Who’s the Birthday Boy?

June 30, 2012 by  

Thirteen years ago today, a dog came into the San Francisco SPCA to get spayed. Sometime between 8 pm on the evening of June 30 and 5 am the morning of July 1, while waiting for her scheduled surgery, she gave birth.

Instead of sterilizing her and killing every one of her puppies, a handful of little dogs were given the gift of life. Two of those puppies came to live with me. And I was given 11 years of unconditional love and great joy with Topham, who we lost in 2010. And 13 years and going with his brother Pickles.

There are many reasons why spaying a pregnant dog is wrong. Here’s one: Mr. Picklechips.

Who’s the birthday boy? Who? Who? You are Pickles!


For further reading:

For the Love of Dog

The Great Abortion Non-Debate

Join the discussion: facebook.com/nathanwinograd

How to Become an AHA Certified Killer

June 29, 2012 by  

By Nathan & Jennifer Winograd

The American Humane Association bills itself as “the nation’s ‘voice’ for the protection of animals.” And it claims that,

One of the important ways American Humane helps protect animals is by educating and training people how to provide the best animal care possible. Throughout the year, we host trainings nationwide for animal welfare professionals and for all people who love animals and want to make a difference in their well-being.

What kind of training does AHA provide for those who might want to “make a difference” in the “well-being” of animals? Every year, AHA hosts “Euthanasia by Injection” workshops where shelter employees from across the nation come together to learn how to kill animals. “Whether you’ve never performed euthanasia or have years of experience with it,” says AHA, everyone is welcome—including those who will use the knowledge to kill healthy and treatable animals. AHA holds the workshops at regressive shelters across the country—so there are plenty of animals on hand to kill.

Imagine it. A hall filled with people who are there to learn one thing: how to kill the dogs and cats. And although on the very same website that AHA advertises this workshop you can read their official position against dissection which states that dissection is wrong because it teaches children “that it is all right to disregard another’s life for the sake of learning,” this philosophy apparently doesn’t apply to them. And even though it is not the job of an “animal protection” group to teach people how to kill, at this workshop, not only will AHA teach you how to kill real animals, not only will they “catch you up” on the “latest techniques and drugs,” they’ll teach you how to kill animals in a variety of ways, too.

They’ll teach you how to inject animals with poison in the vein. They will teach you how to inject animals with poison in the gut. And they will teach you how to inject animals with poison straight into the heart.  And in case the animals you are killing realize that you are in fact trying to kill them and fight back, AHA will show you how to restrain them so you can get the job done. And then, when you think it’s all over and that the animal you just poisoned is dead, they will teach you how to verify that you did, in fact, kill him, just to make sure more poison isn’t required.

And what happens if you have a moment of clarity about what is actually happening—about how an organization that claims to be about helping animals is teaching you with precise detail how to kill them—and your conscience protests? What then? Not to worry. AHA will soothe your guilt by teaching you how to smother your compassion. With “an entire section” of the conference devoted to dealing with “the unique stress felt by those who perform euthanasia,” they’ll lull you back into a state of complacency and assure you that you are, in fact, a hero for helping create that pile of dead dogs and cats. They’ll teach you to regard any empathy you might have felt for your victims not as a plea from your better nature to reject killing, but as a pesky case of what they call “compassion stress.”

And when the weekend draws to a close and the two days of poisoning animals is nearing its end, when you’ve successfully watched other people kill animals without trying to stop them and you’ve even proven that you have what it takes to kill animals yourself, you won’t leave empty handed. AHA will make sure that your memories of their conference—of that horrifying weekend when you and other people from across the country came together in a hall to kill innocent animals behind closed doors—will last a lifetime. You will get a certificate that proves you are an AHA-certified killer so that everyone who sees it will know exactly what you are capable of doing.

