Q&A With Amy Paulin: A Primer for NY Advocates

February 28, 2012 by  

JOIN ONLINE Q & A WITH QUICK KILL BILL SPONSOR AMY PAULIN TODAY

Last week, the half page ad opposing A05449 paid for by animal lovers appeared in the district newspaper of Quick Kill bill sponsor Amy Paulin. Her office was flooded with calls from concerned animal lovers urging her to drop her deadly legislation. In response, Paulin asked the newspaper to run an editorial in support of her bill, and they agreed to an interview with her. But because Paulin has proved herself unable to answer basic questions about her bill, she asked ASPCA Representative Nancy Perry and Mayor’s Alliance owner Jane Hoffman to join her. This interview will take place today, February 28 at 1:30 pm Eastern time online. You can join the discussion in an internet chat room. Now is your chance to take your concerns directly to these champions of shelter killing and to educate the editorial board about how dangerous and deadly their legislation is.

Whether you are a rescuer who understands first-hand the need for a real rescue access law and the danger of giving animal control shelters even more power over life and death, a feral cat caretaker concerned about the well-being of the scared and shy cats you care for should they ever enter a shelter, or simply a concerned New York animal lover anxious about the very real threat the Quick Kill Bill presents to your own animal, please join the Paulin, Perry and Hoffman live for a live, online Q&A.

Following are materials (you can print out as a PDF here) to help you advocate effectively against the Quick Kill bill and in favor of the alternative legislation (A07312) which the Paulin bill is designed to undermine. We anticipate their claims will fall into several categories: that A05449 is an attempt to fix problems in existing state law (rather than an attempt to thwart real rescue access legislation as found in the Kellner Bill, A07312), that the Kellner bill can’t pass because it’s an unfunded mandate and because there is too much opposition, and that the Paulin bill helps animals and may just need a little “tweeking” rather than complete overhaul or withdrawal.

Following is information about who Paulin, Hoffman and Perry are, and a quick “cheat sheet” about the bill, its history, and responses to their false claims about it and the Kellner Bill.

Who They Are

Amy Paulin: The New York State Assemblywoman sponsoring A05449 representing the Scarsdale, New York and surrounding areas. She was hand-picked by the ASPCA because she is notorious for not reading the language of bills she introduces. She has been quoted in newspapers calling those who oppose her Quick Kill bill “uneducated” and “misinformed” even though she herself has been unable to answer basic questions about the bill’s language.

Jane Hoffman: As head of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC Animals, Hoffman has received over $5 million from the ASPCA, one of the reasons she supports their legislation. In addition, Hoffman’s organization is the gatekeeper between animals on death row in NY shelters and the rescue community. If a real rescue access law passes and rescue groups have a legal right to shelter animals, she loses her power over these groups and loses control of millions of dollars in funding.

Nancy Perry: An attorney for the regressive ASPCA who comes by way of the equally regressive Humane Society of the United States. She’s a defender of Wayne Pacelle and Ed Sayres, an advocate for organizations that kill in the face of lifesaving alternatives, and an apologist for the status quo. Her message is a simple one, told out of both sides of her mouth: the bill we wrote is not our bill, the legislator we picked is not our legislator, and we regret that the real rescue access bill will not pass because of our own opposition.

What They Will Say, How to Respond

“A05449 is an attempt to fix existing deficiencies in New York law as it pertains to shelter animals.”

WRONG: The Quick Kill Bill does not strengthen protections for animals in NY law, it weakens them by eliminating holding periods for scared and shy animals, granting shelters the authority to kill such animals the moment they walk in the door. If shelter staff determines that an animal is in “psychological pain,” the animal can be killed immediately. Not only is killing an animal for being scared or shy cruel, and not only is killing an animal who is fearful of being harmed both paradoxical and absurd (a shelter is doing the very thing the animal is fearful will happen—harming him), but there is no definition in law as to what constitutes “psychological pain” and no standards as to how it is to be applied. If any two shelter employees—including the janitor, the receptionist, or a kennel attendant—believe that an animal is in “psychological pain,” that animal can be killed immediately. Even if an animal was in psychological pain, the way to eliminate it is to remove the factors causing it. For feral cats, that means get them out of the shelter through TNR. For traumatized dogs, that means put them in a foster home. Killing them (the ultimate harm) to prevent harm is not only ethically irreconcilable, it is the most extreme and violent of all possible responses.

The Kellner bill, by contrast, specifically defines “Irremediable Physical Suffering” as follows:

AN ANIMAL WHO IS EXPERIENCING IRREMEDIABLE PHYSICAL SUFFERING WITH A PROGNOSIS FOR RECOVERY THAT IS POOR OR GRAVE EVEN WITH COMPREHENSIVE PROMPT AND NECESSARY VETERINARY CARE, AS CERTIFIED IN WRITING BY A VETERINARIAN LICENSED TO PRACTICE MEDICINE IN THIS STATE.

That is very protective of animals and would address any concerns about existing law being weak. By contrast, Paulin’s bill allows every shelter to determine for themselves how to define suffering, on top of adding the “Psych Pain” element. You don’t strengthen existing law by weakening it further.

Although Paulin has stated she was going to remove this provision from the bill, she has made those claims in the past, promising legislators to do so before the Agriculture Committee vote. When she learned she had the votes to pass the bill as is, she reneged on those promises. The only reason she is once against talking about doing so is because she has no choice. The Chair of the Codes Committee has flatly refused to allow a vote on the bill with the provision intact. Moreover, that is not the only problem with the bill. Even if she were forced to remove it, the problems with the bill—and its deadly results—go well beyond this provision.

“A05449 gives rescue groups the right to rescue animals in shelters.”

WRONG:  A04559 does NOT mandate rescue access. It merely suggests it, and then codifies in law a shelter’s right not to work with rescue organizations. It states that shelters “may” give animals to rescue groups rather than kill them, instead of “shall” give the animals to them is required by CAARA, A07312, the bill supported by the New York rescue community and thousands of New York animal lovers.  And in codifying a shelter’s unlimited authority to determine whether a rescue group or particular animal qualifies, the law eviscerates whistleblower protection for rescuers who want to expose cruel and abusive treatment of animals in the shelters they may visit but are now afraid to do so for fear of losing their rescue privileges.

In fact, the only reason A05449 was introduced is to thwart genuine rescue access legislation—legislation that the ASPCA worked to defeat in 2010 (Oreo’s Law), 2011 (CAARA), and is working to defeat again this year (A07312 by Assembly Member Micah Kellner). It gives the illusion of rescue access but in fact codifies the status quo that made real rescue access legislation necessary in the first place.

“Overall, A05449 is a strong bill which does a lot of good for animals.”

WRONG: In fact, A05449 requires nothing of shelters. Using cleverly crafted language, the bill suggests actions but never mandates them. For example, the parts of the bill that would be beneficial, such as posting animals on the internet or scanning for microchips, turn out to be suggestive, rather than mandatory. The Quick Kill bill only requires these things if they are “practicable,” and tragically, they never seem to be practicable or we would not need a law in the first place. When it comes to legislation, language is everything, and giving shelters the out if they determine doing so is not “practicable” renders the provisions paper tigers.

“The Kellner Bill cannot pass because it is an unfunded mandate. The legislature won’t pass bills that  force expensive requirements on local entities.”

WRONG: Paulin herself has authored bills that imposed requirements on local governments without any funding attached. And admitting that their bill does not mandate anything while the Kellner Bill does proves that theirs is an impotent paper tiger. If their bill actually improved conditions in shelters by requiring them to do more than they already are, wouldn’t that also be an unfunded mandate?

But more importantly, the inability to pass rescue access legislation in the past is due to ASPCA’s opposition. Given how easily the ASPCA has defeated true rescue access laws in the past two years, and given how easily their Quick Kill bill passed the Agriculture Committee despite intense public opposition, how can they possibly claim that the Kellner bill would be defeated even if the ASPCA threw their weight behind it? And either way, they owe it to the 25,000 animals the law would save every year to try.

“The Kellner Bill will place animals in the hands of hoarders and dog fighters.”

WRONG:  First off, this statement is an admission that their bill, A05449, really doesn’t require shelters to give animals to rescuers as they claim. If they oppose the Kellner bill because they don’t want rescue access for fear of hoarding, how can they simultaneously claim that their bill mandates it?  Nonetheless, this is simple fear mongering—an attempt to thwart positive and necessary progress by making that change seems scarier than the status quo.

Despite similar fear mongering over a decade ago by HSUS when California was the first state in the nation to consider such legislation, rescue access has been an unqualified success, increasing the number of animals saved, without the downsides—including hoarding—which opponents claimed. Indeed, coupled with other modest shelter reforms, the number of dogs and cats killed in California shelters dropped from over 570,000 animals the year before the law was passed to roughly 328,000 the year after, a decline of almost 250,000 dogs and cats. And, the number of small animals saved, such as rabbits, also spiked. In short, we have PROOF and experience that concerns about hoarding amount to nothing and that rescue access saves lives, facts which the ASPCA conveniently ignores.

