s Alliance have raised for a “No Kill NYC” gone? And why aren’t Sayres and Hoffman speaking out in defense of the animals?

Further Update: Three kittens are scheduled to be killed in NYC at the city pound for being underweight and dehydrated. And they came from the ASPCA. An e-mail alert from CACC to rescue groups shows three kittens who are underweight, covered with fleas, and dehydrated. Despite taking in over $120,000,000 a year from unsuspecting donors who think the ASPCA will always come to the defense of animals in need, the fact that they sent these kittens to a high kill shelter shows where their priorities really lie. Because the pound kills even healthy animals, it will not invest care to save these kittens. Consequently, they have asked the rescue community to save them–the very same rescue community the ASPCA accuses of being hoarders in disguise that cannot be trusted, their basis for opposing Oreo’s Law. If rescue groups do not come forward today, these kittens will be put to death tomorrow. Jane Hoffman at the Mayor’s Alliance remains silent about it.

While the ASPCA & Mayor’s Alliance hoard their millions, four 5-week old kittens will be put to death tomorrow if rescue groups don’t pick up their slack.

Further Update (July 16): Despite animals sitting in their own waste, mothers and neonatals without food or water, ACC has shut down the program to new volunteers for the summer. It is not accepting new applications until September!

For further reading:

Hungry Dog to be Killed

Jerome is Dead as ASPCA Turns Its Back

Power to the People

Where Have You Gone Best Friends?