Saturday, January 5, 2013

No-Kill Is Waggin' The Dog

This week people had an opportunity to see the true arrogance and lack of logic of the national "No-Kill" movement.  A number of the movement's leaders spent a good part of this week trying to destroy a New York dog rescue called Waggin Train Rescue.  This small rescue saved 263 animals in 2011 (243 dogs and 20 cats), which is a significant accomplishment for a small rescue. And it should be noted that this organization handles a significant number of large and powerful breeds that are so difficult for many shelters and rescues to place.

Recently,Waggin Train Rescue had to make the tough choice to euthanize a dog named Nikki, who despite almost 3 months of effort on their part, the dog continued to fearful, aggressive, and a bite risk. Below, you can see from the documentation that was provided, that the rescue and their partners worked with the GSD for several months despite the risk to themselves.

"Baby steps are imperative because Nike has learned to respond with lunging and snarling when she is frightened, so we want to keep building on the positive experiences." - Email from rescue 11/5/12 
"L reassured her, but is still unable to touch her (even with a finger touch to the back) without Nikki whipping her head and barring her teeth. L knows her limits, and doesn't push her. I have no doubt that she would bite if someone ignored or didn't read her fear posture...She is a danger due to her fear and lack of socialization. If L didn't have 8 foot high stockade fences, I have no doubt that Nikki would have scaled them, and bolted. I've attached some pictures I took of her, you can see in many of them, the "frantic energy" she has...of just not wanting to be interacted with...One of L's SAR folks is going to attempt to work with her...and I'm praying for some progress."  - Email from rescue 11/19/12

 "as I mentioned one of L's experienced SAR folks is now trying to work with her.That is not at L's, but in her own home setting (we needed to see if her behavior would alliviate at all out of the kennel atmosphere.) It's quiet, and S is very experienced with GSDs. I'm going to wait to hear what S has to say before making any decision. I cannot, and will not place a dog that is dangerous...even if it is fear based. The liability is just too high." - Email from rescue 11/21/12
"Sadly, there has been little improvement with Nikki, and I've made the decision (after
she really lunged at S when out in the yard, while S was trying to "tempt" her with treats
in neutral territory
) to euthanize her." - Email from rescue 12/22/12
The rescue informed their supporter on 12/22/12 that Nikki would be euthanized on 12/27, based on the email thread provided by John Sibley.  It's worth noting that Mr. Sibley also felt the need to include with his own comments and conjecture, despite the face that he never saw or dealt with this dog in any way.

The Eleventh Hour - Threats And Ultimatums

In the early morning hours of 12/27, No-Kill activist John Sibley began a campaign of threats, ultimatums, and cyber warfare against Waggin Train Rescue.  Make no mistake, this was not just a request to assist, as some have inferred.  You can see from his 12/27 blog post that he not only wrote the email shown below and blogged about it, but he also created an online petition that was posted on various Facebook pages, and encouraged his readers to post comments on Waggin Trains Facebook page.  In the email below, also note the the reference to the rescue's need for donations and the subsequent statement that "I can make sure that Nikki's story is prominently featured in web searches for Waggin' Train in perpetuity".   Would you take that as a threat if it were sent to you??

I can't imagine any responsible rescue dealing with someone who uses this kind of street thug tactic to gain access to a dangerous dog, and I wonder whether he was just buying time for an even worse hate campaign to force the rescue into keeping the dog if it wasn't accepted to the sanctuary.  Delaying euthanasia for animals that have no options is a regular tactic I've seen on a number of the No-Kill facebook pages.  I can't tell you how many times I've seen posts that say a rescue has tagged an animal in a shelter, and then after the fact begs on their pages for a foster, and then can't take the dog.  While that may sound acceptable to some, the reality is that a dog with little hope of a home will continue to take up precious cage space, while another more adoptable dog loses it's life.

Arrogant and Hypocritical Movement 

In the week since Nikki was euthanized, there have been some heating discussions on a variety of No-Kill Facebook pages, on both sides of the issue.  The responsible rescue community is finally seeing the danger that laws like CAPA and CAARA will mean for them, not only the shelters.  I think it's become clear to many that the leaders of the No-Kill movement have self appointed themselves as judge and jury for the disposition of animals they've never even seen in person, but that's not surprising to those of us living in the land of their CAPA.

