Saturday, July 20, 2013

Nathan's No-Kill Is Bankrupting Shelters

Delaware Is Another of Nathan Winograd's Sinking Ships

As noted last week, Delaware has gone down the slippery slope of state mandated animal cruelty with shelter doors closing to owner relinquished dogs and cats.  Now it appears that we will be facing the first shelter casualty in this misguided horror story that Governor Markell and our state legislators have placed our state in by encouraging the fiscal irresponsibility of "No-Kill" and CAPA.  On the No-Kill Delaware Facebook page, the following posts were made regarding Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary:

No-Kill Delaware - Safe Haven closes their doors on August 31. The Safe Haven Board's monstrous plan is to dump at Kent County SPCA whatever animals are left by that time. I can only hope that KCSPCA will refuse to take them. There are 170 dogs - I don't know how many cats. This is a disaster. We need to get the state government to develop a disaster plan.
No-Kill Delaware - Safe Haven is hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and is going into bankruptcy according to my sources. The press release goes out on Monday. The Board of Directors has proven itself completely unable to raise money - even though Hal Dukes managing partner of Tunnell and Raysor is a multimillionaire and probably knows every rich person in this state.
No-Kill Delaware - The dogs at the boarding kennels are to be transported to Safe Haven and put in fenced areas outdoors - in this August heat.
No-Kill Delaware - I spoke to Kenneth McDowell in the Governor's Office and told him this is coming and how bad Delaware will look to kill hundreds of animals all at once. And I told him that the state needs to take some kind of action. Whoever wants to work on this lobbying effort, please message me here.
No-Kill Delaware - No, it's not a ploy. They are closing. It's over. I hope and pray that someone will take over the building. But they plan to empty the building of animals when they turn off the lights and leave everything to the bankruptcy court.
Karli Swope (employee) - Debbie, unless an INSANELY large amount of money is donated this is true. I will be working on our adoptable album on our fb page. PLEASE share it and our animals.
We would NEVER dump the dogs anywhere but with no money and the building closing they will become wards of the state and we will have no say where they go.
No one planned this or ever wanted things to turn out this way. Please believe that. Those of us that are there on a daily basis and spend time with the animals are absolutely crushed. I hope everyone will come forward for the animals. If anyone has any questions about any of the animals please feel free to message me and I'll assist in any way I can....
No-Kill Delaware - "Wards of the state" means dead unless we do something.
No-Kill Delaware - They are hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt - there's no way to raise that kind of money. Who would want to give money to be managed by this Board? We need people to adopt the animals. We need rescue groups to take as many as they can.
It was not a surprise to many of us.  In fact, I had already seen that there had been a keyword search of  "Safe Haven no kill sussex bankruptcy" out of Washington DC on July 17, so I figured something was about to happen.

While No-Kill Delaware is already trying to divert blame by posting "Any pro-kill people who take pleasure in this should be ashamed.",  I can say with great certainty that nobody is taking pleasure in the chaos that has occurred in Delaware animal welfare.

Yes, we predicted what would occur by following this financially irresponsible path of "No-Kill", but there's no pleasure in saying "I told you so".  Actually, we're more concerned with making sure that anyone that is missing an animal has the opportunity to reclaim the animal, and that as many animals as possible can be saved.  That can best be done by and organized winding down of the shelter operations.

I've checked bankruptcy filings, and I can't confirm if this is the path that Safe Haven is going down yet, but we already saw the previous ploy that played out when the shelter one week claimed they would close in a week, and then a week later tried to tell the public it a rumor.  So I don't think they would be foolish enough to think they could get away with that same ploy yet again.

State of Delaware and Kent County - It's Time To Provide Leadership

Because we know there will be a reluctance of the shelter's leadership to reach out to the Big 3 animal welfare organizations of ASPCA, HSUS, and PETA, due to the fact that Nathan Winograd and his movement regularly attack those organizations, the State of Delaware and Kent County Levy Court need to step up to the plate and ensure that there is an organized winding down of Safe Haven's shelter operation. Because state and county officials were part of creating our animal welfare crisis, they need to be part of the solution as well.

As noted on the No-Kill Delaware Facebook, the biggest danger right now is that the kennels who house a number of their animals have not been paid by the shelter, and are about transport animals back to an already full shelter, where they will potentially be housed in fenced areas outdoors.  This could be a disaster of epic proportions given the fact that we will be in the hottest month of the year, and a month when hurricanes (2011 Irene was in August), tropical storms, and severe thunderstorms are a fact of life. On top of that, there have been a number of posts regarding aggressive dogs biting people and attacking other dogs at Safe Haven, and group housing with those types of animals can be deadly for the friendlier dogs.  The shelter will also be at risk of employees abandoning ship, not because they don't care about animals, but because they have their own families to consider.  All these factors are a recipe for disaster.

State and county officials clearly can't bail them out considering they've harassed the KCSPCA for 3 years about the fact that no additional money was necessary to become "No-Kill".  Any bailout with tax payer funds would clearly make our case that collusion against the KCSPCA has occurred.  Ironically, one of the keyword searches that let to this blog this past week was "new castle audit kcspca" that also came out of Washington DC on July 16, so Delaware may already be on the U.S. Justice Department's radar for the political games that have occurred in animal welfare.

