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A couple quickies….

Posted by Karel Minor in Uncategorized

First, I think I’ve determined that I am now officially a Radical Moderate.  I’m not sure when being a moderate became so radical or when I started being one (because I sure haven’t always been).  But, damn it, I’m ready to fight for my right to moderate.

Second, someone sent me a question for which I offered up an short (imagine that!) answer and I thought it might be good to share in case anyone else has the same question.  It’s short so it lacks subtlety and context, so keep that in mind.  Man, I can’t even keep the intro short.

Karel – help me understand your shelter’s rationale for not accepting strays, are you all trying to become no kill or is it lack of funding?

My reply: We’ve never been trying to be “no kill” since that is really an explicitly restricted admission model, we are trying to decrease the numbers of euth[anasia]s in the animals we do take in to the point of zero (it may seem a subtle difference but it’s ours).  We do accept strays if they are brought to us and the people are unable to take them to the place(s) which are paid and contracted to take them.  That means we get about 10% as many as we did a few years ago (and that does not include the animals we transfer in from other shelters which came to them as strays).   We stopped doing animal control and dog catching for money because:

  • It was and is, in fact, a euthanasia and disposal contract.
  • It was requiring a subsidy from our charitable donations that removed resources from other animals.
  • Was not done as part of any comprehensive plan to actually improve the problems of strays (since we do not have a honest partner in change in the state or municipal governments).
  • State law put us in a position of sometimes euthanizing healthier, happier dogs to abide by stray holding periods.
  • Those services put us at the mercy of funding government officials and agencies which were our supposed partners on one hand, our client on the other hand, and a regulatory control master on some mutant third hand.
  • We talked to and polled our supporters and staff and asked them what they thought we should do with the level of resources we had.  Of seven choices, animal control ranked 7th. 
  • We were fortunate that there was another organization in our county who was actively pursuing animal control when we were actively looking to divest so we could hand it off rather than cut it off.

The fundamental issue is that organizations can decide what they want to focus on and municipalities and the state don’t get to tell us what our mission is.  Golden Retriever Rescue doesn’t have to defend itself against not taking Chihuahuas.  Cat rescues take cats.  No Kill shelters get to take whatever they want to take.  We decided that we wanted to focus on truly homeless surrendered pets, owned animals with treatable health and behavioral problems we could fix to keep them from being surrendered, adoption services, and those strays which truly faced being dumped on the street, not just as a matter of convenience for a dog warden or to save a city money.  We support shelters which make different mission priority decisions and no more expect them to accept ours than they should expect us to employ theirs.   IF we had unlimited resources, we would likely provide the service because we could afford to do it properly, as opposed to the hack way it is handled in most parts of the state.  We’d also provide free s/n on demand, free adoptions, free vet care, and renovate our crumbling kennels.  But we don’t, so we make mission based decisions on what we should and should not do with the resources we have.  If the government would implement a comprehensive plan to overhaul animal control (we’ve proposed one reasonable way to do it) we might again consider doing animal control, but until that happens we have made the mission and fiscal based decision we have. 

If anyone has any questions about any of this, as always, I’d be happy to answer them personally and in excruciating detail.  Coming (probably) tomorrow: “The Tyranny of Cowardice”



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