December 25, 2012
And thanks for all you guys do. All of you – your activism, your compassion and your love for animals – are my inspiration. Merry Christmas everyone.
Here are a few events being offered this month by no kill shelters in conjunction with the holiday season:
UPAWS in Marquette, MI is inviting the public to come to an open house on December 15 for a shelter tour, refreshments, and discounted adoptions.
The Allegany Co shelter in MD is holding its annual Presents for Paws event on Christmas Eve where the community is invited to meet the pets and donate items from the wish list. This is their flyer promoting the event (click to enlarge):
Every year some parents are going to give the kids the pet they’ve been asking for as a Christmas gift. If shelters and rescues refuse to allow adoptions of pets as holiday gifts, they are driving parents to alternate sources to buy the pet – and probably turning them off shelter adoption permanently. In NY, Pets Alive Middletown and Pets Alive Westchester are employing their normal screening practices to ensure a good potential match between pet and family and making it easy for the parent to save a life while giving the kids the present of their dreams. The shelters are offering to have Santa’s helpers deliver the adopted pet to his new home on Christmas morning. No pet store salesman or flea market vendor is going to hold your pet for you until Christmas morning and then show up in a Santa hat – but Pets Alive will!
What is your local shelter doing to promote lifesaving and community involvement this holiday season?
November 22, 2012
I have a story for you! It would be called “A shelter who got it right!”
The shelter is Randolph County Humane Society animal shelter and it is located in Elkins, WV. The manager of this shelter is Kelly Scheideggar and she has been here for 11 years. This shelter is a very very low kill shelter, with low operating budget, in a fairly rural setting. The shelter manager has turned this place into a safe haven for lost pets, whereas before her arrival, it was a pet killing facility…(90% kill rate in the past – NOW less than 10%!!!)
This weekend we had an incident that reinforced my respect for her and I want to share this story with you.
What happens when the early morning worker at a small local shelter (humane capacity probably around 90-100 dogs and cats both) comes to work before the sun is up and finds approximately 30 cats abandoned in the parking lot? Finds cats crammed inside of boxes together? Finds cat running loose in the parking lot?
What does the manager of this shelter do after she and other staff rush to work early, and capture these cats? What does she do after evaluating and checking these animals in? After she takes account of how many cats are already in the shelter? After she realizes how far over humane holding capacity these 30 cats will put the shelter?
If your answer is to do what many large, more well funded shelters would do – to start looking over the list of cats who are already in the shelter, and determine who has been there the longest and decide who gets killed to make room for the new comers, then the answer is WRONG!
What this manager did as soon as she was able, was to go to the internet and make a plea for help via Facebook. Yes, Shirley, a plea to the public (gasp -yes I said public) for help was made – asking for what? Funds to buy Fatal Plus? NOPE. A plea went out for food, litter, crates, and yep – foster homes, and adopters!
(Here is a copy of that plea from Facebook) ——-
ATTENTION FACEBOOK FANS – WE ARE IN AN EMERGENCY SITUATION!
When we arrived at the shelter this morning, we found that over 30 cats and kittens had been dumped in the shelter parking lot by a heartless individual during the night. We have captured most of these precious babies, but are still in the process of seeing if there are any more out there.
Right now, we desperately need crates, food and litter to take care of these little ones. Once they are checked in and evaluated, we are asking for foster homes and adopters.
Please facebook fans, if you can help in any manner, call the shelter at 304-636-7844!
And guess what went into motion? Was the plea ignored? Was it a demand that cats be killed ? (After all, many say the public is not able to think of things to do to help and some even say that, all people are evil cat haters who should never have a pet or know how to take care of one) Nope – here’s what happened in brief -
Within literally minutes, phone calls to the shelter started coming in, and Facebook messages with offers of help were received. People wanted to know what time the shelter would open so they can come out, help, and perhaps adopt.
