Monday, November 14, 2011

No-Kill - Money Matters, Behind The Numbers

Anyone who has read the various attacks by the no-kill movement knows about how they believe a shelter that doesn't meet their definition of no-kill needs to be the one that does. I think it's time to go behind the numbers of these claims.  How many of us have heard that CAPA will save states money, but the fact is many of the shelters they attack have in fact been transferring animals for years and the only reason more animals aren't transferred is because the no-kill organizations and small rescues aren't looking to take more anyway or do more themselves. 

Look at Delaware - the percentage of animals being taken in by Kent County SPCA has increased on a percentage basis over the last 5 years.  The no-kill groups have taken in less animals each year, placing a greater burden on one organization while many of them berate Kent County SPCA with negative attacks about the fact that they receive millions of dollars from Delaware tax payers.  Below is a screenshot of one of those attacks by No-Kill Delaware. 

Here is another one that is currently listed on the No-Kill Delaware website that reappeared miraculously this weekend.  Below is a quote and screenshot just in case it vanishes again:

"In 2007, Washoe County launched a No-Kill initiative with cooperation by Animal Control and the Nevada Humane Society. The intake was 15,855 animals that year, and they managed to save 85% of the animals.

KCSPCA could do that, too. They just have to want to do it,"

So the question becomes - why would Kent County SPCA make that choice?   The answer is simple, even though Kent County provides more services for the buck compared to any other shelter in the state, they don't get funding that is even close to being comparable to Washoe County & Nevada Humane.  So it's NOT their choice, it's that they are working within their means so they can continue to help animals for many years to come.  The simple term is sustainability.

Washoe County Regional Animal Services has an operating budget of $4.8 million a year, and in the last 2 years has spent an average of $4.2 million (pg 15).   Nevada Humane ending 12/31/09 had expenses totaling
over $3.5 million .  Keeping in mind that No-Kill Delaware is asking to Kent County SPCA to perform the duties that are currently under both these organizations to handle the same amount of animals, they have ignored the fact that these 2 agencies did that on a a total budget of $7.7 million.  Also keep in mind that Nevada Humane has had significant deficits each year as shown below, and any person with an ounce of business sense can see that this is not sustainable:
 2007 - (855,614)
 2008 - (237,365)
 2009 - (1,000,164)
Delaware Numbers in Comparison
Even if we choose to throw business principles aside and buy into the Washoe model above, we need to look at the numbers in Delaware to show how ridiculous the belief by the no-kill movement in Delaware is, that it can turn water into wine by just passing a law like CAPA.  Since Kent County SPCA has a finite amount of funding, the regulation just results in requiring more of their personnel time being taken up by paperwork, instead of additional adoption events, or other life saving or enhancing duties.

So lets compare the actual revenue of Kent County SPCA to the revenue of the 2 organizations that No-Kill Delaware wants them to perform similar duties to.  KCSPCA does have revenue that is equivalent to Nevada Humane only, at a little over $3.5 million.  So the question becomes does No-Kill Delaware actually believe in Rumpelstiltskin, and that Kent County SPCA can spin straw into gold to come up with the other $4.2 Million that Washoe County has at its disposal?? 

Also keep in mind that Kent County SPCA is handling a population base that is twice that of Washoe County (DE - 897,934 vs Washoe County - 421,407) meaning KCSPCA is handling more bite complaints, cruelty investigations, etc.

Delaware's No-Kill Community - Have They Stepped Up To The Plate
Let's first look at the revenue of all shelters that fall under CAPA.  Since No-Kill Delaware has made an issue of the $3.5 Million in revenue that KCSPCA has at it's disposal and the fact that part of comes from taz payers, No-Kill Delaware is right in that they have more revenue than any other shelter.  The issue is that they only receive 41% of the revenue, but are handling almost 74% of the animals while the No-Kill shelters take in less animals every year.

Delaware Shelter Revenue
(Last Tax Year Available on Guidestar)




% of Revenue

Delaware Humane




Delaware SPCA




Faithful Friends




Kent County SPCA




Safe Haven




Total Revenue


Delaware Shelter Intake Numbers
(from the various shelter websites)


Intake #

% of Intake

Delaware Humane



Delaware SPCA



Faithful Friends




Kent County SPCA




Safe Haven




(1) Used 7/1/10 thru 6/30/11 for Faithful Friends since they did
not have full 2010 year results listed on website

(2)  CAPA does not require
reporting of shelters until building completed - amt negligible

Delaware Shelter Revenue Summary

No-Kill Shelters Combined - all have limited intake policies and as a group have taken less animals each year for last 5 years
$5,099,093.00 - 58.72% of shelter revenue

Kent County SPCA - Animal Control and only full access shelter
3,585,370.00 - 41.28% of shelter revenue

Delaware Intake Summary

No-Kill Shelters Combined - 5,281 (25.55%)

Kent County SPCA - 15,388 (74.45%)

The numbers above show that No-Kill animal shelters take in almost 59% of revenue, they currently take in less than 26% of the animals.  As stated before, the number of animals that have been taken into No-Kill shelters has dropped each of the last 5 years.  So if the No-Kill shelters really wanted to handle more animals, why are they turning more and more people away each year?  They claim that rescue access needs to be legislated through CAPA, but they could have owner surrendered animals any day of the week if they wanted to, but they instead turn them away. 

What is amazing to me is the double speak that we hear from the No-Kill national leadership.  Back on the 8/21 Animal Wise podcast you hear Mike Fry and Nathan Winograd discussing Mike Fry's bet that Delaware will be the first No-Kill state, and Nathan Winograd claiming that only one shelter stood in the way.  Then on the 10/30 podcast you can hear Mike Fry complaining about Animal Humane of MN limiting admission, and Nathan Winograd also chiming in on it being wrong for a shelter with the majority of the resources doing that without ramping up adoption opportunities and other programs.  Well the fact is, the No-Kill shelters in Delaware do make up the majority of resources and they have taken in less animals each year, so I have to wonder why the double standard?  Maybe they just don't know the numbers here, but if that's the case they shouldn't be speaking in a state of ignorance.

If the law was not really about rescue access since No-Kill shelters are taking in less animals, then it seems the ultimate goal is to break the back of the Kent County SPCA so that the counties will be faced with building animal control facilities of their own eventually.  This is currently occurring in Delaware County PA when Delaware County SPCA decided to give up taking in animals as part of animal control.  Was the goal to have each of our 3 counties in the state be saddled with not only a scramble to build animal control facility like is occurring in Delaware County (taxpayer cost $1.2 Million), but to then also be saddled with the cost to operate which in Delaware County is expected to cost $1.6 Million a year, so there would be more space  to warehouse animals and additional personnel for the no-kill movement to harass into doing all the work?  If that is the case, it's shameful that Delaware's state legislators and Governor would play a game that may place a large unfunded mandate onto the backs of our county tax payers.  Remember, CAPA wasn't passed until the cost of animal control was transferred from the state to the counties.  I have to wonder if it was a calculated decision to wait until that change was made.

County officials and tax payers in Delaware need to start speaking up to their legislators and the governor before we eventually end up like Washoe County, and each county in Delaware is paying $4.2 Million towards animal control.  I'm all for supporting animal welfare monetarily and with my time, but it can be done in a much more responsible way with prevention services and adoption marketing.   As discussed before, New Hampshire is the only state that has even come close and that was done with low cost spay neuter and teamwork.