Are You Enabling the Needless Killing of Shelter Pets?

Our battle for a No Kill nation is not against the public. It is against the cowards of our movement who refuse to stand up to their colleagues and friends running shelters that are mired in the failed and defunct philosophies that allow (indeed, cause) killing. Our battle is against those who claim to be part of our movement but fail to recognize the killing of millions of animals every year as an unnecessary and cruel slaughter and to call it what it is. It is against those who will not do for the animals that thing which is their solemn duty to do: to change themselves and to demand that their colleagues change, when that is what the situation calls for.Nathan Winograd


Rescuers who pull animals from a shelter in order to save them while remaining silent about the needless killing of healthy/treatable pets there are enabling those who kill shelter pets.

Some may be afraid to speak up because they’ve seen other rescuers get banned from the shelter after doing so.  While I can understand the idea that saving a few is better than saving none, I tend to maintain a broader view.  I say, speak up for no kill policies and let the shelter director ban every last rescuer from the place.  Organize and go to the people above the director, to the media, and to the public.  Shine a light on the needless killing going on at the shelter and the director’s efforts to prevent rescuers from saving pets.

Others may enable the killing simply by buying into the old excuses:  too many pets and not enough homes; the shelter director is a caring person who would never kill pets if there was any other way; no kill is fine for other fancy-pants places but it could never work here; the irresponsible public churns out poorly cared for pets faster than we can empty the dead pet dumpster; until we get MSN passed, we must keep killing…  Rescuers:  Wake up and smell the Fatal-Plus!  These are myths, long since debunked, perpetuated by killing apologists who are too lazy and/or stubborn to change.  Don’t fall into that trap.  Change=life.  Embrace it.

Rescuers already know that shelter pets are at the mercy of strangers.  They rely on you to be their voice.  What would they say, if they could?  “Just keep going as you have been, saving a few and letting the rest be killed.  Hey, change is hard.  We understand.”  Or perhaps:  “We all want a chance to live.  Not a few of us, all of us.  Stop enabling those who kill.  Help us.”

Each of us must make a choice.  We can not have it both ways by rescuing a few shelters pets while aiding and abetting the needless killing of millions of others.  I’m for no kill.  I work to enable others who oppose killing.  I got here by changing my view of what “had to be done” with shelter pets.  I learned.  I grew.  I changed.  I now believe that what has to be done is to save them – all of them, except of course those who are medically hopeless and suffering.  For them, we can offer the kindness of a gentle end to pain.  For the rest, we can offer the kindness of respecting their right to life.

Mark my words, there will be an end to needless killing of healthy/treatable shelter pets.  And when that happens, which side will history put you on?  Will you have been an advocate for no kill or will you have remained a loyal enabler to those who needlessly killed untold millions of pets in shelters?

Enablers make the continued practice of killing possible.  No shelter director can go it alone.  He counts on the support of those who are sympathetic to his lies about being “forced” to kill friendly pets.  Strip away that support.  It’s time to sink or swim.  Learn.  Grow.  Change.  Join us.

69 thoughts on “Are You Enabling the Needless Killing of Shelter Pets?

  1. YB!, you are the first person I have seen tackle this tough issue. Bravo to you! Finally, someone brings it out of the closet.

    As a shelter reform advocate I see situations almost daily (glad to provide a list upon request) where it is clear that rescuers (“outsiders” to the shelter) need to step away, put down their good deeds, and tackle the real issue – a shelter director who operates out of manipulation and secrecy.

    This FEAR OF REPRISAL is exactly what gives petty little tyrants their power. Stand up to them and they lose that power. The costly side of this “calling their bluff” approach is that, yes, short term animals will (continue to) die. As you wrote, rescuers are guilty of not looking at the broader view. Instead they maintain the status quo by looking only at their work and no further.

    The driving force behind this seems to be some kind of weird meglomania. There is an undertone to almost every rescuer I deal with who believes “I can save the world! It’s up to me.” Of course, they do not phrase it that way. It’s always couched in “humble” terms like the starfish story. But it’s a thinly-veiled disguise.

    Slaves didn’t gain their freedom by caring people running an underground railroad: they left changing the system to others. Those wonderful undergrounders played virtually no role in changing the course of history. It was the abolitionists who stood up and fought the attitudes, beliefs and ugly laws who changed this country.

    One problem today’s “abolitionist” faces is in using the term no kill. It is now the four-letter word of the sheltering industry. It has become so divisive and fractious that the mere mention of the term closes off peoples ears.

