by Elisa Black-Taylor
Fluff says, "Raise your paw and promise to love me forever"
Good morning readers. I don't think you'll need Kleenex for this one. Perhaps a few aspirin as this is one of the subjects where I'll be leaving everyone with a lot of homework. Researching No Kill Nation has definitely been an educational experience and should be supported by all of us.
NKN groups support the belief that no healthy non-aggressive animal should have to die in a shelter."
They're shedding the light on certain things going on in the legal world concerning pets. None of them are good. The sad thing is these laws were first put into place to help pets and it's backfiring.
The first is about certain laws pertaining to the feeding of stray or feral cats. In many areas it is illegal to feed or care for ferals. The whole issue is tied into leash and licensing laws and people caring for these unlicensed/unleashed cats may face a fine. So what are we, as a society, to do? If all of the ferals are rounded up and taken to shelters more ferals will take their place. Plus more shelter cats will die to make room for the ferals. Or the ferals would be murdered as soon as processed into the system. You know why I say MURDERED. Any death not relating to critical illness of the pet is murder.
I'm sure I speak for the ferals that I'd rather take my chances with some nice person feeding me than be put to death in a shelter. And that nice person shouldn't have to worry about being fined for caring. TNR is the only solution and those who provide food and shelter need to do so without having to look over their shoulder since they're breaking the law.
Many cities also have a limit to how many pets are allowed per household. This limit was meant to prevent "hoarding" but has backfired on those who are responsible pet owners. There are many families who are capable and willing to either add a permanent pet to their household or foster a pet temporarily until a good home is found. Cities with these laws take that choice away from those who could help the most. Why not check the vet records? If the animals are healthy and up to date on vet visits and happy they should be allowed to remain where they're at.
The legal issue that causes me the most concern is mandatory spay/neuter (MSN). Voluntary spay/neuter has been successful in areas that offer clinics and discounts as the main cause for not having a pet "fixed" usually involves cost. While the concept is good, the reality is unrealistic unless the operation can be offered free of charge. Pets shouldn't be removed from a home solely for being unaltered. Again, this would cause the same result as the feral issue. More and more needless euthanasia. I hate to think of the overcrowding and death in shelters when a city passes the mandatory law.
One area that has MSN on pit bull type dogs is Kansas City. In 2006 when this law was put into effect, the shelters experienced an 80% increase in the number of euthanized dogs. The dog doesn't even have to be full blooded pit. If a puppy looks like a pit and is under 8 weeks of age when turned into a shelter unaltered, it will likely be euthanized. Many of these dogs are seized from wonderful loving homes for breaking this law.
No Kill Nation works so well because it uses realistic methods to help animals.
-- Keep as many pets in their original home as possible.
-- Push for adoption from shelters.
-- Foster homes networked together to provide a safe, loving and cage free environment until a forever home is found. Cities that limit pet ownership to 2-4 animals are hurting the efforts this group has successfully taught its supporters.
-- Educate the public on how the no kill approach will work.
Another major problem is in the way most shelters that aren't no-kill operate. They have limited hours for adoption and for looking for a lost pet. A lot of people cannot get to the shelter during the usual shelter hours since most close between 4p.m. And 5 p.m. How would you like knowing your pet was at a shelter and you couldn't get to it? Then there's "pet bail." This is the money you have to pay to get your beloved out of the cage and back home. Many shelters charge almost as much as adopting a new pet. The working class simply can't afford it and many are euthanized due to overcrowding. Another consideration is whether the shelter is too strict on who can adopt a pet. I understand caution must be used to find a good match. Just don't make things too out of reach. Shelters may not realize it but word gets around when animals are too difficult to adopt. People won't use a particular shelter if the adoption process is too complicated.
Have any of you heard the new definition of insanity? Insanity means doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for a different end result. That is what many shelters are doing. They're following old patterns and beliefs and more animals than ever are dying. Shelters are filled to capacity, animals turned away or others euthanized to make room for the days "catch." This isn't working! No kill shelters is the hope of the future and No Kill Nation is paving the way.
I'd like for my readers to take a look at this page. I thank No Kill Nation for providing the ideas that have been successful at other shelters. These include
-- The Humane Society of Berks County has offered some cats and dogs free.
-- The Animal Welfare Association offered a "tail sale" where pets are discounted to $25 and also has reduced prices on spay/neuter.
-- In 2007 the Philadelphia Welfare Association dropped their adoption fees o $1 and doubled the number of adoptions. The media ate the story up and the association was invited onto a morning show for mini-adoptions. The community pitched in to find these animals a forever home and felt great knowing they saved the pets.
I think I'll end this lesson now. I hope I've put this into some kind of form that makes sense. It's the hardest article I've written in awhile. Their site has so many solutions on how each of us can do our part to make "no-kill" a reality everywhere.
It starts with each of us. Please send this article to your pet loving friends. Consider fostering an animal until a permanent home can be found. Learn the methods used at your local shelter and do your best to change anything negative. Pledge to support no kill shelters thru donations or adoption. The list is endless.
No Kill Nation has communities popping up everywhere. Join or create your own group. Google "No Kill Nation" and study this group for yourself.
I think I'll go take a few aspirin now. This was a five hour article. I feel the subject was worth the time involved. It was difficult to organize the points I want to emphasize. Hopefully I got my point across without too much confusion.
I would like to tell readers that this information was taken from an older website at www.nokillnation.com. This site may not have been updated in awhile but it offers solid advice that is still good today. So I feel obligated to leave it as it has many great ideas that hopefully will be the animal shelter of the future. Methods to save shelter pets from death row doesn't have an expiration date.
After my first submission of this article I received an email from Steve Phipps who is creating a newer No Kill Nation and redoing the No Kill Nation website. That site is currently under construction and its URL is http://www.thenokillnation.org. He advised me of several errors from my first article submission and I hope I've corrected it. He offered to do a phone interview with me to go into depth on the new site. My problem is I have a hearing disability and rarely talk on the phone.
I took all of the information for this off of the old site. In other words, it's complicated. Most worthy causes are. I invite Steve to comment on this article in case I've missed anything. I'm sure he'll be able to add anything I missed. I want to give credit to this organi zation as they are using the power of the internet to help stop the madness going on between our shelters and our lawmakers.
I'd like to thank everyone for their support as I continue my battle to save the pets. Sorry if I gave you a headache.
Associated pages on No Kill Animal Shelters and Dog Temperament Testing based on Winograd's book.
Associated posts, written by others: