Los Angeles Volunteers Urge Mayor to Reject Human Animal Support Services
News and headlines for May 13 - May 20, 2023
These are some of the stories making headlines in animal protection:
Over the objections of PETA, the Norfolk, VA, City Council approved a community cat ordinance to sterilize rather than kill cats. This is good news. A community cat program:
Improves the health of community cats;
Reduces intake and killing of community cats;
Reduces complaint calls to animal control;
Reduces illness in the shelter;
Reduces waste of taxpayer money on impound and killing; and,
Increases opportunities to expand the lifesaving of other animals.
By contrast, lethal methods not only harm cats, they also harm people. In The Impact of Lethal, Enforcement-Centred Cat Management on Human Wellbeing, study authors further found that the bond between caregivers and cats was “as strong as the bonds with their own pets” and that “the cats looked to them (the caregivers) to keep them safe and fed.” All the cats “had their names and personalities.”
So it is not surprising that caregivers suffer when officials kill the cats. That suffering was “significant,” leading to grief, trauma, poor physical health, and long-term psychological distress, including profound guilt, loss, and inability to eat.
PETA, whose actions demonstrate a callous disregard for the cats and their caretakers, wanted Norfolk, where it is headquartered, to continue its former trap-and-kill policy. This is unsurprising, as PETA staff round up to kill healthy cats, kittens, dogs, and puppies, defend abusive pounds, and have called for killing every dog identified as a “pit bull” in every “shelter” in America. They fight legislation to reform pounds and thus save more lives, demonize cats to encourage their killing, have a history of stealing and killing animals, as well as lying to people to acquire and kill their animals, and, according to a former employee, lie about the amount of barbiturates used to kill more animals “off book.” All told, PETA kills or causes to be killed upwards of 99% of animals rounded up while only adopting out 1%, despite over $80 million in annual revenues.
Why? As I explain in Why PETA Kills, my book, PETA officials believe that sharing one’s home subjects animals to bondage and oppression:
Let us allow the dog to disappear from our brick and concrete jungles — from our firesides, from the leather nooses and metal chains by which we enslave it.
As PETA believes people are incapable of caring for animals and that those animals likewise cannot live on their own, animals are damned either way and killing them is a “gift.”
Which begs the question: why should anyone listen to PETA? Thankfully, the Norfolk City Council didn’t and voted 7-1 in favor of TNR.
In a strongly worded letter, volunteers asked Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass not to use Kristen Hassen, formerly of Austin Pets Alive, as a shelter “consultant.” They are concerned that Hassen will promote Human Animal Support Services to city leadership, which she helped develop in Austin. They also fear she will recommend a HASS crony for the position of General Manager of the Los Angeles city pound.
In their letter, they noted that under HASS, “shelters”:
Limit hours of public access
Force the public to make appointments (50% fail to show)
Instruct people dropping off strays to keep the animal or put them back where they found them
Force owners surrendering their pets to make an appointment (push them many months out)
Don’t allow healthy cats/kittens to enter, tell the public the cat is okay to live in the streets
Force the public into sheltering stray animals in their home
Only allow injured or dangerous animals into the shelters
Expect overburdened rescues and the public to do their job of sheltering and adoption
As a result, they say, HASS-partner shelters have a record of fewer adoptions, more killing, turning animals away (who have subsequently been found dead), and community discontent, citing Rochester, NY, Sacramento, CA, Dallas, TX, and El Paso, TX, as examples.
They close by telling the Mayor that they “are deeply concerned for the animals. They have suffered enough at the hands of HASS...”
I echo the concerns volunteers have about HASS. Last week, I discussed how the embrace of HASS has resulted in the Orange County, CA, shelter going from bad to worse. I also noted that similar problems exist in Sacramento, Contra Costa, Riverside, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Antonio, El Paso, Rochester, New York City, and Los Angeles.
In that article, I also discussed how it isn’t just neglectful and abusive pounds embracing change for the worse. Animal shelters in Austin, TX, Rosenberg, TX, Reno, NV, Palm Springs, CA, Charlottesville, VA, Spokane, WA, and others used to be at the forefront of the No Kill movement with placement rates of 95% or better and as high as 99%. Unfortunately, that is no longer true.
Bowie, a shy 15-week-old puppy, was killed by the Los Angeles County pound, despite a rescue group willing to save him. AB 595, Bowie’s Law, was introduced to ensure that animals like him, who have a place to go, would be spared by requiring California shelters to notify rescuers 72 hours before killing an animal. And given that such notifications are possible through shelter software already used by these facilities or available for free, complying would have required nothing more than a stroke on a keyboard: one click to notify rescuers that a life needed saving.
AB 595 was such a simple, commonsense law it is astonishing that anyone opposed it. But it was opposed by the National Animal Control Association, the ASPCA, Best Friends, and others. And because of that opposition, it died in the California Assembly. Which means animals will continue to die needlessly along with it.
From the author:
Although it is a sweet story for kids, there is an important point in the plot’s backstory for adults. You’ll find a brief mention in the book that a different family had previously adopted Murray from a shelter. What I’d like to share is that although the home with three kids and many other animals was not Murray’s dream home, it was still preferable to the fate an older and large cat like Murray would face in a shelter if not adopted at all.
But every shelter has its own rules; some will not give an animal to a family with young children. Many insist there can be no possibility of certain animals ever going outside (regardless of the setting), and they often require that someone be home an unreasonable number of hours every day. These and other stringent rules result in many animals never being placed, and a very sad ending for them may follow.
That is why a portion of royalties for this book will be donated to Nathan Winograd’s nokilladvocacycenter.org. This organization provides solid support and a step-by-step guide for animal shelters to vastly improve their pet placement rate. Mr. Winograd, from whom an introductory quote is included in my book, has spent decades of work in this sphere. His successful efforts might be the very reason that Murray had a chance to find us and bless our lives with his presence.
Do you have what it takes to save lives?
The following communities are looking for someone to run their shelters or other animal protection groups: