The Bumpy Road to a No-Kill Nation

I’ve been writing for the AnimalsVote.org website for almost a year now. Recently, I was asked to be part of a team to help the organization launch No Kill Mondays. (#NoKillMondays).  Essentially, it’s an initiative wherein AnimalsVote.org contacted 2,500 animal shelters across the U.S., and asked them to take a pledge to stop killing animals on Mondays.  AnimalsVote is working toward making our nation a no-kill nation, and this is just one step.

The sad thing is that out of the 2,500 shelters contacted, so far only 629 have given an answer one way or the other. Only 41 of them took the pledge to stop killing on Mondays. Not a single Ohio shelter took the pledge. You can view the list of shelters, which is organized by state, on the AnimalsVote website. But sadder even than this dismal response by shelters, are the negative responses from other animal advocates about the initiative.

nkmI sincerely can’t believe all the negativity from people involved in the rescue community. Everybody has an opinion about the best way to solve our nation’s shelter problem, and the attitude that their solution is the only solution. But I don’t see why one opinion has to trump or cancel another. There are lots of things wrong, and it will take lots of solutions to fix it.

I’ve written about the failings of our shelter system before. The problem is multi-faceted and complex. It’s not just about there being too many animals in the system. It’s  also about killing for space (before space is even needed); killing for convenience (like the day before holidays, so no one has to come in to clean kennels); botched killing (like the debacle at the Fairfield Ohio animal shelter last year); the mentality of shelter directors and untrained workers (anybody remember Akron animal control ten years ago?); not enough low cost spay and neuter programs; not enough serious effort put into adoption programs; secrecy (like the way shelters report or don’t report their kill stats); lies; lack of funding; not enough effort expended on recovery; depressing atmosphere; making sure dogs don’t become warehoused; and the list goes on.

I think everyone can agree that in a perfect world, animal shelters wouldn’t kill animals at all, unless it was medically indicated. So why all this negativity to No Kill Mondays? Honestly, what is the harm in shelters stopping the killing for one day?

Some nay sayers have said that it will create a double-kill Tuesday. I don’t believe that would happen (after all, there are only so many hours in a day). Would the animals slated to be killed on Monday be killed on Tuesday?  Maybe. But that’s not the point. The point is that giving them an extra day gives them 24 more hours to be adopted or to be found by their families. According to AnimalsVote.org, giving them that one extra day gives them an additional 8.3% chance of living. Aren’t they worth that?

Some nay sayers have assumed that because the initiative is called No Kill Mondays, that it is somehow related to Nathan Winograd’s No Kill Equation. Among some advocates that initiates a knee jerk reaction to oppose it, because Winograd’s belief that there ‘is no pet overpopulation problem’ is troubling. But AnimalsVote.org is not connected to Winograd or his movement. They have their own no kill solution, which founder Alex Aliksanyan puts forth in 3 laws that if enacted could change the playing field.

I think Winograd has some good points. I think Alex has good points. I don’t think that either plan by itself is going to solve our nation’s shelter issues, and I sure don’t agree that there’s no overpopulation problem. You can crunch the numbers any way you want – if supply exceeds demand (not just in numbers, but in attitude – people not willing to go to shelters to adopt), there’s overpopulation. I don’t have the answers, but I can see what the problems are and what needs to be addressed. Maybe, if all of us work on whichever of these issues is the most important to each of us, we will someday achieve a no kill nation together. It’s not a matter of one thing being the main thing, or the most important thing. All of the problems need to be addressed. One group can’t do it on their own – it takes constant effort on every front.

Here are some of the suggestions of areas to address in order to bring about a no kill nation:

  1. Low cost and free spay and neuter clinics, or mandatory spay/neuter.
  2. Stricter regulation of breeders through legislation.
  3. Eliminate the sales of dogs and cats in pet stores – except those animals placed there for adoption by registered 501C3 organization.
  4. More aggressive adoption programs.
  5. Creating visitor friendly shelters. (many people won’t adopt from a shelter because it’s too depressing to go there and look at the animals)
  6. Enforcement of pet licensing.
  7. Low cost and free microchipping programs.
  8. More effort put into locating the owners of pets picked up as strays. (many shelter animals are peoples’ displaced pets!)
  9. Mandatory training of humane officers

Can you think of more shelter problems that need to be addressed? Let’s discuss it in the comments section.

Meanwhile, won’t you support #NoKillMondays? Won’t you support giving shelter animals one more small chance to be saved? Wouldn’t it be great if every shelter animal could #TGIM?

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About yelodoggie

C.A.Wulff is an author, artist and animal advocate. She has been involved in pet rescue for over twenty-five years. She has written two books about her true-life adventures living with an ever-changing house full of pets: Born Without a Tail, and Circling the Waggins, and a guide to animal advocacy using the Internet as a tool: How to Change the World in 30 Seconds". Wulff also writes a pet column and book review column for the Examiner, and is a contributing editor for AnimalsVote.org. She attributes her love of animals to having been raised by Wulffs.
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2 Responses to The Bumpy Road to a No-Kill Nation

  1. Great post Ariel. I am still so surprised by the number of shelters that said yes. It is just so low! I did publish my post about this and have been meaning to send you the link over.

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  2. I think all shelters should be giving the dogs for free to any rescue before euthanizing them. Many of us spend a fortune out of our own pockets freely without remuneration. There should be a law that we can take them either when they are sick (which they euthanize without concern) or just out of time.
    A petition might help to enforce this as policy. Our nation needs to raise our conscience and stop treating this murder as necessary. It i

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