    Here’s a better model that does not use the term and moves entirely away from shelters as we know them. Dare to look? Link =—a-quick-overview

    1. To Thomas Cole: I was with you until the last part of your comment. The use of the term No Kill may indeed be the “four letter word of the sheltering industry,” but that does not mean we should stop using it, on the contrary. It is not the term itself that is “divisive and fractious,” but rather the people who oppose ending the killing when they see their way of doing things threatened. The phrase No Kill is simply the banner of the opposition to the killing and the ushering in of a new, life-affirming model, and should be used without hesitation. To do anything less in the interest of “getting along” is to be unclear about the fact that we will settle for nothing short of no more killing of healthy and treatable animals.

      Also, I took a look at your website. The shelter model and the changes you outline are important, and although I haven’t read all the pages carefully yet, I completely agree with most of what I saw. However, as would be expected in light of your comments about the term No Kill, nothing is ever mentioned about ending the killing as the first priority of animal sheltering. We must make it perfectly clear that we are not working toward merely improving shelters, raising adoption rates, spaying and neutering more animals, but that we are demanding an end to the killing–in other words: No Kill.

      1. I agree – removing the No Kill part of the equation is the MOST important part of the equation. You can try to pretty it up and make it look good, but the fact remains that there are shelters that KILL for no better reason than they can. While it may cause shelter to tremble at the words “No Kill” – it should – but we shouldn’t shy away from using it because if we do then we are turning away from one of the biggest components of the No Kill equation.

      2. I believe that Shelter Revolution’s Adoption Center Model embraces all the programs of the NKE, and then some ( an additional emphasis on true rehab for animals who have issues which impede adoption ). Implementing these life-saving programs in this non-prison environment would certainly be easier for animals, staff, volunteers and adopters. The discussion of using the term “no-kill” is, I think, a separate issue. I use it myself, but I can see that it causes many shelters that are killing to become defensive instead of interested in change. Maybe that’s part of the cosmic script being played out. We’ll see how it all shakes out, this is all a work/revolution in progress. Peace.

  2. This is exactly the problem I have in the area where I work; an area progressive enough for no kill to truly become possible. The rescuers either think the shelter vet/director is a rock star because they have failed to educate themselves on issues or the rescuers do not speak up for fear of being “cut off.” When I hear that second excuse, I remind them that the shelter vet is not The Queen of All Things Animal and that she does, in fact, have superiors to whom she is accountable (in theory) who would surely want to know if she refused entry to the shelter to a rescuer who was able and willing to reduce the body count.

    To me, this is the most exasperating part of being an advocate. I can excuse the general public to a degree for their failure to demand change. Many simply do not know what takes place in shelters using tax dollars and donations or they presume that there are no alternatives to the killing. Rescuers know better. They know healthy animals die. When they fail to speak up, that’s a betrayal of the worst kind. The rescuer who will not self-educate and who will not stand up for his or her values is bound to continue to live the life of going from crisis to crisis, from saving x dog to y cat, forever lamenting the death and behaving as if they are powerless to do anything about it.

    As I type this, animals are being killed 5 miles from my office using tax dollars. The vast majority of them will be healthy and treatable. The deaths will end up being recorded on a form or a computer. Perhaps accurately. Perhaps not. I can yell and scream and talk and persuade and type and compile and publish until I can do no more but unless and until those around me who claim to lament the killing as much as I do speak up with me, along side me or in concert with me (however out of tune we may be due to differences of opinion), the killing will continue.

    I believe these words with all of my heart:

    “To the extent that animals continue to die needlessly, we are morally bound to speak.”

    I am bound to speak so I do and I am. What are you doing?

    1. Beautifully said, Brie: “unless and until those around me who claim to lament the killing as much as I do speak up with me, along side me or in concert with me (however out of tune we may be due to differences of opinion), the killing will continue.” We’ve got to SPEAK!

  3. You took the words right out of my mouth and said it even more purposefully and profoundly.

    Thank you.


  4. Very well written article!

    People have spoken up about this situation at Liberty Humane Society in Jersey City, NJ. They have been called extremists. They have been banned. They have been fired. They have been sued.

    We need your support, and the support of the entire No-Kill community to make the necessary changes and end the killing of adoptable animals.

    There have been 4 facebook pages set up for this cause, and all 4 pages have been taken down. A blog has been started as attempt #5 to inform the public of the atrocities at LHS.

    Please follow and support the blog, and help expose the truth.

    1. I followed the first go around on Facebook with LHSU very closely. It was a confusing site without a lot of direction or concrete facts, as is often the case on Facebook.

      A quick glance at this new blog it appears more coherent and fact oriented.

      So, one thing to anyone looking to reform a system, have leadership and a plan. I think that is the reason big establishment shelters continue. They already exist, and “the community” is not organized enough to create an alternative. Which is a summary of this original post.

  5. Yes. But there is a part of my heart that is sore, and when I read this post, it aches even more. Been there, done that. I was “banned” …I was angry, I was vocal. Early on other rescuers told me to shush…that they were afraid of being kicked out and THEN who would be there to help the helpless?!
    I became so enraged that I became useless to myself and the movement. I’ve had to back off, breathe deeply, and refocus on love. It doesn’t help me personally to hate. I become “frozen” in an ineffective and ugly place.
    And I can’t seem to find that happy medium of positive abolitionist!
    What helps me every day is putting my hands on a living animal and helping them learn and grow in this moment. There are plenty of animals that need help that are NOT at Animal Control. My method of changing the system is to help support our community so that we don’t need the services of Animal Control (except for that free killing they offer, which is really a much needed service in our community.)

  6. eh… this kind of vituperative language is a great way to get yourselves shut out as extremists who can then be reasonably ignored.

    Do you want to make progress, or do you want to proclaim your moral superiority all over the people you want to change?

    There is no magic wand, however angry/agitated/frustrated/vicious towards your “enemies” you get.

    Progress doesn’t happen because Winograd spews spittle all over his computer screen in his frustration. Change happens one step at a time. Usually one TINY step at a time.

    1. Since Emily wants us to play nice and get along, while remaining silent, do tell, Emily: how exactly have you been personally involved in bringing about progress while keeping your mouth shut?

      Speaking up is not being vicious. I have spoken my mind and will continue to do so. While I find it hard to be civil with you due to the arrogance displayed through your word choice, I can manage to do it with elected officials to get my point across. I’m simply looking for back-up in a community where people say one thing to the shelter director and another behind her back.

      Check your anger with Winograd at the keyboard and contribute something helpful to the discussion. Nathan is not the only person workind toward no kill and you surely know that. I find your holier than thou comments which put forth no viable alternatives or personal examples to be as exacerbating as excuses the local rescuers I deal with – those who will not speak yet wonder why animals continue to die.

      I’m sure you’re quite intelligent, Emily, and I’m sure you have something to contribute to this blog. I’m not sure why it is that you come here to talk to people like they’re stupid or like you are the only person with an original thought. Since you have this all figured out, please share how using “one TINY step at a time” has worked for you. Really.

    2. Yes, EmilyS, we know you think all criticism of shelters is wrong–and no language is too vituperative to be used against a pet owner who either can’t keep a pet, or who loses a pet under any circumstances. We know, truly we do.

      Nathan Winograd actually did help bring San Francisco right to edge of No Kill, when political cravenness stymied further progress and then reversed it. Nathan Winograd actually did bring No Kill to Tompkins County–overnight, and successfully.

      Nathan Winograd has actually made No Kill a force to be reckoned with–something that frustrates apologists like you no end.

    3. No-Kill advocates were written off as nuts and extremists since the very beginning by the establishment, and still are by many today. ‘Playing nice’ didn’t make a difference back then, it doesn’t make a difference now when many people ignore FACTS and REALITY to keep claiming No-Kill is delusional even with many examples of how it can work.

      Nathan is a polarizing force, but people like him are needed to shake people up when ‘playing nice’ would lead most folks to not want to make the hard statements or push for more than just ‘tiny steps’ when the potential for big ones is easily reachable.

  7. I have recently found the kill-lists for some of the shelters – looking at the pictures of the animals – and knowing they are going to be dead by the time I wake up tomorrow makes me want to cry. For most of them there is nothing wrong with them that a little TLC can’t fix. I have been trying to help the movement in my own way. I contact my senators and congresspeople for new laws I want to be passed. I signed the petitions and email people in authority to help convert kill shelters to no-kill shelters. I try to provide information for shelters who kill out of ignorance – for example FIV+ kittens just because they are FIV+. I like to think I have made some difference. But seeing those pictures every night… is there no place for the underground railroad in the movement? Can’t we try to save the individuals at night while we work to change the system during the day? I have been talking with other people about this issue – we would like to try to save those animals until true change can come. Would we be shooting the movement as a whole in the foot if we could accomplish that?

    Any words of advice are encouraged…


    1. Thank you for asking this Daniela because it’s a good opportunity to clarify things: IMO rescuing pets off shelter kill lists is not the problem. In fact, it’s downright fabulous! If you can pull pets from a shelter while working for change as you describe and the shelter director doesn’t ban you – that’s great. That’s what we hope for – a director who doesn’t slam the door in the face of anyone who questions killing. If there is a chance to work WITH someone open to learning about no kill, we should seize the opportunity.

