Sheltering News from Around the Country

Yet Another Grisly Year at PETA: 95% of Animals Killed

In 2006, PETA killed a staggering 97% of animals: 1,942 out of 1,960 cats they impounded, 988 out of the 1,030 dogs they impounded, 50 of the 52 rabbits, guinea pigs, and other animals they took in, and the one and only chicken they impounded.

In 2007, they killed 91%— 1,815 of the 1,997 animals they impounded.

As others have reported, 2008 was another grisly year at PETA. 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: 555 of the 584 dogs and 1,569 of the 1,589 cats.

In the past, PETA argued that all of the animals it kills are “unadoptable.” But this claim is a lie. It is a lie because PETA refuses to provide its criteria for making that determination. 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 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. 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 do they do it? I am going to answer that question tomorrow.

Giving Away the Store

The No Kill Advocacy Center is offering free copies of my book Redemption, to any elected official, staff reporter of a newspaper, or animal control director.

We need to change the way shelters operate and I am willing to pay for it. I’ve donated “as many copies as it takes” to them in order to get City Council Members, Board of Supervisors, Mayors, Assemblymen, Senators, County Commissioners, even staff reporters and animal control directors to read it. All they have to do is ask them for it.

To make sure they will actually read it, and so I don’t go broke and waste resources for naught, they have to ask for a copy on official stationary by May 1. That’s it.

For more information, click here.

Best Friends: Time to Reset HSUS Policy

After the Wilkes County massacre, Best Friends made the following statement after it was announced that they were meeting with HSUS to discuss policies surrounding the killing of Pit Bulls in shelters:

There had been more than enough airing of feelings and outrage that the [Wilkes County] dogs were not evaluated prior to being summarily [killed]. It was time to hit the reset button on this in order to move things forward in a constructive way. Mr. Pacelle was open and receptive to what we had to say and we are looking forward to our meetings in April.

In my blog, I was critical of the quote and stated:

I believe the meeting should take place, and I hope their faith is not misplaced. I welcome the involvement of Best Friends in helping set HSUS policy and have very high regard for Best Friends employees working in this field. So much so, in fact, that Best Friends speakers will be giving presentations on this topic at the No Kill Conference this year. There is no falling out with Best Friends. But I do take issue with the notion that it is time to move on from airing outrage or that it is time “to hit the reset button.” One does not necessarily follow the other.

It was mass public pressure from a large number of groups and a wide array of voices which forced HSUS to the table, not a response to a single group’s call for change, however large and influential. Admittedly, Best Friends was a major player and took an important and vocal leadership position on this issue; but any appearance of cooperation they get from HSUS is the result of widespread and loud dissent rising up from grassroots activists and rescuers nationwide. It is that clamor which is the only thing that has ever forced HSUS to the bargaining table—and it should not be discouraged.

Best Friends contacted me recently and said that what they really meant was that it is time to hit the reset button on HSUS policy. You decide. But I did take the opportunity to share  with them my recommendations for what that new policy should be:

  • It must include the right of individual evaluation and consideration for each dog, not merely a recommendation as HSUS wants.
  • It must include a guarantee of clemency for any puppies.
  • It must give rescue groups and No Kill shelters the right of access to save the animals, and the right to conduct independent evaluations rather than rely on the flawed results of HSUS or the shelter’s own potentially predetermined ones which favor killing.
  • It must include an unqualified statement in favor of saving animals that rejects the excuses of the past.
  • It must include support of legislation that will give all of these principles the force of law. It should be illegal for a shelter to kill a dog if a rescue group is willing to save him (as it is in California).
  • Dogs should not be deemed dangerous without an evaluation and hearing, subject to appeal by any shelter or rescue group.
  • Before any agreement with HSUS is signed, it should be adopted as a draft and then widely circulated to the larger humane and pit bull community for comment. After those comments are received, a final policy can then be agreed upon.

I offered to meet with Wayne Pacelle as well, but he refused. I’ve asked Best Friends to carry my recommendations to him.

The Latest Twist in the L.A. S/N Voucher Fiasco

As others have reported and I blogged about, Los Angeles cut its half-hearted spay/neuter voucher program despite a mandatory spay/neuter law that has seen deaths skyrocket as poor people surrender their pets to avoid facing citations.

In an apparent turnaround, the director of Los Angeles Animal Services reports that he has found money in the budget and reinstated the program. (This comes in advance of a City Council vote which would have done it for him anyway.) This partly has to do with the fact that few people actually take advantage of the program. By only paying for $30 (or in some cases $70) of the full retail cost of the procedure, it is still out of reach of those at the bottom 15% of the economic ladder.

It is better than nothing, but those aren’t the only two choices. As I wrote in a prior blog,

Instead of reinstituting the mediocre program Cardenas falsely called a “key to No Kill,” the Los Angeles City Council should expand it based on their successful 1970s model. Indeed, LAAS has seven new shelters, complete with state-of-the-art spay/neuter clinics which are currently sitting largely unused, a betrayal to Los Angeles taxpayers who agreed on a $37-million bond measure to build them.

Building a No Kill Houston

There is still time to sign up for the all-day seminar in Houston this Saturday. Workshops include Cost Effective Lifesaving Programs, Turbocharging Adoptions, Saving Shelter Dogs, Feral Cat Care & Advocacy, and Reforming Animal Control. For more information, visit