Sunday, April 1, 2012

Millions of Dollars & Common Sense

I wanted to take some time to address todays announcement of a new publication by the No Kill Advocacy called Dollars & Sense - The Economic Benefits of No Kill Animal Control.  I see that No-Kill Delaware is already excited about the publication, and encouraging people to send the link to their county and city officials.  So I want to show those same officials the reality. 


One of the first things I noticed was the absence of Austin TX in the publication.  Since Austin has been discussed in my various posts on this blog, and I addressed the sustainability issue at Working to Help Animals, there is no need to address that issue further.  I guess the advocacy center did not want to explain away the fact that Austin's budget has been increasing over half a million every year.

Reno - Washoe County, NV

The advocacy has chosen to now make Reno their highlighted community in this publication. 
"In just one community, a No Kill initiative yielded $250,000 in increased revenues at a time the shelter also significantly reduced expenditures....Before Reno’s No Kill initiative, the shelter adopted out less than 5,000 dogs and cats every year. The remainder was put to death at great cost to taxpayers and donors. In 2010, as death rates declined, the number of animals adopted doubled to just under 10,000 adoptions. In addition to a cost savings of roughly $200,000 associated with killing, adoption fees brought in almost $250,000 in additional revenues." - NoKill Advocacy, The Economic Benefits of No Kill Animal Control
I've addressed Reno in previous posts, but I want to look at the numbers more in depth to address the reality that the Reno No-Kill initiative that began in 2006 has not saved taxpayer dollars, it has cost them millions.  Whether you look below at their Regional Animal Services expenses alone (2005 at $3,179,173 vs 2010 at $4,244,328)  or in combination with Nevada Humane (2005 at $5,347,996 vs 2010 at $7,816,195), the reality is that the No-Kill initiative is costing them millions more than before and that is the reality.

Nevada Humane
 Revenue
 Expenses
2004
             3,410,457.00
          3,007,114.00
2005
             4,864,256.00
          2,168,793.00
2006
          2,667,227.00
          3,667,694.00
2007
          2,206,609.00
          3,062,223.00
2008
          3,438,898.00
          3,676,263.00
2009
          2,454,312.00
          3,545,476.00
2010
          3,277,896.00
          3,571,867.00
Washoe Regional Animal Services
 Revenue
 Expenses
2004
          3,693,216.00
           2,920,972.00
2005
          3,982,409.00
          3,179,173.00
2006
          5,510,841.00
          3,318,141.00
2007
          5,297,703.00
          4,132,631.00
2008
          5,561,106.00
          4,512,437.00
2009
          5,173,898.00
          4,428,917.00
2010
          5,103,791.00
          4,244,328.00
Combined Washoe County / Nevada Humane
 Revenue
 Expenses
2004
          7,103,673.00
          5,928,086.00
2005
          8,846,665.00
          5,347,966.00
2006
          9,178,535.00
          6,985,835.00
2007
          7,504,312.00
          7,194,854.00
2008
          9,000,004.00
          8,188,700.00
2009
          7,628,210.00
          7,974,393.00
2010
          8,381,687.00
          7,816,195.00

So while the statement made by the NoKill Advocacy about $250,000 in additional revenues may not be an outright falsehood, it does not address the fact that those 5,000 additional animals are typically in shelter longer requiring care which equals veterinary expenses, salaries for workers to care for them, etc.  Those costs are evident in the increased expenses. 

The statement also ignores the fact that both Austin and Reno do promotions to keep animals moving out the door, and in some cases they are even giving promotional items like in the case of the promotion currently taking place that not only waives the adoption fee, but also gives the adopter a free pet fountain.  So not only did these animals cost the shelter additional resources that they aren't being reimbursed for, they are actually giving adopters a freebie to take the animal.  It amazes me that animal welfare has been warning pet owners about giving their animals to strangers for free forever, but now we are supposed to not be concerned that these free animals aren't going to become lab animals, bait dogs, and who knows what else. 


Sustainability

The new publication also states that No-Kill initiatives are sustainable.  Well this time instead of looking at the increased tax burden in Austin, I will look at the factor that most threatens the sustainability in Reno.  Since 2006 when the No-Kill initiative began, Nevada Humane has had an operating deficit each and every year, and some of those deficits have been susbtantial.   Non-profits aren't in the business to make money, but continual and susbstantial losses not only risks the sustainability of the No-Kill initiative, but also risks the sustainability as an ongoing business concern, and the animals certainly won't be better off if a shelter goes under. 