    2. I think the goal should be to work with a shelter so that both the shelter and local rescues are working to transfer pets from shelters to rescues.

      Reno Nevada is often touted as a no kill success and about half the pets are transferred to rescues (apparently). I do not live in the area so do not know how the process works. I hope the shelter works with the rescues to follow up and make sure the pets are taken care of through adoption.

    3. Daniela, thank you for your comment. I hear you. I’ve felt the same way. If money is not a problem, you can go out and adopt an animal outright. You can get it vetted, socialized and ready to go, and then find an adopter for it.
      Or, you could network with other rescue groups and see if you can volunteer as a foster home, or even as a transport service. You could pick up an animal from one location and deliver it to another location.
      For me, working with the animals is what soothes my soul. Working with the people? Not always…but sometimes!
      Helping animals is always a good thing. IMO.

  8. Rescue groups are at the mercy of killing shelters. If they go public with concerns, the shelter kills animals they are willing to save. If they say nothing, they save some, while others die or suffer. It is a “Sophie’s Choice.”

    Here’s just one example. In California, before the Hayden Law made it illegal for a shelter to kill an animal if a rescue group was willing to save that animal, a rescuer criticized a shelter publicly. When she went in to save a mother cat and litter of kittens, the shelter manager told her that because her group criticized the shelter, she could only pick out one of the kittens and they were going to kill the rest and the mother. She begged them to give her all of them, but they refused. They told her if she didn’t pick, they would kill them all. The rescuer later told me she picked, went to the car, and threw up all over herself.

    It is an awful position to be in. And while I agree it will never change until we fight back, I can’t blame a rescuer for this situation.

    What we need to do is end the power shelters have to kill animals, to hold animals hostage, to threaten rescue groups with retribution if they go public with concerns. That is why we need “Oreo’s Law” in every state in the country.

    There is blame but it rests with the killing shelters. And it rests with those national groups like the ASPCA and HSUS that not only perpetuate, legitimize, and protect those shelters, but actively fight efforts to reform them.

    1. Enablers also legitimize, protect and fight reform efforts for kill shelters on a local level. They are the friends, relatives and neighbors of those in power in the local government. And they are VOTERS. Where they stand is key. If they stand for maintaining the status quo, either by advocacy or by their silence, that’s the direction things go. Until we have an Oreo’s Law in every state, I say stop enabling the killing.

      1. Just like I can’t say that everyone who works in a kill shelter is a POS (which I have heard others say, and it really bothers me) Neither can I say that every rescuer is altruistic. Nor is every relinquisher wrong, or every adopter perfect. We are all just humans.
        “The Deal” that Nathan noted had me wanting to barf as well. It’s not an uncommon sort of scenario, although my experiences have been more veiled and subtle. But the “wanted” animal died just the same.
        I guess I get stuck with the whole “Enabling” word…we enable by not doing anything? Or we enable by cow-towing and agreeing to take whichever animal they are willing to let us have? Or we enable by not calling it like we see it? Or am I enabling because I just quit trying (like Atlas) to roll that dang rock up the hill.
        Guilt, compassion, gossip. They all seem to be mainstays in the world of rescue. Can we fix that?

  9. Me too LynnO – been there done that. Now I’m back to basics – usually foster a cat – spay and neuter a few too – but I’m out of the political end.

    It’s been for me like how John Lennon wrote in his wheel song…I just had to let it go….(at least for a while) – I was useless with too much anger.

    Great blog, great comments and wonderful to read Nathan Winograd’s comment – Best to all for this holiday season.

    With John Lennon in the news lately it might be appropriate to write…All we are saying is give No Kill a chance.

  10. I would like to see one of the now no kill shelters take the 11 steps of the “No Kill Equation” and give a detailed before and after of each step. For example before we didn’t perform any TNR surgeries now we perform xx each year costing xx dollars saving xx lives.If these hard before and after facts were presented to the shelters in your area showing in black and white detail how it was done how much it costs and what was involved it seems to me it would be harder to say that it’s not possible and that shelters that claim that they are doing it have just fudged their numbers and limited their admissions through screening policies. I no if I could show my local shelter a detailed before and after it would be much easier to convince them to change.

    1. I agree with Robert. While I wholeheartedly support the movement and think the 11 step plan is excellent, I struggle quite a bit with the serious lack of facts and figures from the Winograd front. I am currently reading Redemption and am very dissapointed in its great lack of hard data to support its claims. Again, I am not arguing the cause, but when so many people supporting No Kill say they are constantly belittled and assumed wingnuts, I can’t believe that more hard facts would do anything but further the cause. Until then, the whole movement can be–and is often–easily dismissed as a lot of hot air.

      1. If you contact Bonney Brown in Reno, I imagine she could give you what you ask for. I have not asked her myself; I just know that she’s open to helping in any way she can. Since she took over from an HSUS darling and turned it around almost overnight (the magic want in human form), it may be worth asking her.

      2. My frustration with the demand for numbers is this: those who criticize Winograd’s failure to provide hard data also provide no hard data. I absolutely agree that seeing actual numbers – whatever they are – would help. I disagree that the terms of the “fight” can reasonably be that the status quo assumptions be presumed correct until proven otherwise.

      3. My frustration with those who dismiss the No Kill movement as “hot air” is that they are basically saying that all the places where it has happened, and all the people who made it happen–hundreds of volunteers, thousands of adopters, dozens of staff members in each No Kill community, don’t really exist. I find that kinda rude.

        These places are real. You can visit them. The people who made it happen walk the earth today.

  11. I myself am banned from the Evansville Animal Care and Control Shelter for just these reasons. My question is; what recourse do I have? These shelter are beholden to themselves only and they are free to operate as they see fit. Evansville is shady, having been run by union city employees making money selling dogs, setting up their own faux rescues to funnel money, euthing pups rather than disinfect and clean for parvo (which is rampant there), selling expensive purebreds rather than reunite them with their owners, hiding stray dogs in unauthorized area until they can be sold, stealing public donations form employee use, etc, etc, The dogs languish there uncared for, dying of parvo, broken legs, contagious diseases. The people in charge are all in cahoots and work diligently to keep others out that will report the cruelty. I have read this article but really still have no idea what I can do to help. I have contacted the local media but they seem content to “let sleeping dogs lie.”

      1. But Valerie, how would Sharon PROVE that she has been banned for this reason? If you want to win a court case, you need PROOF.

        I encourage anyone in Sharon’s position to, at least for a while, keep quiet so that they won’t be banned, and gather proof of these atrocities. In these days, nearly everyone has a phone with a camera in it, or one that can take at least 10 seconds of video. Please use these tools and document, document, document, document! Then once you’ve gathered enough evidence, you can blow the whistle!

  12. Eloquent and beautiful and passionate and filled with fire and courage. I am honored to know YesBiscuit. I believe she is right. If we do not use our voices and so become part of the solution then we are part of the problem. One voice counts. Always has. Always will. “I wanna spread the news that if it feels this good getting used, Oh you just keep on using me until you use me up.” Bill Withers

  13. I don’t read your site much anymore because I got tired of your constant (and inaccurate) rant against shelter operators, portraying them as people who don’t care about animals and who only want to shift the blame to the public for the fact that animals are getting put down.

    But now see that you are adding rescue organizations to your hit list. According to you, rescuers are “enabling” the killing of animals and you’d rather have them STOP rescuing animals because you believe this will somehow do what exactly? Send a message? You know this would result in MORE animals dying but it will sure teach those nasty shelter operators a thing or two!

    Who will you be blaming next?

    1. My point was that those who apologize for/attempt to justify the killings at the shelter while pulling animals are subscribing to the “we can save a few but we must kill the rest” myth. That’s where we are today. I would like to see that end.

    2. Stratobill, I didn’t read the post that way at all. It’s clear we can see the same words an intrepret them in different ways. I don’t believe the intent was to stay “stop rescuing animals.” I read it as this: if you know animals die needlessly in the shelter, speak up and voice your dissent at how tax dollars and donations are being used. If you are subsequently banned for having exercised your right of free speech, that’s not the same as refusing to pull animals. It’s being precluded from pulling animals for having rocked the boat.

      In the case of Sharon Lee above, who has been banned, the next step is to report that to the people running the operation (in her case the Vanderburgh County commissioners and county counsel) and demand that they address not only the conditions in the shelter but the fact that she has been banned when she is ready and willing to save the lives of animals.

      If that does not work, Sharon can try to rally people in her region to contact those same officials, expressing their outrage, and demanding that something be done.

      Statobill, I am glad there are rescuers in my community who pull animals from our municipal shelter, many of whom would otherwise be killed. I lament the fact that they refuse to speak up about the killing and they refuse to even imply that the city can do better simply for fear of being cut off. In my mind, it is their responsiblity to speak. If they do not speak, they are saying, “yes, I’d like that dog in kennel 31 but it’s not important enough for me to speak out to save the dogs in kennels 32, 33, 34, 35…” etc. Their silence is their approval. If they do speak out and they are “cut off,” they seek the assistance of the city administator and the city mayor to restore their ability to pull animals. In this area, they can either do that through a phone call, a letter or they can file a formal complaint against the department head who runs the shelter.

      I’m saying I expect them to at least speak out and try to bring about change. If they will not speak out of fear, they will forever be trying to save that single dog in kennel 31, knowing full well that other healthy animals will die. Something has to make the status quo change and while a group of folks speaking out may not make it happen today, it won’t happen at all if no one challenges the killing.

      1. Excellent way of putting it Brie – we’re forever trying to save that single dog in kennel 31 while allowing the rest to be killed because we don’t want to rock the boat. And in so doing, we enable those who tell us the best we can do is to save a few and kill the rest.

    3. Stratobill you must have missed this prior comment from Yesbiscuit.

      My takeaway is it would be good if people start helping good shelters.

      “YesBiscuit Says:

      December 10, 2010 at 6:21 pm

      Thank you for asking this Daniela because it’s a good opportunity to clarify things: IMO rescuing pets off shelter kill lists is not the problem. In fact, it’s downright fabulous! If you can pull pets from a shelter while working for change as you describe and the shelter director doesn’t ban you – that’s great. That’s what we hope for – a director who doesn’t slam the door in the face of anyone who questions killing. If there is a chance to work WITH someone open to learning about no kill, we should seize the opportunity.”

  14. A quote from PETA’s Ingrid Newkirk is appropriate here. “Thinkers may prepare revolutions, but bandits must carry them out.”

    If we shut up and play nice, nothing happens.

    1. Sorry – but I found it funny that you quoted Newkirk when her groups kills what 97% of any animals they “rescue”. Although I completed agree with her statement – I still think it’s funny to twist what she said in response to why PETA does what it does AND use it to reform our shelters!

  15. The squeaky wheel gets oiled”. The only way we are going to get spay/neuter made a legal requirement rather than a choice is to be heard. We need to attend in numbers all the meetings, government, neighborhood to be seen and heard. They need to know that we are not going away. We will be heard, we will take our allotted time to speak. Start out with your county commissioners. They have a lot on their plates and after a while if lots of us show up, fill the room to standing room only and we will get attention. It may be slow, but it will happen. They will listen to us at some point just so they can get to the next agenda. Spay/neuter is the only way we will ever have a no kill Nation. Put meeting dates on facebook. Pack as many people as you can into the meeting. Even if you are not in that county and cannot speak, be there the sheer number of people will get attention. The media will get wind of it and help spread the news. Politicians do not want to look like animal killers and unless they do something to stop unwanted animals that is what they are. Be there and even though quiet and passive all of us should travel together to every county meeting or any meeting regarding spay/neuter but people need to know when and where to be. We can make it happen…..Gas is expensive, carpool, set up safe places to meet and travel

    1. Mandatory spay-neuter will get us to a no PET nation. No kill advocates are opposed to MSN because it does nothing to decrease killing, as has been shown every single place it’s been implemented. Access to low cost spay-neuter for those who want it is one aspect of the No Kill Equation.

  16. Unfortunately in Austin, most of the rescue groups are just as bad as the shelter was. They don’t believe that no-kill is possible and are convinced that we are sending the pets to “fates worse than death” by not all doing rigorous adoption screening (home visits, vet checks, landlord checks, reference checks, etc.). Because they don’t believe there are enough good homes, they would love no-kill to fail and some are doing everything they can to make that happen, because they are so worried about pets getting into the hands of animal abusers. The more we tried to educate the rescue community, the more they dug in their heels.

    For us, we had to build up significant community support with the general public before we could speak up about where we needed change at our shelter.

  17. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valour, and you have to weigh up whether it is better to keep your mouth shut or to speak your mind. In the current situation, speaking out and getting banned from shelters is not helping animals in any way, and you are enabling shelter killing by giving the shelters a reason to stop you from entering.

    1. It is actually just the opposite. It is by NOT speaking up that you are enabling the killing. Keeping your mouth shut in order to save the few you are allowed save perpetuates the institutionalized killing. Until people stop being afraid to speak up, the “shelters” will maintain business as usual, and the killing will continue.

      1. Have you done this at any shelters, or is this a more theoretical “what I would do in that situation” kind of post? What was the reaction if so?

