2012 Henry Bergh Leadership Awards

Each year the No Kill Advocacy Center honors shelter pet advocates who are making a positive difference in the efforts to end the needless killing.  There is a post on Nathan Winograd’s blog introducing the six recipients of this year’s awards and honoring other advocates as well.  I was pleased to see two mentions of fellow bloggers in his post:  One is a shout out to “Susan Hauser whose No Kill News page identifying those communities is the single most important blog in the movement today.”  It’s hard to get much higher praise than that and it is well deserved.  The other blogger mentioned in the post is 2012 award recipient John Sibley:

His blog, In Dog We Trust, is the definitive voice of the No Kill movement in New York City.

Congratulations to Susan and John as well as all the other advocates honored and thank you for the inspiration.

Just One Day

Today is a no kill day for animals in open admission shelters and rescue organizations all over the United States. Roughly 700 groups have taken the pledge on the Just One Day site to kill no healthy/treatable animals for at least today. Here in South Carolina, more than a dozen groups took the pledge, including my own county facility – the Walter Crowe Animal Shelter. I am featuring some of their animals, found on Petango, below. The shelter is closed to the public today but will be open tomorrow at 10am.

The Just One Day Facebook page will be open for posting the success stories as they happen at your local shelter all day.  Animal Wise Radio will be broadcasting live from 12 noon to 6pm Eastern time, highlighting the work being done by participating organizations.

This thread will be open all day for sharing anything related to the Just One Day event.  I would especially like as many people as possible to post about their local shelter.

  • Is your local shelter participating?
  • Are they offering adoption fee discounts or running other promotions today?
  • If your shelter is not participating, did you ask?  What was the response?
  • Regardless of whether your shelter is going no kill for the day, please feel welcome to share pets at the facility by posting links to the animals’ online listings.

Animals available for adoption in Kershaw Co, SC:

Bizzy, ID #14232350, a 3 year old female Beagle available for adoption at the Walter Crowe Animal Shelter in SC.

Dog #16230237, a female mixed breed dog (no age listed) available for adoption at the Walter Crowe Animal Shelter in SC.

Stubs, ID #16342359, a male mixed breed dog (no age listed) available for adoption at the Walter Crowe Animal Shelter in SC.

Willow, ID #15662795, a female cat (no age listed) available for adoption at the Walter Crowe Animal Shelter in SC.

Cat #16323852, a 1 month old female, available for adoption at the Walter Crowe Animal Shelter in SC.

Cat #16315081, a 1 month old female, available for adoption at the Walter Crowe Animal Shelter in SC.

For more information about the no kill movement, including the programs proven to permanently end the killing of healthy/treatable pets in shelters, please visit the No Kill Advocacy Center.

CAPA Modified – Parvo is Not a License for Shelters to Kill

Just as it is unfair to punish a shelter dog based on breed, so it is unethical to kill shelter pets based on the name of a disease.  In this post, I’m talking about canine parvovirus but the statement can apply to other diseases as well.  Euthanasia to end the suffering of medically hopeless pets must be based upon the veterinary prognosis, not just the diagnosis of disease.

I was recently excited to learn that the No Kill Advocacy Center’s model legislation piece, the Companion Animal Protection Act (CAPA) has been modified and the following provision removed from the document:

(2) Symptomatic dogs with confirmed cases of parvovirus or cats with confirmed cases of panleukopenia may be euthanized without delay, upon a certification made in writing and signed by a veterinarian licensed to practice medicine in this state that the prognosis is poor even with supportive care. Such certification shall be made available for free public inspection for no less than three years;

Nathan Winograd of the No Kill Advocacy Center explained that the language was removed in order “to move away from disease-based to prognosis-based legislation”.  I fully support this change.

Parvo is preventable and treatable and every animal shelter has an obligation to both prevent and treat this disease.  Parvo in shelters is prevented through the practice of vaccination prior to or immediately upon intake, good housing practices and standard disease prevention cleaning protocols.  The disease is further prevented by ensuring the community’s dog owners have easy access to low cost vaccinations for their pets.

