While places like Union Co, NC continue to go moldy, communities all around the south are defying stereotypes and adopting progressive no kill protocols.
In Spartanburg, SC, city ACOs used to pick up cats and take them to the pound where roughly 8 out of 10 would be killed. Area caretakers of feral cat colonies had a contentious relationship with the officers who would round up their maintained colony cats, along with other cats, and take them away for killing.
But late last year, Spartanburg Animal Services investigated trap-neuter-return for community cats and decided it was worth a try. Funded by a grant, the city’s ACOs launched the program in January 2013. They are on track to meet their goal of providing neuter and vaccination services to 750 feral cats this year. The feline kill rate has dropped to virtually zero in 2013 thanks to TNR and the relationship with the community has bloomed into a supportive and useful one. And Spartanburg Animal Services has been educating the masses via its Facebook page on which they document their outstanding TNR success.
In North Carolina, Lincoln Co animal advocates successfully lobbied their county commissioners for shelter reform. Citing the will of the people to save shelter pets instead of killing them, commissioners unanimously voted this month to adopt the programs of the No Kill Equation:
“We are excited about leading the way in the state of North Carolina, through our commitment to become a no kill municipal shelter,” said Alex Patton, chairman of the county commissioners. “It is the right decision and one shared by the majority of our citizens.”
In Calhoun Co, AL, an advisory board was formed after concerns were raised about animal cruelty and botched killings at the pound. The county is now slated to turn pound operations over to a non-profit group with goals for significant improvements:
“I kept hearing from the previous board that it’s impossible to be a no-kill shelter,” [board member and attorney Tom] Wright said. “That’s not right to me, because that should be your goal. That’s what we want to work towards.”
Makes sense to me.
So even as many old-think shelter directors and politicians in the south remain mired in the killing ways of decades gone by, more and more southern communities are throwing off the yoke of archaic practices and starting to look at what makes sense: Animals shelters should shelter animals. The public does not want animals in shelters killed.
No kill is not only possible, it’s happening in hundreds of communities all over the country. Regressive directors and their enablers will continue to see their stranglehold on shelters eroded as more advocates take political action and the public continues to be educated about lifesaving alternatives. And when history reflects upon those who fought to keep killing in the south and elsewhere, they will find themselves a mere Meisterburger footnote at the end of the chapter entitled “Compassion and Common Sense”.