The No-Kill Movement

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Herr Bello ist- nicht ein- Mensch!
Barked: Mon Dec 3, '12 11:36am PST 
I was just wondering how many had heard of it? Maybe not as self explanatory as I think, but is aimed at no longer killing dogs in shelters that are healthy and adoptable and should ideally have around a 95% save rate, instead of the 70% kill rate my shelter has (the Memphi Animal Shelter).

Nathan Winograd is the pusher of this movement, and I bought his book Redemption by chance at Barnes and Noble, it was the only copy there, and I haven't seen another one. I'm hoping to get his other two books (on the no-kill movement) for Christmas.

I see us often talking about "pet overpopulation" and killing healthy dogs in shelters and realized that as far as a movement is going, that it seems like no one has even heard of it, which is surprising because I generally come to dogster and learn like crazy about all aspects of dog ownership.

I'm not going to mention my views all the way (I think some can be figured out, just in the fact I am posting this) and was just wondering how many have HEARD of it, and for those who have heard of it, and read about it and the methods that need to be taken to lower killing in shelters, what do you think?

Some links:
Nathan Winograd's facebook page
No Kill Advocacy facebook page.

No Kill advocacy Website If you go under shelter reform, there is a bit more information on the steps that they say need to be taken, though the book is more complete. Most of the booklets are PDFs so that you don't have to buy a book, though from the slight skimming of the PDFs they don't seem as indepth as the book (obviously).

Edited by author Mon Dec 3, '12 11:37am PST

Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Mon Dec 3, '12 1:58pm PST 
I personally appreciate the potential, but equally know things have to shift on the intake side before it is possible.

The numbers don't gel. In terms of the prospective pet owning population, one needs to be realistic as to what they would not be comfortable adopting. The numbers given, in other words, are cursory in that they don't examine WHAT dog these pet owners would choose to take on.

In other words, someone looking for a puppy...and that is a lot of someones....will not want a young adult. Someone looking for a Golden Retriever will not want a Pit Bull. Someone looking for a Yorkie is not going to want a Rat Terrier. Beyond this, MOST want dogs without behavioral issues. Even those rehabbed, they want the happy, outgoing pet. Many don't want seniors, many don't want dogs with medical needs. It can be very hard....very....to find an adopter for a plain looking, generic mutt.

Those are the realities. I cover quite a few shelters, and I would say, loosely but consistently, that around 40% of the dogs are of the highly adoptable ilk. A compatible number, of around 40%, are dogs that include oversaturated breeds, mutts, moderate behavior challenges, with the remaining 20% having some serious impedance....old, unhealthy or unstable. Now in terms of adopters, who I deal with a lot, about 80% want that first set, and nothing but. They do not want dogs with behavioral challenges, they do not want Pit Bulls, they do not want medical needs, they do not want something homely.

As the co-director of a rescue and as someone who has been in rescue better than 15 years, I have a very good sense for what moves promptly and what does not. What the average Joe Q Public are looking for and what they are not. We take in the "are nots" as well, but sometimes need to wait for that one, rare person for many, many months.

My rescue's founder, Dogster Duncan, really knows a lot on these issues. Sanctuary (Best Friends), high kill shelters (several) and no kill (where the adoptions manager), and now of course helming her own dog rescue. Maybe she says something, too.

But for now, I am about to be a total negative vibe merchant laugh out loud

In my lifetime, the world of rescue has had unfathomable successes. Rescues have swollen in numbers, adopting from a shelter is a positive thing, there is social pressure towards adoption where once it was against, developing the resources to help the sick or behavioral has grown. It has been an amazing turnaround.

BUT....but, but, but.....it has done so with the dominant focus on live release, which would mean adoption or release to rescue (or returned to owner, of course). Not all that much has been done towards the intake side. Duncan had an article just go up on Dogster that can be read HERE. The latest brainchild from the ever driven Garo Alexanian....he's Armenian laugh out loud......which deals with developing resources to avert the surrendering of pets. Which at the end of the day is THE problem, that and the careless breeding of dogs, oops litters included in that set.

