Perhaps the most controversial topic in animal welfare in Wisconsin today is the subject of transports. I want to make it perfectly clear. I am not talking about breed-specific rescues that are pulling a dog of their breed from a kill shelter in another state. (eg. a German Shepherd rescue that has available foster homes and is transporting a German Shepherd Dog from out of state).
I am talking about transport programs such as the Petsmart Charities Rescue Waggin' which is used to import dogs from other states. If you would like to comment, please do. I will leave the comment thread open. You have to log in to Google Blogger to leave a comment on my blog. Comments do not publish automatically because they are filtered for spam. (Otherwise, my comment thread would be loaded with unrelated spammy comments.) So please be patient.
Here is what the supporters of transport programs say:
1. The diversity of breeds that arrive on the Rescue Waggin' increases traffic at the shelters and helps all of the shelter dogs.
2. Shelter dogs from the south have as much reason to live as Wisconsin dogs. This is helping those dogs and the shelters they come from.
Here is what the critics of transport programs say:
1. We should take care of our Wisconsin dogs first.
2. Transports from the South expose Wisconsin dogs to new diseases.
3. It is unethical to take the puppies and small dogs from the shelters that need the revenue they could have generated by adopting them out in their own community.
Through October 2013, 1554 dogs have lost their lives at MADACC. That is more than five per day. Yet the Rescue Waggin' rolls in to Wisconsin, week after week, month after month. At least four Wisconsin shelters use the Rescue Waggin': Wisconsin Humane Society, Ozaukee Humane Society, Elmbrook Humane Society and Bay Area Humane Society. There are some other shelters, like Fox Valley Humane Assocation, that also have private transport agreements with southern shelters.
Here are the MADACC statistics year to date (click to enlarge):
My thoughts (and again, you are welcome to post your thoughts below):
I could agree with the "diversity" argument a few years ago when the transports were bringing up a diverse mix of dogs. But this is no longer the case. Small fluffy dogs are in high demand and short supply in most parts of the country so they are seldom coming by transport. Puppies also fly off the shelves in many shelters. So the "diversity" argument is fading fast. The remaining dogs that are coming on the Rescue Waggin' are typically all the same, although they may be a slightly younger version of what are currently being killed in Milwaukee. They are large, mixed breed dogs, of which we have plenty right here at MADACC; less than 10 miles from two of the Rescue Waggin' receiving shelters. Here is an example of a dog that arrived on the Rescue Waggin' to Elmbrook Humane Society in October. He looks lovely and I'm sure he is a wonderful dog - but there are many here in Milwaukee that look just like him that need a home also.
This is from the Rescue Waggin's frequently asked question on their website. An interesting note, they recently changed their website and have now omitted this page of FAQ's.
Here are the MADACC transfer statistics for October 2013. You can see that transfers are down yet the number of dogs killed has increased over the same period last year. Click to enlarge.
Your thoughts? Please feel free to comment. Healthy discussion leads to new ideas and new ideas can save lives. Thank you.
More reading on the subject of out of state transports:
From Maddie's Fund: http://www.maddiesfund.org/About_Us/Maddies_Editorials/Dog_Transport_Editorial.html
Also from Maddie's Fund: http://www.maddiesfund.org/Maddies_Institute/Articles/The_Pros_and_Cons_of_Dog_Transport.html
From Animal Ark: http://www.animalarkshelter.org/animal/ArkArticles.nsf/ViewArticle?OpenForm&Photo=AF9BC5483AB26DC186257BE10043D9F2
From Out the Front Door:http://outthefrontdoor.com/2013/12/06/what-colorados-statistics-say-about-transports/