Friday, January 23, 2009

Press Releases and States of Denial (Reply)

(Picture left: Chiva -- just another Pitbull who recently hit the Euth list of our city shelter for apparently sneezing once. Wonderful and healthy dog, with extremely loving temperament. But, one who represents a nearly impossible adoption, due to Chiva's breed and color. Can New York City ever become "no kill" of cats and dogs? Not unless it finds a way to declassify Pitbulls as "dogs" and cats as "pets.")

Question: So what do you all think of the recent ("No Kill by 2015") press release sent by the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals? (From private animal-related email list)
Reply: As is true for most press releases, the one from MA is misleading and deceptive.

The lofty goals of a "no kill" city by "2005, 2008, 2010, 2012 and now, 2015" (Different Alliance members keep moving up the projected dates) fail to take into account the composition of most of the animals euthanized in city shelters -- adult, DSH cats and Pitbulls.

It was reasonable to expect that with the initiation of the various programs outlined in the MA press release, that shelter euthanasias could be reduced substantially over a period of time. Almost all small dogs and non-Pit and non-Rottie purebreds can and do go out to rescues, as well as many of the non-pit and non-Rottie mixes.

But, the programs outlined in these ambitious plans do NOT address the constant FLOOD of PITBULLS arriving at city animals shelters every day and the intense difficulty in finding responsible placement for these dogs.

Nor does the press release address the easy disposability attitudes towards companion cats whose intake and euthanasia stats have actually RISEN over the past year, not decreased.

In a recent conversation with the PR representative of AC&C, I brought up the fact that cat intake and kill numbers had increased over the past year, in direct contrast with the MA's and the shelter's PR claims and grandiose goals. I was told that the increases (in the shelter's view) was due to "climate change."

This is ludicrous considering that most cats arriving at city shelters are owned pets, not feral strays reproducing in alleys.

In many ways, the MA and the city shelters (AC&C) are in a state of denial.

The press release modifies it's lofty goals by saying "no kill" refers only to "those animals of reasonable health and temperament."

This represents a canyon size loophole by accepting and excusing the killing of thousands of pets for things as simple and curable as sneezes, (URI's almost always contracted in the shelters), hissing at a vet tech (cats) failing to respond appropriately to a "tag test" (dogs) or just being scared or shy in the shelter.

What desperately needs to be acknowledged is that the "no kill" mandate can (and at least for cats has already) HIT A PLATEAU where further reductions become impossible unless programs are put into place to address and attack the Pitbull breeding and dumping problems, dog fighting, cat dumping and public ignorance regarding issues of animal behavior, training and psychology.

Moreover, it is reasonable to project and conclude that "positive PR spins" and manipulations of facts will over time, only serve to further mislead and DELUDE the public into thinking that all companion pet problems have been "solved" and that there is no sense of urgency to either "do the right thing" by our animals (such as neutering) or, indeed even keep them.

After all, if we are a "no kill" city where every stray or homeless cat or dog is guaranteed rescue and a home, what incentive is there to neuter, keep or even adopt pets from shelters or rescues?

Anyone who thinks all people are adopting pets rather than buying them from breeders, pet shops or the Internet isn't paying attention.

What's wrong with buying "designer pets?" Nothing. We are, after all, "on our way to a no kill city." -- PCA


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