ASPCA and HSUS Fight Against No-Kill Goal?

by Mary Haight on March 19, 2009

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San Francisco, once at the vanguard of the “no-kill” movement, was in 1993 stopped in its pursuit of a no-kill city.  Shocking to many to discover that it was the HSUS and the ASPCA who were the agents behind the failure.  It is not a subject or position that you will find on their websites.  ASPCA called the idea of a no-kill city a “hoax,” and HSUS conducted a multi-year campaign against it.  So reports Nathan Winograd, who covered the1993 proceedings.  Winograd was there again, March 12, 2009, testifying at the request of the Animal Welfare Commission looking to enact legislation that would create the first no kill city.  And again ASPCA and HSUS were there to testify against it.

San Francisco is once again seeking to be on the cutting edge of animal welfare by instituting the Companion Animal Protection Act (CAPA), handing mandated guidelines to shelters that will ensure that before killing an animal the following requirements are met:

l. There are no empty cages, kennels, or other living environments in the shelter;
2. The animal cannot share a cage or kennel with another animal;
3. A foster home is not available;
4. Rescue groups have been notified and are not willing to accept the animal;
5. The animal is not a feral cat subject to sterilization and release;
6. The director of the agency certifies he or she has no other alternative.

This is something to testify against? These guidelines do not appear to be burdensome, indeed, most people might expect that such common sense measures would already be in place.  But according to Winograd’s report, this is not the case.  Instead of working to the highest welfare and protection of animals, ASPCA and HSUS are working to protect the rights of Animal Care and Control and the SPCA to operate at their own discretion.  And so while publically claiming all their agencies are doing all they can to reduce kill numbers, it would seem that is not true.  Otherwise, why fight such a clear, easy- to- follow mandate? ASPCA and HSUS fight against the No-Kill goal. This is shockingly poor judgment that reveals an untenable position from a fundraising perspective.  Was it their thinking that no one would notice? We welcome a position statement from principals.  Read Winograd’s thorough and important report for more.

On Another Track Down This Road…

What I find particularly interesting, even exciting, is that the Companion Animal Act would ensure that “No-Kill” would be an achievable, inexpensive goal for cities, especially now when budgets are so strained they can’t afford to fill potholes, repair infrastructure, or rehab crumbling schools. 

It is, in fact, the basic formula that is followed in Chicago under the umbrella of the Chicago Animal Shelter Alliance (CASA).  It is this Alliance that has brought fantastic results in the City’s save rate.  CASA has been around for around 6 years, and in that time kill rates have been cut in half to the very low 20,000’s (more available as soon as I get stats)!  I’ve wanted to hear from other cities whose shelters are working together to see what gold has been spun from nothing more than good will (well, maybe it’s not that easy).

Also noted in Winograd’s report is the news that following the CAPA guidelines means that legislation currently pushed by HSUS, like the highly ineffective, multi-million dollar boondoggle known as Mandatory Spay Neuter (or Pet Protection Act—a skunk by any other name,..),would be easily seen for what it is, unnecessary.

 Of course, this is what the current fight in Chicago is all about—and it will be coming to your city soon, so take note.  Unfortunately for Chicago, PAWS and HSUS have the money and influence to gain the ear of the Mayor, so the chatter goes, and they are still pushing their unfathomable agenda as I write. 

Simple, inexpensive solutions are what’s needed, not a patchwork of ineffective, expensive mandates that have not worked anywhere else–oh yes, except that one place that was reported to have deliberately rigged its numbers by not using actual shelter statistics! 

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Margo Milde
Margo Milde

Thank you for your kind words supporting us here in Chicago. Actually to answer your question, here are the euthanasia figures for Chicago for 2006 and 2007, from the CASA website: 2006: Dogs: 7,625 Cats: 13,037 Total: 20,662 2007: Dogs: 6,290 Cats: 10,477 Total: 16,767 Sources: 2007: 2006: (Both years adjust for owner requested euthanasias which should not be included in the final total.) As you have noted in other writings on your website, not only are pet breeders and owners opposed to Chicago Mandatory Spay/Neuter (MSN), but also our State and City professional veterinary associations, and five member shelters of the CASA (Chicago Animal Shelter Alliance) coalition. The only shelter that openly supports the proposed MSN ordinance is PAWS Chicago, whose director, Paula Fasseas, is the lead financial and ideological proponent of the MSN idea here in our City. Not to get too heavy into the numbers, but there are some striking comparisons for the 2006 and 2007 CASA figures: 1. Shelter admissions of cats and dogs dropped from 42,479 in 2006, to 40,555 in 2007 – a 4.5 % decline. For dogs only, the numbers went from 19,544 in 2006 to 17,904 in 2007, or an 8.4 % drop. 2. Despite the decrease in shelter admissions, adoptions rose slightly, from 11,378 in 2006 to 11,460 in 2007. 3. The total number of dogs euthanized fell from 7,625 in 2006 to 6,290 in 2006, a 17.5 % decline. Of these 6,290 dogs euthanized in 2007, 5,041, or more than 80 %, were deemed by the CASA “unhealthy and untreatable”, making their adoption potential relatively low. 4. According to the CASA figures, in all of 2007, there were only 445 healthy dogs euthanized in Chicago shelters, while 736 were euthanized in 2006, for a whopping 40 % decrease. Because Cook County, in which Chicago is located, enacted (in late 2007) a new law favoring the establishment of feral cat colonies under a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) policy, it is also expected that feral cat numbers, which make up a large portion of the cat intakes and euthanasias, will be decreasing in Chicago as well, since TNR has been so successful in lowering feral cat populations in other regions where it’s been utilized. But the years 2006 and 2007 are just the continuation of a long term trend. According to a webpage on the Chicago Anti-Cruelty website: Between 2003 and 2005, Chicago’s citywide euthanasia rate dropped 12 % and shelter admissions fell by 11 %, making Chicago (at 6.9 %) only next to Denver (5.9 %) as the city with the lowest per capita euthanasia rate in the non-coastal United States. The Chicago shelter community should be applauded for the wonderful work that they do. But instead, Chicago MSN backers such as PAWS Chicago’s Paula Fasseas cite “pet overpopulation” as a major reason for the need to institute MSN in Chicago. This is a serious affront to the dedicated shelter employees and rescue groups who have worked so hard in reducing these shelter figures. It is even more ironic considering that MSN has been such an utter failure wherever else it has been tried, increasing both shelter intakes and euthanasia rates instead of lowering them. Therefore, there is a burning need to get these accurate figures out to whoever will take a look at them, and tell the real truth about Chicago. Chicago, and its pets, does not need, desire, or deserve the perversity known as Mandatory Spay/Neuter. Margo Milde Co-Founder, Alliance for Chicagoland Pet Owners

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