We need to shift our focus....as in YESTERDAY....and start to key upon the intake side, which at least by some avenues is counter to some no-kill advocates, who have spent so much time developing the adoption side. Some of the fallouts I have seen is a kneejerk accusation towards shelters as being happy dog killers, which creates hostility towards many high kills who have their hearts in all the right places while stuck in an impossible landscape, an under focus on preventing surrenders, and even a lesser social concern towards capricious litters (i.e., there is no oversupply). I have also seen, in an attempt press for no kill status, shelters doing some ethically dubious things.

It is time for the no-kill movement to grow the heck up and admit that intake is the fundamental problem. Much strides have been made towards developing an answer to the fallout of the problem, but NOW is the time to address the problem itself.

For....and I am really sorry to say this, even on a personal level....adoption has peaked, IMO and experience. I have seen a steady, and in recent times abrupt, fall of adoptions. As rescue become popularized, everyone wanted to try it! It was great! Some did and still have their dogs, some did and now are curious to try a breeder, enough abrasion has been created between quality breeders and the rescue market to where they often are foes, this allowing a opening for BYBs and such to capitalize.

I am extremely concerned with where things are right now. No matter where I look, it appears adoptions have leveled. Even in my old local shelter, which I know like the back of my hand, even there....I tracked a purebred Beagle female, surrendered by her hunter breeder as a wash out, who was STUNNING, young, loved everyone, loved all pets. Perfect pet, and was there for six weeks. That raises the hair on the back of your neck, as do the stats in the recently improved NYC areas, where there, too, things are leveling.

We have spent time addressing the cure to the problem. We now really need to get serious about addressing the CAUSE of the fallout. That remains alive and thriving, and needs to be brought under far greater balance.
Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
Barked: Mon Dec 3, '12 5:39pm PST 
Sadly, one just has to pop over to the answers section of our own Dogster to get an idea of how many litters of "just one litter", "the kids need to see the miracle of birth", "the kids let them out together", "my dog is so nice it NEEDS to have puppies", "I need to recoup my investment", and on and on and on are happening on a frequent basis. There are at least three questions each week dealing with issues with breeding or whelping a litter. NONE of these dogs have any health clearances, none of them were bred with any serious, legitimate goal in mind, and I would venture to guess that MOST of them will end up in our shelters...if not these puppies then their offspring who will be placed with no education about birth control to their new owners. And the cycle goes on and on and on.
Sadly, while no kill is a great idea, without, as Tiller points out, somehow controlling the intake situation, it is doomed.
Our local shelter that I managed years ago went to no kill. They went from taking in 900 - 1,000 dogs a year to taking 350 - 400. Sadly, those other dogs ARE still out there, still needing rescue but have no place to go. They are being killed by cars and other dogs and starvation and illness, all deaths which are painful, slow, and not necessary. A good plan of euthanizing those that ARE not adoptable to make room for those that are seems much more sound in my opinion.
Of those 900 -1,000 dogs taken in each year while I was there we placed 75%... still a MUCH HIGHER number than is happening now!!
Sadly, the public doesn't even bother to visit this shelter when they are interested in adopting anymore because, in their opinion, the only dogs there are old or have chronic health or behavioral issues... there are no "good" dogs to adopt because they have no room to take them in due to keeping all the non or difficult to adopt dogs.


It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
Barked: Mon Dec 3, '12 6:57pm PST 
Without going all statisticy...is that a word? Of course in a perfect world there would be enough shelters to accomodate all the homeless critters of the earth...humans too.
Unfortunately in the real world of course there isn't an answer. The best any of us can do to help the cause is donate our time or money to existing shelters, adopt a homeless critter or two or three, and spread the word about neuturing and spaying and support the clinics that make it widely available.
I'm also proud of the groups that do catch and release with feral cats.

When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Mon Dec 3, '12 11:23pm PST 
I was fortunate to stumble into several friendships with animal lovers who have deep pockets. We frequently raid local puppy mills and hoarders. Sadly we can take very limited numbers which leaves us in the unenviable position of having to pick and choose. The place we took Morri and friends from housed a mind-numbing 43 dogs. So we triage, knowing full well that tops we have room for is around 7, and thats max because the other 3 homes are still holding fosters from before. Injured and sick, first out. Bitches with pups always a priority. Morri got lucky, she was still living in the pen with her mom and new siblings so I grabbed her too. Sadly the best I can do for the rest is bargain the owner into letting us vaccinate and improve conditions, treat some minor injuries and deworm. Sometimes I can bully them into letting us come back later, but often not.
The problem lies in the numbers, I only euth when it's the kindest option but we have a boy who has been with his foster for a year. Thats one spot I can't use, one dog I have to pass by. I was one of the save them all people, but the reality is I can't even make a dent. And we are breed specific. I try very hard not to think of the big picture. In order to stop the killing we need to first stop them ever being born. I have 16 spots total, 16 lousy, measly spots. That's no where even close to enough, it's not on the same planet as enough.

