By Gina Spadafori
May 11, 2008
Ever since no-kill flame-thrower Nathan Winograd knocked our collective socks off here with his book, “Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America,” we’ve watched poorly run, old-school shelters and even well-run, old-school shelters do nothing but bad mouth the possibility that there could be another way besides killing pets for population control while blaming everyone but the shelter industry.
We’ve watched large, wealthy national animal groups lay on the “yeah but …” excuses for why no kill won’t work while failing to get off their own wealthy butts to push for shelter reform — with some groups actively working against it.
One of those “yeah buts … ” you hear all the time involves pit bulls, which may in all their incarnations (AmStaffs, Staffordshires, AMPT, pit mix, etc., etc.) be the No. 1 breed in the country and certainly seem to be the No. 1 breed in the shelters. And the pit bull “yeah, but …”? Here it comes:
“Yeah, but … maybe no kill would work if all we had to place were fuzzy, floppy-eared little poodle mixes, but pit bulls? Hopeless. We just gotta kill them, because even if they were safe, nobody wants them. Except the people who do want them, who will use them for bad things.”
Or so the story goes.
Well, guess what? When a community works together to take on a pet placement problem, even one as challenging as the breed with the worst PR ever, change can happen. From the BAD RAP blog:
Ten years ago, the 60 runs at open-admission Berkeley Animal Care Services were depressingly full, sometimes doubled up, and staff was forced to euthanize for space…up to 600 dogs a year. But in 2007, the number of dog euthanasias was down 90%, with only 50 dogs put to sleep. Check it: BACS Stats
Since last summer, the number of dogs coming in to BACS has dropped so much that almost one half of the runs are now consistently EMPTY. Last week, an all time low with 34 empty runs. It’s almost too quiet in there! What’s going on? We have to credit a combination of efforts: Successful Marketing of Shelter Dogs, Owner Education including Free Training, Volunteerism, Rescue and Voluntary Spay/Neuter Programs. In short: The community kicked ass to make some changes.
Go read. I gotta tell you, it made my whole weekend. Bully to you, BAD RAP. Bully, I say.
More: Tip of the hat (again) to BAD RAP for pointing out this piece on Caveat, who completely dismantles some of the “yeah, but …” crap on “pit bulls,” this bit put out by the head of a municipal animal control agency. Arrrrgghhhhhhh!