Saturday, September 18, 2010

Irreconcilable Differences

Another great inspiring read from Nathan Winograd and the perfect follow up to Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation & The No Kill Revolution in America.

We've heard it time and time again. We've been lead to believe that there is a pet overpopulation problem and it's because there aren't enough homes for them. That's why we kill over 4 million pets every year in this country. But when you look at the facts, this just isn't so:

There are 8 million dogs and cats who enter U.S. shelters annually.

Over 90 percent of those -- just over 7 million -- are savable. (The remaining are hopelessly ill or injured animals and vicious dogs whose prognosis for rehabilitation is poor or grave.)

4 million will actually be saved. 3 million will be killed.

Of those killed, over 2 million to 3 million (on the high end) need a new home. The remainder includes lost strays who should be reclaimed by their families and feral cats who should be neutered and released.

Other than those who will always adopt from a shelter (those saved above), there are 17 million people who are considering a new dog or cat next year and who would also consider adoption from a shelter. 17 million! "Consequently, even if roughly 80 percent get an animal from a source other than a shelter, killing of healthy and treatable animals can be ended."

"Today, there are about 165 million dogs and cats in homes. Of those, less than 20 percent come from shelters. Three percent of 165 million equates to 4.9 million, more than all the savable animals killed in shelters." Therefore, we need to increase the market for shelter pets by only three percent in order to eliminate killing."

So there are, in fact, plenty of homes for the animals killed in our shelters every year. There is NOT a pet overpopulation problem! The problem is that our shelters, some of who are very large and powerful, are not doing all they can do to save lives. They are stuck in the old belief that the only answer is to kill. They are not doing what we expect them to do with our donations -- save lives. "If all shelter directors cultivate the desire and will to do so, and then earnestly follow through, we can end killing for all savable animals right now--today!"

"From the perspective of achievability, therefore, the prognosis for widespread No Kill success is excellent." And these results have already been achieved in communities across the country; some urban, some rural, in the North and in the South. In liberal states and conservative ones. "Demographically these communities share little in common. However, they do share shelter leadership committed to saving all the lives at risk."

So what can we do? We can demand from our politicians and shelter leaders to adopt better policies, procedures and management by using The No Kill Equation, which has been proven to stop the killing. We can donate to the organizations who advocate and use these no-kill methods instead of the ones who continue to go on with the same old belief that adopting out a few & killing the rest is acceptable. We can adopt from animal shelters.

We can't wait for the big humane organizations with the big political muscles to lead us. "Instead, we must lead them. We're the ones we've been waiting for. We have found our voice, and recognize the potential its fullest expression can create. No more compromises. No more killing."