Weighing the Evidence

February 1, 2015 by  

PETA’s Killing, Cognitive Dissonance, and What We Owe Animals

1

Photo: a puppy killed by PETA being handled by an official in a hazmat suit and another is behind him. PETA promised to find the puppies a home, described the puppies as “adorable” and “perfect,” and immediately put them to death in the back of a van, a donor funded slaughterhouse on wheels. Their bodies, along with dozens of others PETA killed, were found in a supermarket dumpster. Learn more at www.whyPETAkills.org

This week, 2.5 million people have seen my Facebook posts. Yesterday’s post about PETA’s killing of 2,324 of the 2,626 animals they impounded in 2014 and only adopting out 39 (1% of the animals) has been seen by over 1 million people alone. And given the comments, it is clear that this is news to many people, even though it has been going on for years, even though they openly fight shelter reform efforts, defend abusive shelters, have called for the killing of every pit bull in every shelter, for the round up and killing of community cats, and have put to death 31,250 animals over the last 12 years, including healthy puppies and kittens after promising to find them homes and animals they have stolen for the purpose of killing. You can find links to the evidence below. But because this is news to a lot of people given what PETA pretends to be, my reporting on it often leads to confusion, with people unsure of whom to believe, as if the right or wrong position comes down to personalities, rather than the objective facts and  the outcomes for animals resulting from them.

I understand that what those facts are telling us are in direct contravention to what most people think PETA represents. Many people believe, and the media often portrays, PETA as a “radical animal rights” group, and therefore some people have a difficult time assimilating all the evidence that proves otherwise—that, in fact, PETA actively harms thousands of animals every year by injecting them with a fatal dose of poison and even seeks animals out for this very purpose. When I first learned about this news two decades ago as a PETA volunteer, I, too, was stunned. But my response was markedly different than that of many PETA supporters who come onto my page. I researched the evidence, weighed it against my values, and determined that I could no longer, in good conscience, continue to support a group that—despite their public persona—undermined, rather than furthered, the cause I believed in.  Unfortunately, not everyone who claims to care about animals is inclined to do the same. There are some people who are so heavily associated with the PETA brand—animal activists whose Facebook pages are filled with PETA links, whose cars are covered with PETA bumper stickers, and whose friends and family associate them with being an ardent PETA supporter—that when they read information that proves that PETA does not, in fact, represent what they thought it did, feel that their entire identity is under attack, and they lash out, shooting the messenger—me—and grant PETA absolution to keep on killing, thereby defending the very harm to animals that caused them to start supporting PETA in the first place. It’s bewildering how casually and capriciously such people surrender the values they claim to believe in and the lives of defenseless animals for the benefit of an institution they lionize.

After years of fighting to expose the truth about PETA, I have learned that such individuals are often beyond reach. Rare is the person from this category that I am ever able to convince because the truth is not conducive to their needs. But as for the others who are struggling to overcome the cognitive dissonance between what PETA is believed to be and what the facts prove it actually is, I implore you to take a little time to follow the links I provide that prove that what I am saying is true. They link to information reported to the Commonwealth of Virginia by PETA itself, or to letters written or statements made by PETA’s President Ingrid Newkirk herself admitting that they kill healthy animals, arguing that all pit bulls and free-living cats should be killed, and statements in which she has made it clear that she believes animals want to die and to kill them is to give them, in her words, “a gift.” Read these links, and you’ll discover that in fact what you presumed PETA stood for is wrong. Then decide for yourself whether or not PETA is behaving in a manner that you want to support, that reflects your values and will result in the sort of outcomes you, as someone claiming to love animals, want to see. Whatever you decide, and given what is at stake, the very least you owe the animals is an open mind, and the few minutes it takes to scrutinize the evidence for yourself.