Barked: Tue Dec 4, '12 12:33am PST 
It's me, Tiller. When this thread started, I went to a shelter with which I am familiar...just to do a breakdown on the numbers I was referring to...but hit one picture and didn't have the heart to move further.

This is Petunia. I gave her that name. She only has a number, and it will be a short lived one. Maybe she has never had a name. She has been placed in a cardboard box, at age six months old along with her sister. They are both skinny, wormy, may have other health conditions. Scared and under socialized. If you click on her page, you will see other puppies at the shelter at this time. That's her competition. She doesn't have a shot in hell.

She has never been wanted, she has never been loved. She has probably never been in a house. The first climate controlled structure she has been in will probably be this shelter. Where she will live scared for all the smells and noises. And then she will die. As A057279.

This is what people face every day. There are currently 31 puppies at her shelter. THIRTY ONE. One shelter, in one outskirted town outside New Orleans. She is likely one of over 100 puppies available at neighboring shelters. She is plain, she is old (for a puppy), she is sickly, she is under socialized. And if you think the other puppies are in a much better position....think again. There are minimal rescues in that region. With rampant accidental litters, free puppies, and a culture that accepts purebred litters being routinely sold at parking lots for $50 a pop. A few of these may be lucky to make it into the adoption room. Many will grow up there without adoption.

And long forgotten will be A057279. But I call her, and will remember her as, Petunia.

THIS VIDEO was created by a shelter in a neighboring town. Very loaded as well. Don't think they care. That's way too easy an answer.

The problem in intake and culture which leave puppies like Petunia very much on her own.

Edited by author Tue Dec 4, '12 12:48am PST

Addy, CGC

Let's go for a- walk!
Barked: Tue Dec 4, '12 1:07am PST 
People want what they want: When I set out to get my first dog of my ownin a number of years, I was sure I wanted a puppy. I hadn't really thought about alternatives. I wound up getting a year-old adult. Ihad clear ideas about what I wanted in a dog, and several breeds in mind that would possibly be suitable. I wound up getting a breed I hadn't heard about before. No, a pit bull or a Golden wouldn't have been a reasonable alternative for me, but what I got is in many outward ways not similar to thebreeds I was considering.

Adoption has peaked: we're still climbing out of the worst recession since the Great Depression. Yeah, adoption has peaked--for now.

Intake: Something north of 70% of owned pets are spayed or neutered. As a percentage of the population, either human or canine, both intake and killing are way down from when I was a kid. Yes, in some parts of the country, the problem is still far, far worse--but remember that it was in living memory, equally bad in parts of the country that now rarely see a puppy in a shelter that hasn't been shipped in from elsewhere. Change IS possible, even if progress isn't always a smooth, straight, upward line.

No Kill means reduced admissions: Not when it is done right, according tovthe principles of the No Kill movement. There are over thirty No Kill communities in the US, and growing. With good leadership, recruiting community support and cooperation with other area shelters and rsecues, they have both high adoption rates, anda place for every animal that needs intake. Not every community can successfully do this right now, but there's really no reason ro assume no more progress is possible, even if we have for now reached a period when progress is going to be slower for a while.
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Tue Dec 4, '12 2:38am PST 
There were 55 BYB litters regional to me, in the small state of RI, in the month of November on Kijii. FIFTY FIVE. In one month. That only includes those listed on Kijii. New England is a cesspool of BYBs and not nearly as evolved as you seem to think it is.

And no offense intended, but I have been an adoptions counselor for fifteen years. People want what they want.

Edited by author Tue Dec 4, '12 2:41am PST

Addy, CGC

Let's go for a- walk!
Barked: Tue Dec 4, '12 8:17am PST 
And you know that New England shelters generally do not have puppies coming out of their ears as is true in much of the south. It's fairly rare to find puppies in shelters here--even with those 55 byb litters, and the others not listed where you could pull them up as easily. Nor are free-roaming intact dogs common here, as they were when I was a kid and as they apparently still are down south.

