No-Kill's Future

Philly was to be the proof in the pudding that No-Kill was possible in a large city with a crappy budget. All previous and current Winograd successes have involved small shelters with 1/6th LA's impound numbers. If Philly were a success, it would have been a rally point for No-Kill nationally. Winograd now says Philly and PAWS are failures and may return to its pre-2005 kill numbers even while he was touting its success eight months ago.

What happened? Winogard is blaming everyone but himself, his vision and his methods. He takes responsibility for any short term success but when the numbers turn south he is blames "old-guard" mentality and actions.

For example, in his recent email, basically he only named a few names and cited a bad shelter location and a return to the kill-mentality of his mentored PAWS organization. Mostly he mentioned external pressures to fail. However, he really didn't say how or why PAWS itself was failing internally except by vague references to management. Other factors remained the same: budget, facilities, staff numbers, impound numbers.

PAWS has always suffered from poor financial support and location. It has a tiny fraction of LAAS's budget and only one shelter, and that is in a poor location. Not only that, the shelter is falling apart and has been deemed unsalvagable by objective third person experts. And, Philly has only a fraction of LA's employees.

In a sense given Philly's circumstances, it should never have reached a 60% save rate.
Now Nathan says that progress is all over and Philly is backsliding.

This brings up the obvious question as to whether PAWS' numbers were ever accurate. They went from a 15% save rate to a 60% save rate in two years. Current stats still show their best ever performance, a 60% save rate. The numbers do not support Winogard's prediction that the numbers will fall back to the high kill range or that Philly is failing. Over and over again Nathan referred to PAWS numbers as proof of his No-Kill methods.

There are several speculations why Philly is failing if it is: 1. Winograd type no-kill successes cannot be sustained without Winograd's substantial ongoing presence; 2. the "old, kill mentality" will always return and wipe out any gains towards no-kill; 3. there never has been more than sporatic temporary successes, or successes were based on overcrowding and creative numbers management.

My personal belief and hope is that No-Kill is possible and even inevitable as consciousness of the value of all life predominates. But it is clear Nathan has lost some of his credibility. He may be right--I am sure he is--that no kill can only be reached and sustained when the entire community wants it and supports the shelters and its management. But how is that accomplished? Isn't it up to the newly chosen Winograd GM to make it happen? If not, Nathan's methods will only work in a few communities that are on the edge of no-kill already.

Nathan refused the GM job in LA saying the commitment is not here, which would doom any sustainable no kill efforts by anyone, no matter how talented.

If it is not attainable here given LA's fantastic per capita funding, new shelter facilities and huge numbers of employees, where is it possible? Where is the community that will give him that 100% support he claims to need?

If he is saying his methods only work when the community is already set up for success, but only have not implemented his common sense, no-kill programs, then I think there are VERY FEW communities where his methods will succeed.

Nathan's no-kill programs are common sense. As Boks points out he is doing all of them, especially the compassionate director bit written by a non-existant third person. It is not that these progarms theoretically will not work, it is just Boks has not been able to get them to work and to sustain, just as Philly appears to be failing.

I think this is time to reflect on the no-kill movement.

Some of us have to do real, third person, in depth analyses of the methods and programs of no kill and see if they can work in any environment. We have to look at shelter successes and failures everywhere in the country. Boks refused such help from the beginning with the extremely alienating attitude that if he didn't think of it, he was not interested in it.

Winograd has never shown his methods work except in the short term; he never even mentions how his Ithaca New York shelter is doing since he left.

Nathan, to prove no-kill can work in a large city, you have to do it yourself. When Boks leaves you have to take the job and commit for two years. If the unions, civil service and mayoral indifference defeat you here, your brand of no kill might be a lost cause. You would have several advantages over past general managers in LA, including a much larger budget, six spanking new shelters and lots of employees with access to a potential volunteer base far larger than San Francisco or Philly.

In fact there are more resources available in LA City than perhaps anywhere else in the Country except possibly for Mayeda's horrible system.

In addition, you also have the advantage of the vast good will and support of the LA rescue and humane community. If you need more than that, such a a mayor that throws himself totally behind you, it will be proof your methods might fail anywhere except where they don't.

