Congratulations on Getting Everything Wrong

This recent article in L.A. Weekly starts off with a terrible title and goes downhill from there:

Bad Dogs Die in L.A.’s Pound

Are they really so “bad” that they must be killed?  According to whom?  What about the “good” dogs – what happens to them?

Regarding manager Brenda Barnette who has reportedly driven some volunteers away from the pound:

“From the beginning, the people engaged in animal issues were deeply divided on Brenda,” says Ron Kaye, former editor of the Los Angeles Daily News, who as a blogger at has kept a watch on Animal Services. “She won over some segments — the classier segments.”

So anyone who doesn’t support the person in charge of needless pet killing at the pound has no class.  Nice.

Official “volunteers” work with specific shelters, and are generally calmer than “rescuers,” who tend to be older, single white women with boundless energy — and often uneasy relations with paid staff.

Oh gee, speaking of no class…

“I think she’s doing the best she can,” says Cheri Shankar, a donor and activist, who argues, with plenty of facts behind her, that zealous rescuers have hated every general manager the department’s ever had, from Dan Knapp to Jerry Greenwalt to Ed Boks. “If St. Francis of Assisi came to Los Angeles to run the shelter, rescuers would complain about him.”

Right.  Because rescuers just hate.  It’s not that all the previous managers have also killed pets instead of doing their jobs, inviting condemnation from people who believe they are wrong to kill, it’s that hysterical old white women who can’t find husbands just hate.

No-kill means killing 15 percent or so of animals.

No kill means saving every healthy/treatable pet at the shelter.  It’s not tied to a specific percentage although Nathan Winograd, director of the No Kill Advocacy Center, recently used the phrase “saving upwards of 95% of all animals” to describe the dozens of open admission no kill shelters in the U.S.

To reduce the killing, L.A. would have to persuade city residents to spay and neuter to prevent litters of animals. That means Animal Services — and by extension the City Council and Villaraigosa, who have cut its budget — would have to pay to better publicize and enforce a mandatory city spay-and-neuter law that’s widely ignored.

Right, MSN is failing in L.A. because it’s ignored.  Because otherwise, MSN would totally be working, even though it has never worked to significantly reduce the killing of shelter pets anywhere it’s been tried.  Ever.

“You can’t adopt your way out of the problem,” says Shawn Simons, who runs Kitty Bungalow Charm School for Wayward Cats[.]

Well yeah, you can – if anyone wanted to quit regurgitating the tired excuses of the past and open their eyes to the successes of the present.  No kill is happening – in the north, south, east and west.  It’s happening in large cities and rural communities.  It could be happening in L.A. – today, if anyone involved wanted it.

(Thanks Jan for the link.)

24 thoughts on “Congratulations on Getting Everything Wrong

  1. “it’s that hysterical old white women who can’t find husbands just hate.”

    Seriously? Is that why I got fired from volunteering at the shelter? I’ll have to let my Husband know!

  2. Geez, why can’t rescuers be more like the killing apologists, uh, I mean “volunteers” who accept the fact that shelters are really just slaughterhouses for America’s pets? Maybe if they got laid once in a while, they’d relax and see that all that killing is totally necessary and even a good thing for the animals!

    Maybe then they’d start baking some cupcakes for the shelter staff because all that killing is so hard on them and cupcakes are sure to make things better.

  3. What I find hilarious is when people come into the no-kill shelter I work at in New Orleans and say how sad it is that some of our dogs are still there after over a year has passed and pets shouldn’t be kept alive to live in a shelter for that long. I have heard this at least two times and my jaw drops every time. Yes it’s sad when they don’t find loving homes right away but how is being dead better than being in our shelter. The dogs don’t even know what they are missing out on. They get treats every day and warm blankets to lay on when it’s cold and fans blowing on them when it’s hot.

    1. Callie! You haven’t been following Ingrid let’s-wipe-out-all-domestic-pets Newkirk’s PETA logic have you! Or Wayne one-generation-and-out Pacelle’s HSUS vision for MSN. According to these two bright sparks pets are much safer/happier dead (Ingrid) and even shouldn’t have been born in the first place (Wayne).
      I don’t follow the crazies either so my three fosters have been here for over a year already (recovering from mange). The wagging smiling licking greetings tell me every morning that life aint so bad while waiting for forever homes that can see beyond the bald patches.

    2. Callie, how about submitting some of your long-timers to Shirley as Shelter Pet of the Day? Maybe we can help network these guys and help get them into homes for you!