People (yes Shirley, the irresponsible public) start coming to the shelter with food, litter, crates, bedding and more. Within the hour of the plea going out!
Cars rolled in – handing the staff food and supplies. Bags of cat food, kitty litter and more. Crates….
People drove up and handed the staff checks…
A little girl took her birthday present money and bought cat food!
A statewide cat rescue (PURR WV) came on the scene within two hours to assess the situation and offer assistance, taking 12 cats.
A national disaster organization (IFAW) was alerted via PURRWV to help if needed.
Throughout the weekend, the public continued to bring in food, litter, and other cat necessities.
By Sunday, other offers of help from other cat rescues are coming in from as far away as New Jersey. Donations are coming from Amazon.com from places like VA!
2 cats were adopted and 1 cat was reclaimed over the weekend. Others went into foster care. The shelter is down closer to its usual capacity. There is food, litter, and more available with promise of more on the way.
At no time ever over this long weekend, was killing the cats – any cat, long term or “new comer” – an option or even mentioned. NEVER… not one time…. ever… it was not even in anyone’s thought processes. EVER. Instead it was team work between the shelter manager, her direct care staff, rescue workers, AND the PUBLIC (yes – the public that OTHER shelters call evil and irresponsible).
I know these things to be fact. I was there, as rep of the statewide group, PURR. I saw it happen with my own eyes. I am proud of our local shelter for doing what they did. They got it right. Today as I write, cats have been adopted. Yes, other cats are at the local shelter still needing homes, but still very much protected (as a shelter should!) and cared for. Other cats have gone home to new families, some are at the rescue, others in foster care. But they are all alive…. thanks to a shelter manager, who gets it right!
Here is the follow up Facebook message from the manager – this was just 9 hours after the initial plea went out:
Wow, what a great, caring and compassionate community we have. The out pouring of help today was nothing short of awesome. To all of you who brought food and supplies up, saying Thank You just doesn’t seem like enough. Please know that we are so grateful for the kindness you showed to the abandoned cats and kittens. To the familes who came up and adopted and fostered, you truly made a difference. To Dan and Vicki Aucremanne and our Friends at PURR WV, you ROCK ! Thank you so very much for your assistance. As far as we know, there is only one cat left that we have not been able to catch, we have left food, water, and shelter out for her, hopefully tomorrow we’ll be able to coax her in. All of the others are safe, warm, and have have full bellies. God Bless All of You !!! ~Kelly~
And another follow up. The search is now on for the child who gave her birthday money – if only we could find her. All the help is deeply appreciated, but this selfless act by a child needs a hug!
Good morning facebook friends. The ‘dust is slowly settling’ after this weekends emergency situation involving the many cats who were abandoned at our door step. In the midst of the hectic activity that was going on Saturday morning and afternoon, we failed to get the name of someone who made a very special donation to help these homeless and abandoned kitties. We were told that a little girl had used her birthday present money to buy food to bring to the shelter for these cats. We want to send you a very special thank you for doing this! And we would love for you to contact us – we would love to give you a hug for doing such a kind thing. Your act of kindness has helped us to be able to help these formerly abandoned kitties.
Here is the link to the shelter’s Facebook page:
Their number is 304-636-7844
The manager is Kelly Scheideggar. She deserves a hug and more. She is the true leader of the “Little Shelter who got it right”
Thanks so much for reading this. I thought a good shelter story would bring us all some happiness – and since it is Thanksgiving. I will say, thankfulness, that there are folks who are doing sheltering well and doing it right!
Thank you for sending in this story Vicki. It’s a good reminder of the things all no kill advocates can be thankful for today and every day – shelters that shelter, leaders who lead, rescuers who rescue and of course the so-called irresponsible public.
October 28, 2012
The risk of possible animal abuse by a screened adoption applicant exists at all times, not just Halloween. There is no evidence showing the risk of possible animal abuse by a screened adoption applicant increases at Halloween. And yet some shelters and rescue groups “protect” black cats by refusing to place them with screened applicants in the weeks leading up to Halloween. This myth-based practice results in increased cats in the kill room – which is the opposite of “protection”.