With all of these advantages, if you cannot implement No-Kill in LA within three years, the no-kill movement may die; then there will be no hope.

Nathan, take the job if offered to sustain your credibility and the viability of the no kill movement.


Anonymous said...

I know what happened in Philly. (1) Warehousing. Winograd told them to hold them as long as possible. Warehousing catches up on you and you have to kill a lot of animals at once like Boks did second half of first year. That's when he probably said "they" started failing. (2) Giving away super cheap or free animals. A lot end up back in the shelter. (3) Not enough spay neuter so intakes didn't go down enough. (4) Employees getting pissed at having to work harder taking care of more animals than ever before. Now Winograd is attacking Philly and everyone else. Making friends as usual. He is a total fraud.

Anonymous said...

What city would want Winograd after he attacked Philadelphia so viciously? I wouldn't hire the guy. Winograd also attacks HSUS, AASPCA, PETA, LA County, LA City, any city that doesn't hire him, any city that hired him and he failed, anyone who speaks negatively about him, anyone who won't sign their name to his silly document. I can only hope he makes money on his book because I see no consulting future for him.

Anonymous said...

I read his book and honestly I think he places too much faith in the public at large. Sure they can be moved by a single incident, particularly if it involves small, cute dogs. But that doesn't change who they are and ultimately what they will do for animals, even ones they bring into their own homes.

This was brought home to me maybe a week after I finished Winograd's book. I volunteer at a local private shelter and we got a call from some woman that she wanted to return a dog she'd adopted. Normal enough -- except she adopted this dog in 1999.

She had that dog in her house, looked at him every day, I'm sure she told everyone she loved him. But the voicemail she left said (verbatim) "I don't want the dog anymore." Not regretful, just petulant.

She'd gotten a new dog and the two dogs weren't getting along. So instead of working on it, or finding a new home for the new dog, she dumped the old one back at the shelter after more than eight years. I was there when she left him and there was not one tear, not one expression of sorrow. I'm sure she got all the mileage she could out of "rescuing" him all these years. Then she threw him back without one qualm, one regret. All she left was the stupid name she stuck him with -- "Gucci" and took her bad lip job and left.

I know bad civil service employees and kill mentality are factors. But a public that views animals as disposable means the whole no-kill equation is balanced on a shifting, unreliable base.

Anonymous said...

Writing a nokill plan is not enough. That's just the start. Everyone knows if you want to lose weight you must exercise more and eat less. That's the nofat plan. Everyone knows how to lose weight yet there are a ton of fat people who say they want to lose weight but aren't doing it.

Someone needs to take the nokill plan and actually get everyone to do it. You have to rally the public, employees, city, rescuers and activists to do it. Boks, unfortunately, does not seem to be able to get things together.

The employees hate him and stab him in the back. He first got too chummy with the activists then when they attacked him, he attacked back. He was cozy with councilmembers until he got in trouble by not following proper procedures and embarrassing the City.

I have a feeling when Boks leaves LA he'll do a blog somewhere else and blame everyone else for his mistakes just like he did in NY, just like Winograd just did.

Anonymous said...

Why did Winograd chose now to attack PAWs? They haven't announced any negative news. I don't see a year end report. They just opened a nice adoption center. I did see some negative posts on philly craigslist which were all removed. How bad is Philly? Did the numbers go bad? What are the numbers?

Anonymous said...

I don't think Nathan will take the job, though I would love to think he would. L.A. is his hometown after all. I wish he felt the obligation to this city's animals that so many of us do.

I know there is a lack of good management even available for these positions. He should consider having an intense training program for management. Hopefully there would be enough of an interest to get a decent number of students for him, and to have the right-minded people available for these management jobs.

It's a hard job. If you have a heart, your heart gets broken, the work is thankless and never-ending, and you're under an incredible amount of scrutiny. This could describe the shelter workers' jobs too. Everyone needs some intense training in how to get this thing working. It would make it a lot nicer for the employees and for the shelter visitors knowing that black cloud of death wasn't hanging over these beautiful animals' heads.

Ed Muzika said...

Philly PAWS stats, only through September. I do not know why the October--December 31 numbers are not up:

They shopw about a 60% save rate, which is 8% higher than LA's before Boks started cheating.