  18. We need to go to more than just the media, we need to go to CONGRESS, we need to change the laws, we need to go to the root of the problem..ENFORCE spay/neutering by LAW and MICROCHIPPING as well for every pet owner. Education is not enough…ppl know they should spay and neuter and yet they still don’t do it, they make excuses not to do it. More capture and release programs to get strays spayed/neutered as well need to come into play. These are the only ways we are going to address the bigger problem. With all of us writing to Congress, starting petitions, etc, we CAN change the laws and stop these kill shelters from NEEDING to “get rid” of excess animals…by addressing the root of the problem and making human beings face the reality of their own choices. This is a problem that human beings have caused, it is our responsibility to fix this problem.

    1. Bethany – Putting mandatory spay-neuter laws on the books has been tried in numerous areas. It has not ended the killing of shelter pets or even significantly decreased the killing anywhere it’s been tried. In some places, it has actually increased the killing. There is a set of programs, called the No Kill Equation, which has ended the killing of healthy/treatable shelter pets in dozens of communities around the country. Would you be interested in learning more about this?

  19. Shirley thanks for this article. I have a case in point that I found severely vexing. I addressed these exact concerns ALL of which apply to a group that you would least expect them to, Pet Pardons. They exemplify this and have even veered off into scams as a result. Read the exact on point details with links here It is an even more disingenuous stealth attack coming from “friendly fire”, from a group whose ONLY stated goal is to end shelter deaths, but aligns themselves with and protects kill shelters while never promoting No Kill and of course only blaming the irresponsible public. They also support Peta and Hsus. Their attorney was called the butcher of Chicago – a pet killer in her own right when she was Director of Chicago AC (recently fired for alleged abuse). Just today a rescue forwarded me some very disturbing videos Ashley Owen Hill posted highlighting their skewed views. You can see them on the Pet Advocates Network Page on FB. They have over 500000 followers so this needs to be addressed. Furthermore, today I noticed Pet Pardons Community FB page from July 9th post their support of Mandatory SN Laws with a huge plea and details for getting them passed in your states. Unfortunately not one of their fans took exception to that, because they trust them to do what’s right for pets. I was banned some time ago from commenting on Pet Pardons or Chris Hoar’s page from bringing up all of the exact concerns listed in your blog today. That prompted me to investigate them further since their stated mission and their hypocritical actions were so unsettling. I couldn’t believe what I uncovered and am continuing to discover. Maybe after reading the details others can comment as well. You could read more on the other aspects of their questionable alliances,positions and outrageous behavior here in my subsequent blogs regarding them and their continuing cohorts. There is also audio of their horrifying violent type threats they make against genuine rescues that want to expose them.There are now other journalists investigating them as well.At best they believe in the archaic adage to save a few but kill the rest with a twist ( making money, fame and ego boosts off the shelter pets plight). We already know the cure to Pet Pardons singular mission “To End the Killing & No More Homeless Pets by January 1, 2015”. My conclusion at this point is Pet Pardons (and other posers like them) failure to support the the No Kill Equation, of which they are well aware, (see my blogs) to continue to promote myths like pet overpopulation that they know facilitate death in kill shelters and only focus on blaming the public when they know better, means one thing. To eradicate shelter killings would put them out of business.

  20. Shirley you took the words off of my page! I have been working on a post about the “friends of” pages here in the Phoenix area. They enable the killing, letting people vent about the irresponsible public and banning those that point out who actually is doing the killing. The Friends of Arizona Shelter Animals and the Pinal County Animal Shelter Animals Need You pages and I’m sure, many other pages around the country are promoting killing whether they think they are or not. Thanks.

  21. You are way off base. So don’t save two of them out of 10 if you can’t save all 10?…which means they will kill all 10! That’s nuts. And you give no solutions either. County shelters are controlled by county commissioners and run by Sheriff Departments, most of whom don’t want to do the job to begin with. As Nathan points out in his book, these shelters exists to house and kill animals for the lowest possible cost. Would you also have not wanted any of the good Germans to save a few Jewish people when they had the chance during the Nazi regime? Believe me after fighting for change county shelters for years, I know how slow it is and what you’re up against – unions, heartless people, county commissioners who have no clue what’s going on, budget problems…Just by being at the shelter, rescues also become the eyes and ears of what is going on. What solutions do you propose? None. The shelters are the killers, plain and simple and the rest of us do what we can under their tyrannical reign.