While I don’t know if Memphis Animal Services refuses to adopt out black cats at Halloween, I do know they kill them, just like they do all year. And here, MAS reminds us that the real threat to black cats comes from those with the license to kill, not from mythical animal sacrifice ritualists at Halloween.
This pair of black kittens could not have weighed more than 2 pounds combined. They were just one month old when someone brought them to MAS on October 11. James Rogers, the interim director at the pound, allowed them to live overnight before deciding they were taking up too much room and had to die. Each kitten was killed, using enough Fatal Plus to kill a 10 pound dog, on October 12. It must have been difficult to find a vein on these tiny scared kittens and I wonder if they were in fact injected IC or IP instead. There was no sedative given according to the records.
These healthy baby cats had a right to live. They were never offered for adoption and to my knowledge no plea was issued to rescue groups, fosters or the public before MAS killed them. How many more for your chamber of horrors, Memphis?
June 17, 2012
Like many couples today, we don’t have children but do consider our dogs to be part of the family. I think DogDads deserve to be included in today’s tributes. At our house, we are very thankful for Billy who does everything from emergency gate building to contain bad Beagles to diaper duty on our elderly Chihuahua mix. And he’s not too bad with puppies either.
January 16, 2012
In honor of Martin Luther King Day, I wanted to share some of his words of wisdom regarding social change. There are many quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. which can be applied to the no kill movement. I will include just a few here. Please share additional quotes from Dr. King in the comments which you feel are relevant to our work.
“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”
Just as the Holocaust was legal, so is the abuse and needless killing of pets in our shelters. This is why we need CAPA passed in every state.
“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
There are those who will look the other way, make excuses or outright lie to whitewash the abuse and killing happening at their local shelters. I call them enablers.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
What is needed in every community where the municipal shelter is killing pets is for someone to stand up and speak out; to have the uncomfortable conversation; to risk becoming the target of a smear campaign. If not you, it will be no one.
December 31, 2011
Tomorrow I will be posting an overview of 2011 no kill stories but today I wanted to take a moment to share a few personal highlights from this past year.
- Tracking the Alabama 44 was an ongoing and challenging task and I appreciated all the help I received from readers. I feel like we helped those dogs, in our own ways, even if it was just to honor their memories.
- Attending the No Kill Conference in D.C. was a great experience and I will always be grateful for the opportunity. I highly encourage anyone who is able to attend next year’s conference to go for it.
- Saving Mari(o) from MAS was one of the most exhausting and rewarding experiences of the year and it would not have happened without a wide network of support from readers and rescuers. I am so thankful for everyone who pitched in – whether you stayed up half the night networking for transport or stood by for moral support while the city tried to shoot us down – you are appreciated.
- Bringing Surrey home from a pound in TN was possible because of help from readers. I probably can’t type too much more than “thank you” without getting a bit sniffly. I love her.
I feel very lucky to have such wonderful readers and I truly value your company. I wish all of you a very happy 2012. Thank you for participating in this blog.
How about you – do you have some personal highlights to share from 2011?
December 25, 2011
A celebration of the human-animal bond with photos and captions submitted by readers.
Thank you to everyone who sent in photos. This post was a joy to put together. – Shirley
December 16, 2011
Please share your experiences giving gifts that help shelter pets. This could include making a donation to a shelter in a gift recipient’s name (please tell us how the recipient was notified of your gift), shopping online via a group’s Amazon button (such as the No Kill Advocacy Center has), buying from a company which donates proceeds to shelters/rescues (like Rescue Chocolate) or any number of other gift ideas.
Help us late shoppers out by sharing your suggestions, experiences, and links.