The Kellner bill is about leveling the playing field between smaller non-profits and larger non-profits which hold animal control contracts and all of the power. It is about mandating life-saving collaboration between organizations founded for the same purpose. It has nothing whatsoever to do with hoarding. That some hoarders claim to be rescue groups when they are caught does not mean that they are—and the argument that not allowing responsible non-profit organizations to rescue animals from other non-profits or animal control shelters will prevent hoarding is a non-sequitur. Hoarding is the result of mental illness and is not as common as many animal protection organizations would have us believe. Psychologists estimate that only 2% of the population suffers from hoarding, and of those, not all of them “collect” animals—many collect inanimate objects. By contrast, killing is endemic to animal shelters in the U.S. These are animals who have a 100% guarantee of being killed if rescue access isn’t mandated by law because rescue groups are only empowered to save those animals scheduled to be killed. Without the Kellner bill, there is a 100% chance an animal being killed that a rescue group wants but a shelter doesn’t want to give to them vs. the slimmest of possibilities that the animal will end up with a hoarder. Is it really a difficult decision? Moreover, despite the fact that the chances of hoarding are slim, the Kellner bill contains many protections, without giving shelters the continued ability to kill animals who have a place to go. The bill allows inspections when evidence exists, bans those with a history of neglect and cruelty, and requires oversight by several state and federal agencies.

Finally, logic and fairness—both to rescuers and the animals—demand that altruistic people who devote their time and energy to helping the animals who end up in our nation’s shelters stop being equated with mentally ill people who cause them harm. Animal rescuers seek to deliver animals from the type of cruelty and abuse that characterizes not only the care or lack thereof given to animals by hoarders, but, in reality, by many of our shelters as well

“The dispute over A05449 and the Kellner Bill is all just one big misunderstanding, a misunderstanding that we regret. We need to work together to come up with an accommodation that will save lives.”

WRONG:  There is no misunderstanding and saying so is merely a tactic to make it look like the ASPCA is reasonable when, in fact, it is intractable. The Kellner bill is a strong, effective rescue access bill already filled with safeguards to address all of the ASPCA’s alleged concerns, and yet they refuse to support it, all the while arguing that we need to work together to come up with a bill that can pass, when, in truth they are the only thing standing in the way of a truly effective bill passing. If they were sincere, the choice would be easy. They would drop A05449, and support the Kellner bill, A07312.

To print out a PDF of these claims and responses, click here.

For More Information

For the difference between the Quick Kill Bill and the Kellner Bill (a side by side comparison), click here.

For the history behind the bill which reveals how it is not a sincere attempt to fix what is wrong with NYS law but rather a vendetta about Oreo and an effort to thwart real reform, click here.

For Jane Hoffman’s history and how real rescue access threatens her power and position, click here.

To understand how the problems with A05449 go beyond the “psychological pain” provision, click here.

To see another side by side comparison which demonstrates how important legislative language is and why the Quick Kill bill falls short, click here.

See also: “The ASPCA and Amy Paulin Double Down on the Quick Kill Bill” by NYC animal advocate John Sibley by clicking here.

The Butcher of Norfolk (6th Edition)

February 23, 2012 by  

Slaughterhouse: slaugh·ter·house (slôtr-hous): n. A place where animals are butchered.

 

The numbers are in. In 2011, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) impounded 760 dogs. They killed 713 of them. Only 19 were adopted. An additional 36 of them were transferred to kill “shelters” where their fates and the fates of those animals they displaced are unknown. In 2011, they impounded 1,211 cats. 1,198 were put to death. A paltry 5 of them were adopted and another 8 were transferred to kill “shelters” where their fates and the fates of those animals they displaced are unknown. They also took in 58 other companion animals, including rabbits. 54 were put to death. Only 4 were adopted. All told, 2,029 companion animals were impounded. 1,965 were put to death. Only 28 were placed in homes.

 

That’s a 97% rate of killing. If the animals transferred to kill shelters were themselves killed or displaced other animals who were then killed to take in the ones from PETA, the death toll could be as high as 99% (2,009 of the 2,029 animals they impounded). Only 1% were adopted into homes. While the No Kill movement is having unparalleled success and with No Kill communities now dotting the American landscape—in California, Nevada, Michigan, Kentucky, New York, Texas, Virginia, and elsewhere—PETA continues to be little more than a slaughterhouse.

[This is the sixth time I’ve posted this blog.]

The blog I write is about reforming animal sheltering in the United States. It is about ending the systematic killing of animals in these pounds. But this particular blog isn’t about sheltering. This isn’t about the battle between the No Kill philosophy and its eventual conquest over regressive, kill-oriented approaches. This isn’t about a lazy, inept, or uncaring shelter director who fails to hold his or her staff accountable. It isn’t about shelters that kill animals because doing so is easier than putting in place the programs and services to stop it.

This is about something more nefarious. This is about something truly insidious. Over five years ago, I wrote a blog opining that the reason PETA slaughters virtually every animal it seeks out and “impounds” has more to do with Ingrid Newkirk’s dark impulses than with any ideology, philosophy, or belief in overpopulation. This followed a staggering 97% kill rate for animals in 2006, despite millions of animal loving members, a world-wide reach, and a budget of tens of millions of dollars. It followed the killing of 1,942 out of 1,960 cats they impounded. It followed the deaths of 988 out of the 1,030 dogs they impounded. It followed the killing of 50 of the 52 rabbits, guinea pigs, and other animals they took in. It followed the killing of the one and only chicken they impounded. That blog earned me a letter from PETA’s attorney threatening litigation for defamation.

Then came the 2007 numbers showing a 91% rate of killing—the killing of 1,815 of the 1,997 animals they impounded. And so I reran the blog. In 2008, I ran the blog once again (it has now been up continuously for over four years) because the slaughter—the needless, senseless, evil slaughter—continued with an equally staggering 96% kill rate. A paltry seven dogs and cats were adopted. A paltry 34 were transferred to an SPCA whose fates are not known. And out of 2,216 dogs and cats impounded, the rest were systematically put to death by PETA:

Killed: 555 of the 584 dogs.

Killed: 1,569 of the 1,589 cats.

Then came 2009: only 8 adoptions, less than 1/2 of 1% of the animals they took in. Killed: 2,301 out of 2,366.

In 2010, they killed: 1,507 of the 1,553 cats. Killed: 693 of the 792 dogs.

And now in 2011, the death rate remained a staggering 97%: 1,965 of the 2,029 companion animals they took in.

In the last decade and a half, they have killed over 25,000 animals: that’s roughly 2,500 animals a year every year; or over five animals killed by PETA every single day.

PETA has argued that all of the animals it kills are “unadoptable.” In fact, PETA’s attorney stated that in his letter threatening a defamation lawsuit if I did not back down. But this claim is a lie. It is a lie because the numbers historically come from the State of Virginia’s reporting form which only asks for data for animals taken into custody “for the purpose of adoption.” It is a lie because PETA refuses to provide its criteria for making that determination. It is a lie because rescue groups and individuals have come forward stating that the animals they gave PETA were healthy and adoptable. It is a lie because testimony under oath in court from a veterinarian showed that PETA was given healthy and adoptable animals who were later found dead by PETA’s hands, their bodies unceremoniously thrown away in a supermarket dumpster. It is a lie because, according to the Daily Caller, “two PETA employees described as ‘adorable’ and ‘perfect’ some of the dogs and cats they killed in the back of a PETA-owned van.” And it is a lie because Newkirk herself admitted as much.

In a December 2, 2008 interview with George Stroumboulopoulos of the Canadian Broadcasting Company, Stroumboulopoulos asks Newkirk: “Do you euthanize those pets, the adoptable ones, if you get them?” To which Newkirk responds: “If we get them, if we cannot find a home, absolutely.” In short, Newkirk admits that PETA “absolutely” kills savable animals. Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely.

Why does the animal protection movement tolerate this woman? No other movement would allow someone to remain in her position without a massive outcry and public condemnation when their actions are so counter, so anathema to their movement’s foremost principles. The child protection movement would not allow someone who kills children to run an organization dedicated to children’s rights. The human rights movement would not allow someone who kills people to run any of their organizations. But the animal rights movement—a movement founded on the principle that animals have a right to life—allows a very public, avowed, shameless animal killer to run an animal rights organization. And without exception, the rest of the nation’s national animal rights groups remain deafeningly silent about it. As if that was not shameful enough, others go further and actually embrace her. While the Animal Rights Conference inducted her into their Hall of Fame, Wayne Pacelle and HSUS have allowed her and her pro-killing apologists to give workshops at their national conference.

If history teaches us anything, however, it is that the only way to stop a bully is to stand up to one. The only thing that will stop Newkirk is challenging Newkirk and calling her killing for what it is: the nefarious acts of a disturbed person. Because that’s how history will remember and condemn her, despite the aura of legitimacy her untoward actions now receive from her Board of Directors, the Humane Society of the United States, the groups who promote the Animal Rights Conference, and the other groups which tolerate her leadership position through their silence.

While those who now dare to call Newkirk’s slaughter for what it is may be threatened with litigation, or be attacked in other ways, history will vindicate them, as it always does for those who—despite the personal costs—defend what is right by challenging tyrants. While those who remained silent in the face of these atrocities—the hypocritical leaders of other organizations who take her telephone calls, shake her hand, stand side-by-side with her, and take personal pride in their association with her—will someday have to answer for this complicity, and will face the shame that comes with answering “nothing” when asked what they did to stop Newkirk’s bloody reign at PETA…

So here it is again: Round 6.

Munchausen by PETA. My opinion.

In search of a diagnosis as to why Ingrid Newkirk and PETA seek out animals to kill. And a plea for the movement to stop them so that they won’t continue killing.

In 2006, an official report from People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) shows that they took in 3,043 animals, of which 1,960 were cats, 1,030 were dogs, 52 were other companion animals, and one was a chicken. Of these, they killed the chicken, killed 1,942 cats, 988 dogs, and 50 classified as “other companion animals.” They found homes for only 2 cats, 8 dogs and 2 of the other companion animals.

By the numbers:

  • PETA killed 1,942 of the 1,960 cats, finding homes for only 2.
  • PETA killed 988 of the 1,030 dogs finding homes for only 8.
  • PETA killed 50 of the 52 other companion animals (rabbits, guinea pigs, etc.), finding homes for only 2.
  • PETA killed the chicken they took in.

