These are some of the stories making headlines in animal protection:
Subscribers can also listen to the podcast above, which includes extended commentary on many of the issues, including a new study proving that shelters can safely adopt out 99% of dogs labeled “behavior.” In fact, most only require a minimum of intervention.
For those who want to skip the news and go straight to the main discussion, it begins at the 36:35 mark.
As more people turn to rescue and adoption and more shelters embrace progressive policies, the number of communities placing over 95% and as high as 99% of the animals is increasing:
Rio Blanco County, CO, is served by two shelters. Rangely Animal Shelter reported a placement rate of 98% for dogs, 93% for cats, and 100% for rabbits. The Town of Meeker reported a placement rate of 99% for dogs.
Wyandotte, MI, reported a 97% placement rate for dogs and 93% for cats.
Grand County, CO, reported a 95% placement rate for dogs, 96% for cats, and 100% for rabbits and other small animals.
Barry County, MI, reported a 93% placement rate for dogs and 95% for cats.
These communities and national data prove that animals are not dying in pounds because there are too many, too few homes, or people don’t want the animals. They are dying because people in those pounds are killing them. Replace those people, implement the No Kill Equation, and we can be a No Kill nation today.
In Washington, “The Renton City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that prohibits dogs sourced from puppy mills from being sold within the city” in pet stores. Pet stores can partner with shelters and rescue groups if they want to have animals.
Bans on the sale of commercially-bred animals in pet stores serve three purposes:
Encouraging people to adopt/rescue;
Educating the community about dog, cat, and rabbit abuse in mills; and,
Stopping that abuse.
And they work. “Nebraska Department of Agriculture records show that half of the state’s commercial dog and cat breeders have left the business” because of retail pet store sales bans.
Pet stores generally get their animals from Commercial Breeding Enterprises (CBEs), commonly known as ‘puppy mills.’ And CBEs engage in systematic neglect and abuse of animals, leaving severe emotional and physical scars on the victims. One in four former breeding dogs have significant health problems, are more likely to suffer from aggression, and many are psychologically and emotionally shut down, compulsively staring at nothing.
A local pet store says it will be forced to close, but this is misleading. Pet stores in other cities with similar bans thrive by partnering with rescue groups and shelters. How? Whenever anyone adopts an animal in these stores, not only is a life saved but the store benefits by having the new pet owner buy his/her needed supplies right then and there. And the pet store gains a new customer. PetSmart, Petco, and other pet stores have been doing it for years. It’s a classic win-win.
The No Kill Advocacy Center reports that staff veterinarians are increasingly pushing for policies that would increase killing, including demanding the ability to “exclusively dictate all euthanasia,” “restrict foster care,” and “limit treatment options.”
They claim that “Hospitals employ both a CEO and a medical director who reports to the CEO but is responsible for overall patient care.” They then claim that “shelter veterinarians should have the same authority to make decisions for patient care as the medical director in a human hospital.” They also argue that state law and American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) guidelines prohibit “interference with the professional judgment of a veterinarian.”
My new article explains why each of these arguments is legally and logically wrong, demonstrates why public policy and the veterinarian’s oath undermines their claims, and offers guidance on hiring, managing, and firing shelter veterinarians.
After two Davie, FL, police officers saved a dog from drowning in a canal, the town animal control officer tried to take the dog to Broward County Animal Care & Control, the county shelter. But Broward has embraced “Human Animal Support Services” (HASS). Under HASS, the shelter has closed its doors to strays, telling residents to leave the animals where they found them or care for them themselves.
Broward County’s director refused to accept the dog. The ACO for the town asked Broward’s director “if the officers should have left the dog to drown in the canal.” The director said, “yes, they should have left it if they did not have other accommodations prior to response.”
Against a backdrop of a possible scandal and an official complaint from the town of Davie, Broward County backed down and took in the dog. After scanning the dog for a microchip, they found one and contacted the owner, who picked him up within minutes.
Other animals have not been so lucky.
Similarly, Miami-Dade Animal Services has also embraced HASS, telling people who find dogs and cats to “put it back where you found it.” When a reporter asked them if this was true, they “confirmed that the shelter has instructed people who find stray animals on the streets to leave them in the area where they discovered them.”
And yet, when people try to step in and help, they are threatened by the city. According to a 74-year-old woman, “I kept seeing hungry cats pop up in the park, so I started feeding them. Once they got to know me, I’d put them in carriers and take them” for spay/neuter.
She adopted several of the cats herself, she says, and found families to adopt others. If cats were too feral to keep, she’d get them spayed/neutered and take them back to the park, where she fed them regularly. Instead of thanking her, Miami police banned her from the park on the threat of arrest. Under HASS-Miami, the animals are damned if you do, damned if you don't.