  22. I couldn’t agree more, i’ve been following you and the NO KILL MOVEMENT for a long time now. I’m in animal rescue and am a volunteer for a great No Kill rescue. What I do run into is how divided Animal Rescue is on this topic..the people who say “NO KILL NATION ” is impossible are the ones that say we need to push for more spay neuter laws, while, yes I do agree that is obvious. The problem is already here, animal overpopulation. Too late , they are already born, so now we have a decision to make, to try to stand up for the voiceless who have a right to life!! or let these power hungry, poorly run shelters, with directors that don’t care and it’s nothing but a pay check, and they are kill factories !!! A lot of times these poorly run shelters, some with more funding than others, make it so hard for Rescues to pull, all the loop holes, “only certain” rescues can pull, or you need a “puller’ to pull for the legit rescue, and if a certain breed, a lot of times “rescue pull” only, even if the animal is NOT aggressive at all. Which is Breed discrimination..then by the time , the rescue gets a “puller” ect..and jumps through all the loop holes, guess what, the animal is already dead. Could go on and on ..there are some in very rural areas that I know for a fact are lining their pockets with ‘UP FRONT” donations , not knowing if the animal will make it or not, then the animal is dead and the “claim” the $ is transferred to the next death row animal and so on, the cycle continues. The mainstream public needs to be made aware of these horrific shelters that our tax $ are paying for and the daily slaughter of healthy animals lives. IT’S WRONG, NO KILL NATION IS THE ONLY WAY.there are power in numbers…i

  23. As long as some, perhaps many, rescues and rescuers are making a living off of donations (and a lot of this nonsense could and would stop if enough people filed complaints to the states attorney generals offices for the rescues who are only registered with a state as a “not-for-profit” entity, and also complaints to the IRS if a rescue is registered with the state and also with the IRS as a 501c3 tax exempt entity – many are not registered with the IRS because it costs a lot more money, and they do not want to be scrutinized by the IRS either – for non-profit fraud, fund-raising fraud, income tax fraud if they are not registered with anyone, etc) coming in to “pull” dogs from “kill shelters” and doing “cherry picking” or “selective rescue” of animals they know they can re-home for a fee and won’t be stuck with as unadoptable, receiving the accolades, having their egos boosted, receiving awards, etc, that is the reason why many do not try and tout “no kill” because they would lose stuff that is important and essential to them.

    Rescue is BIG BUSINESS to many it would appear, and if the threat of the animal dying, whether dog, horse, llama, etc, isn’t there, the donation dollars would dry up as they usually do when an animal is “safe” and not threatened by death in various ways, and then the rescuers who live off of rescue would have to go out and get real jobs and would be a “regular rescuer” without the fanfare and hype that goes hand-in-hand with how many rescues do things, and also what they are addicted to as well.

    I think some people start into rescue with good intentions and their hearts in the right place, however, once human nature, behavior, and emotions take over of being greedy, egotistical, being jealous, envious, and competitive with others, I’m noticing that some, perhaps many, rescuers are not in it for the animals any more, and if they were forced to rescue behind-the-scenes, without their posse’s and true believer cult followers (all by their little lonesomes in other words), and with no fanfare or money coming in, I don’t believe they would rescue at all.

  24. I posted in other forums that I don’t agree that we are enablers of killing if we don’t speak out. The silence is deafening.

    I think the post is adversarial, and is divisive to our rescue community. I’m really surprised Nathan Winograd would even make such a case/accusation. I can foresee people accusing you of enabling if you do not back their accusations, and these same people refuse to provide evidence and are only seeking drama and attention. “If you aren’t for us, then you are against us” is a bad way to run a campaign.

    Do I think that we should speak out? Yes, but only what we have witnessed and can hopefully produce evidence. So many times I have read people’s’ complaints on FB about abuses, but do not post evidence nor do they make a formal complaint to the shelter or the county board.

    I have heard complaints from various members of the community, but that is only hearsay. I have not seen anything myself. If I refuse to get on a particular person’s bandwagon does that mean I am enabling? NO.

    There is a distrust between the shelter and the rescue community, and I do not want to add to it.

    1. If you read NW’s comment on this post, you will see that he disagrees with it. If you read my post, you will see that I am not talking about people who refuse to stand behind empty accusations made on FB (something I do not support either).

      1. I did. I did read the comment. I read it again today. Then I went back to the original quote prefacing your article. Which do we believe? Which do we follow?

        Is this was you really believe or are you trying to stir the pot? That doesn’t have to be a bad thing if it promotes genuine discussion on this topic. It wasn’t presented as that, though.

        I fear this approach: “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.” This can be so abused. Will the right people be in the lead?

        “Our battle for a No Kill nation is not against the public. It is against the cowards of our movement who refuse to stand up to their colleagues and friends running shelters that are mired in the failed and defunct philosophies that allow (indeed, cause) killing. . . . It is against those who will not do for the animals that thing which is their solemn duty to do: to change themselves and to demand that their colleagues change, when that is what the situation calls for. “

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