Sunday, September 23, 2012

CAPA Has Not Saved Lives

It's been an another eventful month for Delaware animal welfare.

Delaware Humane

At the end of last month, No-Kill Delaware began their assault on another shelter in Delaware.  Delaware Humane put out a request for homes for some of their "hard to adopt" dogs.  DHA's Executive Director Patrick Carroll appears to have seen that some of their long term residents had behavior issues that weren't being resolved, and that the space they occupy take adoption opportunities away from many other more adoptable dogs that are euthanized in other shelters.  How many of the 2-3 thousand dog euthanized in Delaware during the year could have used that same space for an opportunity of not only life, but also more importantly a home?  And the director is correct, that a cage is not the place a dog should spend the rest of it's lifetime.
Dear Volunteer,
As you know, our mission is to find permanent placement for all of the animals in our care. A great number of dogs come in to the shelter and are placed in loving homes within a short period of time; however one of our greatest obstacles at this time is finding placement for a population of dogs that are “hard to adopt”. Currently we have a very large population of these dogs, making the situation very challenging. There are several reasons why some of our dogs are considered “hard to adopt”, including behavioral issues and medical issues and many of our hard to adopt dogs were originally adopted from DHA but returned for one of these reasons.
While we are an animal shelter, we are not an animal sanctuary and our facility is not conducive to keeping dogs healthy and happy for the span of their lifetime. Also, having multiple “hard to adopt” dogs in the kennel severely hinders DHA’s ability to intake more dogs that need rescue.
Our management team has compiled a list of the dogs as well as a strategy to find a solution for each individual case. Our strategy is guided by the policies and procedures outlined by the Board of Directors, and takes into consideration the individual issues and needs of each dog. The process involves assessing each case, getting recommendations from a behaviorist (when applicable), getting recommendations from veterinarians (when applicable), marketing to appropriate households, and seeking assistance from sanctuaries and breed rescues. Our hope is that these “hard to adopt” dogs find suitable homes based on their needs and we have had several success stories in recent months; however we recognize that this may not be the outcome for all of the dogs on the list after all options have been exhausted.
We are writing to you to ask for your help. If you are interested in helping us find niche homes for these dogs please contact Debra Radcliff, Director of Operations, (302) 571-0111, ext. 314, so that you can be properly educated on the needs of the dogs. You may be able to open your heart and home to one of them or possibly know a family member, friend, or contact that is able to take on the challenge and provide a loving home. Thank you for your help, as always it is greatly appreciated.
The irony is the description of the dog named Peyton, who was at the heart of the discussion.
More about Peyton, published on NKD Facebook page by Tammy Free “Peyton was taken in as a 7 month old puppy in 2010. She is very active and knows basic commands.  The incident she was involved in with the other dog was her fence fighting with the other dog. She  was the bigger dog and got the best of the dog. A piece of the other dog’s ear was torn. 
Peyton was adopted out to a home with a doberman. They had a fight. Neither dog was seriously injured. - No-Kill Delaware
The dog was taken by a rescue called Response-a-Bull Rescue and placed into a foster home.  Hopefully the foster has sufficient experience dealing with a dog that clearly sounds like she has some dog on dog aggression issues.  If the foster doesn't, then there is always the chance that a neighbors animal will pay the price, just as the dog described in the Safe Haven case referenced in a local newspaper did.  Of course the writer of No-Kill Delaware was still a board member for Safe Haven when that incident occurred, so it's not surprising that NKD doesn't show any concern for public safety, or the well-being of other people's pets.

And the follow up article by NKD was even more ironic.
"It’s not that challenging.  DHA could always rent space at private kennels for new dogs.  It’s not that Delaware Humane doesn’t have money.  If DHA has a cash flow problem (it can happen) wouldn’t donors rather see some of those funds diverted from the construction fund to the care of animals in the short-term rather than have Delaware Humane kill dogs?" - No-Kill Delaware 
The irony is that this former Safe Haven board member would make such a statement, especially considering the shelter under her leadership has yet to officially open for business, and I wouldn't be surprised if that was due to lack of funds because or the boards choice to "rent space at private kennels".  Hopefully Delaware Humane has more enlightened board members that realize that taking the short term approach won't help animals for the long term.  This short term gain mentality is what has harmed business in both the public sector and the non-profit sector, and the long term ramifications are unfortunate. And as NKD later acknowledges, merely placing animals in kennels really is just warehousing.

Delaware SPCA

This past month, we have also lost another shelter director.  Anne Cavanaugh of the Delaware SPCA resigned.
“Under (Cavanaugh’s) leadership, the organization has made great strides in expanding compassionate card to animals and reducing the pet overpopulation in Delaware,” Biddle said.
As you will recall, less than 10 months ago, the director of the Kent County SPCA also resigned.  So in one year, we have lost shelter directors for the 2 shelters that were handling over 90% of the animals in our state.

Is this a side effect of CAPA?  I certainly think so.  Who in their right mind wants to deal with the steady stream of underhanded politics that we've seen in animal welfare under CAPA?  While the KCSPCA director was constantly under assault by NKD, the Delaware SPCA has been in and out of their target zone depending on which the mood of the day, so I'm sure Ms. Cavanaugh was ready for life out of NKD's scope range.

The difficult part for a new director will be getting the shelter on track financially.  Since they went down the No-Kill road in 2008, they have sustained over $1.5 million in losses. I also believe that there were political forces that pushed for the shelter to retain the Wilmington dog control contract, and to host the recent signing of the unenforceable tether bill, and I have to wonder whether the Delaware SPCA director could see that there would be a push by political forces for the shelter to go for the New Castle County dog control contract that will be up for bid for next year.  Maybe she was a smart enough business woman to realize that she would again be under attack by No-Kill Delaware if that happened, and decided to move on before that happened.

Propaganda Continues

No-Kill Delaware's recent article Still Dying in Delaware 2012, But CAPA Saves Many Animals, shows how much inaccuracy the movement is willing to spread.
"What we do know is that rescue groups are pulling dogs and cats from Kent County SPCA to save their lives. In the first half of 2012. a total of 451 animals were pulled from KCSPCA by over 50 organizations: 48 cats and 403 dogs."
So I decided to look back at previous years, and statistically the comment is irrelevant.  The KCSPCA was transferring animals prior to CAPA, and the transfers were already increasing without CAPA.  In 2008, the shelter transferred 636 animals.  In 2010, KCSPCA transferred 764 animals.  Both of these years were prior to CAPA, and it's clear that the shelter was transferring at relatively the same rate even before the law, so the attempt to make it look successful when it hasn't accomplish anything is just disingenuous. The only thing CAPA has accomplish is leaving cats on the street to dies a slow and painful death.  It's as ridiculous as the claims by the national no-kill movement, when they try to convince communities that their No-Kill Equation won't cost more, when we know for a fact that it's cost communities millions.

And of course there is our animal welfare task force, but that will be a whole post for another day.