Treatment options for parvo dogs include in-house care if sufficient resources exist to provide isolation and appropriate veterinary care.  If the facility is not equipped to provide treatment, parvo dogs may be transferred to another shelter with appropriate facilities or to a private veterinary clinic.  Donations may be solicited from the public if necessary.  The media can help in educating the public and spreading the word about the shelter’s efforts to save lives.  The days of blanket killing of shelter dogs for parvo or exposure to the disease are over.

Killing dogs who have tested positive for parvo without providing treatment is unacceptable.  Killing dogs who have not been tested or treated, who have been “diagnosed” by someone other than a veterinarian, who are asymptomatic but have been exposed or who are merely “suspected” of having the disease is also unacceptable.  What are your local shelter’s protocols for handling parvo dogs?

Austin Pets Alive has a ward set up for parvo dogs, run by volunteers.  The save rate is approximately 85% and dogs are usually back on their paws after a week.  Disease free dogs are then put on the adoption floor so they can find loving homes and live normal, happy lives.  How does that compare to your local shelter’s parvo protocols?

Shelters who fail to vaccinate all animals prior to or immediately upon intake are failing to prevent the spread of disease.  Shelters who fail to utilize standard disease prevention cleaning protocols and/or maintain good housing practices are failing to prevent the spread of disease.  These same shelters are often the ones who kill based on disease (or suspicion of disease) instead of veterinary prognosis and then blame the public for failing to vaccinate their pets.

All shelters need to bring their parvo protocols in line with current veterinary standards.  Prevention and treatment are not luxuries.  They are the minimum that every shelter pet is entitled to and the least we should expect from our municipal facilities.

Thank you to the No Kill Advocacy Center for modifying CAPA to reflect veterinary advances in the diagnosis and treatment of parvo and the duty of shelters to meet those standards.  No disease diagnosis, exposure or suspicion should be an instant authorization to kill shelter pets.  Further evaluation by a veterinarian is always appropriate and in most canine parvo cases, treatment is likely to be successful.

Further information:

Free webinar by Dr. Ellen Jefferson on the parvo dogs ward at Austin Pets Alive.  Type “Ellen Jefferson” in the search box and tick the “show past sessions” box to bring up the one hour webinar titled “Treating Parvo”.

Controlling Parvo:  Real Life Scenarios by Dr. Kate Hurley

Disinfection 102:  Beyond Cage Cleaning by Dr. Kate Hurley

Redefining Vaccination on Intake – Maddie’s Fund

A Worthwhile Donation PLUS

From a No Kill Advocacy Center post on FB:

There is still time to make a year end gift to the No Kill Advocacy Center. Make a donation of $10 or more by midnight tonight PT and get a signed copy of Redemption by Nathan Winograd. (U.S. addresses only, please). Help us work to end the systematic killing of animals in shelters.

If you already have a copy of Redemption, why not provide a mailing address for your local shelter or a city official to receive a copy instead?  I’d file that under “can’t hurt, might help”.  But hurry, only 10 hours left to take advantage of this deal.

Reward for Kapone Increased AGAIN

Home.

I just received word that the No Kill Advocacy Center will add another $1000 to the reward for the safe return of Kapone to his family.  This brings the total reward offered to $3000.  Please spread the word.

Tipline for information regarding Kapone:  901-528-0699

2011 No Kill Conference

The No Kill Advocacy Center is teaming up with the Animal Law program at George Washington  University Law  School and No Kill Nation to bring together the nation’s most successful shelter directors and the nation’s top animal lawyers. They will help you create a No Kill community and teach you how to use the legal system to save the lives of animals.

Learn from animal control/shelter directors who are now saving over 90% of all animals using the building blocks to No Kill success – programs and services that have had results in both urban and rural communities – to increase adoptions, reduce length of stay, increase redemption rates, rehabilitate animals, and much, much more.

Learn from animal law experts who have challenged our legal system to help animals: Whether it’s drafting model laws, fighting breed specific legislation, eliminating the gas chamber, filing impact legislation, or protecting condemned dogs, learn how to use the legal system to save the lives of animals.

Learn from activists fighting entrenched and regressive shelters in their own community as they show you how to launch successful campaigns for reform.


More info and registration here.