December 2, 2011
You know how sometimes there’s an idea that starts out good but then it snowballs into a dirty blob? For example, it’s a good idea to spread the word about keeping your cats indoors on Halloween. There are all sorts of comings and goings, kids traipsing around the neighborhood at night and yes – there is a tiny minority of people who are going to do tricks instead of treats and you don’t want your cat to be used in someone’s idea of a prank. Somehow this good idea got dirty blobbed into “shelters and rescue groups must not adopt out black cats near Halloween because Satanists want to sacrifice them in bloody rituals”.
Another one surrounds the notion that people should be aware of the responsibilities of pet ownership and avoid giving a pet as a Christmas gift to someone who might not want a pet or who might be allergic, or who might be under the impression that it’s fine if they aren’t home for 12 hours a day because a puppy can wait until they get home for a potty break. This is a good, common sense message to promote. But over time, this one got dirty blobbed into “shelters and rescue groups must not adopt out pets as Christmas gifts because the only people who would get a pet as a Christmas gift are those who will put him on a chain in the backyard on December 26 and leave him there until the day he dies”.
Any policy which denies a home to a shelter pet based on arbitrary criteria such as “It’s Halloween” or “The pet will be given as a Christmas gift” needs to be dirty blobbed into oblivion. As long as you are conducting your normal, common sense screening of adopters and asking the appropriate questions in order to ensure a potentially good match, it shouldn’t matter whether it’s a holiday or not.
It’s understandable that shelters and rescues want to avoid so-called impulse adoptions which might not be a good fit. That’s why the normal screening process of applicants is important – to weed out those negative impulses which by the way, can occur at any time of the year. It’s good to remember too, as Bonney Brown pointed out in her seminar at the No Kill Conference this year, that people can have positive impulses. Running into a burning building to save a baby is a positive impulse.
I was glad to see that Pets Alive in NY is offering to make adopting a pet as a Christmas gift easy and fun – in a very responsible way:
If you are a parent and you have already told Santa it is ok for your children to receive a pet this holiday season all you need to do is fill out our application, get approved, come down and select your pet (within a week of the holiday). Pets Alive will tell Santa and we will drive up to your house on Christmas morning, (with the Pets Alive MAGIC BUS) and knock on your door.
::door opens, little boy looks up. There we stand in Santa hat, with clipboard, big MAGIC BUS behind us::
Us: “Hello, is this the house of Susie and Timmy So-and-So?”
Little Boy: “Yes. This is. I am Timmy So-and-So”.
Us: “Well, Timmy, get your sister, because we have a very special delivery from Santa for the two of you!!”
::We turn, whistle and out of the bus comes Santa’s Elf with Fido!! ::
Us: “Timmy and Susie – Santa asked us to take care of your new dog, Fido. He stopped by Pets Alive so that Fido didn’t sit under the tree in a box all night! He asked us to deliver him to you this morning! Merry Christmas Timmy and Susie from Santa and Pets Alive! ….. and Merry Christmas to YOU , Fido, for you my sweet little furry friend, have finally found your forever home!”
I love this idea. Every year some parents are going to give the kids the pet they’ve been asking for as a Christmas gift. If shelters and rescues refuse to allow adoptions of pets as holiday gifts, they are driving parents to alternate sources to buy the pet – and probably turning them off shelter adoption permanently. Pets Alive is employing their normal screening practices to ensure a good potential match between pet and family and making it easy for the parent to save a life while giving the kids the present of their dreams. No pet store salesman or flea market vendor is going to hold your pet for you until Christmas morning and then show up in a Santa hat – but Pets Alive will!
Good on you Pets Alive for thinking outside the box. I would love to see this idea catch on with other shelters and rescue groups. Some number of responsible people are going to give pets as Christmas gifts this year. Refusing to allow adoptions at Christmas will not change that fact but it will deny the pets in your shelter a chance at a good home. Why not consider each applicant on their individual merits and see if breaking the mold can get more of your pets into homes this holiday season?