A No Kill Nation

No Kill will only NOT work is if there are not enough homes to rehome impounded animals.

Many assume that there are fewer homes than animals; that is, the demand for new pets is fixed.

As Mike Arms and Winograd both say, it is a matter of marketing. A good salesman can sell snow to an Eskimo.

I think I heard an estimate that there are 300,000 dogs in LA City and 400,000 cats. Assuming a lifespan of 12 years, that means each year the death rate creates 25,000 openings for dogs and 33,000 for cats. That is 63,000 animals that could be placed. In addition, the population of LA is growing by 100,000 a year. This is another 3%.

What presents them all from being adopted? Old age, illness, behavior prolems.

A good salesman could raise that 63,000 to 75,000 or better. Of the 45,000 animals impounded each year, 10%, or about 5,000 cannot be places due to disease, injury, old age, or behavior, leaving 40,000 adoptable.

If “sales” could be made easier through “retail” non-shelter storefront locations, better employee attitude, behaviors on the part of employees, and marketing, I see no reason that 100% of the treatable animals, theoretically, cannot be adopted. To assume that it cannot work because it has not worked is not a valid argument against no kill, but only a voicing of convinced opponents.

Even if all proponents of no kill are liars, sociopaths and charlatans, that does not mean no kill cannot work.

What is stopping no kill from working are three things: lack of resources, poor management, and the attitude that no kill cannot work. A lot of people who leaves comments on this site believe the latter. They have been disappointed by the failure of gurus, therefore they attack any and all who think no kill possible.

Beside adoptions, the return to owner category can be greatly improved through chipping and licensing.

Regarding Stray Cat Alliance, of the 40 live cats rescued, one died in treatment, or 2.5%. Already 16 have been adopted and 24 are with fosters. Knowing Cristi, these will not be killed. A save and placement rate of 2.5% means no kill is achievable, 4 X better than Nathan’s definition of no-kill—at least for cats. These are not cherry-picked cats; they are hoarder rescues with limited resources.

San Francisco SPCA claims a 94% save rate and between the muni shelter run by Carl Friedman, and the SPCA, there is a combined 87% save rate. The doubters save this is not possible and they are lying. Maybe, maybe not; but the doubters have done no homework to prove them liars as we did with Boks.

It takes a lot of research to find statistics wrong—a lot. The Naysayers need to make the case rather than us proving their case. They are so convince of no kills failure they do not allow evidence to the contrary impact them.

Winograd is the prophet; we are looking for local Messiahs.

Given good management, adequate resources, I see no kill as an easy goal. Prove me wrong. Offer a bit of proof it is not possible. Don’t lerave it ot me to prove the naysays are right. The burden of proof is on them.


Anonymous said...

I think nokill is possible but it's going to take a great leader. We need major marketing of shelter animals. We need to make shelter animals more marketable than pet stores and breeders. Maybe we need some store fronts in malls to adopt out shelter pets. Or maybe mobile pet adoptions in malls.

Besides getting more animals out we need to reduce the numbers coming in. Get a volunteer group to go around and help enforce mandatory spay and neuter. I'd gladly go around my neighborhood and hand out flyers with info on free spay neuter. I'd offer my neighbors animals a trip to the clinic. We need a whole bunch of people doing the same thing.

It can be done. It'll be difficult and take a lot of time and money but it can be done.

Anonymous said...

I believe in the goal of no-kill. My problem is: once you sell the snow to the Eskimo, what happens when the impulse to buy wears off and the Eskimo's got snow he doesn't really want?

I fight the impulse every weekend to "sell" dogs who are being shown to prospective adopters at the shelter where I volunteer. I know how great these dogs are, I know how their lives, as much as we try to make things good for them at the shelter, would be immeasurably happier if they had a family, and a sofa, and all the walks and cuddling they could want.

But what I can't know is how committed the people are to caring for the dog. I've seen a dog go to an adopter, a sweet, low-key, gentle dog who only wanted a safe, loving home, and yet she was returned two days later. Did she do anything wrong? Nope. The adopter's vet said the dog was older, and that "this wasn't the dog for [the adopter]" and without one thought for the dog, she brought her back. She admitted the dog was perfect for her, but... And that sweet gentle dog has no home again.

I've read "Redemption" and I believe in many of Winograd's ideas. But he glosses over the issue of "the public" by classifying distrust of the public's motives and commitment as an old-school way of thinking. He points out that the public will respond to specific ads about specific dogs, or specific events, like a raid on a hoarder or a puppy mill.

But in a comparatively short time in rescue I've seen some shockingly, un-self-consciously shallow, heartless people. I've seen women who would have to be greased to get through a standard doorway rejecting dogs as "fatsos." I've seen people who expect, nay DEMAND that a shelter dog be perfectly house-trained day 1. I know one dog who was adopted out able-bodied and returned paralyzed. I know a dog who was returned after eight years without a tear from his owner. I've seen a dog returned after two hours because he ran out a gate he couldn't have possibly known was his boundary yet. I've seen seet dogs treated chillingly like products, to be poked, prodded, evaluated, and rejected for amazingly trivial reasons, by people who, once they finally find that "perfect" dog, will tell everyone, far and wide, how "they RESCUED" him or her.