That’s a 97% kill rate. (This was based on PETA’s own reporting to the Commonwealth of Virginia, which only requires “recordkeeping and reporting of only those animals taken into custody… for purposes of adoption.”) Despite $30 million in revenues, they found homes for only 12 animals. An additional 21 cats and 25 dogs were transferred to another agency (likely a kill shelter since PETA has a “policy against No Kill shelters.”) The rest were put to death. Why?

I’ve tried to explain it by the simple observation that the founder of PETA, Ingrid Newkirk, formerly held a job killing homeless dogs and cats at the Washington Humane Society, a shelter with a consistently poor record for saving lives and the subject of historical public acrimony for its over-reliance on killing. But, in my opinion, there appears to be something more disturbing going on here than Newkirk’s history.

It can’t simply be explained by catch phrases like “they are hypocrites” and “they don’t really care.” Those are terms which No Kill proponents may use to describe Newkirk’s and PETA’s position on killing dogs and cats, but they don’t explain it. Nor is this simply a disagreement between No Kill supporters and traditional “catch and kill” proponents. That is the debate going on with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), where their reputations and donations are being threatened. But with PETA, there appears to be something much more nefarious at play.

While Newkirk tries to shield her actions by wrapping them in the language of opposition to “No Kill,” PETA neither has an animal control contract, nor do they operate as a rescue group. Any effort to offer a lifesaving alternative to killing is dismissed as “no clue” or “warehousing animals” and any dissent by employees or volunteers is allegedly punished by termination or ousting from the group. In talking with an ex-PETA employee, he indicated that during a staff meeting, he was subjected to a PETA video of this kind (No Kill equals hoarding). Having lived in San Francisco during the 1990s when No Kill was in its heyday there and the San Francisco SPCA the nation’s premier shelter, he openly questioned the veracity of the information and was asked to his supervisor’s office and terminated.

Why? The closest analogy or explanation that I have found which appears to fit is the same phenomenon that causes nurses to kill their patients, some offshoot of Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome (See Attack of the Killer Nurses: A look at a curious phenomenon – nurses who kill their patients, National Review, May 28, 2001). In the typical case, the nurse or caregiver kills the patients with lethal injections. They often claim they act from “compassion for their ailing victims,” because they want “to end their suffering,” and because they and their colleagues are “severely overburdened.” In their minds, they are the heroes and those who try to stop them are turning their backs on their patients.

The corollary to PETA’s language about “Euthanasia: The Compassionate Option,” about “overburdened” shelter workers, and about giving animals what Newkirk calls “the gift of euthanasia,” and how “it was the best gift they’ve ever had,” is eerily similar. In her case, she also believes she is the hero and those who try to stop her are turning their backs on the animals. (She recently blasted a No Kill supporter by stating: “How dare you pretend to help animals and turn your back on those who want an exit from an uncaring world!”) Indeed, Newkirk-through-PETA says that blaming shelters for killing animals is like blaming hospitals for killing patients. Is Newkirk trying to tell us something?

Unfortunately, I have no psychological evaluation to support such a diagnosis, except for similarity of language and the acts themselves: the fact of the killing, the death squads, the indoctrination against No Kill, the hateful denunciation of No Kill, and the proactive efforts to stop communities from trying to embrace No Kill principles.

So what is it? (PETA-apologists have suggested that Newkirk has seen terrible suffering and worries about animals, but this is nothing more than Orwellian double-speak. I was a prosecutor. I’ve seen and handled cases involving torture, child rape, murder, arson of animals, and other acts of unspeakable cruelty. I was also an animal control director in a shelter which investigated and prosecuted horrific crimes against animals. I’ve seen terrible suffering to which is why I want to end it, regardless of whether it comes at the hands of a single abuser or systematically by killing.)

We may never know. But what we do know and what I can say is that animal rights and animal welfare groups should reject this point of view and actively campaign against it not only for the dogs and cats PETA will kill in the future and whose interests they theoretically exist to protect, but because it undermines our movement’s credibility when we either ignore the atrocities PETA is committing against animals, or make excuses for it simply because those perpetrating them claim to be part of our movement. Moreover, PETA’s position that animals in shelters do not have a right to live subverts the entire foundation upon which all social justice movements are inherently based.

The right to life is universally acknowledged as a basic or fundamental right. It is basic or fundamental because the enjoyment of the right to life is a necessary condition of the enjoyment of all other rights. A movement cannot be “rights” oriented as PETA claims to be and ignore the fundamental right to life. If an animal is dead, the animal’s rights become irrelevant. Not only does PETA not acknowledge the right to life, they have rejected it saying that they “do not believe in right to life,” as it relates to dogs and cats.

Of more immediate concern, it is the relationship between Americans and their animal companions that can open a door to larger animal rights issues. In their daily interactions with their dogs and cats, people experience an animal’s personality, emotions, and capacity both for great joy and great suffering. They learn empathy for animals. It is not a stretch that someone who is compassionate—and passionate—about their pets would over time and with the right information be sympathetic to animal suffering on farms, in circuses, in research facilities, and elsewhere.

Right now, however, the nation’s largest self-proclaimed “animal rights” group is actively working to ensure that that door is never opened—by actively and proactively arguing that dogs and cats do not have the right to life, and that killing them is an act of kindness. In my opinion: It is beyond ironic. It is beyond hypocritical. It is beyond a betrayal. It is beyond obscene. Regardless of whether you believe in “animal rights” or you don’t; regardless of whether you are a vegetarian or not; regardless of where you stand on animal issues unrelated to animal sheltering, I believe PETA’s position is insane.

And despite the fact that PETA’s annual killing of thousands of dogs and cats has been common knowledge among the leaders of our nation’s animal welfare and animal rights groups for years, most of these so-called “leaders” have chosen to look the other way. In fact, HSUS invites Newkirk and her cronies to give presentations at their national animal sheltering conference. Two years ago, Newkirk gave a video presentation on what amounted to why Pit Bulls should be killed and this year, one of her devotees will share PETA’s strategy for how to engage in “damage control” and “public relations spin” when a shelter or community which kills is challenged by No Kill proponents. Why are groups like HSUS supporting her? Do they hate the movement to end the systematic killing of shelter animals which No Kill represents so much that they are willing to embrace a person and organization this zealous in support of the killing of dogs and cats? The “enemy of my enemy is my friend” can’t be it, can it? Is HSUS so threatened by No Kill that they are willing to embrace an organization which appears to be working to undermine their other platforms? With friends like these, the animals truly do not need enemies.

In my opinion, PETA’s position on killing of dogs and cats is irresponsible. But as to the question of why they do it, I am not a psychiatrist and I very much doubt that Newkirk and her followers will submit to a psychological evaluation. As a result, I am afraid I have no clear answer, though my personal opinion leans toward Newkirk suffering from the mental illness of Munchausen by Proxy. And if I am correct, she will never stop killing until she is forced to.

PETA’s Board of Directors, PETA employees, other animal welfare groups, and animal rights activists need to stop drinking the Ingrid Newkirk Kool-Aid. They must stop making excuses for the killing of animals. They need to openly reject views that need to be explained in the pages of the Journal of Psychiatry. And, if they are to protect the thousands of animals whose lives are at future risk from PETA, they must work to remove the political cover provided by her association with PETA which allows Ingrid Newkirk to continue to act on what I believe are deeply disturbing impulses that result in animals being killed.

[The data on PETA’s killing rates comes from the Virginia Department of Agriculture. All agencies in Virginia, where PETA is located, are required to report annually. For 2011 data, click here. For prior years, visit the Virginia Dept. of Agriculture & Consumer Services website by clicking here.]

Learn more:

March Madness

 

Who Loves PETA?

Friendly Fire

February 22, 2012 by  

When animal lovers learn about the tragic reality of cruelty and killing that is endemic at our nation’s “shelters,” and that the national organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and the ASPCA defend the killing and thwart reform efforts, the first—and the most logical—question that inevitably follows is: Why?

Why would organizations which were supposed to have been founded on the highest ideals of compassion become the biggest defenders of the animal abuse and killing which occurs daily in our nation’s so-called “shelters”? Exploring the historical, sociological and financial motivations behind the unlikely support these shelters receive from HSUS, the ASPCA and PETA, among others, Friendly Fire answers this often confounding question while telling the stories of animals who have become catalysts for change: Oreo, Ace, Patrick, Kapone, Hope, Scruffy, Jeri & Murray, and others.

Coming this Summer.

Friendly Fire is Nathan’s fourth book and Jennifer’s second. Learn more by clicking here.

March Madness

February 21, 2012 by  

March is the cruelest month. Although the usual signs of spring—melting snow, blossoming flowers, and warmer weather—mark next month as a time of renewal for most people, for those of us trying to reform our nation’s broken animal sheltering system, it is a time of sorrow. For us, spring is the time of year when hundreds of thousands of kittens and puppies born across the country will have their short, precious lives ended at shelters which should, and could, find them loving homes but opt, cruelly and heartlessly, to kill them instead.

And March is a time of madness for another reason, too.  It is the time of year when the Commonwealth of Virginia releases PETA’s annual killing statistics, and we are made aware of how many animals the prior year fell victim to the malicious, relentless bloodlust of PETA employees. It is a time of year when we in the No Kill movement are compelled to contemplate—to the point of actually feeling sick to our stomachs—what is going on behind closed doors at the PETA headquarters in Virginia. We are compelled to think about the warehouse full of healthy animals they gather for execution, and the lies they tell to those who surrender their animals in the mistaken belief that PETA is dedicated to the welfare and rights of those animals. We are compelled to think about what the executions must look like: Do they line the animals up, in full view of one another, and go down a line killing them, one by one? Or do they have a special room where they ritually perform the killing? How big is the freezer they installed at donor expense to hold the bodies? And what must that freezer look like?