It is true; No Kill shelter employees must also learn how to kill, even if it is just for irremediably suffering and non-rehabilitatable animals. When I ran the No Kill animal control shelter in Tompkins County, New York, I refused to send employees to similar workshops because they used healthy and treatable animals. And they were trained on the job with animals who were suffering, the way those who learn about human medicine are taught at teaching hospitals. Because it was a No Kill shelter saving 93 percent of all animals, what AHA promises to teach in a weekend took months, in some cases a year. But no one complained or would have had it any other way. And why would they? They were specifically hired for their love animals and because of that, it simply would not have occurred to them that it should be any other way. Moreover, unlike AHA, I would never have trained someone who would use that knowledge to kill healthy and treatable animals.


For further reading:

Can we find homes for 2.4 billion animals? Ask the “experts” at AHA

Lessons from an Andy Warhol totebag

Join the discussion: facebook.com/nathanwinograd

Friendly Fire is Coming

June 22, 2012 by  

To be notified of its release, click here.

Updated info: Due to some production issues, Friendly Fire will be released on November 1.

A Day to Remember

June 16, 2012 by  

Wayne Pacelle, Ed Sayres, Ingrid Newkirk and whatever no-names run the American Humane Association and the National Animal Control Association should be worried. They are losing their battle to maintain the status quo of “catch and kill” sheltering which their organizations have championed for decades; and, in the case of the ASPCA, since the great Henry Bergh’s death in 1888. A monumental event took place on June 11, and it threatens to undermine the very foundation beneath their feet.

On June 11, my organization the No Kill Advocacy Center teamed up with Minnesota’s Animal Ark No Kill shelter to launch a national day of No Kill. We asked shelters across the country to put down their “euthanasia needles” and pick up cameras: to photograph animals, promote them and find them homes instead. For Just One Day, we asked shelters to pledge not to kill any healthy or treatable animals. And we chose June 11 because it was the anniversary of the first No Kill community, the day I started at the Tompkins County SPCA in Ithaca, New York, an open admission animal control shelter for all ten towns and municipalities in the county. And 800 shelters and rescue groups answered the call. In fact, judging from the news stories of shelters that participated but did not officially sign the pledge form, the number is much higher.

Those participating included some of the largest animal control shelters in the nation. Not only did they commit to adoptions, many of which were normally closed that day staying open, but they embraced both the concept and term No Kill. On June 11, Kern County Animal Control, a shelter I was once involved in a lawsuit against, embraced a call “for a No Kill nation” and stayed open for 11 hours. Roughly 100 animals found homes.

Houston’s shelter, which I assessed several years ago delivering a blistering critique, normally closed on Monday, opened for the day and placed 231 animals. They are also sending five people to the No Kill Conference. Miami-Dade Animal Services also participated, placed 116 animals, unanimously passed a No Kill resolution, and then celebrated with a No Kill cake, baked by the supervisor of animal control.

In Amarillo, Texas, the director of animal control reported,

By 4:30, 47 animals had been adopted. By 6:30, the number was uncertain as the shelter’s computer system could not update quickly enough to keep up with number of people arriving at the desk. At least 65 animals had been taken out the door, but it would be Tuesday before a final count could be verified. “An exceptional turnout,” said the director. “The parking lot has been full since 10:00 this morning, it continues to be full. I’ve never seen so many people come out here all at one time, in one day.”

Seventy-eight animals went home from a South Carolina shelter. Another shelter adopted out 94 dogs and 37 cats. Florence, Alabama had “amazing results.” Morristown, Tennessee did “huge” numbers of adoptions. Indianapolis did 83. At Williamson County in Texas,

[A]doption numbers reached well over three times the norm. With 34 wiggling tails and happy meows now out in their new homes, the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter is able to open their doors to more life-saving challenges and continue the trend as we move forward to a No Kill Williamson County!

Boone County Animal Shelter in Kentucky saved 57 animals. Roanoke in Virginia reported 36 adoptions by mid-day and a shelter full of potential adopters. They, too, are normally closed on Monday. In an Arizona shelter, 88 out of 100 dogs and 28 out of 30 cats were adopted by 11 am. In another community, they ran out of animals. Yet another reported staff crying: they had never seen so many animals going out the front door in the loving arms of families. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Rescue groups which participated, even those already No Kill, reached out to their local shelters and pulled additional animals for their own adoption events, increasing the number they normally would have saved. In Sacramento, a rescue group pulled 32 animals from the city shelter. Even a shelter that normally doesn’t do any adoptions (but will transfer animals to rescue) did both—sending dozens to rescue and adopting directly to the public themselves. Between 7,000 and 9,000 animals were placed that day.

In short, it was the single, safest day for homeless animals in shelters this century, with the support, endorsement and embrace of traditional shelters all over the country. And the shelters participating did not shy away from embracing No Kill or the term. It was a watershed moment. Not just because they did so or the animals normally killed in years past were saved, but because of the valuable lessons hundreds of traditional shelters across the country learned.

They learned that No Kill is not to be feared. They learned that rescue groups are not to be feared. And they learned that the public is not to be feared. In fact, we are all partners—ready, willing, and able to work together the moment they decide to do so.

They learned that when you embrace an end to killing, when you engage and partner with the public, when you work with rescue groups, when you reach out to the media, and when you make it easy for people to do the right thing, great things happen: you empty the shelter the good way. But they also learned one more thing. They learned that if you want to save lives, you do not turn to HSUS, the ASPCA, AHA, or NACA and their antiquated dogmas which represent the past. You turn to the No Kill movement which represents the future. Not only did none of the large groups participate, but they continually denigrate our efforts: they call No Kill hoarding, they claim rescue groups cannot be trusted, they say you can’t adopt your way out of killing, and they continue pushing business as usual. June 11 may have been Just One Day, but it was decidedly not business as usual. And, over the long term, that just may be the most important lesson of them all.


A lot of people—too many to individually name—deserve credit for the amazing response to Just One Day all over the country. Thank you to all the participating shelters and rescue groups. Thank you to all the adopters, the media, and everyone else who made a lifesaving difference in their communities for Just One Day. And a very special thank you to Mike Fry who came up with the idea and Beth Nelson who spent five giddy hours promoting it on Animal Wise Radio.

The Five Stages of PETA Grief

June 15, 2012 by  

People who support PETA even after they learn about their mass killing and embrace of abusive shelters don’t love animals and they know it. They may claim they do. They may have Facebook pages filled with animal images and stickers with animal related messages on their car. But they don’t. For such people, a misplaced trust and need to identify with PETA is more important than the professed values that presumably led them to support PETA in the first place. In fact, it is more important than the animals themselves because they are willing to embrace the suffering and death of animals so long as that suffering and death is caused by PETA or the “shelters” PETA defends.

PETA lovers: I challenge you to read the following articles and then explain how PETA’s actions or the defense of those actions by you is consistent with a rational definition of “loving” animals without resorting to the decidedly irrational and Orwellian argument that killing is a “gift” and that the living want to die as Ingrid Newkirk does:

I further challenge you to avoid the five stages of PETA Grief. Because whenever I post the truth about PETA, here’s what I typically get from you:

  1. Anger. First, you become angry and launch an invective-filled ad hominem attack on the messenger. You can’t top the colorful ways I’ve been attacked, so don’t even try. I’ve already been told I “live in my grandmother’s basement,” that I “need a hobby instead of scratching my fat, pimply ass in front of a computer,” and that I like “to sit in the bathtub and play with poo and pee.” You’re in good company.
  2. Defensiveness. After about 10 minutes, desperation fueled by cognitive dissonance kicks in. Because so much of who you are, your identity as “superior” to everyone else is wrapped up in PETA and you’ve just discovered that PETA kills animals, you start to feel defensive and are desperate for a means to prove that what I am saying isn’t true. So after the personal attack, you’ll come back with another comment, this time demanding proof. Of course, PETA death statistics are from PETA itself. And PETA has admitted to killing animals who are, in their own words, “healthy, “adoptable,” “perfect,” and “adorable.” And here is a postcard your idol Ingrid Newkirk herself wrote to me admitting that PETA does not support “right to life for animals.”
  3. Denial. Unable to reconcile your identity which is wrapped up in feeling superior because you perceive PETA as a “radical animal rights group” even though PETA’s killing is inconsistent with animal rights, their defense of abusive shelters is inconsistent with animals rights, and PETA has admitted they don’t support the rights of animals, you’ll simply deny it. About 10 minutes after the defensiveness phase, you’ll post yet another comment saying that it isn’t true and that I must be part of the “exploitive meat industry” out to “destroy the animal rights movement.” I’m not, and in fact, I used to volunteer with PETA before learning the truth, unlike you who will tenaciously cling to the fiction that PETA represents something it does not, even when PETA staff, including Newkirk, have admitted as much and even when all evidence is to the contrary.
  4. Reassert superiority. But you can’t let it go, and as your conscience realizes it is unable to reconcile what are in fact irreconcilable contradictions, you’ll reassert your superiority, because that is what it all comes down doesn’t it? Feeling superior to the masses. So you’ll write, “Are you even vegan?” or “I don’t have to listen to you because you are not even vegan.” Hey, I’ve got news for you: that is irrelevant to the issue at hand. It is not who is right that matters, but what is right. And PETA’s killing and defense of killing is wrong no matter what other forms of animal abuse exist. You are defending PETA’s killing and embrace of even abusive shelters because cows and chickens are being killed by someone else. How does that make any sense? Incidentally, I am in fact vegan and have been for over 20 years: www.allamericanvegan.com.
  5. Anger. And so you’ll get angry again because you just can’t face the fact that you don’t really love animals, after all. You love PETA. You love them so much that you are willing to sacrifice the animals. You are willing to accept their systematic slaughter and even defend their killers as long as those killers are the people who give you an identity. But you now know that claiming to love animals and loving PETA are inconsistent. And because I was the messenger for that realization, well, that brings you back to square one. Yeah, I know, I know. I like to sit in the bathtub and play with poo.

Good luck coming to terms with who you really are.

PETA’s Defense of Abuse & Killing

June 14, 2012 by  

Please note: This post has disturbing images of animal neglect and abuse in U.S. shelters.

When PETA employees like Teresa Chagrin and Daphna Nachminovitch turn off their computers after a long day of work, do they sit back with a contented smile and think, “I had a great day, I caused a lot of animals to die today”? Since they were hired to protect PETA’s ability to round up and kill 97% of animals they seek out, including “healthy,” “adoptable,” “perfect” and “adorable” ones—all descriptions used by PETA employees to describe animals they have slaughtered, is a “good day at the office” a lot of killing?

I do not know if they kill the animals themselves, but they certainly encourage it, defend it, promote it and work to ensure that “shelters” across the country keep doing it, too. And judging by how many letters to the editor they write on that score and how PETA appears to be increasing its anti-No Kill rhetoric, it is job they do with relish. Why? Because they are part of the PETA death cult, people who do what their charismatic leader, Ingrid Newkirk, tells them to do: defend, legitimize and promote the killing of companion animals, even if that means “lying.”

I put “lying” in quotes because it is not clear whether they know they are not telling the truth. If they aspired to be rational, sincere, dedicated to animal rights and true animal lovers, they would be lying. But they are none of those things. And because PETA appears to be a cult and by a cult’s very nature, any information from outside the cult is considered evil, especially if it is opposing the cult, and because cults train their members to instantly destroy any critical information given to them and not even entertain the thought that the information could be true, it is not clear whether Nachminovitch or Chagrin are even capable of the logical analysis necessary to determine if anything related to No Kill or PETA’s annual slaughter of animals is true or not true.

They ignore the fact that dozens of No Kill communities representing hundreds of towns and cities across America now exist in order to argue that “open admission” shelters cannot be No Kill. They ignore the fact that pet overpopulation is a myth because the number of people who bring a new animal into their home (demand), far exceeds supply in order to argue that there aren’t enough homes for animals. And they ignore the fact that No Kill has nothing to do with hoarding in order to claim that they do.

It is therefore no surprise that despite the facts and evidence to the contrary, once again, the people that have put to death over 27,000 animals in the last ten years, who have argued for a Pit Bull ban in all shelters and thus a mass slaughter, who champion the round up and killing of free-living cats, and who oppose rescue access laws would release yet another article equating No Kill with hoarding and arguing that giving animals a quick death should always be the norm. In this recent attack, they write that No Kill shelters “warehouse animals, often in substandard, filthy, and severely crowded conditions, for weeks, months, or even years on end;” that “no homes exist” for animals; and that the lucky animals are the ones who are killed at traditional shelters—all assertions that are not only untrue, but easily refuted by the many successful No Kill communities across the nation. And so it should also surprise no one that despite listing 43 “examples” of “No Kill shelters” and “No Kill rescue groups” where animals were allegedly kept in substandard conditions in order to prove their claims, these examples not only prove the opposite, they show that PETA is willing to simply make up stories to defend their killing.

What is a “PETA Fact”?

Every family has its lexicon, inside phrases which would not make sense to anyone outside the family but which convey instant meaning to those in the know. Our family is no exception. Whenever we hear a news story with widely exaggerated statistics (“Every three seconds, someone in the U.S…”), one of us will invariably say, “That’s a PETA fact.” A “PETA fact” is a non-fact, something totally made up. And we call it a “PETA fact” because the king of PETA facts is PETA itself. A look at their latest attack against No Kill proves it.

In their most recent No Kill hit piece, PETA offers 43 examples to prove No Kill equals hoarding. Of those, I have personal knowledge of three. And all three are inaccurate. In other words, they are “PETA facts.” The first example they cite for the proposition that No Kill leads to hoarding is Austin, Texas. They state that “after the city of Austin opened a new $12 million facility and proclaimed it to be ‘no-kill,’ animal drop-offs skyrocketed and desperate officials asked members of the public what they were supposed to do. The ‘no-kill’ policy is increasing the need to euthanize animals.” Austin, like every community—No Kill or not—has had its challenges. But this claim is far from true, especially the claim that, “The ‘no-kill’ policy is increasing the need to euthanize animals.”

In fact, not only is that inherently contradictory, it is not even remotely true. In 2011, the City of Austin finished the year with a 91% rate of lifesaving and they are on pace to do the same in 2012. From the roughly 45% kill rate it once had to the 91% save rate that the city now has, how is No Kill leading to more killing? PETA has simply made it up. Moreover, since PETA supports shelter killing, kills animals themselves and wants shelters to kill even more, even if it were true, why would they complain? If Austin’s No Kill policy increases “the need to euthanize animals,” they should be applauding.

The second example they use as proof that No Kill leads to warehousing involves Porter County, Indiana. They write that an architect hired by the County once wrote that the shelter “should cease trying to call itself a no-kill shelter until it can reduce the number of animals’ it takes in.” According to PETA, “The report says to do otherwise would result in severely crowded, unsanitary conditions, which could lead to illness, cruelty, and death.” That’s “would result in” not did result in. What the architect said was that he believes No Kill leads to warehousing, not that it was occurring in the shelter. And he said it because he is a former HSUS employee of 11 years, working there at the height of their anti-No Kill opposition and vitriol. In other words, his history would indicate an anti-No Kill bias, which he is simply parroting in his report. It was merely a statement of opinion about No Kill in general, not about conditions he saw in Indiana. So what does this prove? It proves only this: someone once made a statement against No Kill in a report somewhere in Indiana. It is apropos of nothing.

The third example they use is that “Indianapolis Animal Care and Control Director Doug Rae was fired from his position after just 10 months on the job. Reasons for his dismissal included putting too much emphasis on adoptions and not enough attention on stray animals and leaving more than 2,000 animals on the streets.” They then claimed I supported Rae. I did. And I still do. First, there is nothing wrong with putting emphasis on adoptions. Ultimately, that is a shelter’s most important job. Second, Rae did not ignore strays, nor was he removed for that reason. Rae was removed from his position because the powerful union—threatened by his insistence on staff accountability for their job performance and their continued employment—pushed for his removal and the Mayor cut a deal with the union for political support.

During Rae’s tenure, he improved response times for stray animals by holding the underperforming union-protected staff accountable. Before he was hired, staff simply did not respond to calls for field services. He also radically improved animal care and lifesaving at an agency with a history not only of mass killing, but horrific neglect and abuse—animals with rotting, open sores covered with maggots and others being dragged to their deaths and then killed in an abusive way, with blood splattered all over the kill room. And when Rae began reforming the shelter, firing abusive staff, cleaning up operations, he not only had his car vandalized by union-protected thugs, they threatened him with physical violence. (The employee who did so has since been rehired). And the person who led the charge to fire Doug and who headed the union that represented shelter employees was a convicted felon who spent time in prison for armed robbery. As it turns out, the strong-armed robbery was not the only time the union thug and shelter employee had been in trouble with the law. One year prior to his robbery, he and his brother were indicted for murder. The two men were accused of shooting and killing a man while he sat in his car in a liquor store parking lot.

This is the person whom PETA is siding with in their false attacks against Rae, a man who worked diligently and with great dedication to reform a cruel and abusive shelter and who did so at great personal risk to his safety. In fact, under Rae’s tenure, Indianapolis had the single best adoption day in state history—he kept the shelter open until 10 pm, vowing not to close as long as people were there to adopt—saving 153 animals in one day, animals who would have been killed in years past and are being killed now because Rae was driven out, while PETA applauds, taking the side of criminals, thugs, pet killers and abusers who once cornered Rae in the shelter bathroom and threatened: “You better watch your back,” employees who dumped dog food on his car and then smashed his windshield.

Of the three examples I am aware of, all three turn out to be nothing more than “PETA facts.” That is a 100% rate of inaccuracy. How many of the others with which I am not intimately familiar are also lies? Even if we assume for the sake of argument that the remaining “examples” are all accurate, admittedly a dubious proposition, PETA has 40 examples spanning four years and two countries. In other words, 40 shelters and rescue groups which called themselves “No Kill” had problems. That is, 40 groups which claimed to be No Kill but which did not faithfully represent what No Kill is really all about. What exactly does that prove? Highlighting false examples of No Kill while entirely ignoring the tens of thousands of rescue groups and now dozens of No Kill communities which do authentically represent the No Kill philosophy doesn’t prove anything beyond the fact that people who are not really interested in the welfare and rights of animals can claim to be people who are—just like PETA does.

And what of the “open admission” kill shelters they continually applaud and misportray? While they highlight false examples of No Kill and ignore the real ones, they also ignore the rampant abuse at traditional shelters and falsely represent them as dedicated to the best interests of animals. In my upcoming book, Friendly Fire, I look at conditions in U.S. kill shelters. To put it mildly, the numbers and conditions trump PETA’s, like this anti-No Kill “open admission” shelter:

(those are maggots all over the dog and floor)

Or this one:

Or this one:

Or this one:

Or this one:

Or this one:

Given that there are, in all likelihood, tens of thousands of No Kill rescue groups across the U.S. and PETA, at best, has a few dozen examples of problems, how does that prove that No Kill leads to warehousing as a matter of policy? If it shows anything, it only shows how rare hoarding is which should not surprise anyone because hoarding is rare. Animal 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. In fact, killing is the number one cause of death for healthy dogs and cats in the United States. At your “average” shelter, an animal has a 50% chance of being killed, compared to the rare chance of ending up with a hoarder. Of course, in places like Memphis, Tennessee, the odds are more extreme: as high as 80% are killed. And when it comes to animals which are sent to rescue, they all have a 100% guarantee of being killed 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 to none possibility, they’ll end up with a hoarder. Isn’t the conclusion obvious? But not to PETA.

PETA Defends Neglect & Abuse

PETA betrays animals not only by killing them, not only by encouraging shelters to kill more of them, and not only by condemning and misrepresenting those who want to save their lives, but by defending those who abuse and kill them, too. Their real concern is not the animals (if it was, they wouldn’t be killing 97% of them). Moreover, they ignore neglect and abuse when it happens in killing shelters.

Imagine a place where animals do not get fed. Imagine a place where animals with painful injuries do not get the veterinary care they need. Imagine a place where animals are stuck in cages and forced to wallow in their own waste. Imagine a place where the animals’ food is dirtied by cat litter and even fecal material. Imagine a place filled with dead and dying animals simply discarded in the garbage. These behaviors are the textbook definition of hoarding, but they also adequately describe conditions animals across this nation must endure when they enter their local “shelter.” And yet as long as there is intentional killing to accompany the abuse and neglect, PETA will defend those agencies.