Another Approach to No Kill

A group of volunteers in KY has spearheaded the success of Shelby Co as a no kill community.  Read an interview with Henry Bergh Leadership Award recipient Kelly Jedlicki of the Shelby Co No Kill Mission.  Of particular interest to me was the story of how and why the group was created – another example of creative thinking to save lives.

A quick recap on Shelby Co’s success:

  • A no kill community
  • In the rural south
  • Led by volunteers

Any questions?

National Animal Shelter Reform Week

The No Kill Advocacy Center launched National Animal Shelter Reform Week this week in direct response to HSUS’s National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week.

Inga Fricke of HSUS:

“A shelter is a safe haven for animals, and a great place to adopt a new family pet. Shelters also provide critical services like investigating cruelty and neglect, reuniting lost pets with their families, teaching kids to care about animals, and providing spay/neuter services to help reduce pet overpopulation in their communities.”

No Kill Advocacy Center:

National Animal Shelter Reform Week is designed to confront the tragic truth about how most shelters in this country operate and to increase public awareness about how animal lovers can fight back. Despite the uphill battle many shelter reformers face, they are succeeding through ingenuity, perseverance, and because the American public loves animals.

HSUS says we should use this week “to honor animal shelters and the dedicated people who work to protect animals”.  The No Kill Advocacy Center counters that this week is dedicated to animal lovers who are fighting back against shelter abuse and that we should “support their reform campaigns and honor their tireless efforts”.

The No Kill Advocacy Center gives some examples of shelter abuse but the HSUS press release is notably lacking any examples of the “safe havens” deserving of our reverence.  Since posting stories of abuse at animal shelters has become a focus of this blog, please allow me to provide some specific examples of a larger pattern that concerns me:

The Coweta Co Animal Control shelter in GA was no “safe haven” for an impounded dog with severe injuries who was left without veterinary care to suffer on the cold cement floor.  Small kittens – even healthy, friendly ones that the public will often readily foster or adopt – are killed at the county shelter in Anne Arundel, MD because they might get sick.  At the Marshall Co Animal Shelter in WV, the director goes on TV and advertises her Friday night kitten killing spree – while blaming the public for being irresponsible.

A “culture of fear” at the Dallas Animal Shelter kept workers from bringing concerns about a cat, trapped in the shelter wall and left to die, to superiors.  In that case, a grand jury indicted the shelter manager, who allowed the cat to die an agonizing death, on felony cruelty charges.  Taxpayers continue to pay his salary while he’s on “administrative leave”.  I have trouble reconciling the terms “culture of fear” and “safe haven”.

Many people already know that a shelter is “a great place to adopt a new family pet”.  In fact, sometimes people try to adopt pets, but shelters kill them instead.  Mark and Anita Painter desperately wanted to adopt a dog at the Gaston Co AC shelter in NC and made repeated calls to the shelter to make sure the dog was not accidentally killed during the required holding period.  The shelter killed the dog anyway.  The Memphis Animal Shelter in TN has killed several dogs with adopters waiting in just the past year.  L.A. Co shelters in CA have killed both pets with adopters waiting and those with owners attempting to redeem them.  A woman in Craven Co, NC wanted so badly to adopt a puppy she had fallen in love with at the shelter, she contacted a local politician to intervene.  The shelter killed the puppy anyway.

The so-called “dedicated people who work to protect animals” at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care and Control in NC apparently drugged some shelter cats, posed them for offensive photos and then posted the pictures on Facebook.  The director at Miami-Dade Animal Services in FL describes killing healthy, friendly pets as “what we all do to our best friend” while the director of the Walter Crowe Animal Shelter in SC says, “We kill our friend every day”.  Dedicated people protecting animals?

As far as providing “critical services”, HSUS may be unaware that many shelters end up investigating themselves for cruelty and neglect.  Among them, the Abbeville Animal Shelter in SC where a whistleblower exposed dogs living in their own waste – some without water and others with buckets of green water.  In NC, animal advocates took it upon themselves to document and expose evidence of neglect and cruelty at the Robeson Co Animal Shelter.  In response, the bureaucrats in charge severely restricted the public’s access to their own shelter.