What a grisly scene must it present, stacked high with furry bodies—on the day of the regularly scheduled visit from Tidewater Pet Cremation Services of which PETA, delivering an estimated 30,000 pounds of dead animals to that company a year, is no doubt one of their “best” customers. We are also left to contemplate how it could possibly be that, yet again, for yet another year, the organization generally regarded as the nation’s largest “animal rights” organization has once again gotten away with murder, not once, but roughly two thousand times. And in the No Kill movement’s public contemplation and condemnation of this madness, the answer to that last and most perplexing question becomes crystal clear: they got away with it because the animal “rights” movement let them.

It is now as predictable as PETA’s killing itself, that every year when No Kill activists cry foul in blogs and on Facebook pages about that killing as we surely will, our movement experiences the influx and scrutiny of the PETA-lovers. Content to ignore our movement for the rest of the year, content to ignore that the No Kill movement is the single, most effective and uncompromising voice for the rights of dogs and cats, we are nonetheless paradoxically lectured and scolded by these individuals, people who put their allegiance to an organization that deliberately poisons  thousands of animals every year, an organization headed by a seriously disturbed individual, before the values they claim to represent, as they condone, excuse and obfuscate.

As an ethical vegan, the author of a vegan cook book, and an advocate for animal rights, I continue to remain dumbfounded that other vegans—people who claim to practice a lifestyle based on a belief in non-violence to all creatures great and small—continue to hypocritically support PETA’s campaign not just to poison thousands of animals every year, but to protect the paradigm of killing in U.S. shelters by embracing PETA’s extermination campaigns against pit bulls, feral cats, and indeed, all animals. In Florida, legislation is pending that would make it illegal for “shelters” in that state to kill animals who have an immediate place to go: into the protective embrace of qualified non-profit rescue organizations, 63% of which are currently turned away and must endure watching those shelters kill the very animals they have offered to save. But when PETA recently asked its vegan supporters to oppose the bill and empower shelters to continue killing, over 1,000 of them did so, flooding the legislature with e-mails demanding the right of shelters to continue killing.

Today, the defining animal rights issue for our generation is the right to life for companion animals; it is the moral foundation of the entire movement. In failing to champion the right of dogs and cats to live, in fact, in promoting their killing, not only are these PETA apologists violating the rights of these animals, they are destroying the opportunity to harness the public’s progressive attitudes and great love for animals. It is that love and compassion that could yield laws banning killing in animal shelters altogether. This achievement—securing a legally guaranteed right to life for a species of non-human animal—will be a seminal event, a crossing of the Rubicon from which our society will never return. As history and the human rights movement predicts, that door—once opened—will be forced open even wider to accommodate other species of animals currently exploited or killed in other contexts.

Right now, however, the nation’s largest self-proclaimed “animal rights” group and all its supporters are actively fighting to keep that door closed—by arguing that dogs and cats do not have the right to life and by telling us, in some variation or another, that “killing is kindness,” “killing is not killing,” and even , as the Butcher of Norfolk Ingrid Newkirk herself  once said, that “killing is a gift. And it is the best gift they ever got.” It is beyond irony. It is beyond hypocrisy. It is beyond betrayal. It is beyond self-defeating. It is insane.

PETA is fond of asking the question, “Why is one animal called dinner and another called a pet?” But ask about the hypocrisy of why a cow or a chicken is entitled to his or her life, but a dog or cat is not and you’ll get platitudes about pet overpopulation. Follow up with data showing that more people are seeking animals than are being killed, with the fact that plenty of homes are available because otherwise puppy mills would not exist, and how pet overpopulation is inconsistent with the achievement of No Kill communities across the country, and you’ll get a blank stare. But, in the end, the question of whether pet overpopulation is real or a myth used to justify killing is irrelevant for two reasons.

First, PETA does not kill because of pet overpopulation. PETA kills because Ingrid Newkirk enjoys killing. As a former employee of Washington Humane Society, Newkirk has admitted to going into work early in order to kill. Second, and more importantly, even if the supply-demand imbalance did not run in the animals’ favor as it does, even if in fact there were too many animals and not enough homes, it would still be unethical and a violation of that’s animals most basic right to live if we killed them. No matter what rationale is used to justify the killing, it can never be reconciled with the animal rights philosophy.

Philosophically, advancing a practical over an ethical argument has long been the safe haven for those who want to justify untoward practices. Even accepting the sincerity of the claim, even if the practical calculus was correct, protecting life that is not suffering is a timeless and absolute principle upon which responsible animal rights advocates must tailor their practices. Every action they take must be subservient to preserving life. Moreover, the practical calculus in support of killing has been proven to be wrong, the result of prejudice and myopia seeking to condone what are in truth nothing more than atrocities. Ethics will always trump the practical and the two are seldom so inexorably linked that an untoward action must follow some fixed practical imperative. But Ingrid Newkirk herself has stated that PETA does “not advocate right to life for animals.”

A movement cannot be “rights” oriented, yet ignore the right to life. By asserting that humans have the right to deny dogs and cats and other companion animals their lives, they make the attainment of any animal rights inherently impossible. No right is guaranteed or possible when they can be taken away by killing. Once an animal is killed, he or she can no longer think and feel and run and play and eat and sleep and purr and bark and love and be loved. It is over. Forever. What rights can possibly be afforded that animal once he or she is dead?

Hunters who kill deer, for example, claim that they are doing the animals a favor by killing them, giving them—to use Newkirk’s language about killing dogs and cats—a “gift” because there are too many. If they didn’t kill them, they claim, the deer would suffer and slowly starve to death. Sound familiar? These are the exact same arguments being made by PETA to justify their hunting down dogs and cats and putting them to death. If they didn’t, we are told those animals would suffer on the streets. Why do animal rights activists accept one argument as sound while rejecting the other? They are, after all, the exact same argument. In the end, PETA staff members are just hunters going after “game” of a different species. But it is the same blood sport and done for the same, dark reason.

The belief that cows and chickens have a right to their lives, but a dog or cat doesn’t is not because one is domesticated and the other is not, as is also sometimes argued. That is a distinction without a difference. It is not because there are too many and not enough homes. And it is certainly not because killing is a gift. The only reason PETA supporters believe it is nothing more than an accident of history, the result of a small number of people who brought baggage from one job to a new movement they helped found where such views should have been anathema.

In the 1980s, Ingrid Newkirk founded PETA. She came from the Washington Humane Society, where her job was to kill dogs and cats, a job she did with relish:

I would go to work early, before anyone got there, and I would just kill the animals myself…  I must have killed a thousand of them, sometimes dozens every day.

Had Newkirk not founded PETA, had someone with sincerity who did not have this checkered history of mass killing started a PETA-like organization instead, that group would not be supporting the mass killing of innocent animals in shelters. In fact, they would be the loudest voice condemning it. They would be the No Kill movement’s most vociferous adherent and they would be throwing [vegan] pies in the face of those who systematically violate the rights of animals every time they inject them with an overdose of fatal plus. But because one woman brought a philosophy of killing to an organization which should advocate the opposite and corrupted its mission, generations of animal rights advocates who came into this movement because of PETA adopted, without any sort of critical thinking skills, the absurdist notion that killing is consistent with the animal rights philosophy of not killing. In short, PETA has duped an entire generation of mindless drones who claim they love animals into embracing their systematic slaughter.

A number of years ago, I did an interview with Vegan Freak radio about my then-new book, Redemption. As I sat on the phone waiting to be introduced, I listened to their opening montage. They welcomed all their listeners from what they called, in humorous self-deprecation, “their mountaintop of moral superiority.” I laughed. And then proceeded with a one hour interview, one of my favorites to this day, on why saving dogs and cats was an animal rights issue, consistent with the animal rights philosophy, and how killing could not be rationally squared with it. They agreed; a breath of fresh air. But too many vegans and animal rights activists don’t, continuing to parrot the charade that the killing of innocent dogs and cats is acceptable, consistent with their beliefs that one should never kill pigs, cows, or chickens. Why? For two reasons: PETA says so. And PETA is the one doing the killing.

All the rationale about pet overpopulation notwithstanding (if eating meat was outlawed, would they support the killing of all the excess cows and chickens? Of course not), that is all their belief comes down to: allegiance to a group, rather than to the animals. And therein lies the crux. In the end, No Kill is the moral foundation for animal rights. It is the litmus test which proves whether an animal rights activist is merely seeking an identity (“I’m with PETA”) or whether s/he is sincere, and truly cares about animals. And sadly, until the corrupting influence of Newkirk dies along with her, and the current generation of faux-animal rights activists follow suit, every March we learn that too many fail the test.

The Butcher of Norfolk has created a movement of thoughtless adherents who blindly follow PETA to the place they should refuse to go, the place where their alleged ideals are put to death along with the animals who should find in them their most fierce and loyal defenders. Despite believing theirs is a view from a mountaintop of moral superiority, they are promoting values from the eighth rung of Dante’s Inferno, the circle of hell reserved for frauds and betrayers of the worst sort. They are, in the end, nothing more than hypocrites who are willing to condone the mass slaughter of animals in order to embrace the animals’ executioners. And next month, we will find out exactly just how many of those animals they have willingly sacrificed.

Ed Sayres & His Proxies

February 20, 2012 by  

Amy Paulin, Nancy Perry, & The ASPCA’s Effort to Turn Back the Clock on Animal Protection in NYS by 40 Years.