It's ironic how hypocritical this movement is, that on one hand they say that all a shelter needs is a "caring and compassionate director", even if that person doesn't have a tremendous amount of experience.  But in this case No-Kill ignores the fact that this rescue and their partners have years of experience, and cry on their Facebook pages that they have a right to be judge and jury because of the fact that the dog was not seen by an accredited or certified trainer.  Seriously??  It's okay for an inexperienced person to manage the lives of thousands of animals without experience, but unless this rescue uses an accredited trainer of the self appointed leaders' choice, the rescue deserves to be vilified.  Talk about playground bullies.
"Several SAR (Search and Rescue) handlers had now worked with Nikki, and the Waggin’ Train representative seems to feel that they have all the experience that should be needed, even though SAR dogs are typically selected for non-aggression and there is no reason that an SAR handler would have any more experience than any lay person working with issues of fear aggression or socialization. There is no indication that Waggin’ Train sought a consultation with a trainer or behaviorist experienced with these issues." - 12/27/12
Of course we've seen that same kind of arrogance out of the movement here in Delaware.  Case in point is this foster agreement for one of our No-Kill shelters.  It's ridiculous that this shelter believes it's management has more knowledge than a veterinarian who has spent years in school training to ascertain whether an animal is suffering and needs to be humanely euthanized.  In fact, I can't imagine how difficult it must be for a veterinarian to keep an animal alive knowing that the animal is suffering.

Wag The Dog

"To 'wag the dog' means to purposely divert attention from what would otherwise be of greater importance, to something else of lesser significance. By doing so, the lesser-significant event is catapulted into the limelight, drowning proper attention to what was originally the more important issue." -
I think this definition is especially fitting of the events that transpired this week.  The "No-Kill" movement has used this rescue to further state their case for laws like CAPA, while they divert attention away from more significant issues:
  • Public Safety - No rescue should ever be strong-armed and intimidated into keeping an aggressive dog.  It not only endangers their own personnel, but also the public and their pets.  We've seen the results of that in Delaware, and several family pets paid the price for those choices.  
  • Shelter/Rescue Resources - No shelter or rescue has unlimited space or funds, so it was not unreasonable for this rescue to turn down the request to delay their decision to euthanize a dangerous dog for another week so a sanctuary could send out someone to evaluate whether the dog would be "considered" for placement at the sanctuary, as there was no guarantee that the placement would occur and the continued risk to those caring for the dog would place the rescue at risk.  In addition, keeping a dog that likely will not be adopted or accepted at already filled sanctuaries, will only result in cage space being taken away from another animal that the rescue can actually save and find a home for. 

In conclusion, anyone that isn't sure which side of this issue is correct, ask yourself one question.  Do you really think it's logical to harass a rescue out of business for one dog that the self annointed No-Kill gods have decided might have a space in a sanctuary, or like me, do you find it ridiculous that the arrogance of these No-Kill individuals may sacrifice 250+ animals this year if this rescue does not survive the harm the No-Kill pages have inflicted on them, merely to make a point that isn't conclusive anyway?  

If you're tired of watching good people harmed by the No-Kill movement, consider donating to Waggin Train Rescue to show the movement that you care more about those 250 animals that this rescue will pull and save this year, and the 250 each year thereafter, rather than donating to the national No-Kill organizations who primarily spend their funds on conferences and hate propaganda.  


And if anyone doubts the harm that the No-Kill movement, the ad purchased below shows just how hateful and vindictive this movement is.

Not only would the funds being spent on the ad be better spent on behalf of  animals, but the fact that Mr. Sibley and the No-Kill Movement would do harm to an organization that saves hundreds of animals every year and provide an advertisement opportunity to his own site is a testament to the fact that the leaders within the movement are merely opportunists that place more value on creating names for themselves and branding, then on saving animals.

So I just want to reiterate, if you want to support an organization that saves animals donate to Waggin Train Rescue, but if you just want to hang out and complain about what everyone else does or doesn't do, feel free to go visit Mr. Sibley or Mr. Winograd to see who their next victim is. Hopefully it won't be you.