In 2009, I was hired by the City of Houston Health Department to evaluate the shelter. The shelter allowed animals to go long periods without food or water, allowed animals to suffer, allowed filthy conditions and abuse. PETA defended the agency, telling city officials not to listen to me. In 2008, I did a similarly assessment in King County WA on behalf of the County Commission. Conditions there including animals left to die with no care of any kind, animals with no food or water over a period of days, and more. When the shelter claimed I was lying, they hired U.C. Davis to do its own assessment. U.C. Davis reaffirmed my findings. Yet, there too, PETA defended that agency, calling me and others who suggested reform “radical” and encouraging legislators not to listen. To PETA, as long as there is “intentional killing,” nothing else matters, including neglect and abuse of animals.*

So when animals are kept like this kitten who was forgotten and left to starve:

Or like this dying puppy left in a cold, barren cage, with no blanket so he is covered in his own urine:

Or like this cat who, along with others, was not fed for several days in the shelter and is begging for food and water:

Or when, as occurred, puppies are drowned, animals are abused, and shirkers are protected, as was true then in King County and Houston several years ago, PETA defends those shelters precisely because they also kill the animals. By contrast, I have never and would never defend abuse and neglect just because a “rescue” group calls itself “No Kill.” Hoarding is not what the No Kill movement represents. In fact, No Kill is the opposite of hoarding, filth, and lack of veterinary care. The philosophical underpinning of the No Kill movement is to put actions behind the words of every shelter’s mission statement: “All life is precious.” No Kill is about valuing animals, which not only means saving their lives, but means good quality care. It means vaccination on intake, nutritious food, daily socialization and exercise, fresh and clean water, medical care, and a system built to find them all loving, new homes as soon as possible.

At the open admission No Kill shelter I ran in Tompkins County (NY), the average length of stay for animals was eight days, we had a return rate of approximately 2%, we reduced the disease rate by nearly 90% from the prior administration, we reduced the intentional killing rate by 75%, no animal ever celebrated an anniversary in the facility, and we saved 93% of all impounded animals. And while there, animals were vaccinated on intake, received a thorough health examination, were given comprehensive medical treatment at the Small Animal Hospital run by the top veterinary college in the nation (Cornell), fed nutritious food and fresh water daily, kept clean, and were regularly exercised and socialized. Dogs were required to get out of their kennel a minimum of four times a day and cats were required to get out of theirs at least two times a day. In short, we brought sheltering into the 21st century, something that is deeply threatening to Newkirk and why her organization continually fights No Kill. Why?

The more shelters that are brought into the 21st century, the more Newkirk loses the ability to cloak PETA’s own killing in a 19th century model of catch and kill sheltering. By contrast, a nation where No Kill animal shelters are the norm, where animals at every shelter are given both good quality care and the loving, new homes they deserve will further reveal how senseless and cruel PETA’s own killing is. Newkirk will no longer find safety in numbers and she, and the mindless, heartless drones she has recruited to her insidious cause, won’t let that happen without a fight.


* They did not listen to PETA. On June 11, I asked shelters across the country not to kill and to focus on adoptions as part of a national day of No Kill. Houston’s animal control shelter was one of 800 organizations that answered the call. Normally closed on Monday, they stayed open and saved over 200 animals. They are also sending five employees to the No Kill Conference. And King County’s save rate has been improving.

PETA: if you want to send another letter threatening me with legal action, save yourself the postage and send it here.

Everyone else: if you want to comment on this blog, join the discussion at facebook.com/nathanwinograd.


June 12, 2012 by  

In November of 2009, ASPCA President Ed Sayres ordered the killing of Oreo, an abused dog who had an immediate place to go. Pets Alive of New York, a No Kill sanctuary near the ASPCA 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 save Oreo. They made numerous telephone calls and sent numerous e-mails. They were ignored, hung-up on and lied to. Two volunteers of the group even went to the ASPCA but were escorted out after Sayres and others in charge of Oreo’s fate refused to meet with them.