Nevada Humane
Deficits Since No-Kill Effort Began 2006
2004
               403,343.00
2005
            2,168,793.00
2006
          (1,000,367.00)
2007
             (855,614.00)
2008
             (237,365.00)
2009
          (1,000,164.00)
2010
             (293,971.00)

That has also been my concern with CAPA here in Delaware.  Kent County SPCA recently noted in a newspaper article that they lost $450,000 due to the added requirements of CAPA.  Looking at previous financials, the shelter ran fairly efficiently, excesses and deficits were held fairly low.  Now as a result of the Delaware No-Kill initiative, the future of our shelters hang in the balance.  Delaware SPCA began their no-kill journey in 2008, and they have also had susbstantial losses as well ever since then.  No-Kill advocates threaten the viability of our shelters to remain going concerns, and if these shelters succumb as a result of continual losses, it's the animals that will suffer.  Animal care is not free and I do think there are shelters that aren't paid adequately for their service, but as a public service it also needs to be fiscally responsible and show it can be sustained over the long term. 

Economic Impact

I do have to say I found one part of the document laughable.  The statement is shown below.  Since I've already addressed the inaccuracy of the cost savings, and you can see by the revenue numbers that they have in fact gone down since 2005 for Reno, I guess there is no added benefit and only additional costs.
"Moreover, the positive economic impact of economic spending by adopters on those animals to community businesses totaled over $12,000,000 in annual sales. With an average lifespan of roughly 11 years per animal, the total revenues to community businesses over the life of those pets could potentially top $120,000,000. The number is substantially higher given that those impacts are exponential (in Year Two, businesses would benefit from two years worth of adoptions; in Year Three, they would benefit from three years of adoptions; etc.). In addition, not only do those businesses then employ people who turn around and spend even more, all these activities also bring in badly needed tax revenues. At an average 6% rate, adoptions over a ten-year period could potentially bring in over $20,000,000 in sales tax alone.

While many of these economic benefits will be realized regardless of where people get their animals, cost savings and other revenues will not be realized". - NoKill Advocacy, The Economic Benefits of No Kill Animal Control
But the part that I find most amusing is the economic impact analyis.  As stated, the pet product sales and associated sales tax impacts are realized whether a person gets an animal from a breeder or a shelter, but it also provides breeders with this same argument and the breeders in fact have the additional economic impact of sales revenue from selling puppies.  Needless to say, I think we as a community are more than willing to give up the revenue that puppy mills bring to communities, but I just found it amusing that the advocacy group wanted to use the large numbers for shock and awe, but in the end that statement said absolutely nothing.

12 comments:

  1. Rancho Cucamonga, the shelter Winograd wants to forget about, went from $800,000 a year as of mid 06 to over $2 and a half million last year. They still have the same number of impounds, no reduction. Winograd sold his program to Rancho in several ways, one of which was that it was a money saver. He referred to the surplus he left at Tompkins County. There was no surplus, there was a deficit. He was caught with his pants down in front of the Rancho City Council. Here's a run down of that.

    http://workingtohelpanimalstodaytomorrow.blogspot.com/2010/10/tompkins-county-deficit.html

    Now on this post note the comments. http://workingtohelpanimalstodaytomorrow.blogspot.com/2009/01/infamous-tompkins-county-spca-deficit.html

    Winograd knows his program cannot be sustained, he was seeing that in Tompkins. He was seeing other things as well and left before the s**t started hitting the fan.

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  2. I have tried to post before and it doesn't take, so this is a test.

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  3. Okay, I'll let Oreo know, she couldn'g get on either. One of the many points we both wanted to make was the hidden cost of doing business with this type of "partner" It's like partnering with a homeless person; their heart may be in the right place but they are broke.

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  4. There are so many hidden costs to No Kill, the best bookeeper couldn't catch them all. The first is the shift of service burden. As Animal Control becomes on big happy adoption agency, field services is out the door. Non- profits are always just a " few dollars short" so they raid AC clinic. There is much more, but first we need to see if this allows me to get on.

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  5. @ Solitude, I can see by your typos you must be having as much fun with this page as I am. This is my 4th try :)
    Our set-up in Washoe County is differnt than many other places because the agencies share the same building. It's owned by the County and NHS leases a portion. It's through that lease agreement that so many obscure boundries get broken. Animal Control has cadavers going to the renderer or the crematorium, it's very easy for NHS to just put theirs on the pile. That has happened on more than one occassion. Animal Control had a clinic to care for strays which was always full of NHS cats waiting to be neutered and abandoned on the streets. They frequently " borrowed " supplies which were never replaced. Feral cat programs are very costly to the community, with property damage and citizen complaints. Also in the high volume world of juvenile neutering, some get missed, we have a lot of one eared pregnant cats, those are brought to Animal Control, again costing taxpayer money to process them for the NHS cat sanctuary, down the hall. If you read the NHS pages one could think they own the building, but they are just renters and not good at maintenance which is another hidden cost to the county. I have check my list and come back, I know there is a lot more.