    1. I propose the following: Drop a manager committed to no kill in there with full power to transform every shelter in the county immediately. Stop the killing, start saving every healthy/treatable pet. Then call the writer up and invite him over to cover the story.

      1. I just got an email from Brenda Barnette saying “It has been an amazing 2012 for the animals! At of the end of October, in addition to more adoptions, there were 3,500 fewer animals’ lives taken this year in L.A. city shelters than last year. That’s a huge achievement and a giant step toward No-Kill. Thank You Angelenos!

        There’s still one month left to achieve what we could once only dream about. Together, let’s close out 2012 on a high note – and make the month of December a No-Kill December!

        You can help make December the first month in LA history that the number of healthy or treatable animals killed in L.A. Animal Shelters is ZERO.”

        It will be interesting to see if they implement all of the programs and services of the No Kill Equation in order to achieve this goal, or if this just more rhetoric.

  4. Whoa. That’s a bingo card right there.

    Irresponsible public. Killing apologism. Spay/neuter offered as the sole responsible solution. Misrepresentation of no-kill as a statistical baseline. No mention of No-Kill as a management approach. Poor conditions and neglect at animal control facilities characterized as budgetary and workforce issues rather than animal welfare concerns. All check.

    I haven’t run into animal welfare activists – excuse me, ‘rescuers,’ with scare quotes – characterized as older hysterical single white women since the early 70s. And the Kaye quote about how it’s the classier elements who support the director? Nice. Add in Mr Aron’s coded reference towards the end to chis and pit bulls, and we’ve got hits on the racism, class-bias and sexism cards too!

  5. They just made the case for why MSN does NOT work, it is generally ignored by those they are targeting. Hint – if they are the “irresponsible public” then why expect them to heed the regulation. After all it is only the pets that pay – with their lives. In reality the reason people don’t s/n has been found to be lack of affordable services, maybe LA can focus again on that.

  6. Brenda was hired at LA because she took Seattle Humane Society to No-Kill. She was excited at the opportunity to increase the save rate and we in Seattle were excited for her. I have looked at the numbers for LA and her first year the killing actually increased. Looks like her attitude toward killing has changed entirely too or she just lied in the first place. Whatever, she needs to acknowledge that she is failing and everyone was pulling for her but we are going to call her out on her failing too, because this needs to change. Moreover, she needs to stop alienating the rescuers who are the animals’ lifeline out of there, regardless of their marital status. Otherwise, her kill rate will keep going up and up. Ugh. I am so incredibly disappointed in her. What she should be doing is asking for help, if she is running into issue. Yes, animal welfare is contentious, especially in this day and age and if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

  7. Does anyone have the entire e-mail from Brenda Barnette and/or the complete stats for the period she is referring to? Please either e-mail me or post here. Without the complete numbers, we’re in the dark as to what the truth is.

  8. May I put a bid in here to get some dogs from the Yonkers Animal Shelter put in as Pets Of The Day/Week. This shelter has almost zero adoptions, as far as I know it’s no-kill, the volunteers really care, the place is falling apart and I think they fix what they can themselves and contribute most of their own money for any “kindnesses” to the dogs.

  9. You’re absolutely right about the title being lousy & the article did go downhill from there. What hind of idiot writes an article like that?

    Bless those “single” rescuers. The pets & single men rescuers need more of them.

  10. In response to the percentage of lifesaving corresponding to No Kill, I have noticed that more and more shelters that are “aiming to be No Kill” are reporting their lifesaving rate as a percent of all pets with no distinction for healthy and treatable versus untreatable pets, and with a baseline of 90% being seeing as great by both the shelters and the communities. This makes no sense to me. For example, if all the pets coming in the shelter were healthy, and a shelter took in 1000 pets in a year, then 100 healthy cats and dogs were killed during that time at a shelter with a 90% lifesaving rate. Even one healthy or treatable pet being killed is unacceptable to me, and to the original cause of the No Kill movement. So why are these shelters that claim to be “aiming to be No Kill” not recording the state of the pets that are killed (healthy, treatable, or neither) in some cases, and just celebrating the 90% or 95% mark? Is it just because they are doing better than the vast majority of shelters, and probably less than 100 open-admission shelters have arrived at those lifesaving rates, and it is accepted as good enough? Is it because it indicates that they are “on their way” to true No Kill as they edge closer, but keep no real data on the pets to tell if that is the case? Or is there an uncomfortable shift now towards the 90% or 95% mark as close enough to No Kill to be labeled and considered No Kill? Sorry for this tangent, but I wanted your opinion on this possible trend.

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