Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What's in Store for 2014

As 2013 winds down, I'm going to make a few predictions for the coming year.

In 2013, Wisconsin citizens spoke out against shelter atrocities in several counties.   Even though 230 communities around the nation are able to save upwards of 90% of the animals that come into their care; we have Wisconsin counties that are lagging far, far behind.

2012 kill rates for the following counties:

Washburn County: 65% (for every 100 animals admitted, 65 were killed)
Oconto County: 54%
Outagamie County (Fox Valley): 54%
Sauk County: 52%
Polk County: 45%
Milwaukee County: 45%
Sheboygan County: 44%
Rusk County: 40%

Counties saving over 90% (for every 100 animals admitted, 10 or less were killed) include Lincoln, Clark, Green, Dunn, South Wood, Waupaca, Adams, Pepin, and Iowa County and should be commended for their outstanding work.

I predict that 2014 will be another year of turmoil for the poor performing shelters. Wisconsin residents are no longer willing to sit idly by and watch as their local tax dollars and donations are used to kill homeless animals. They are demanding change and transparency; and rightly so. As each new person speaks out, it inspires, encourages and emboldens another. What started as a tiny ripple is now becoming a tidal wave of anger. Volunteers and even staff members are coming forward. Several of Wisconsin's largest shelters lack transparency and accountability; and this will increase doubt and suspicion about their performance.

I also predict that in 2014, the cream will rise to the top. The shelters that are doing an excellent job will want to separate themselves from the poorly performing shelters; to avoid being painted with the same broad brush.  They will no longer want to wallow in the status quo and will gain goodwill and financial support for their life-saving initiatives.

I predict that more and more small non-profits will form to fill in the gaps that the shelters are leaving. This will fracture charitable giving, leaving less financial contributions for poorly performing shelters.

I predict that 2014 will be another banner year for education and advocacy of the animal-loving public. The public is getting involved in many facets of animal advocacy including breed discriminatory legislation, animal cruelty, and community cat management. Social media has given us the ability to educate and inform at the click of a button. While many shelter directors and staff lag behind in continuing education in their profession; advocates and volunteers are jumping miles ahead by reading, watching webinars, and attending workshops and conferences.

I predict that the dinosaurs of animal welfare will  attempt to circle the wagons and blame the No Kill movement for having to kill animals. With  their twisted and warped thinking; they will alienate their donors, the public and volunteers; and continue their own demise. All the while, blaming everyone but themselves for killing shelter animals.

But as with most things, along with great turmoil comes great progress.  And I predict that 2014 will bring about much progress towards a No Kill Nation, both in Wisconsin and across America.  The animals thank you for joining the fight.

Progress always involves risks.  You can't steal second base and keep your foot on first.
 -  Frederick B. Wilcox. 


  1. Kathy, please disclose how and where you obtained the statistics you're citing.

  2. Various sources including emails, websites, FOIA requests and newspaper articles. Since they are from varied sources it is very difficult to compare, but therein lies one of the major problems with animal sheltering today, as I'm sure you are aware Monica. Without standardized reporting (as some states require) there is still a problem with a lack of transparency. For instance: some shelters include owner requested euthanasia in their statistics, some do not. Some shelters are open admission, some are not. Regardless, it is a starting point. Taxpayers and donors have a right to know how their money is spent and hopefully transparency in Wisconsin will begin to improve.