  • Here is the data, self-reported by PETA to the Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, showing roughly 9 out of 10 animals they seek out are killed by them: http://bit.ly/1LsjPrn
  • Here is an inspection report by the Virginia State Vet showing PETA kills 90% of animals within 24 hours without even trying to find them homes: http://bit.ly/1eHkWlD
  • Here is an OpEd piece written by PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk which appeared in newspapers across the country where PETA says it supports a policy that all pit bulls should be killed in all shelters in America: http://bit.ly/XrvcKf
  • Here is a newspaper article about the 2007 trial of PETA employees after they were found to be rounding up and killing animals in the back of a van after promising to find them homes: http://bit.ly/XCSdI3
  • Here is the news station report of PETA stealing Maya, a “happy and healthy” dog and killing her: http://bit.ly/1EIsEHq
  • Here is the surveillance video of the theft: www.whypetaeuthanizes.org/maya
  • Here is a video made by Shelby County KY shelter volunteers after PETA celebrated when that shelter announced it was going to resume killing after four years as a No Kill shelter: http://vimeo.com/48651351
  • Here is a letter by the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies asking the State Vet to revoke PETA’s ability to take in and kill animals: http://bit.ly/ZgBzfb
  • Here is a petition to the State Vet that the No Kill Advocacy Center wrote asking the same: http://bit.ly/ZK4kjj
  • Here is a letter written by PETA to a Mayor telling him to kill all pit bulls, not to foster animals, and not to work with rescue groups: http://bit.ly/ZAnrvQ
  • Here are photographs of animals PETA has killed: www.whypetaeuthanizes.org/photos/
  • Here is a video where Ingrid Newkirk admits they kill healthy, adoptable animals: www.nathanwinograd.com/?p=14568

There’s more. Much more. PETA is letting loose upon the world individuals who not only maniacally believe that killing is a good thing and that the living want to die, but who are legally armed with lethal drugs which they have already proven—over 30,000 times—that they are not adverse to using.

P.S. If you do want to learn more about me, I am a former criminal prosecutor, shelter director, animal control officer and currently I run a national non-profit dedicated to ending the systematic killing of animals in U.S. shelters, the NO Kill Advocacy Center. I have been a vegan for 25 years and also run a vegan advocacy website: AAV link I am also a former PETA volunteer. My story can be found here: http://bit.ly/13qMs4a

————–

Have a comment? Join the discussion by clicking here.

PETA’s Carnage Continues in 2014

January 31, 2015 by  

Submits False Information to the Commonwealth of Virginia

PETA stats_Layout 1_0001

It is with great sadness and anger that I report to you that PETA’s 2014 statistics, just released yesterday by the Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (VDACS), are as bad as ever. According to VDACS, PETA took in 1,605 cats and killed 1,536 (a kill rate of 96%). They transferred another 43 to kill shelters where they were either killed or displaced others who were killed. That would put the cat kill rate as high as 98%. They found homes for only 16, an adoption rate of 1%.

PETA also took in 1,021 dogs of which they killed 788 (a kill rate of 77%). Another 210 were transferred to kill shelters. Like the cats, if they were killed or displaced others who were killed, the dog death rate would also be as high as 98%. Only 23 were adopted.

Presentation1

How much money did PETA take in last year from unsuspecting donors who helped pay for this mass carnage?  $51,933,001: $50,449,023 in contributions, $627,336 in merchandise sales, and $856,642 in interest and dividends. They finished the year with $4,551,786 more in the bank than they started, after expenses. They did not see fit to use some of that to comprehensively promote animals for adoption or to provide veterinary care for the animals who needed it.

By contrast, the Lynchburg Humane Society, also in Virginia, took in about the same number of animals as PETA but saved 94% and without PETA’s millions. Seagoville Animal Services in Texas took in 1/3 of the numbers (about 700 animals) but only 1/20th of 1% of the amount of money that PETA did, saving 99% of them on a paltry $29,700 budget. In fact, hundreds of cities and towns across America are saving over 90% of the animals and doing so on a fraction of PETA’s wealth.

While PETA claims the animals it takes in and kills are “unadoptable,” this is a lie. It is a lie because employees have admitted it is a lie. They have described 8 week old, 10 week old, and 12 week old healthy kittens and puppies routinely and immediately put to death with no effort to find them homes. It is a lie because they have been caught stealing happy and healthy animals and putting them to death. It is a lie because rescue groups, individuals, and veterinarians have come forward stating that the animals they gave PETA were healthy and adoptable and PETA insiders have admitted as much, one former intern reporting that he quit in disgust after witnessing perfectly healthy puppies and kittens in the kill room. It is a lie because PETA refuses to provide its criteria for making the determination as to whether or not an animal is “unadoptable.” It is a lie because according to a state inspector, the PETA facility where the animals are impounded was designed to house animals for no more than 24 hours. It is a lie because Ingrid Newkirk herself admitted as much during a television interview: when asked whether or not PETA kills healthy animals, she responded, “Absolutely.” It is a lie because PETA staff have described the animals they have killed as “healthy,” “adorable” and “perfect.” It is a lie because PETA itself admits it does not believe in “right to life for animals.” And it is a lie because when asked what sort of effort PETA routinely makes to find adoptive homes for animals in its care, PETA had no comment.

Maya (2)
 

In fact, PETA lied in its reporting to VDACS. On October 18, 2014, in Parksley, VA, PETA stole Maya, a happy and healthy dog, from her porch while her family was out. They killed her that very day. According to a spokesman for Maya’s family, PETA came to the trailer park where the family lives, where most of the residents are Spanish speaking with few resources. The PETA representatives befriended the residents. They got to know who lived where and who had dogs. In fact, they sat with the family on the same porch from which they later took Maya. Waiting until the family was away from the home, PETA employees backed their van up to the porch and threw biscuits to Maya, in an attempt to coax her off her property and therefore give PETA the ability to claim she was a stray dog “at large.” But Maya refused to stay off the porch and ran back. Thinking that no one was around, one of the employees—who was later charged with larceny—went onto the property and took Maya.

When the family returned and found their beloved Maya missing, they searched around the neighborhood before checking the video on the surveillance camera. That is when they saw the PETA van on the film and recognized the woman who had come to their house on prior occasions to talk to them about Maya. They called PETA and asked for Maya’s return. According to a family spokesperson, PETA claimed it did not have the dog. When PETA was told that its employees had been filmed taking the dog, they hung up. Shortly afterward, a PETA attorney called and informed the family that Maya was dead. PETA had killed her. She may not be the only one. On the day they stole Maya, other animals went missing as well. Had a surveillance video not been available, the killing of Maya would have remained unknown, as are the fates of the other animals. Yet in its reporting of Maya to VDACS, she is listed as a “stray.”

Why?

Why does PETA steal animals and then kill them? Why do they systematically put them to death? PETA refuses to answer questions. But employees who have spoken out about PETA’s killing say it is the result of the deeply disturbing and perverted version of animal activism promoted by PETA founder and President, Ingrid Newkirk. They explain how employees are made to watch “heart wrenching” films about animal abuse to drill into them the belief that people are incapable of caring for animals and that “PETA was doing what was best for animals” by killing them. PETA tells its employees that people can’t, don’t, and won’t take care of animals, that the lives of animals with people is one of neglect and abuse and that living with dogs and cats violates their rights. PETA also claims that animals cannot live without human care, which is why they do not support letting free-living cats continue to be free-living. The animals are, in short, damned either way and thus killing them is a “gift.” To PETA, animal activism means killing animals and to roughly 2,000 animals every year, that is precisely what is done. Over the last 12 years, 31,250 animals have been poisoned to death by PETA, an atrocity funded by individuals who erroneously believe that their donations will be used to help rather than end the lives of animals.

The records from the Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services are here.

 

When you donate to PETA, you fund these atrocities against animals. Learn more at www.whyPETAkills.org

phone part 2 769

Photo: This photo, reportedly taken at PETA of needles filled with sodium pentobarbital (the drug used to kill animals), was sent to me by a former PETA employee whose job it was to kill animals. The needles are primed and ready to kill in what appears to be an assembly line fashion.

————–

Have a comment? Join the discussion by clicking here.

 

Welcome Home

January 29, 2015 by  

Coming Soon! My fifth book and the third co-written with my wife, Jennifer.

cover final_0001

Seventy-three million American families share their homes with 165 million dogs and cats. For the vast majority of people, the bond they share with their animal companions is a familial one, born of mutual affection and love. But according to the loudest voices in the American animal rights movement today, these relationships are inconsistent with the rights of those animals and amount to little more than one of “master” and “slave”:

“Let us allow the dog to disappear from our brick and concrete jungles—from our firesides, from the leather nooses and metal chains by which we enslave it.”

“This selfish desire to possess animals and receive love from them causes immeasurable suffering.”

“Domestic animals are neither a real nor full part of our world or of the nonhuman world…They exist forever in a netherworld of vulnerability, dependent on us for everything and at risk of harm from an environment that they do not really understand… We may make them happy in one sense, but the relationship can never be ‘natural’ or ‘normal.’ They do not belong stuck in our world irrespective of how well we treat them.”

Interspecies relationships in the world are not rare and they are relationships that humans generally celebrate as evidence of the interconnectedness and beauty of life on Earth. But to those who are supposed to be the standard bearers of our relationships with animals—those often regarded as “leaders” of the animal rights movement—such relationships are “unnatural” and therefore “bad” when one of the parties is a human being. Their proposed solution? The forced extinction of dogs and cats.

