Let's go for a- walk!
|Barked: Thu Jul 21, '11 5:24pm PST |
|A few thoughts.
Bear in mind that this database is just starting, and right now is very incomplete. That's not a criticism; you've got to start somewhere, and it's generally easier to get people and organizations to hop on board something that they can already see, than to sell them something that's still an abstract idea. So I'd expect this database to grow more and more complete as months go by.
But right now, the lack of any orange spots in California, especially southern CA, is due to the lack of data. And while the southern states would still have more orange spots than blue, there would be more blue spots if the data were more complete. There are no spots at all in New England, or upstate New York, or the upper Midwest.
Nobody should be passing judgment for or against any part of the country based on the data in this database right now Two years from now, it will probably tell us a whole lot more.
There are still lots of pit bulls in Denver, even though they've been illegal for more than dog's lifetime, because pit bulls are great dogs for the kind of lifestyle urban and suburban Coloradans want with their dogs, and they're very popular. People get them anyway, and hope. Or people move to Denver from out of state, and they're not on dog forums or involved in the shelter and rescue community, and it never occurs to them to ask if their dog will be seized on sight and killed before the day is over. Who would expect that? You might worry about insurance, you might worry about being forced to muzzle your dog if you're caught--but not immediate seizure and a no-appeal death sentence just for existing.
Many dogs could be kept in their homes if their owners got the help they need soon enough--but when they come to the shelter to surrender the dog, often, not always, but often, it's too late. They've gone through the steps and the resources they knew about, they've been through a lot of emotional stress, and they are now shut down. They can't necessarily really hear what you're telling them, or they have no emotional resources left to try it.
The help needs to reach people sooner.
Love or hate Cesar Millan, love or hate Victoria Stilwell, love or hate any other dog-training oriented tv or radio program you can name, they do at least present to people the idea that, if your dog has behavior problems, living with the problems or getting rid of your dog are not the only choices you have, that a professional trainer can help you solve those behavior problems. If a shelter has, and advertises, a puppy kindergarten, a basic obedience class, and a "problem dogs" class, they can help cut their intake rate, by getting the help to people while they're still in a mindset where help is what they want, and can make use of. Greater Derry Humane Society gives free lifetime obedience training for every dog adopted from GDHS.
Mandatory Spay/Neuter of owned pets raised intake rates and kill rates. Actually spaying or neutering every shelter or rescue dog before they're adopted out unless there's a health reason not to, OTOH, has a huge positive effect. As do accessible low-cost programs.
Duncan, I'm sorry, but killing=/=euthanasia. All euthanasia ends a life, but not all killing is euthanasia. The reason "No Kill" is defined as 90% or better live release rate, and not 100% live release, is that to get to 100% live release, you'd have to refuse to euthanize medically suffering and untreatable animals as well as those with behavior problems so severe they can never live safely with people. Those are the same animals a loving owner would euthanize, and to say that a shelter is not "no kill" because they are "killing" these suffering animals is, I think, both unfair and unrealistic. And no, I don't think this distinction is confusing to the general public; it's the shelter and rescue community that has trouble with saying that ending the life of a healthy animal is not "euthanasia."
In some places, the problem is intake; things need to be done to address the high number of surrendered or stray pets in the community. In other places, that's not the problem. Memphis Animal Services has average or slightly below average intake per capita, but a 77% kill rate, in part because only thirty dogs out of the several hundred in their kennels is available for adoption at any given time. And if people see a dog on the webcam that they're interested in among the hundreds in the "stray hold" area, it's like pulling teeth to get any information about the dog before the dog is killed as "unadoptable." Memphis also has exactly none of its animals posted online with pictures, despite having the Chameleon software that would let them do so easily, a digital camera donated for the purpose, and volunteers willing to do the picture-taking.
In some places, the problem is intake and there needs to be outreach to the community to help owners solve behavior problems, learn better dog management methods, and enable them to get their dogs spayed and neutered unless they have some positive reason not to do so.
In other places, the problem is unhealthy, counter-productive shelter practices and attitudes--and that problem won't be solved, especially in municipally owned shelters, by never ever publicly saying anything critical of the people currently running things.
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