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Friday, August 6, 2010

Good Riddance, Dinosaurs (Don't let the door slap you on the butt on the way out)

Yesterday I was catching up on a week's worth of Wall Street Journals when I came across an update to a story I'd been following. The Wall Street Journal is the one traditional newspaper I still try to read a few times a week - usually with a cup of coffee at my local McD's. The story was about Barnes & Noble, the bookselling giant.  It has been placed on the auction block. (sorry no link - the WSJ doesn't allow that)

Why is that significant? Because I mentioned the downfall of Barnes & Noble in a June posting. They have been blindsided - not because people have stopped reading books, but because of the way people are reading them. Digital books are the wave of the future and Barnes & Noble didn't keep up.

Just like No Kill is the wave of the future in animal sheltering. Those shelters not keeping up will be blindsided. It's happening faster than the speed of light. (Never fast enough for those of us who hate to see any animals die, but still; progress is amazing).

The stories are coming in from around the nation. Hardly a day goes by that Google Alerts hasn't dumped a bunch in my inbox - shelters that are in the process of, or at least considering making a transformation to a better alternative. This week there were stories out of Lucas County, Ohio; Carrabus County, North Carolina; and Brouard County, Florida.

Will it instantly be perfect? No, there is still a huge learning curve. There will be problems with logistics and inventory - we need better transport systems in this country.

There are still a lot of animal welfare dinosaurs out there. They're the ones who said the Internet wouldn't succeed.  Then they didn't believe that Petfinder would make a difference. Now, they're the ones saying that social media is a waste of time. They think we're all playing Farmville.  Well, those dinosaurs will be extinct soon. (And I won't be crying in my beer).

These figures show the number of fans from the Facebook pages this morning as compared to my earlier post in June:

  • No Kill Nation                    68,897 (54,165 in June)
  • Best Friends                        107,196  (90,943 in June)
  • Humane Society of the US   321,962 (263,776 in June) * not exactly no kill but I'm going to give them some credit for partnering with Maddie's Fund in the Shelter Pet Project
  • Maddie's Fund                     4031 (3562 in June)
  • Shelter Pet Project               14,783 (13,794 in June)
  • Justice for Bella                   19, 462 (I didn't record this in June)
Plus there are literally hundreds more Facebook pages that are preaching the No Kill message in some form or another or have partnered with an agency that preaches it. The No Kill Nation Facebook page is getting a staggering 750,000 views per day.

Every time we hit the "share" button we are reaching more and more people.  Sorry, dinosaurs, you're fighting a losing battle.

“The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says
 it can't be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it.”
- Elbert Hubbard

9 comments:

  1. I agree. The dinosaurs needs to get on the No Kill bus or get out of the way and be left in the dust. I, for one, won't be crying either when they are gone.

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  2. While lamenting the passing of books you can hold and smell (yes, smell:) in your hand, in my opinion one of the few things the internet is good for is spreading the word on the dire plight of animals...

    M

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  3. For the life of me, I can not understand why anyone wouldn't see the change coming and join the wave if they want to keep their jobs. Even if it goes against everything they have done or said in the past, it should be plain as day that the world of animal control and animal sheltering is changing FAST.

    In MI, where I live, several county Animal Controls are actually closing. Money is beyond tight and budgets are cut past the bone. However, did any of these county "pounds" even try a different approach first.? I don't believe so. I may be wrong but I'm pretty dang sure that none have. It was/is the "same old same old" until the doors close.

    And, as much as I'm afraid what will start happening (I look at Memphis who's actually considering offering a bounty for stray dogs), I have a glimmer of hope that the no kill movement will unite the rescue community enough to allow them to form their own shelter. It'll be tough because (hate to say it but it's true) not all rescues are equal and some just plain suck. But, with much head butting and teaching, the good and not so good should be able to agree that they are who should be managing shelters, not government officials who don't know jack about it, nor political appointees, nor non high school grad workers who know little and care less (and may even have some twisted sadistic nature).