With the belief that the “solution” to all dog and cat suffering lies in their eventual extinction, the contemporary animal rights movement not only preaches a view that the lives of dogs and cats are dispensable, their loss and deliberate elimination of no moral consequence, their disappearance from our planet no tragedy to mourn, it embraces an agenda to which no other rights-based movement in history has ever subscribed: the deliberate annihilation of those it has pledged to protect.

Exploring the myths, misperceptions, and logical fallacies upon which such arguments are based, Welcome Home provides an alternative animal rights agenda for companion dogs and cats, one which considers the historical antecedents of those relationships, replaces despair for humanity with optimism, and prescribes concrete action that can be taken today to improve the lives and well-being of these animals.

For the dogs contentedly sleeping on our beds and the cats curled up on our laps, claiming they don’t belong there and our love for them is inherently exploitative is a position born of misanthropy, one that is blind to all the benefits human bestow upon dogs and cats as well as the human potential for empathy, compassion and moral evolution. Long after we have ended the killing of animals for food, long after we’ve ended the commercial trade in sentient beings, long after we’ve rearranged society in countless other ways to better meet their needs, dogs and cats will continue to share our homes. And they will do so because in the end, living with dogs and cats is not only consistent with the rights of animals, but as we evolve as a species to better address their needs, can be the purest expression of it.

————–

Have a comment? Join the discussion by clicking here.

Warning: PETA May Be in Your Neighborhood

January 28, 2015 by  

PETA AD version 3_Layout 1_0001
 

Today, this full page ad appeared in The Virginian Pilot, the newspaper of PETA’s hometown. I and other animal lovers paid for it. We will not stand by and allow PETA to get away with “murder.”

The Theft and Killing of Maya

On October 18, 2014, in Parksley, VA, PETA stole Maya, a happy and healthy dog, from her porch while her family was out. They killed her that very day.

According to a spokesman for Maya’s family, PETA came to the trailer park where the family lives, where most of the residents are Spanish speaking with few resources. The PETA representatives befriended the residents. They got to know who lived where and who had dogs. In fact, they sat with the family on the same porch off which they later took Maya. Waiting until the family was away from the home, PETA employees backed their van up to the porch and threw biscuits to Maya, in an attempt to coax her off her property and therefore give PETA the ability to claim she was a stray dog “at large.” But Maya refused to stay off the porch and ran back. Thinking that no one was around, one of the employees—who was later charged with larceny—went onto the property and took Maya.

When the family returned and found their beloved Maya missing, they searched around the neighborhood before checking the video on the surveillance camera. That is when they saw the PETA van on the film and recognized the woman who had come to their house on prior occasions to talk to them about Maya. They called PETA and asked for Maya’s return. According to a family spokesperson, PETA claimed it did not have the dog. When PETA was told that its employees had been filmed taking the dog, they hung up. Shortly afterward, a PETA attorney called and informed the family that Maya was dead. PETA had killed her. She may not be the only one. On the day they stole Maya, other animals went missing as well. Had a surveillance video not been available, the killing of Maya would have remained unknown, as are the fates of the other animals. In the last 11 years, PETA has killed 29,426 animals.

PETA’s Response

In a dishonest attempt at damage control, PETA put out a full page ad in the newspaper. The ad intentionally misleads people about their campaign of extermination against community cats. It says nothing of their theft and killing of Maya. It does not mention the arrests of PETA employees for larceny. It does not mention that this is not the first time PETA employees have been arrested for killing animals. In fact, PETA refuses to answer questions about why they stole and killed Maya. And though PETA takes in thousands of animals a year, only to put the vast majority to death, the ad offered two dogs for adoption, hoping to defray criticism for their killing of thousands of others. Given that they only adopt out 1% of the animals they take in, those two dogs, if indeed they are adopted out rather than killed, will be some of the few spared from the needle.

The No Kill Advocacy Center Response

The No Kill Advocacy Center, has responded by:

My Response

Today, I, and other animal lovers, also responded. We placed this ad in the same newspaper to counter PETA’s misinformation. The people who live near PETA headquarters and whose animals may be at risk should be aware of the danger PETA poses to their beloved animal companions so that they may take precautionary measures, such as not letting their animals go outside unsupervised. They also have a right to know that an organization located within their vicinity is letting loose individuals who not only maniacally believe that killing is a good thing and that the living want to die, but who are legally armed with lethal drugs which they have already proven—29,426 times in the last decade—that they are not adverse to using.