The fight against NYS Assembly Bill A05449 has brought many new animal lovers to our cause. The facebook page of the legislative sponsor of this bill, Amy Paulin, is overwhelmed by thousands of comments by animal lovers begging her to withdraw her “Quick Kill Bill.” The number of e-mails sent to legislators in opposition is now well over 18,000 and when we asked for donations to pay for newspaper ads in Paulin’s hometown, we raised thousands of dollars to do so in just a matter of hours. Clearly, New York’s animal lovers are angry and fighting back. There is a right side to this issue, and it is NOT the one being championed by the ASPCA.

 

Yet because media reports about the battle over this deadly legislation have failed to place it into a proper historical perspective, and in order to ensure that everyone fighting this dangerous bill is an informed and effective advocate, I wanted to provide the back story of A05449 and how it came to be. For those of you who might be new to this issue and already angry with the ASPCA about their attempts not only to stop rescue access but to erode what little protections animals entering shelters in New York already have, you will no doubt find the history behind this bill equally shocking and, hopefully, equally motivating in the cause of its defeat.

For anyone who is familiar with the back-story of A05449, the ASPCA “Quick Kill” bill being sponsored by Assembly Member Amy Paulin, it can be incredibly frustrating to read media accounts of the battle about this harmful and deadly legislation. In two recent New York Daily News articles, the ASPCA is portrayed as having introduced the bill in order to address existing deficiencies in New York law regarding shelter animals. The legislation is described not only as necessary, but equally false, the article leaves the impression that the ASPCA conceived of this legislation on its own, to address real and pressing problems in New York shelters, and not, as is really the case, as a means of co-opting and therefore destroying true shelter reform legislation introduced by No Kill advocates in New York over the last three years.

Unfortunately, the media often do not know what to make of a battle that seems, at a first and quick impression, to pit animal lovers against animal lovers. When the environmental movement takes on polluters or oil companies, it is easy for outsiders to orient themselves to the struggle and to understand whose interests each side represents. But when animal rescuers take on the ASPCA, confusion often sets in. With deadlines looming and the age of investigative journalism in its death throes, rare is the reporter who takes the time to research and understand what is truly going on, rather than to simply fall back on preconceived notions that favor the status quo. In short, many journalists simply cave into their biases: assuming that because the ASPCA is supposedly an animal protection organization, and because the ASPCA is old, wealthy and powerful, that it must be on the right side of this issue—the side of the animals. No Kill advocates are therefore conveniently written off as unreasonable, even though, in truth, the policies we advocate, and not those of our opponents, are those that most faithfully represent the mainstream views of most Americans who do not want animals in shelters to be killed out of custom or convenience.

A quick look at the facebook page of Amy Paulin, the legislative sponsor of A05449, filled with thousands of comments by New York animal lovers asking her to withdraw her deadly bill and none in support, combined with the 15,000 e-mails that flooded the offices of Albany legislators begging them to kill the ASPCA bill on the eve of an important vote, and it becomes clear which side represents the views of most people, and which side represents the extreme. Despite their professed missions, our nation’s old-guard animal protection organizations are staffed by former kill shelter directors and their friends. As such, they have tragically become the equivalent of corrupt labor unions, fighting innovation and accountability at our nation’s shelters at all costs. And perhaps no story demonstrates this point more clearly than the story of how the ASPCA/Paulin “Quick Kill” bill came into existence.

Meet Oreo

Three years ago, a one year old dog named Oreo was intentionally thrown off a sixth floor Brooklyn roof top. Oreo suffered two broken legs and a fractured rib. Oreo also appeared to have been beaten in the past—several of the neighbors in the building where Oreo lived reported hearing the sounds of the dog being hit. The ASPCA nursed her back to health and arrested the perpetrator. They also dubbed her the “miracle dog,” and fundraised off her plight. But the miracle was short-lived.

According to Ed Sayres, the President of the ASPCA, when Oreo recovered from her injuries, she started to show signs of aggression. After a series of temperament tests, Ed Sayres made the decision to kill her. (Although there are videos taken of Oreo, the ASPCA has refused to release them. The only documentation we have of Oreo is a photograph of ASPCA employees hugging her, their own faces inches from hers). The New York Times reported the story the day before Oreo’s scheduled execution. Pets Alive, a No Kill sanctuary in Upstate New York which specializes in rehabilitating aggressive dogs (and, if that proves impossible, safely caring for them for the rest of their lives), contacted the ASPCA to ask if they could take Oreo. They made numerous phone calls and sent numerous e-mails. They were ignored, hung-up on and lied to. And Oreo was killed.

As word spread among animal lovers about what had happened, the furor and condemnation of the ASPCA was immediate and severe. No Kill rescue organizations, tired of shelters killing animals they wanted to take, adopted Oreo as their mascot and sought the introduction of a bill that would make it illegal for a shelter to kill an animal a rescue organization was willing to save. Assembly Member Micah Kellner, whose district includes the headquarters of the ASPCA, called it “Oreo’s Law.”

Although Oreo’s death was the catalyst, the legislation was desperately needed statewide. A survey of New York rescue groups revealed that 71% had experienced shelter directors who refused to work with them, and who then killed the very animals they had offered to take. It was estimated that if Oreo’s Law passed, 25,000 animals a year—mostly friendly and healthy dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, rabbits and other animals—would be saved who would otherwise be killed by New York shelters. The number could be even higher, as much as 60,000 animals a year.

Meet Ed Sayres

Ed Sayres—a long-time opponent of No Kill efforts nationwide and spiteful of the backlash against his killing of Oreo—declared that he would use his leverage in the State Capitol to defeat the bill. And although the public support for the bill was overwhelming, with calls to the New York legislators shutting down the servers in the NYS Assembly not once but twice, Oreo’s Law was defeated by a coalition of anti-animal “animal protection” groups, spearheaded by the ASPCA.

Oreo’s Law was introduced again in 2011 but under a new name—the Companion Animal Access & Rescue Act or CAARA—with the hope that changing the title of the bill might diminish ASPCA opposition. No such luck. Again the ASPCA led the opposition which defeated the bill. With CAARA pending again this year, the ASPCA sought a new tactic to ensure its defeat and its final demise: introducing competing legislation. Ed Sayres attempted to mollify opposition by passing the ASPCA’s own “rescue access” bill. But not only was the bill nothing of the sort—actually giving shelters the legal right not to work with rescue groups and therefore to kill animals rescuers wanted to save—but it went even went one, egregious step further. As if to punish rescuers and animal lovers for daring to challenge the mighty ASPCA, A05449 actually erodes one of the most important protections animals in shelters have: mandatory holding periods. Angry at those who question what until recently has been the ASPCA’s unlimited authority to determine sheltering policy in New York state, Ed Sayres is now trying to not only co-opt and destroy efforts at true rescue access legislation, but to turn back the clock on animal protection in New York state forty years to 1971.

Contrary to misperceptions by the media and contrary to ASPCA assertions, A04559 does NOT mandate rescue access. It merely suggests it, and then codifies in law a shelter’s right not to work with rescue organizations. It states that  shelters “may” give animals to rescue groups rather than kill them, instead of “shall” give the animals to them is required by CAARA, A07312, the bill supported by the New York rescue community and thousands of New York animal lovers.  And in codifying a shelter’s unlimited authority to determine whether a rescue group or particular animal qualifies, the law eviscerates whistleblower protection for rescuers who want to expose cruel and abusive treatment of animals in the shelters they may visit but are now afraid to do so for fear of losing their rescue privileges.

Other parts of A05449 which seem to give the illusion of reform are worded so as to be merely suggestive. The bill suggests that shelters scan for microchips and post lost animals on the internet only if they find it “practicable” to do so. Again, the real shelter reform bill mandates that these common sense things be done whether a shelter wants to or not precisely because at far too many shelters they are not being done, with shelters already finding it inconvenient, or not “practicable,” to do so.

But the worst part of the bill is the provision which eliminates holding periods for scared and shy animals, granting shelters the authority to kill such animals the moment they walk in the door. If shelter staff determines that an animal is in “psychological pain,” the animal can be killed immediately. Not only is killing an animal for being scared or shy cruel, and not only is killing an animal who is fearful of being harmed both paradoxical and absurd (a shelter is doing the very thing they claim they want to prevent: harm an animal), but there is no definition in law as to what constitutes “psychological pain” and no standards as to how it is to be applied. If any two shelter employees—including the janitor, the receptionist, or a kennel attendant—believe that an animal is in “psychological pain,” that animal can be killed immediately.

For those New Yorkers who share their lives with a dog or cat, the threat this bill creates to their cherished pet is very real: the next time the gardener accidentally leaves the gate open or the next time the kids forget to close the front door and their pet escapes, it may be the last time he is ever seen alive.  Because being scared or shy are precisely the behaviors that often characterize lost or stray pets, shelters would be granted the authority to kill many animals immediately upon intake, before their families even have a chance to look for them. In many cases, before their families even have a chance to notice that their beloved pet is missing.

Meet Nancy Perry

In 2009, after his killing of Oreo, Sayres promised the ASPCA Board of Directors that the outpouring of concern would quiet after a few days or weeks. It continues three years later. In fact, the outcry over Sayres’ actions remains strong and to date, unending. Unable to delete comments from the ASPCA Facebook page fast enough, the condemnation and call for his ouster is not only intensifying, but diversifying. Assembly Member Amy Paulin, the sponsor of the ASPCA “Quick Kill” bill has had her Facebook page completely taken over. Ads will begin running in her district newspaper this week and a billboard will soon grace her Scarsdale, NY community. In addition, animal lovers have turned their ire to the Chair of the ASPCA Board of Directors, demanding that she cease shirking her duty by turning a blind eye to the ASPCA’s war on animals and rescue groups. And Joseph Lentol, the longest running Assembly Member in New York, has joined the fray.