HSUS says that shelters reunite lost pets with their families.  They may have missed the story of Tyson who was lost in Providence, RI.  His family and friends began looking for him immediately while ACOs at the shelter repeatedly denied having any knowledge of the dog.  When the truth was finally uncovered by those who cared about Tyson, the ACOs admitted they had impounded and killed him the day he went missing and that the entire time searchers were pounding the pavement, Tyson’s lifeless body was in the shelter’s freezer.

In the case of a tragic death of one dog and injuries to several others at the Forrest City Animal Shelter in AR, HSUS was most certainly aware of the circumstances of the incident and even sent a representative to defend the ACOs responsible for the needless death and injuries.

As far as “teaching kids to care about animals” – sure the Walker Co Humane Society in AL offers to do that but seeing as the shelter director was caught killing someone’s pet upon intake and then lying about it afterward, I’m not sure that’s such a great idea.  When you excuse the killing of 97% of the pets that come in your door, what could you possibly teach a child about caring about animals?

Of course there are truly good shelters out there and I do appreciate them.  And even within public kill shelters there are individual staff members and volunteers trying to save pets.  But let’s be clear:  As things stand, most of our public shelters kill the pets we pay them to protect and then blame us, the public, for the killing.  I don’t appreciate that.  And so long as the need remains, I will continue to support those working towards reform.

So here is to you reformers! :::clink:::  Please know that while HSUS with its massive political power and obscene bank account chooses to honor those who do the killing, we little people who love our pets and want to see a no kill nation in our lifetimes, honor you.  We appreciate all your hard work, done without fanfare on shoestring budgets in your homes and apartments.  You are making a difference.  You are our heroes.  And we’ve got your backs.

We are the real humane society – small h, small sJoin us.

Best Friends Mentions DE Legislation

Pursuant to my post about the silence from the “big three” animal welfare organizations on the DE shelter pet legislation, I’ve been checking for updates.  Although I still haven’t found anything from HSUS or ASPCA, I did see a post from BFAS on DE’s landmark legislation dated July 26.  It does not include any mention the No Kill Advocacy Center or their Companion Animal Protection Act (CAPA).  (Note:  CAPA is the No Kill Advocacy Center’s model legislation to protect pets and help build no kill communities.)

The BFAS post put me in mind of their statement on why they didn’t support Oreo’s Law (which they refer to as “Kellner/Duane”) earlier this year:

In January of this year, we detailed our preferred template for a shelter access bill that we could support and posted it on our website. The Kellner / Duane bill never fully conformed to this despite our collaborative efforts with the bill’s sponsor, Micah Kellner.

[...]

Despite our growing belief that Kellner / Duane would not clear the first hurdle, we worked directly with Kellner’s office until mid-March, attempting to bring the bill into line with our preferred model.

On July 23, Nathan Winograd blogged the following regarding the DE legislation:

The law was modeled on the No Kill Advocacy Center’s Companion Animal Protection Act [...].

While the No Kill Advocacy Center worked with supporters on the language of the bill, we did not discuss it publicly, fearing that the large animal protection groups would work to undermine its passage, just as they did in New York, just as they did in San Francisco, just as they tried to do in California in 1998 (Hayden), and just as they try to do everywhere reform advocates are trying to end the systematic killing of animals in their communities.

Thoughts?

Further, as I alluded to in my previous post, there seems to be a shift in Best Friends’ interest in Delaware’s efforts to work toward no kill.  In 2008, they appeared to be supportive of the No Kill Advocacy Center and Nathan Winograd’s efforts to inspire DE on no kill.  In 2010, when those efforts came to fruition in the form of legislation, nary a word about either.  Again, from the BFAS statement on Oreo’s Law:

We want the infighting to stop now.  [...]  Collectively we can accomplish progressive things without beating each other up. Simply put, the humane movement needs to be humane. Our goals will never be accomplished by being hateful. Without question, that will ultimately be self-defeating. This is one of the founding principles of Best Friends.

[...]

At every turn we have opted for inclusion of as many people as possible who share our vision, whether they work in rescue or animal control, large organizations or small.

Those sound like good principles that a lot of us could support.  But are those sentiments consistent with what appears to be, in my view, Best Friends’ exclusion of people who not only share the same vision but have achieved success in legislating that vision in DE?

Again, I would love to hear your thoughts.

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