But the state and county should take charge and bring in the necessary resources to make sure the situation is wound down properly, ensure owners have an opportunity to redeem their lost pets, ensure that the animals in Safe Havens care have proper shelter, and protect public safety by making sure any dangerous dogs are not released to the public.  If that doesn't occur, and this becomes a bloodbath, then the state and county officials that got us into this situation will be publicly held accountable by many of us watching this unfold.

Constant chaos and leaving animals on the streets is not a solution.  Until our government officials accept the reality of the situation and deal with overpopulation rather than continue to promote the unsustainable No-Kill movement, this won't be the last financial failure we will see in the animal shelter sector in Delaware, and the costs will continue to eat at state and county budgets.

We're Not The First Ship To Face Sinking, We Won't Be The Last

Nathan's No-Kill Equation, has claimed another shelter in recent weeks. Healdsburg Animal Shelter shut down after 50 years of service.  They became "No-Kill" in 2010, and in only 3 short years, a shelter who I'm sure assisted a large number of animals over 50 years came to an end and will no longer be there to assist future animals.  So if anyone wonders why Kent County SPCA tries to fight for a balanced approach, keep in mind that Healdsburg Animal Shelter will no longer be around to help animals, and that if KCSPCA were to close down like this shelter did, we would lose a resource that adopts out nearly 2000 animals a year, and returns a large number of lost animals to their owners as well.
"As noted in a May 30 editorial by the Board in the Healdsburg Tribune, the Shelter's financial reserves are depleted owing to persistent operating losses. When the Board noted the lack of positive response to its appeal for funds in its editorial and evaluated prospective future courses of action, it reluctantly concluded that closing down these functions is an unavoidable necessity."
It's also worth noting that many of the issues that occurred at Healdsburg under "No-Kill" are so similar to what we've seen happen here in Delaware with Safe Haven.
"Citing a lack of money and an appeal for funding from the community that fell on deaf ears, the directors of the Healdsburg Animal Shelter said they had no choice but to shutter the operation and lay off a workforce of nine employees.
The decision came after a tumultuous period for the organization with rapid turnover of executive directors, infighting on the board of directors, and inability to finish a new $3.5 million shelter, which is the object of a pending lawsuit alleging construction and design deficiencies." - The Press Democrat

'No-kill' is no answer

This week, there was an excellent article by Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA.  It addressed the "shell game" of "No-Kill" eloquently.
Open-admission shelters -- those that, unlike "no-kill" shelters, take in every animal brought to them -- are left to deal with animals that, through no fault of their own, are not adoptable because of sickness, injury, old age or aggression or, no matter how "perfect" they may be, are simply not adopted.
"No-kill" advocates have vilified open-admission shelters, pressuring them to abandon any requirements that prevent animals from going to bad homes or into hoarders' basements so as to shuffle the animals out. But this is not a realistic solution to the multiple tragic problems associated with easily acquired -- and just as easily discarded -- "pets." It's a shell game. - Ingrid Newkirk, President of PETA -
Delaware couldn't be a better example of this. Kent County SPCA was the only open-admission shelter for a number of years, but as a result of the "No-Kill" weapon called CAPA, KCSPCA was forced to close doors to owner relinquished cats and dogs.

Nathan Winograd spends many a day writing trash about other organizations like PETA, HSUS, and ASPCA.  He ignores the many cruelty cases that PETA has been involved in, and the fact that PETA has spayed/neutered almost 94,000 animals which has prevented countless animals from being born and adding to the overpopulation of companion animals, and he also ignores the fact that many of the shelters that he attacks do the same good work.
"No-kill" advocates don't mention any of this, and instead throw stones at shelter workers, which deflects attention from the need for personal responsibility. Blaming shelters won't solve the homeless-animal crisis. It's up to us to do that by always adopting and never buying from pet stores or breeders and by having our animals spayed or neutered.. - Ingrid Newkirk, President of PETA
So while PETA is stopping animal cruelty and preventing pet overpopulation, Nathan Winograd and the "No-Kill" movement merely sit on the sidelines and play Monday morning quarterback, with no real statistics of accomplishments to point to.  I imagine "No-Kill's" lack of accomplishments is at the heart of why they feel a need to attack other organizations so vehemently.

It's also unfortunate that Best Friends, who used to write some wonderful articles on real solutions and about true animal advocates like Peter Marsh, has apparently put the financial reality blinders on as well. Their recent blog post called "The no-kill deniers" portrays Reno/Washoe and Austin as the classic examples of "No-Kill" successes, and ignore the fact that Nevada Humane has lost $4.1 million since Washoe went "No-Kill" and that Austin's budget has increased $500,000 to $1 million every year since they went "No-Kill". Best Friends also ignores the fact that one of their very own partner's Safe Haven is failing under the weight of the unrealistic financial impact that "No-Kill" takes on a budget. Best Friends cannot be a force for real solutions that address pet overpopulation if they don't understand that placing shelters in financial jeopardy is not a solution.

In fact, the only accomplishment that we can with certainty add to "No-Kill's" resume, is their ability to place animal shelters in danger of financial ruin and bankruptcy.  And the only thing that the State of Delaware has accomplished with "No-Kill" and CAPA, is to create chaos, division, and endanger animals.