In response, New York State Assembly Member Micah Kellner introduced “Oreo’s Law,”  which would have mandated collaboration between large, non-profit and municipal animal shelters and smaller rescue groups which wanted to save the lives of animals on death row at these facilities by making it illegal for shelters to kill animals when qualified rescue groups were willing to save their lives.

The law was projected to save roughly 25,000 animals a year at no cost to taxpayers. And despite overwhelming support for the legislation from rescue groups and New York animal lovers, what finally killed the bill and tipped legislators in favor of the opposition, dooming to death tens of thousands of animals every year whom rescue groups statewide were willing to save, was the opposition of the ASPCA.

Despite over 20,000 emails, telephone calls and letters from New Yorkers, the bill was tabled and animals who had an immediate place to go continued to be killed. The bill was introduced two more times, each time being defeated because of ASPCA opposition. As of today, the number of animals killed who could and would have been saved since Ed Sayres and the ASPCA first defeated Oreo’s Law has hit 50,000.

It is not easy to conceptualize 50,000 dead animals. But here they are. Each paw represents an animal who was killed. As you scroll through them, remember that each had a rescue group ready, willing and able to save them.



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A No Kill Nation for Just One Day

June 11, 2012 by  

Today is June 11. Just another day? Hardly. Eleven years ago, the animal sheltering movement changed forever: http://bit.ly/kinJqY. Today is the anniversary of the first No Kill community. And I wasn’t the only one who was there: http://exm.nr/LujQMl. In celebration, over 700 shelters and other organizations, including some of the largest animal control shelters have pledged to make this the safest day for animals in shelters this century by putting down their “euthanasia needles” and picking up cameras.

They will photograph animals, they will promote them and they will find them loving, new homes. Many shelters which are normally closed today are staying open for adoptions, extending hours, cutting fees and increasing marketing. And once they see the benefits of engaging the community, it will be easier for them to make June 12 No Kill for Just One MORE Day….

Join me on Animal Wise Radio starting at 10:00 am PT today for coverage of Just One Day events: www.animalwiseradio.com.

Not in the Public Interest

June 7, 2012 by  

PETA Headquarters on Front Street in Norfolk, VA. The name of the street is itself dripping with irony. PETA is little more than a front for Ingrid Newkirk’s dark impulses.

A City Council member in Norfolk wants a No Kill community. But the pet killers at PETA, headquartered in Norfolk, do not. They want the killing to continue, because if Norfolk becomes a No Kill community, the excuses they use to seek out and slaughter 96% of all animals will ring that much more hollow (while PETA wraps the killing they do in the language of pet overpopulation, the truth is that PETA kills because of Ingrid Newkirk’s dark impulses).

PETA sent a Freedom of Information Act request to Norfolk asking for all correspondence between the City and I. Normally, a group that requests FOIA documents has to pay for their search and duplication, but PETA asked for a fee waiver saying the disclosure is in the “public interest.” Actually, PETA does not represent the public interest nor do they represent the animals’ interests. They represent the interest of a deeply disturbed individual who has sought out and killed over 27,000 animals in the last decade.

And while PETA defends the killing, saying all the animals they kill are suffering, that 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.” It is a lie because when asked what efforts they make to find animals homes, they replied “no comment.” And it is a lie because the Butcher of Norfolk 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.

I’m going to spare the City of Norfolk some postage costs.

Hey PETA, here’s what I sent the Mayor and City Council on behalf of the No Kill Advocacy Center:

We were delighted to read about your desire to increase the save rate in Norfolk shelters. Today, there are No Kill communities (municipal shelters) in Kentucky, Virginia, Indiana, Utah, California, New York, Texas, and elsewhere. Why not Norfolk? No Kill is a humane, sustainable, cost-effective model that works hand in hand with public health and safety, while fulfilling a fiscal responsibility to taxpayers. The success of this approach across the country proves the viability of the No Kill model and the above principles.


If we can assist in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us.

With the following enclosures:

In other words, I told them the truth to counter your lies. If you want to send another letter threatening me, save yourself the postage and send it here.

An image from my upcoming book, Friendly Fire, which explores the historical, sociological and financial motivations behind the killing, support of killing and opposition to No Kill from groups like PETA:

The dog was killed by PETA.


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