    ReplyDelete
  4. Kathy, I know you're a supporter of Best Friends Animal Society's version of Nathan Winograd's No Kill Equation. I cheer you guys on for wanting to improve things, but I'm scratching my head wondering why you're all so intent on polishing something I think should be thrown out.

    Throughout your blog and the comments above I keep reading references to no kill sheltering, form their own shelter, etc. Shelters, shelters, shelters - and more sheltering!

    Nobody needs to comment on this but I offer my personal opinion as a challenge to stimulate your thinking beyond the current model which all of you are supporting:

    For 100 years people have worked hard to "professionalize" (is that a word?) this prison-like model we call the shelter model. They have created an entire money-making industry around this "animal sheltering" concept.

    The entire model is based on what I would call prison-like facilities with solitary confinement cages and wardens to run the place. The ones you guys despise also have, obviously, very active death rows.

    So it looks like what you're all trying to do is keep the prison, but get rid of the death chambers. Do I understand that right?

    And these prison wardens are fighting tooth and nail to keep you activists away from their little empires, right? What I don't get is why you all are fighting so hard to improve a prison? That seems a lot like polishing a rotten apple.

    I'm sitting out here in the middle of the ocean in my little dinghy - all alone - asking, "Why are all those smart, caring people trying so hard to support the use of shelters?"

    If cats and dogs are really social animals as ALL the experts say, why are we still using cages as isolation cells? Shouldn't social animals be kept socially? And what exactly, was their crime which requires such punishment?

    There isn't room here to list all the shelter directors and fancy-ass animal behaviorists who openly admit that solitary confinement (you know, a stay in any kennel) quickly drives animals "kennel crazy?" (That's the term shelter directors use for what happens to well-adjusted dogs in a short stay at a "shelter."

    Call me crazy, but I can't for the life of me figure out why BFAS "No More Homeless Pets" advocates and Nathan Winograd "No Kill Equation" advocates are ALL, every single one of them, fighting so hard to maintain this crappy prison-like model?

    Get rid of the death row and you're still stuck with a maximum-security prison? I don't get this.

    Silly old me up here in the Minnesota woods, I'm thinking maybe cats and dogs should be housed in communal showrooms to make it more inviting for people to come see the happy, healthy animals in their social setting. Sure would beat the hell out of a visit to the local maximum-security prison we call humane societies, SPCAs and animal rescue leagues, wouldn't it?

    Now I'll bet people will say stupid things like protecting against aggression and disease as the reason to justify these prisons. Of course that's not a valid argument, because most shelters kill those animals right away, right? But that doesn't stop the defenders of this terrible shelter model from using those flimsy excuses.

    Anyway, just thought I'd stop by and cannonball into your pool party. Pardon me for getting everyone wet. Think about this, though. Okay?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Kathy, I know you're a supporter of Best Friends Animal Society's version of Nathan Winograd's No Kill Equation. I cheer you guys on for wanting to improve things, but I'm scratching my head wondering why you're all so intent on polishing something I think should be thrown out.

    Throughout your blog and the comments above I keep reading references to no kill sheltering, form their own shelter, etc. Shelters, shelters, shelters - and more sheltering!

    Nobody needs to comment on this but I offer my personal opinion as a challenge to stimulate your thinking beyond the current model which all of you are supporting:

    For 100 years people have worked hard to "professionalize" (is that a word?) this prison-like model we call the shelter model. They have created an entire money-making industry around this "animal sheltering" concept.

    The entire model is based on what I would call prison-like facilities with solitary confinement cages and wardens to run the place. The ones you guys despise also have, obviously, very active death rows.

    So it looks like what you're all trying to do is keep the prison, but get rid of the death chambers. Do I understand that right?

    And these prison wardens are fighting tooth and nail to keep you activists away from their little empires, right? What I don't get is why you all are fighting so hard to improve a prison? That seems a lot like polishing a rotten apple.