No, we have not achieved the Millennium. We have, however, achieved a lot of progress.

And while we'd all like to shut down the bybs, there's a real difference between some people intentionally choosing to by bybs, and practically everybody with a dog having no expectation at all that their dogs ought to be spayed or neutered if there's no particular reason to breed them, because a litter every spring is a natural part of a bitch's life.

Just as there's a huge difference between the shelters of my childhood, where it was taken for granted that dogs at the pound should be killed after three days unless on the off chance someone came in wanting to adopt, and today's expectation that shelters, including municipal shelters, ought to have regular adoption days, post their available pets on Petfinder or Pet Harbor, and do other things intended to get the dogs out into homes rather than into the dump.

It is not a perfectly straight line. We have not achieved nirvana, and there are bumps and setbacks along the way--including the second-worst recession in our history.

But there has been a lot of progress, and barring total economic collapse, there's really no reason to think that it won't continue over the longer term, even if right now the roadblocks are more apparent than the path forward.

Because I'm- Duncan, that's- why

Barked: Tue Dec 4, '12 8:54am PST 
blue dog Addy commented that the situation used to be "equally bad in parts of the country that now rarely see a puppy in a shelter that hasn't been shipped in from elsewhere."

And I agree. We rarely see a puppy in a shelter anywhere in New England now, unless it was transported up from the South. But litter after unwanted litter, as well as cast off individual puppies, arrive daily at shelters across the South, and many are euthanized therein.

These are differences of intake, and they give definition to the picture in each region. For not only do fewer puppies arrive at shelters across New England today, so do fewer adult dogs (per human population of the shelter's area). The shelters here have manageable intake numbers any way you slice it. And, as a DIRECT result, they seldom have to kill dogs for space. They are what the movement you favor calls "statistical no-kill" and only have to euthanize the very sick or aggressive.

The open admission public shelters here are what you'd call "no-kill" but they don't do all that cutesy stuff that Winograd talks about. They don't have convenient hours, they don't do offsite adoption events, they often have miserable customer service. They are no-kill because of the low intake rates and that there are enough homes in the local area to absorb those relatively fewer animals.

The only exception to this, throughout New England, is the Pit Bull situation, as far as I have observed personally. I.e. there are many shelters here that are overcrowded with wall to wall Pit Bulls and stay that way continually. Even if they don't end up killing them for space, they often stay for very long periods of time in the shelter, not getting adopted. I don't mean to say that Pit Bulls aren't dogs, but this is more a very specific problem in New England/ the Northeast.

Now Addy, I have said before that I don't know exactly why and how the Northeast region evolved to this point; meaning specifically the low intake rates at our shelters, which are such a luxury that now, not only are dogs not getting killed in our local shelters, indeed the shelters themselves are importing Southern dogs for adoption, routinely. One prestigious shelter here in RI has been importing dogs from down South for 20 years!!! It is not a recent change. Obviously New England was "No Kill" long before that movement came along, (well, all except one shelter in upstate NY).

"No kill means reduced admissions." Well yes, it does, even according to NW's formula. He writes of providing low-cost, accessible spay/neuter as being important. It is on his handy checklist. Before coming here to New England, I was an idealist on this subject, and assumed with the far-better position of shelters here, there must be plenty of low-cost spay/neuter resources throughout this area. But as we've discussed, I learned that was not the case. If spay/neuter rates were and are higher throughout New England, it's because pet owners found a way to get it done, whether or not there was a low-cost option.

So I don't know why, for over 20 years, the Northeast has low (per capita) intake rates at their shelters, while the South continues to have high intake rates. But we do both know and acknowledge that this is true. And hopefully you understand the link between intake rate and kill rate.

To the OP: The "No-Kill Movement" and Nathan Winograd have been much debated on these forums. Yes, personally, I'm more than familiar with NW. I have read "Redemption," have spent time on his websites, and spent time on websites of rescues that affiliate with his name and other pages that link or refer to him or his work. As a whole I think he and his movement have done more harm than good to the animals he purports to desire to help. All he does now is run an advocacy group; which is nothing but message, and the message is mostly wrong. As far as I know, his groups don't care for any actual, living, breathing animals.

ETA: Toto !!! hail

Edited by author Tue Dec 4, '12 9:04am PST

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