Increasing Redemption Rates

Washoe County, NV takes in five times the number of animals per capita than San Francisco, three times the number of animals per capita than Los Angeles, and over twice the national average. So if this is an indication that people are irresponsible as some shelters claim, then one would expect them to have stray animal redemption rates that are lower than the national average.

Yet, while many shelters only reclaim 1-2% of cats, and roughly 20-25% of dogs, Washoe County reclaimed 60% of stray dogs and 7% of cats. Kat Albrecht of Missing Pet Partnership (MPP) wants to show you how they did it, and promises that shelters can do even better.

Imagine it this way: Say your shelter takes in 10,000 stray dogs every year. If that shelter reclaims the high end of the average, roughly 2,500 will be redeemed, and another 700 will not be savable (hopelessly ill or injured or vicious with a poor prognosis for rehabilitation). That leaves 6,800 stray dogs the shelter would have to find homes for (above and beyond dogs who are relinquished by their families).

If that shelter had Washoe County rates, 6,000 will be redeemed (and another 700 will not be savable). That means only 3,300 stray dogs will be looking for new homes – less than half. That’s a world of difference. And this is just a start. MPP says more can be accomplished, with even higher rates of return.

Join Missing Pet Partnership for weeklong training sessions for shelters and rescue groups:

May 4-8, 2009 – Washington D.C.
June 5-10, 2009 – Seattle, WA
August 7-12, 2009 – Seattle, WA
October 23-28, 2009 – Seattle, WA

For more information about the workshops or to register, click here.

For more information on the MPP approach, click here.

Should Veterinarians Kill Healthy Animals in Shelters?

One veterinarian says No, as it violates the veterinary oath to “do no harm.”

Read the post by clicking here.

Mission Changes in Houston TX

The mission for animal control in Houston has changed from its original public health mandate. The new mission statement makes clear where this city (and the country) is moving:

To develop, implement and enforce the policies and programs that will make Houston a no-kill city, encourage compassionate and responsible behavior toward animals through public outreach and education and reposition BARC as a recognized state and national leader in the field.

There is still a long way to go beyond mere statements, and recent press reports continue to allege serious problems at the agency. But No Kill starts as an act of will, and the revolution marches on…

One Nation Under Dog

Michael Schaffer’s new book is “One Nation Under Dog: Adventures in the New World of Prozac-Popping Puppies, Dog-Park Politics, and Organic Pet Food.” It’s the next book on my nightstand pile but I like it already. Bored with my current read, I picked it up and was skimming it last night and found myself saying “yes” “yes” “yes” as I skipped around. And then I found this little gem on p. 227. In discussing the move to end shelter killing, Schaffer writes that society is moving in that direction “aided by enthusiastic no-kill champions like Nathan Winograd, the Stanford-trained attorney whose book, Redemption, serves as a gospel for the movement.”

You had me at hello…

Upcoming Blog: “We’re on the Same Team”

In an upcoming blog, I am going to ask the question: “Can the animal rights community on the one hand and, on the other, the animal welfare and No Kill communities, come together to stop PETA’s campaign of extermination?” And I am going to answer it as follows: “Yes, on the issue of companion animals, we are on the same team.” In fact, not only are we on the same team, we have the same goals. I am not naive. I don’t make this claim lightly and I fully expect to get clobbered from “both sides” for saying that.

Mention “animal rights” and rescuers and some No Kill advocates run for cover, because they see that movement as the opposition. To them, the term “animal rights” (at least as it relates to companion animals) means the extermination of animals, it means the end of sharing one’s life and home with a companion animal. It means mass slaughter of dogs and cats. In short, it means PETA.

But PETA’s is not a philosophy grounded in philosophy. It is not rational. It is not compassionate or ethical. It will never have widespread appeal. It in no way represents what most people who believe in animals rights want for companion animals. And when this ugly, tragic chapter in the movement’s history is finally brought to an end, their actions will be seen for what they are and always have been—nothing more than the views of a deeply disturbed individual.

On the other side, mention animal sheltering, and the knee-jerk reaction by some in the animal rights community is punitive laws, apologia about killing, and a lack of appreciation that that there are millions of animals alive today who owe their lives to the tireless work of people in the No Kill movement who share their love of dogs and cats and actively demonstrate that devotion through hard work and commitment, even if they do not subscribe to the larger animal rights platform.

But all of this is a distraction grounded in misinformation. And not only can we work it out, we must. Today, PETA will likely kill animals. Tomorrow, some family may surrender their dog to PETA falsely believing that the animal will find a “good home” only to have him be killed in the back of a van. PETA statistics show that a scenario not unlike this has the potential to occur five times a day. We have to stop just talking about this. We have to actually stop it from happening. And I believe our best hope for that is for animal rights activists and No Kill advocates to come together to stop the Butcher of Norfolk.

You don’t have to agree, but all I ask is that you hear me out. Stay tuned…

Giving Away the Store

In light of my comments above, I am willing to put my money where my mouth is. I’ve already sent out hundreds of free copies of Redemption to animal control directors and city council members all over the U.S. I will make the same offer to leaders of animal rights organizations. Send a letter on your official stationary by April 30 and you’ll get a free copy of Redemption. Learn more about the No Kill movement, stop promoting laws that are aimed at punishing the public but only end up hurting the animals, join the quest to save four million animals needlessly killed every year, and stop supporting PETA until Ingrid Newkirk is ousted and the death squads are disbanded.