    I'm sitting out here in the middle of the ocean in my little dinghy - all alone - asking, "Why are all those smart, caring people trying so hard to support the use of shelters?"

    If cats and dogs are really social animals as ALL the experts say, why are we still using cages as isolation cells? Shouldn't social animals be kept socially? And what exactly, was their crime which requires such punishment?

    There isn't room here to list all the shelter directors and fancy-ass animal behaviorists who openly admit that solitary confinement (you know, a stay in any kennel) quickly drives animals "kennel crazy?" (That's the term shelter directors use for what happens to well-adjusted dogs in a short stay at a "shelter."

    Call me crazy, but I can't for the life of me figure out why BFAS "No More Homeless Pets" advocates and Nathan Winograd "No Kill Equation" advocates are ALL, every single one of them, fighting so hard to maintain this crappy prison-like model?

    Get rid of the death row and you're still stuck with a maximum-security prison? I don't get this.

    Silly old me up here in the Minnesota woods, I'm thinking maybe cats and dogs should be housed in communal showrooms to make it more inviting for people to come see the happy, healthy animals in their social setting. Sure would beat the hell out of a visit to the local maximum-security prison we call humane societies, SPCAs and animal rescue leagues, wouldn't it?

    Now I'll bet people will say stupid things like protecting against aggression and disease as the reason to justify these prisons. Of course that's not a valid argument, because most shelters kill those animals right away, right? But that doesn't stop the defenders of this terrible shelter model from using those flimsy excuses.

    Anyway, just thought I'd stop by and cannonball into your pool party. Pardon me for getting everyone wet. Think about this, though. Okay?

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's EXCEEDINGLY difficult to house populations of animals in communal situations when your population is constantly changing - been there, done that (I'm speaking specifically of dogs). Creating social groups that get along - especially when unattended - is VERY difficult, dangerous, and requires a LOT of experience in accurately reading dog body language and breaking up fights. It is also EXTREMELY labor intensive - new groups require close, highly skilled supervision. The pay scale of most kennel attendants isn't really attractive enough to hire people capable of such supervision.

    Single dog housing in shelter environments makes total sense for the safety of both the animals and the people. Get your turnover rate up so most animals have a short stay, make sure your long-termers have enough stimulation and socialization (with people and supervised contact with dogs, if they're appropriate for that) and you won't have a problem.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I don't recall Nathan or any other No Kill advocate specifically stating that cats or dogs should be kept in solitary cages. I believe if you look at many of the new contemporary facilities, they have communal areas for cats and dogs that like company. Most of us are just trying to keep healthy and treatable animals from being killed in "shelters", which is a HUGE HUGE task. Once millions of animals aren't dying every year, we can focus on building more contemporary, more humane shelters.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I agree with Anonymous. We have to eat this elephant one bite at a time. Many shelters are struggling through a tough economy and we need them to make some significant changes to their programs and services first. Then hopefully, when the killing is under control, they can start to focus on their facilities.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I agree with everything you say except the inclusion of HSUS on the list. HSUS was paid a large sum of money by Maddie's Fund to be a part of the Shelter Pet Project in a misguided effort to keep Wayne Pacelle and his minions from further denigrating and undermining No-Kill sheltering. Nathan Winograd covered this in "The Death of Hope at HSUS." HSUS grabbed the money and just a few months later, lobbied for and facilitated the Wilkes County dog massacre. Then came the Michael Vick partnership, the "Faye" fundraising scandal and other abuses. Meanwhile, Pacelle and company use the Shelter Pet Project to fuel the fallacy that HSUS funds shelters -- in other words, to raise even more money. Winograd had the right idea in Delaware recently. In order to prevent corrupt national groups from sabotaging/lobbying against progressive shelter reform legislation, he kept it under wraps. And meaningful new laws easily passed.

    ReplyDelete