The Response by Others

We are not alone:

When you donate to PETA, you pay to kill animals like Maya and thousands of others every year.

————–

Have a comment? Join the discussion by clicking here.

The Right to Speak Out

January 27, 2015 by  

10923480_590827554350460_7349468421312111794_n

A few days ago on my Facebook page, I posted about a Maryland court case that held that a volunteer, rescuer, or any other member of the public cannot be banned from a government shelter simply because he or she has criticized shelter management, complained about the policies and practices of the shelter, or posted information online that officials believe is unflattering to the shelter. We not only have the First Amendment right to speak out, we have a constitutionally protected right to demand that the government correct the wrongs that are identified.

That post has been seen by roughly 200,000 people, been shared over 2,000 times, liked by over 5,000 people and generated nearly 300 comments. Several people have asked the following questions: 1. Does it apply outside of Maryland?, 2. Does it apply to private humane societies or SPCAs?, 3. Does that include the right to take photographs and video in the shelter?, 4. What should you do if your government shelter or government-contracted SPCA violates your First Amendment rights?

Does it apply outside of Maryland?

Yes. The First Amendment is a federal constitutional right and 42 USC 1983, the applicable civil rights statute, is federal law. It applies in all 50 states.

Does it apply to private humane societies or SPCAs?

Keeping in mind that the protections of the First Amendment protect against government intrusion, so long as they receive funding to provide a government function (i.e., animal control contract), Sec. 1983 has been held to apply to both government shelters and private SPCAs. Allen vs. Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 488 F.Supp.2nd 450 (MD Penn 2007); Brunette vs. Humane Society of Ventura County, 294 F.3d 1205 (9th Cir. 2002); and Snead vs. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 929 A.2d 1169 (Pa.Sup.Ct. 2007).

Does that include the right to take photographs and video in the shelter?

Yes. Banning photography and video in public areas of the shelter limits free speech. See Animal Legal Defense Fund vs. Otter, 2014 WL 4388158*10 (D. Idaho 2014). The taking of a photograph or video is “included with the First Amendment’s guarantee of speech and press rights as a corollary of the right to disseminate the resulting recording.” ACLU vs. Alvarez, 679 F.3d 583, 597 (7th Cir. 2012). As the ACLU has correctly argued, “Videotaping and capturing images of poor shelter conditions or neglected animals are indistinguishable from ‘commenting’ or ‘speaking out’ on such conditions.” Volunteers, rescuers, and members of the public have a right to document things they believe are improper. They also can take photographs and videotape to assist in finding animals homes.

What should you do if your government shelter or government-contracted SPCA violates your First Amendment rights?

Find legal representation by contacting your state ACLU office, Legal Aid office, and utilizing the attorney referral program of your state bar association. If you live in Southern California, the No Kill Advocacy Center may be able to find an attorney on your behalf.

If you choose not to pursue this legally, you can seek to reform the shelter through political advocacy. Click here for 14 free step-by-step guides to do so.

Photo: A very skinny mama dog and her puppies rescued from a local pound, courtesy of Eileen McFall of Central California Pets Alive. Mama was scheduled to be killed by the pound, but is now under a veterinarian’s care and both she and the puppies are safe. Criticizing the shelter for threatening to do so cannot be used to prevent you from saving dogs like this.

For further Reading:

Section 1983 to the Rescue

————–

Have a comment? Join the discussion by clicking here.

Florida CAPA

January 23, 2015 by  

16108498165_0db010b2a6_z

The Florida Companion Animal Protection Act would make it illegal for shelters to kill animals if there are empty cages or kennels, if animals can share a cage or kennel with another animal, if a foster home is available, if a rescue group is willing to take the animal, if an animal can be transferred to another shelter, if the animal can be sterilized and released, and more.

Similar laws in other states save tens of thousands of animals every year, have reduced killing statewide by 78%, and have cut millions of dollars in wasteful spending.

Such a law is not only necessary, reasonable and an effective means of saving lives, its passage would also bring Florida’s sheltering procedures more in line with the humane, progressive values of the American public.

For a copy of the bill, click here.

 

If you live outside of Florida, bring CAPA to your state. Click here for a copy of the model law.

 

Click here for a guide on how to get it introduced in your state.

Photo: In California, a similar law saves over 46,000 animals a year who would have been killed in years past, saving taxpayers $1.8 million in the costs of killing. Instead of ending up in landfills or turned into ash, these animals are chasing balls, sleeping in the sun, curling up on laps, loving and being loved in return. CAPA saves lives.

————–

Have a comment? Join the discussion by clicking here.

Oswald Finds His Sparkle

January 18, 2015 by  

oswald

This is Oswald, tuckered out after a long day, sleeping with his favorite blue bunny. We got Oswald from a rescue group that pulled him from a very high kill shelter in the Central Valley of California. He was found on the streets, very thin and sickly, developed Giardia and kennel cough in the shelter, had a prolapsed eye, was depressed, and ultimately put on the kill list. In years past, Oswald would have been killed. This particular shelter had a policy of refusing to work with rescue groups. No animals scheduled to be killed ever went to rescue. But in California, we succeeded in passing legislation to make that illegal. Shelters are not permitted to kill animals if rescue groups are willing to save them. Today, that shelter transfers about 4,000 animals a year and altogether, an additional 46,000 animals are finding homes statewide who shelters would have killed in years past.

Though Oswald was withdrawn and sick, he was pulled by rescue and patched together. When we adopted him, the rescue group told us that he is very friendly, will love us immensely, but that he had lost his sparkle. For the first couple of weeks in our home, Oswald was indeed very friendly, but sometimes leery. He would shrink a bit on approach. He was afraid to walk at night. Every little noise scared him. A trip in the car sometimes made him nervous. If you left the room, he left the room as he did not like to be left alone.

Today, Oswald is a confident, good natured, wild little guy. A drive in the car is as exciting as a walk at night. He loves staring at deer and squirrels and meeting other dogs. His days include walking 3 miles, playing with his blue bunny (which he carries in his mouth even though it is bigger than he is), trying to get our cat, Kenny, to roughhouse with him, running around with two big kids (my wife and I) and two real kids (my daughter and son), zooming around the house from room to room, playing at the park, an afternoon nap by himself in the downstairs bedroom, being genuinely excited to meet anybody and everybody, even the vet, and then, around 9 pm, passing out from exhaustion. And when he passes out, little can wake him. He is like a wet noodle. You can turn him upside down, you can mold him into shapes like clay, and you can carry him like a baby. He feels safe. He feels happy. He feels home.

Oswald has found his sparkle.

Rescue groups save roughly 60,000 animals from California shelters every year. Before the rescue rights law went into effect, it was only 12,000. In other states, too many rescue groups report being turned away by their local shelter and then the shelter killing the very animals they offer to save. You can help save animals like Oswald by making that illegal.

  • For a copy of the legislation, click here.
  • For a guide on how to get legislation introduced and passed, click here.

No Kill Advocacy Center attorneys stand ready to help, click here.

————–

Have a comment? Join the discussion by clicking here.

Long Live Tank

January 15, 2015 by  

473599_630x354
 

Recently, someone posted a comment on my Facebook page defending the killing of animals by stating that No Kill shelters are ones where dogs and cat sit for years in “tiny cages without any love, companion[ship] or happiness.” She then preceded to defend killing, by asking if that is what I was hoping would happen? Or, in her words, “Is that what you wish [for] all these babies?”

Of course that is not what I am working for. And, of course, that is not what the No Kill movement represents. No Kill does not mean poor care, hostile and abusive treatment, and warehousing animals without the intentional killing. It means modernizing shelter operations so that animals are well cared for and kept moving efficiently and effectively through the shelter and into homes. The No Kill movement puts action behind the words of every shelter’s mission statement: “All life is precious.” No Kill is about valuing animals, which means not only saving their lives but also giving them good quality care. It means vaccination on intake, nutritious food, daily socialization and exercise, fresh clean water, medical care, and a system that finds loving, new homes.

At the open admission No Kill shelter I oversaw, the average length of stay for animals was eight days, we had a return rate of less than two percent, we reduced the disease rate by 90 percent from the prior administration, we reduced the killing rate by 75 percent, no animal ever celebrated an anniversary in the facility, and we saved well over 90 percent of the animals (over 95% using comparative save rate calculations). In short, we brought sheltering into the 21st century. Many other No Kill shelters have similar lengths of stay. The average length of stay at open admission No Kill shelters is roughly 14 days or the length of time a dog or cat might spend at a boarding facility while their family is on vacation.

But what if it was longer? What if it was, as it was for a dog named Tank, three years?

BRONX DOG FINDS FOREVER HOME AFTER 3 LONG YEARS IN SHELTER

While at the shelter, according to this report, Tank was walked every single day by volunteers. He was clearly well cared for. And now he has a home. Of course, I have no idea why it took three years and it is hard for me to imagine a scenario where it should have. But that issue aside, why should Tank have been killed? He was not in a tiny cage without any love, companionship or happiness. He had a personal family of volunteers. And he has a home now. By all indications, a very caring and loving one. Only the most hard-hearted of individuals would call for him to be dead.

By denigrating the movement to end shelter killing as akin to warehousing and abuse, and by ignoring the protocols of shelters which have truly achieved No Kill, these naysayers not only do so to provide political cover for their own killing but in order to embrace a nation of shelters grounded in killing—a defeatist mentality, inherently unethical and antithetical to animal welfare. To imply that No Kill means warehousing, therefore, is a cynicism which has only one purpose: to defend those who fail to save lives from public criticism and public accountability by painting the alternative as even darker.

————–

Have a comment? Join the discussion by clicking here.

How to Handle Haters

January 13, 2015 by  

1150926_585317448192405_1395434447_n
 

A person came on my Facebook page recently and told me that he had come across my work, read up on it, and agreed with what I had to say. An animal rights activist, he told me that soon after educating himself about No Kill, he mentioned my name in a chat room supposedly dedicated to animal protection and received a massive backlash from people saying the most absurd and unkind things about me. He told me that it was at that moment that he knew I was onto something really big. That made me laugh and I was grateful he was able to put their opposition into the proper context.

For well over a century, the people who run kill shelters and their allies at the large, non-profit groups were allowed to kill millions of animals a year with total impunity. They portrayed that killing as necessary, even “kindness,” and schooled generations of animal activists to parrot this party line and to shift the blame away from them and onto others. So when I challenge the myths upon which the edifice of shelter killing now rests, demonstrating how animals are dying in shelters not because of the choices made by people outside of shelters, but because of the choices made by the people inside them, I am challenging a deeply entrenched paradigm people have relied on to shield themselves from greater scrutiny for their harmful actions. For these people, and their supporters, I, and the No Kill movement in general, are deeply threatening.

Creating change means shaking up the status quo and that means making some people angry. Any movement that wants to foster improvement must challenge tradition, and therefore, the people who champion that tradition because they benefit from it. If you are trying to be an agent for change and you are not upsetting some people, then you aren’t succeeding. You aren’t a threat to their traditional way of operating by causing people to question long held beliefs and assumptions that allow people, in the case of sheltered animals, to literally get away with murder. Handle the haters by viewing them for what they are: evidence of progress.

————–

Have a comment? Join the discussion by clicking here.

The Theft & Killing of Maya

January 9, 2015 by  

Maya (2)
 

On October 18, 2014, in Parksley, VA, PETA stole Maya, a happy and healthy dog, from her porch while her family was out. They killed her that very day.

According to a spokesman for Maya’s family, PETA came to the trailer park where the family lives, where most of the residents are Spanish speaking with few resources. The PETA representatives befriended the residents. They got to know who lived where and who had dogs. In fact, they sat with the family on the same porch off which they later took Maya. Waiting until the family was away from the home, PETA employees backed their van up to the porch and threw biscuits to Maya, in an attempt to coax her off her property and therefore give PETA the ability to claim she was a stray dog “at large.” But Maya refused to stay off the porch and ran back. Thinking that no one was around, one of the employees—who was later charged with larceny—went onto the property and took Maya.

When the family returned and found their beloved Maya missing, they searched around the neighborhood before checking the video on the surveillance camera. That is when they saw the PETA van on the film and recognized the woman who had come to their house on prior occasions to talk to them about Maya. They called PETA and asked for Maya’s return. According to a family spokesperson, PETA claimed it did not have the dog. When PETA was told that its employees had been filmed taking the dog, they hung up. Shortly afterward, a PETA attorney called and informed the family that Maya was dead. PETA had killed her. She may not be the only one. On the day they stole Maya, other animals went missing as well. Had a surveillance video not been available, the killing of Maya would have remained unknown, as are the fates of the other animals.

 

More info:

————–

Have a comment? Join the discussion by clicking here.

Next Page »