Friday, August 23, 2013

Winograd's No-Kill - Financially Unsustainable For Shelters And Residents

Will "No-Kill" End Up Killing More Animal Shelters In Delaware?

The question in a recent article shouldn't be is "No-Kill" within our reach.  The question is whether "No-Kill" is going to bankrupt more of our animal shelters, increase county budgets, and place additional financial burden on the residents dealing with the many strays that are now left on the streets due to CAPA and the "No-Kill" initiative that Governor Markell and our legislature have supported.

The media and residents can clearly see the mess that's been created already, from shelter financial losses to scrambling to keep dogs from being warehoused in outside kennels, after Safe Haven stopped paying the boarding kennels where Safe Haven had previously been warehousing their animals. It's unfortunate that many small businesses from boarding kennels to veterinarians have also been impacted by CAPA, and the unrealistic expectations of those that think a shelter can pay $3,000 to have a shattered bone repaired on a stray when a shelter is getting less than 1/10th of that in compensation from the counties.  Or to expect residents to pay that for a stray animal's surgery when many couldn't afford to have the surgery done for their own animal.

And despite all the hoopla that's been made about supercharging adoptions, that certainly hasn't been seen in the adoption numbers of the very "No-Kill" shelters that proclaim that it can work. I encourage everyone to look at each shelters website so you can see that there was no increase in adoptions, and in some cases there is actually a decrease each year.  The fact is that the state forced the shelter doors closed and are just leaving animals on the streets hoping residents will pick up their slack.

"No-Kill" Examples Show How Financially Unsustainable It Is

I think we can all agree that nobody wants to euthanize animals, this issue is whether the "No-Kill" movement is financially sustainable.  The 2 communities that Ms. Pierantozzi discussed at the recent Kent County Levy Court meeting are clearly unsustainable.  If Nevada Humane continues to absorb the losses that it has incurred since they began "No-Kill" they will eventually be bankrupt. It's no surprise that NHS's leader just recently abandoned ship. Austin taxpayers will be paying $3.5 million more per year than they were as recently as 2009, and clearly that community can't keep increasing their budget by $500,000 to $1 million every year.

So it's great if everyone wants to hinge their dreams on the new Animal Welfare Office proposed and delude themselves into believing that the new office is going to make animal overpopulation disappear with the snap of their fingers, but I find it extremely concerning. The office was formed by the same people who brought us the No-Kill Advocacy Center's CAPA, and "No-Kill" has already caused substantial losses and drama for our shelters. Some of us said that would happen when CAPA began, and the shelter losses show we were right. Let's hope our foolish legislators don't put the final nails in the coffins of all our shelters with more of this same nonsense.

And none of this addresses the fact that citizens across the state are also being financially overwhelmed with the strays that they are now taking in because CAPA closed the doors to our shelters for owner relinquished animals.

The new Animal Welfare Office should spend their time creating real standards that would prevent shelters from even thinking about creating a dog tent city or stowing cats away in the attic, as was discussed in our newspapers during this Safe Haven debacle.  But given the silence of Governor Markell and Senator Blevins in recent weeks, we can only assume that they thought it was acceptable for dogs to be warehoused in outdoor kennels in the middle of a field.  It's a pretty good indication that we won't see any real standards from the Animal Welfare Office that our Governor and our legislature created.

And the Animal Welfare Office that they created is going to continue to ignore the pet overpopulation because they believe a man who says that pet overpopulation is a myth, despite the fact that Winograd's own state of California has an average rate of euthanasia despite their version of a similar law called Hayden, and the fact that he's worked very little time in an animal shelter himself.  Sadly, the only state that has even come close to "No-Kill" is New Hampshire, and that was because they were bright enough to recognize that pet overpopulation is a reality and their focus on lowering the overpopulation was a real solution, unlike Mr. Winograd's snake-oil version on "No-Kill".

Ms. Pierantozzi's Example "No-Kill" Communities - The Numbers

Nevada Humane can only continue to remain a viable entity for another 5-6 years based on the the losses they've sustained since the no-kill effort began.
Washoe/NHS - Intake 15,000.
2005 Combined Expenses - $5,347,996.
2010 Combined Expenses - $7,816,195.
Note - Nevada Humane has lost nearly $4.1 million since no-kill began.

Nevada Humane
$4.1 Million in 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)
2011 (749,016.00)

Austin Animal Services
2008-09 $ 5,397,428
2009-10 $ 6,008,659
2010-11 $ 6,883,679
2011-12 $ 7,612,186
2012-13 $ 8.2 million
2013-14 $ 8.9 million proposed ($714,000 increase)

Austin's Intake
2006 24,357
2007 27,163
2008 24,663
2009 22,150
2010 24,026
2011 19,752
2012 19,592

Bankrupt shelters can't save animals. It's that simple.

And to those in leadership positions who took us down this pathetic path, I hope when you look in the mirror or admire one of your photo op minutes from the day CAPA was signed, that you think about the impact you've had on the many businesses that have been harmed by this "No-Kill" craziness.  Or that you consider the elderly lady on a a rural property that is currently feeding 30 cats because her property has become a dumping ground now that shelters won't take cats, not to mention the public health concern of the situation. You've impacted peoples lives, but not in good way.