Chris Peck, editor at The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, characterizes no kill shelters as a dream:
Pet lovers talk incessantly about the value and brilliance of no-kill shelters.
The concept is laudable: Establish safe, welcoming places where unwanted pets can go to live, and wait to be adopted.
But on the issue of no-kill shelters, we’re largely fooling ourselves into feeling better.
Today’s Viewpoint section features a sobering story about the growth of no-kill animal shelters in the United States. The report talks the reality, not the dream.
The “sobering story” cited is this one, a tepid piece of journalism in which the author delivers a topsy-turvy overview of the state of animal shelters in America. On the one hand, he recognizes that there are 34 no kill communities in the U.S. with open admission shelters that are saving at least 90% of their animals. On the other, he dismisses these no kill communities as “affluent metropolitan areas” and lumps them in with private citizens “outfitting their garage with cages”. In so doing, the author then leads the reader to believe that no kill leads to hoarding (thanks ASPCA) and that there is no way of knowing whether animals are killed at no kill shelters since statistics reporting is voluntary in most states and many shelters hide their numbers. He then goes to one of the shelters which hides its numbers to get an anti-no kill quote from the director:
“No-kill is really more about branding than animal welfare,” said Sharon Adams, executive director of the Virginia Beach SPCA in Virginia, an open-admission shelter.
Pot, meet kettle. The article also imparts misinformation about spay-neuter laws, failing to note that none of the 34 open admission no kill communities have mandatory spay-neuter laws in place.
While I would hardly call the piece “sobering”, it does at least acknowledge, albeit in passing, the critical point that no kill is happening in 34 communities around the U.S. which have open admission shelters. It is not a dream. It’s reality. And Mr. Peck in his editorial acknowledges same. But he words it thusly:
[The] report found only about three dozen communities nationwide that truly have open-door, no-kill animal shelters that function.
Only about 3 dozen? Yet it’s a “dream”? What if we found 3 dozen unicorns in the U.S.? Or Bigfoots or crashed alien spaceships? Still a dream? How many real life examples are needed to qualify as reality in Mr. Peck’s view? The time to dismiss no kill as a dream was before San Francisco, before Tompkins Co, NY – not now when there are thirty-four no kill communities with open admission shelters in this country. Wake up.