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  6. Looking at many of the non-profits doing business as AC agencies back east I see the potential for low balling and then taking the jurisdiction hostage. Tompkins has survived for years doing that.
    The problem as I see it lays with the fact they want the privileges of law enforcement without the credentialing process. I feel if they are going to do work that could impinge on a persons livlihood or personal property issues, they should be subject to prr's. I am very against puppy mills and pet shops, but I don't think we can allow a group of vigilantes to run them out of business without proof of lawbreaking. The pspca is in the news frequently over that.
    Getting back on topic, the public pays for these frioelous publicity stunts. No Kill will aways subjugate field services to adoption, and that is no way to run AC.

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    1. The PSPCA manager came from NHS, it's the sense of entitlement that goes with no kill. It does bother me that my emails to the person who runs our shelter can be called into play, but I have learned to factore that in. Perhaps the shelters could put disclaimer at the bottom of the signature. " This correspondence is subject to public records request, do not include personal information"

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  7. To be honest, I don't know how shelters can even handle field services in the current climate. When you look at our No Kill Delaware http://nokilldelaware.org , they are tying up animal control with more custody issues than ever before by calling our CAPA the shelter standards.

    Can anyone imagine 30 years ago seeing so-called animal advocates yelling for an emaciated dog suspected of being a bait dog to go back to a rescue and foster that was caring for it when it ended up in that that condition? I think one of the reasons field services is going out the door is a direct result of the no-kill movements constant games like this, not just as a result of other initiatives that are pulling funds away from field services. How can anyone investigate cruelty in a case like this when the opposition is making complaints to law enforcement agencies against them and filing lawsuits constantly?

    Here's another fine example of how ridiculous it's gotten in Delaware http://nokilldelaware.org/id49.html - This person claims animal control officers were burying animals across the street from her. Now seriously, who doesn't have a camera or video recorder to document if this really was happening just across the street, especially if she is the animal advocate she claims to be. These kind of fictional games just undermine ACO's authority, so I agree with everyone about the fact that there are costs that can't even be calculated in how much this is costing our communities. And sadly it's not just monetary, the movement is also costing animals their safety and well being, because cruelty investigations will become more difficult and the collaboration that is needed to handle larger cruelty cases like dog fighting rings is extremely unlikely in this climate.

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  8. @ whomever wanders here. I think with the use of "The No Kill Advocacy" verbiage, clarification is needed. For those who have not yet taken an indepth look at it. the "Advocacy"BOD is Mr. Winograd and his wife, although she is only a partime board member. From time to time he will add Bonney Brown of the Nevada Humane Societ for an hour or so a month, which since she is out of state is a bit odd. The address used on his business correspondes in a Mailbox etc in a strip mall. Google really can enlighten people. Mr. Winograd does not make millions for speaking, because he is not paid most of the time, he does get free transport. He is purveyor of poorly written books, and as Patty Ruland of the Austin Chronicle said, " a walking info-mercial " Officials who are considering this type of shelter model must do research Ms Patty Ruland's Austin Chronicle series ( sadly Austin did not ) Craig Malisow of the Houston Press, or Mike Stark's No Kill or Torture ? on the Huffington Post. This is not to denigrate Mr. Winograd or his intention, it's to give the public a true picture of the chances for sucess with this "plan". The whole concept is failed and more people need to read the fine print before signing on the dotted line. Do you really want a consult from someone who has never, never had one sucess?

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  9. In the Bay Area we have several shelters that take from the public, There are none that do not euthanize animals. Only differing forms of limiting the admissions process. Washoe County is the only area I have researched of it's population with no agency committed to taking animals from the public as owner surrenders. That's the reason for the abnormally high stray population. I also read the Craigslist for their zip 89502 as part of my work on my site. There are always people who have taken dogs from neighbors because the neighbors were moving and NHS turned them away. When these dogs are left in abandoned homes the burden is transferred to the public, much like your cat and bomb squad post. At my shelter we pull adoptable animals from the muni shelter, and then when we have room we take from the public. Longer stays do drive up costs with medical, enrichment, staff turnover from burnout and so far not mentioned, overcrowding is very hard on the building. Maintenence is much higher when buildings are at capacity, as are HVAC thus utilities.

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  10. Referencing the increased cost of operating WCRAS, looking at both the NHS and WCRAS " expenses" portion. Please note the increase in funding requireded by the county side as more and more responsiblilites were stealthly transferred to the County as NHS shifted its focus to adoptions only, in violation of it's contract. I'm certain our audit will find many things in need of enforcement or change.

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  11. I kept looking at 2009-2010 for Washoe expenses, trying to figure the lesser operational cost under Mitch, that is not like him.. I then realized that ACO Susan Moore died that year from Breast Cancer and ACO Michelle Lani was forced out. All of Mitch's cost cuts that I can find so far involve laying off ACO personnel.

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