I've seen people absolutely expect that an overstimulated, once-abused dog should leap into their arms the second they meet her. Their ego demands that "connection" from a dog who's just trying to figure out if anyone in the room is planning to hit her.

We had one idiot who demanded to know why we didn't have a scale to weigh dogs, because she wanted a dog she could carry like a purse, and the hell with whether or not she and the dog were a good match, she wanted a dog that was ten pounds or under.

There are nice, thoughtful people who genuinely care about and love dogs, and who see a heart and a personality and don't much care about color, weight, age or accessory value. But those people really are few and far between. I believe Winograd is deluding himself about the public at large and their commitment to genuinely caring for a cat or dog as an individual for life.

Anonymous said...

Poster two, winograd is not deluding himself. He's trying to delude us. Everyone, go to south LA shelter and look at the people dumping and picking up animals. Maybe 2% are true animal lovers and they're probably rescuers. People go there to get a cheap pet, a pitbull to make them look tough, guard their house or a cat to eat rats and mice. Maybe some people want a companion. The rest are there dumping their dog because they don't want to take it to the vet or are too lazy to spay it and it just had a ton of kittens/puppies. They want to dump a sick dog and adopt a puppy. They're under the false impression that all animals are 100% healthy and totally trained and sweet. If they were, they wouldnt' be at the shelter. They get the dog home, it jumps on a kid, shits their carpet, drinks out of the toilet, knocks something off a table, chews up a shoe, digs a hold in the yard, tries to get out of the fence, starts coughing and back to the shelter they go. Maybe a few adopters in West LA are educated enough to not expect perfect pets but most are not. I think a lot are first time pet people.

I was at the shelter. A man comes in with wife two kids. He says he wants a german shephard, an adult so it will be house trained already. We look at the adult dog, purebred, great personality. Then the two kids say "look, puppies!" I said in three months the puppies will look like this adult. They said they didn't want the adult, just puppies. What happens when the puppies grow up? Do they trade them in for puppies? What happens when the puppies pee, poo, chew, dig, bite, scratch, destroy things? They go back to the shelter. That's what the public is really like. Winograd is trying to sell a pipe dream to make money. Nokill is possible, just not in his perfect world theory. It's a lot of hard consistent work.

Anonymous said...

Poster #3, I have just one quibble: When you say, "They're under the false impression that all animals are 100% healthy and totally trained and sweet. If they were, they wouldnt' be at the shelter."

That's not quite fair. I know you were on a roll, but there are dogs at the shelter who are just a day or two of scheduled walks away from being houstrained. My first shelter dog was 100% healthy and sweet, and the second and third weren't PERFECTLY healthy (but I knew that and picked them with eyes wide open) but perfectly sweet day one out of the shelter. And I wasn't in rescue at all at that time.

All KINDS of dogs, with all kinds of temperaments end up at the shelter. More coming too, with the foreclosure boom.

And trust me, the rescue I work at is in West L.A. (where I've also lived over 16 years). West L.A. people are as bad, if not a lot worse, than anybody in L.A.

But I agree with you about both puppies and kids. I wouldn't have either (well, maybe puppies...)

Anonymous said...

Poster 4, don't get me wrong. There are good dogs in the shelters. I got a purebred doberman that was totally trained. She just lost a litter and the breeder didn't want her any more. She was clumsy, that's all.

I've also gotten in dogs that people got as puppies and never trained. When they got big and jumped on people, play bite, they left them outside. After a year or two outside by themselves, on a stake, they get behavioral issues. Sometimes they run away and come in as strays. Owners don't care about them to look for them. Those dogs need a lot of training, even though they're super sweet sometimes.

There are good dogs in the shelters. They just had bad owners who dumped them there or let them run away. Some come in because of real hard times for the owners like foreclosure, eviction, death. Sad.

Anonymous said...

As a small-time rescuer who has been through puppy/young dogs vs. adult dogs, I have a clear preference for the adult dogs as well. It's not so much as deciding who has the most need or is least likely to be adopted out directly from the shelter anymore. It did at first, but as the number of dogs being adopted out via rescue increased, so did the number of dogs that would have to take back if things didn't work out.

Puppies/young dogs are hard to place forever. Behaviors change right around that adolescent to adult transition time, and we will get boomerangs despite all the advice and support we have provided and are willing to provide.

To avoid the scramble to find a foster home for a return (very stressful and cause for burn-out), it is a self-defense mechanism to rescue "easier" adult dogs first. They may take longer to place, but once in a home, they aren't likely to be returned.