Assembly Member Lentol recently released a statement explaining that he understands that A05449 is designed to give “absolute power” to shelters, eviscerating any whistleblower protections of the Kellner bill. In addition, rather than parrot the fiction that shelters care and are working hard to save lives, he noted that, “the worst thing we could do would be to allow the ASPCA to go backwards by permitting them to limit the organizations they will work with.  If an organization faults them – they could find themselves off the list of approved rescues!  That’s not wise and that is not how we work to open up all publicly funded institutions for public review.” The proud parent of his own rescued pets, Lentol admitted that his own animals may have been killed under the bill. He is now assuring New Yorkers that the bill will not be reported out of his committee.

A caring man would not have sacrificed animals to his own vendetta. A smart man would have walked away from the bill given the overwhelming opposition. Ed Sayres, unfortunately, is neither. Instead of admitting that the effort to derail true shelter reform was over, Ed Sayres is attempting a superficial makeover by blaming Paulin and offering up a better spokesman. And he thought he found one, in Nancy Perry, the ASPCA’s Vice-President of Government Relations. It is now Perry’s job to quell the unrest over the bill and sell it in a softer way. It is her job to distance the ASPCA from the “psychological pain” language, the center of the public’s ire and a thinly-veiled declaration of war on feral cats and other animals who act traumatized in a shelter environment. The ASPCA, which has proved itself willing to stab animals and animal rescuers in the back, has chosen to do the same to Amy Paulin, and Nancy Perry is wielding the blade.

Late last week, Nancy Perry released a statement on the ASPCA Pro Facebook page that attempts to rewrite history and imply that Paulin, on her own and without their guidance, authored their bill. Perry stated that the bill had problems she, too, is concerned about, and that Paulin made a mistake. It would be the first of her many lies. According to Assembly Member Micah Kellner, “The ASPCA isn’t just supporting A5449-A [which is bad enough], they wrote this bill behind closed doors… Everything in A5549-A is written exactly as the ASPCA wanted. Don’t let them fool you by blaming Albany. This bill is a huge step backward for animals because the ASPCA wanted it that way… As with most things in this world it comes down to maintaining power…” In fact, they chose Amy Paulin precisely because of her reputation for introducing bills without regard for what is in them, without even reading them. The ASPCA wanted a legislator willing to rubber stamp their power grab, and Paulin fit the bill.

Proving herself as willing as Sayres to betray the animals, Perry continued with several additional misrepresentations. She stated that the ASPCA’s support for the Paulin bill was only a response to the fact that Kellner’s legislation was seen as an unfunded mandate, and that Albany would not pass it: “We don’t think the Kellner bill can pass—we have been told in no uncertain terms it is not passable. The unfunded mandate problem is not about finding funding. It is just the reality of how the New York state legislature works. They just won’t pass bills that force expensive requirements on local entities.”

Not only is this an admission that the Paulin bill does not require shelters to do anything they claim is not “practicable” (giving them the ability to cite lack of resources for the refusal to do anything differently than they are doing now), but it is a lie. Paulin herself has authored bills that imposed requirements on local governments without any funding attached. And more importantly, the inability to pass the Kellner bill in the past is only because of the ASPCA’s opposition.

Perry also lied to animal lovers by claiming that the ASPCA is motivated in its opposition to the Kellner bill, and before it, Oreo’s Law, because of a fear of hoarding. There is no question that the effects of hoarding are tragic: animals wallow in their own waste, are denied food and water for long periods of time, do not get necessary veterinary care, are sometimes crammed into cages and do not receive walks or regular exercise, all of which results in tremendous suffering and death. Hoarding is cruel, painful, and abhorrent, but it doesn’t have anything to do with this issue. Rescue access laws are about leveling the playing field between large non-profit organizations like the ASPCA which enjoy unlimited power and discretion over a community’s homeless animals, and smaller ones which, while founded for the same purpose, are prevented from fulfilling their own missions by shelters which refuse to work collaboratively with them to save lives.

Moreover, not only do the conditions which describe hoarders precisely describe conditions in many New York shelters which rescue groups want to deliver animals from, but using the animal hoarding card to defeat rescue access legislation is nothing more than ugly fear mongering. Hoarding is the result of mental illness and is not as common as many animal protection organizations would have us believe. Psychologists estimate that only 2% of the population suffers from hoarding, and of those, not all of them “collect” animals—many collect inanimate objects. By contrast, killing is endemic to animal shelters in the U.S. These are animals who have a 100% guarantee of being killed if rescue access isn’t mandated by law because rescue groups are only empowered to save those animals scheduled to be killed. So, there is a 100% chance the animal is killed vs. a slim possibility they’ll end up with a hoarder. Is it really a difficult decision?

To suggest that we must protect animals from rescuers is also backward thinking. Shelter killing is the number one cause of death for healthy animals in the U.S. If we care about saving animals, we must save them FROM shelters by putting them in the hands of RESCUERS. Moreover, logic and fairness—both to rescuers and the animals—demand that altruistic people who devote their time and energy to helping the animals who end up in our nation’s shelters stop being equated with mentally ill people who cause them harm. Animal rescuers seek to deliver animals from the type of cruelty and abuse that characterizes not only the care or lack thereof given to animals by hoarders, but, in reality, by many of our shelters as well.

Despite similar fear mongering over a decade ago by HSUS when Perry was working for them as California was the first state in the nation to consider such legislation, that provision has been an unqualified success, increasing the number of animals saved, without the downsides—including hoarding—which opponents claimed. Indeed, coupled with other modest shelter reforms, the number of dogs and cats killed in California shelters dropped from over 570,000 animals the year before the law was passed to roughly 328,000 the year after, a decline of almost 250,000 dogs and cats. And, the number of small animals saved, such as rabbits, also spiked according to an analysis by one of the largest law firms in the world. Indeed, that analysis not only concluded rescue rights in California have been incredibly successful, it concluded such laws were necessary in other states. In short, we have PROOF and experience that concerns about hoarding amount to nothing and that rescue access saves lives, facts which Perry and the ASPCA conveniently ignore.

And yet despite the fact that killing in shelters is so common and hoarding so rare, nonetheless, the Kellner bill has significant protections against such an outcome, which were put in the bill in the hopes of convincing the ASPCA to support the bill. It excludes organizations with a volunteer, staff member, director, and/or officer who has a conviction for animal neglect, cruelty, and/or dog fighting, and suspends the organization while such charges are pending. In addition, it requires the rescue organization to be a not-for-profit organization, recognized under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). As a result, they must register with the federal government, and with several state agencies, including the Attorney General’s Office. It provides a mechanism for inspection of the rescue organization. And, more importantly, nothing in it required shelters to work with specific rescue groups. They are free to work with other rescue organizations if they choose and they are also free to adopt the animals themselves. What they cannot do, what they should not be permitted to do, is to kill animals when those animals have a place to go.

Perry’s final lie is to “apologize” for the “misunderstanding” and to urge animal lovers to work with the ASPCA to pass legislation to save more lives. But how is this possible when they are committed to defeating the existing bill which does just that? The Kellner bill is a strong, effective rescue access bill with safeguards to address all of their alleged concerns, and yet they refuse to support it, all the while arguing that we need to work together to come up with a bill that can pass, when, in truth they are the only thing standing in its way. Given how easily the ASPCA has defeated true rescue access laws in the past two years, and given how easily their Quick Kill bill passed the Agriculture Committee despite intense public opposition, how can Perry possibly claim that the Kellner Bill would be defeated even if the ASPCA threw their weight behind it? To state that the ASPCA wants to pass legislation “that will help animals” while refusing to not only support, but working to defeat the very legislation that does just that, is illogical and absurd.  If that were true, the choice would be easy. They would support the Kellner bill. And so, Perry—who came to the regressive ASPCA by way of the equally regressive Humane Society of the United States—offers little more than Orwellian doublespeak at the behest of Sayres:  “The bill we wrote is not our bill;” “The legislator we chose is not our legislator;” “We regret that the Kellner bill cannot pass because of our own opposition preventing it from passing.”

Perry’s machinations to the contrary, the ASPCA’s Quick Kill bill is not good for animals, it is not good for animal lovers, it is not good for New York, and it is not a good precedent for the nation. For the first time anywhere in the U.S., legislation is being sought that would allow shelters to kill animals based on a perceived state of mind, eliminating fundamental protections animals entering shelters have had for decades. Although as anyone acquainted with the crisis of cruelty and uncaring that characterizes our nation’s dysfunctional animal sheltering system can attest, our shelters are already poorly run houses of horror where animals face a better chance of being killed than exiting alive. But at the very least, mandatory holding periods, when they are obeyed, allow people the opportunity to reclaim their missing animals, and they afford homeless animals a little time and space to be adopted.

If the ASPCA has its way, and A05449 passes, New York shelters, which in theory exist to help homeless animals and reunite stray animals with their families, will become nothing more than dog and cat slaughterhouses. And if the law then catches on with regressive organizations in other states who introduce similar legislation which comes with the blessing of the powerful and influential ASPCA, the body count could be astronomical. And for what purpose?

Not because of a glaring deficiency in New York law regarding holding periods that the ASPCA was honestly and responsibly trying to amend so that the needs of animals in that state could be better served, but rather, as a spiteful vendetta of one hateful, heartless man: Ed Sayres of the ASPCA—a man who has proved himself willing to sacrifice tens of thousands of animals to his own blind ambition. And a man who has surrounded himself with sycophants and “yes men” willing to do his bidding despite the body count.

