Quentin D. Anderson Sr.
No kill shelters best
In the last decade and a half, several animal shelters in numerous communities have comprehensively implemented a bold series of programs and services to reduce birthrates, increase adoptions, and keep animals with their responsible caretakers. As a result, they are achieving unprecedented results, saving upwards of 95 percent of all impounded animals in their animal control facilities.
Some of these communities are in urban communities, and others are in rural communities. Some are in very politically liberal communities, and others are in very conservative ones. Some are in municipalities with high per capita incomes, and others are in communities known for high rates of poverty. These communities share very little demographically.
What they do share is leadership at their shelters with a passion for lifesaving and who have comprehensively implemented a key series of programs and services, collectively referred to as the “No Kill Equation.”
At one time, those communities also offered little more than killing and excuses: pet overpopulation, blaming the public, a lack of resources. When they stopped blaming and changed their own behavior, the killing stopped. There is still a “public” in these communities, animals are still entering their shelters, and resources are tight. But they are succeeding, where ours is failing.
The fundamental lesson from the experiences of these communities is that the choices made by shelter managers are the most significant variables in whether animals live or die. Several communities are more than doubling adoptions and cutting killing by as much as 75 percent—and it isn’t taking them five years or more to do it. They are doing it virtually overnight. This is consistent with the results in other communities. There are now No Kill communities in California, Kentucky, Indiana, New York, Michigan, Texas, Nevada, Virginia, and elsewhere. In short, there are no valid excuses as to why our community cannot do the same if it chooses to.
Today, No Kill is a humane, sustainable, cost-effective model that works hand in hand with public health and safety, while fulfilling a fiscal responsibility to taxpayers. The success of this approach across the country proves the viability of the No Kill model and the above principles. In our community, it is time for change. It is time to reject the failed philosophies and poor performance of the past. It is time to end the killing at our shelter. Our citizens are kind, caring, and generous. We love animals. And we deserve an animal shelter that reflects, rather than undermines, our values.