———————

What You Can Do:

If—and ONLY if—you are a New York Resident, please contact NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and ask him not to allow this bill to reach the Assembly floor. There is text provided for you, but as always adding your own heartfelt and polite message is always more effective: http://bit.ly/AEHufj

For those outside of New York who want to register your voice, there are three things you can and should do:

An Appeal to Right

February 15, 2012 by  

The job of the Chair of the Board of Directors is to ensure the mission is followed, to protect the reputation and integrity of the organization, and to hold the CEO accountable. In this task, ASPCA Board Chair Mary Jo White has failed. Under her leadership, she has allowed Ed Sayres to turn the ASPCA’s mission on its head, promulgating policies and legislation that are the antithesis of what an animal protection organization is supposed to be doing, and the antithesis of what the ASPCA tells their donors they represent.

Sayres has promulgated legislation to kill animals with no holding period of any kind based on an animal’s perceived state of mind, a declaration of war on shy and scared animals, as well as feral cats. Sayres has turned a blind eye to rampant neglect, abuse, and killing at the NYC pound, and even sends animals there to be killed. Sayres has fought No Kill reform efforts in places like San Francisco, Austin, and Tallahassee, going so far as to protect a shelter director who committed animal cruelty. In other words, under her leadership, she has allowed Ed Sayres and the ASPCA to become a hoarder of money, a defender of shelter abuse, and a fighter against lifesaving.

In your own words, in your own way, please let her know how disappointed you are. Ask her to step in and protect the animals she is pledged to protect. And tell her she must start by ensuring that the ASPCA’s “Quick Kill Bill,” A05449, be immediately withdrawn. Let her know that the fate of thousands of animals are in her hands and she must finally start living up to her responsibilities as ASPCA Board Chair.

Please be thoughtful. Please be civil. But please be firm and offer no apologies.

Mary Jo White
919 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10022

T: (212) 909-6260
F: (212) 909-6836

email: mjwhite@debevoise.com

For more information: The ASPCA’s War on Animal Lovers

A Most Dangerous Precedent

February 14, 2012 by  

If the ASPCA and Assembly Member Amy Paulin get their way, feral cats and scared cats can be exterminated immediately on intake in New York State shelters.

The ASPCA is pushing legislation sponsored by Assembly Member Amy Paulin that would allow New York State shelters to kill animals immediately if shelter staff determine that the animals are in “psychological pain.” There is no definition of what constitutes psychological pain and no standards to how it will be applied. For the first time anywhere in the U.S., shelters will be allowed to kill animals with no holding period of any kind based on the animals’ perceived state of mind, giving regressive shelter bureaucrats unlimited discretion to immediately kill animals based on unenforceable, unknowable, and completely subjective criteria. Not only is this a real and immediate threat to shy and scared animals, as well as feral cats, but it is a very dangerous precedent to introduce in the animal control laws of our nation.

Whether you are from New York or not, please speak up for the animals:

  • Post comments to twitter: @aspca

Learn more:

Gone in 60 Seconds

The ASPCA Fights for More Shelter Killing in NY

How You Can Help

February 12, 2012 by  

Today’s animal welfare organizations have built a dependency model where you write them checks and they “promise” to help animals. That has made them very rich and, too often, the animals no better off. In some cases, they’ve made things worse. They either hoard that money in the bank, use it to thwart lifesaving reform, use it to kill animals, or waste it on whimsy over substance. In fact, the large, national organizations have never created a single, No Kill community in the U.S. precisely because that has never been their goal. But smaller organizations have. Individuals have. And you can, too. So, put away those check books and roll up those sleeves. There are effective ways to join the No Kill revolution and help end the systematic and wholly unnecessary killing of animals in U.S. shelters. You can start your own campaign to reform your community such as this group did. You can help spread the word through a blog. You can take on positions of leadership in local shelters. You can work with local organizations to rescue animals and adopt them out. And more.

Here’s some immediate and additional ways to help:

Legislative Advocacy

Help end “convenience killing” in shelters by making your voice heard in support of legislation that will make it illegal for “shelters” to kill animals when qualified rescue organizations are willing to save them:

Help stop the repeal of lifesaving legislation in California responsible for saving hundreds of thousands of lives:

Help defeat the ASPCA’s “Quick Kill” bill that would allow New York State “shelters” to kill any animals immediately on intake if they claim those animals (such as feral cats, scared cats, shy dogs, and other traumatized animals) are in “psychological pain”:

Nothing substitutes for direct face-to-face contact. If you are in any of the above states and can meet with legislators, that often makes all the difference in the world. But if that is not possible, the more people you can get to write, e-mail, and call, the better.

If your state is not mentioned, please visit Rescue Five-O to learn how to introduce lifesaving legislation in your community or state by clicking here.

Political Reform

Prepare, fight, and win. Successful shelter reform requires political advocacy:

For additional resources – including a guide to using freedom of information laws, model shelter policies, and much more – click here.

Just One Day

Help promote Just One Day, a campaign for a national No Kill day on June 11, 2012. The No Kill Advocacy Center and Animal Ark are asking animal shelters across the USA to take a pledge not to kill any savable animals on that day. For Just One Day, “Euthanasia Technicians” will put down their syringes and pick up cameras. Instead of injecting animals with lethal doses of sodium pentobarbital, they will photograph them and post them on the Internet, on Facebook, on twitter. On June 11, 2012, they will market their animals to the public, they will reach out to rescue groups, they will host adoption events with discounted rates, they will stay open for extended hours, and they will ask their communities to help them empty the shelter the good way. Instead of going into body bags in freezers, the animals will go out the front door in the loving arms of families. At the end of the day, the shelters will be emptier than when the day started with no one being killed in order to make that happen. And if they can do it then, they can also do it on June 12 for Just Another Day. . .

  • Click here to learn more and encourage your local shelter to take the pledge.

Get Inspired/Get Involved

Join me in a city near you for the seminar that has been called “a prerequisite for animal lovers, rescue groups and organizations that are serious about changing their communities to No Kill.”

  • Phoenix, AZ, February 18 for “Building a No Kill Community.” For more information,click here.
  • Dallas, TX, March 10 for “Building a No Kill Community.” For more information, click here.
  • Los Angeles, CA, March 13 for “Reforming Animal Control.” For more information, click here.
  • Albuquerque, NM, March 24 for the Western States Conference. For more information, click here.
  • Toronto, Canada, April 14 for “Building a No Kill Community.” For more information, click here.
  • Topeka, KS, May 5 for “Building a No Kill Community.” For more information, click here.
  • Washington, D.C., August 11-12 for the national No Kill Conference. For more information, click here.
  • Cincinnati, OH, September 15 for an all-day No Kill workshop. More information coming soon.
  • Lansing, MI, September 20 for the Michigan No Kill Conference. More information coming soon.
  • Bloomington, IL, October 16 for “Building a No Kill Community.” More information coming soon.

No Kill Conference 2012

Last year’s groundbreaking No Kill Conference was the sold-out, must-attend event of the year. And we are doing it again! Just blocks from the White House and walking distance to the national mall, join the nation’s most successful shelter directors, animal lawyers, shelter veterinarians, and shelter reformers for an inspiring and empowering conference that will help you save lives. (Attorneys and paralegals eligible for CLE credit; other professionals eligible for professional education credit; law students get a 50% discount.)

  • For more information and/or to register, click here.

Donations

Of course, if you want to write a check, write a check to an organization that truly reflects your values.

Gone in 60 Seconds

February 10, 2012 by  

NEW YORK SHELTER ANIMALS FACE GRAVE AND IMMEDIATE DANGER.

 

In 2010, No Kill advocates succeeded in getting a rescue access bill introduced in the New York State Legislature that would require shelters to give animals they are planning to kill to qualified rescue organizations. This bill had the power to save 25,000 animals a year. It was defeated by an ASPCA-led coalition, which then introduced their own bill claiming to do the same but which, in reality, codifies the status quo and erodes existing protections for shelter animals. If this bill passes, shelters will be granted the legal authority to refuse rescue groups for arbitrary reasons, such as the rescue group is in a neighboring county, or the rescue group criticized the shelter for poor, abusive or neglectful conditions. In addition, it eliminates the holding period for scared cats, feral cats, shy dogs, and traumatized animals by granting shelters the legal authority to kill animals for being in “psychological pain” immediately on intake. They could be killed within a minute of arrival. With this bill, the ASPCA is trying to not only stop rescue access, but to erode what few protections animals in shelters already have.

 

The vote is Wednesday and it is expected to pass. WE MUST NOT ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN. New Yorkers, urge the Ag Committee to vote No on the ASPCA fake rescue access and quick kill bill (you must use all four alerts to contact ALL members of the Ag Committee):

 

On Wednesday, the NYS Assembly Agriculture Committee will take up Assembly Bill A05449A by Amy Paulin. It is expected to pass. A05449A is an ASPCA-written bill that seeks to undermine support for true shelter reform and true shelter access, a rival to Assembly Bill A07312, the Companion Animal Access & Rescue Act (CAARA) by Assembly Member Micah Kellner. It will not provide true rescue access for animals shelters are committed to killing and more importantly, it will eliminate the holding period for shy dogs, scared animals, and all feral cats in New York State by giving shelters the power to kill animals they consider to be in “psychological pain” immediately. In short, scared cats, feral cats, shy dogs, and stressed/traumatized animals could be killed within a minute of arrival.

In addition, the ASPCA/Paulin bill will give shelters virtually unlimited power to decide which animals are subject to rescue and which rescue groups they want to work with. Not only would this continue current practice, giving the stamp of legislative legitimacy to killing despite a rescue alternative, it would make it more difficult for rescuers to seek real legislative reform in the future. The ASPCA bill would not have saved Oreo. In fact, it would not save the majority of the 25,000 animals currently being killed in New York State shelters every year despite a qualified rescue alternative. For example, the bill specifically says shelters do not have to work with rescue groups outside of their county, even when those organizations have the ability, capacity, and desire to save lives. This allows shelters in rural communities to avoid working with the extensive rescue group network of New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse, where homes are in greater abundance. It also allows shelters to avoid working with rescue groups and No Kill shelters in neighboring suburbs or counties.

Moreover, they do not have to work with any rescue groups. The bill specifically says that shelters “may” give animals to rescue groups rather than kill them, instead of “shall” give the animals to them. And it gives them unlimited authority to determine whether a rescue group or particular animal qualifies. If shelter staff believes the rescue group is unfairly critical of the shelter, they can deem that rescue group “abusive” under the law and prevent them from rescuing animals. That is the situation we have now, and shelters like New York City’s pound have kicked out rescuers and volunteers for trying to improve conditions by exercising their First Amendment rights.

There is no question that a rescue access law is needed in New York State. A 2010 survey found that 71% of NYS rescue groups have been turned away by shelters and those shelters subsequently killed the animals they offered to save. The survey also found that roughly half of all non-profit organizations have been the subject of retaliation, including retaliatory killing of animals, for expressing concern about inhumane conditions in shelters. One bill—CAARA—seeks to truly end these practices.

While CAARA empowers non-profit animal rescue organizations to fulfill their missions, a right often denied to them by larger non-profit organizations and shelters, the ASPCA bill paradoxically assumes such organizations guilty of the very problem they were chartered to combat.

CAARA provides whistleblower protection for rescue groups, creating an incentive for non-profit organizations to help end cruelty or neglect at shelters without fear of retaliation and loss of rescue access. The ASPCA bill gives shelters the authority to refuse working with rescue groups if they determine those groups are hostile toward the shelters, effectively eviscerating any whistleblower protections and conditioning rescue access on silence as to inhumane conditions which may exist in that particular shelter.

CAARA prevents needless animal suffering by mandating precise, sensible, and objective criteria for determining which animals are irremediably suffering and therefore exempt from rescue access provisions. The ASPCA bill creates a number of loopholes and fails to specifically define the terms of such exemptions, leaving them open to interpretation by the very individuals the law should be regulating. For example, the ASPCA bill allows shelters to kill animals they consider are in “psychological pain” which lacks any objective standards of determination. If an animal is scared or shy, he or she can be killed right away, with no holding period of any kind. This would be a death sentence for all feral cats, all shy dogs, all scared animals. In fact, it will allow NYS shelters to kill any animal with no holding period by claiming they are in “psychological pain.”

CAARA ensures public safety by mandating precise criteria for determining which dogs are dangerous or aggressive and therefore exempt from rescue access. The ASPCA bill fails to specifically define the terms of such exemptions, again leaving these important and life-determining evaluations open to decisions unrelated to a dog’s true temperament.

CAARA protects animal well-being by providing specific, sensible, and objective criteria whereby a shelter can refuse to provide rescue access to a particular non-profit for reasons of proven cruelty or neglect. The ASPCA bill allows shelters to refuse rescue access to non-profits even when none of these conditions actually exist.

Under the ASPCA bill, New York State shelters could refuse to give this puppy to a rescue group and kill him instead for any of the following reasons (and more):

  • The shelter claims the puppy is in “psychological pain” because he whines in the shelter.
  • The shelter says the rescue group is hostile because it reported publicly that shelter animals are allowed to wallow in filth while staff is not reprimanded for failure to clean.
  • The rescue group is in a neighboring county.
  • The shelter states that it does not believe the rescue group can provide adequate care without having to objectively state how or why they arrived at that conclusion.
  • The puppy has a cold which the shelter determines to be “contagious” and therefore “deadly” to other animals in the shelter.
  • The shelter claims the puppy is aggressive.

By contrast, under CAARA, the shelter would not be able to kill this puppy if a rescue group offered to save him unless:

  • The puppy was irremediably suffering and the prognosis for rehabilitation was poor or grave.
  • The rescue group had a volunteer, staff, or board member who has charges of animal neglect, cruelty, or dog fighting pending against them or a conviction for neglect, cruelty, or dog fighting.
  • The rescue group failed an inspection that was conducted in a timely manner with objective criteria for failing.

The rival bill is an attempt to co-opt the movement for rescue access and to defray criticism by claiming they support ‘rescue access’ without directly challenging the conditions which make true rescue access so vital to saving lives in New York State. It makes it more difficult for rescue groups to save animals and easier for shelters to kill.

Finally, although the bill suggests that shelters would be required to scan for microchips, match lost and found animals, and post these animals online, in reality, it gives them the ability not to if they determine, wholly within their discretion, it is not “practicable” to do so. Every provision requiring shelters to do anything is preceded by the loophole not to if they determine it is not  “practicable” to do so. Practicable literally means capable of being done or reasonable, but there are so many alternatives to it—reasonable, feasible, practical—that no one uses it anymore. That is, no one outside the law. It survives today in the jurisprudence of this nation. You will find it in law where it has only one meaning: you do not have to do this if you don’t want to. Its singular purpose is to mollify opposition by enacting reform, but then providing a loophole big enough to drive the proverbial Mack truck straight through it.

When you read legislation and you see that dastardly word, you will know that the legislator is not serious about reform. You will know that the bill is meant to ride popular sentiment on an issue but not upset the powerful interests who are vested in the status quo. So you can have legislation, for example, that is called the “Climate Change Prevention Act.” It might have policy statements that sound ambitious: “Whereas, today climate change is threatening to destroy economies, cause species extinction, and result in irreversible harm to the planet and all living things.” It might then put the blame on use of non-renewable sources of energy. And then, in what sounds very promising in today’s political climate, it might “mandate that utilities must purchase 50% of their energy from renewable sources by 2015.” And you might think that this is something you can get behind. You will vote for this and vote for the legislator who introduced it. But wait, you search the text of the law, and there it is, one tiny word, the kiss of death that potentially renders the whole thing a paper tiger. It goes on to say, “if practicable.” In other words, if it isn’t too much trouble. And it always certainly is. Or we wouldn’t need a law to force them to do so in the first place.

The word “practicable” is a wink, a nod, a slight head tilt to special interests by legislators that no one really expects change, that those the law pretends to regulate will be able to continue doing what they have always done as long as they make the claim that following the law is not “practicable.”

Please help defeat this bill so we can pass real reform and to prevent feral cats, scared dogs, and all the other animals from facing certain death if shelter bureaucrats claim they are in “psychological pain.” We must let the ASPCA, Assembly Member Amy Paulin, and, most importantly, the members of the Agriculture Committee  know that this is not acceptable. The fate of tens of thousands of animals every year hang in the balance.

What you can do:

1. New Yorkers, urge the Ag Committee to vote No on the ASPCA fake rescue access and quick kill bill (you must use all four alerts to contact ALL members of the Ag Committee):

2. Contact Ed Sayres of the ASPCA and tell him to withdraw the Quick Kill Bill: esayres@aspca.org

3. Contact Amy Paulin on her Facebook page and tell her to withdraw her bill: www.facebook.com/assemblywomanpaulin

Building a No Kill Maricopa County

February 10, 2012 by  

Next stop on the Building a No Kill Community tour: Phoenix, AZ.

For years, a string of shelter directors have promised animals lovers in Maricopa County, AZ, a No Kill community and for years, they have failed to deliver. Despite their claims that they are now saving all “healthy” animals, we know it is a lie. How do we know?

  • Maricopa County killed 51% of all animals, about the national average. If they are to be  believed, the entire USA is filled with communities saving all healthy animals by virtue of the fact that they are killing half of all animals;
  • When Maricopa County’s animal control shelter began charging to take in stray cats (as high as $96 per cat), it reduced the number of cats it took in by over 3,000. But the Arizona Humane Society saw a corresponding increase in killing. It doesn’t matter who is killing them, it matters that they are still being killed;
  • When the number of animals killed who are claimed to be healthy dropped to zero, the number of so-called “untreatable” animals killed increased. For example, the number of animals killed deemed “untreatable” increased from 576 to a whopping 3,486. Likewise, the number of “treatable” animals killed also spiked, from 31,568 to 37,888. Maricopa County officials also excluded 4,107 animals who they claim were killed at the request of the people surrendering them. Their lives were not counted in reporting results, the statistics—and the animals—swept under the rug; and,
  • Maricopa County shelters deem the “vast majority” of pit bull-type dogs and pit bull-mixes to be “unadoptable” in order to justify killing them, despite predictable pass rates of 90% in progressive shelters.

In fact,

  • Killing is up at the Arizona Humane Society 19%, an increase of over 4,000 animals;
  • Killing of animals claimed to be treatable has increased a whopping 42%; and
  • Killing of animals claimed to be untreatable increased 13% at AHS and 9% at the pound.

The fact that shelter officials are misleading the public and have failed to meet lifesaving goals does not mean No Kill isn’t possible. It simply means that they are doing it wrong, going down the same broken path that is plaguing other failed communities like New York City.

Join me in Phoenix, AZ, on Saturday, February 18, 2012 for a Building a No Kill Community seminar, to see what No Kill really looks like, which communities have achieved it, how they achieved it, and what shelter reformers need to do to make it happen in their own community. The workshop has been called, “A prerequisite for rescue groups and organizations that are serious about changing their communities to No Kill.” Read a review of my recent Tampa, FL seminar by clicking here.

It is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a book signing for both Redemption and Irreconcilable Differences. Sponsored by No Kill Maricopa.

To register, click here.

I’ll also be doing an interview for NBC 96.1 FM radio on Tuesday, February 14 at 10:30 am MT. Listen live by clicking here.

 

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