Thursday, December 10, 2009

As it Is (Reply)

In a message dated 12/10/2009 11:26:34 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, writes:
amby111 has left a new comment on your post "Where the Logic and Truth? (Reply)":

Thank you for posting this. I respect Nathan's ideology, but concur with you that both the public and shelters are responsible for the current horrific "euthanasia" numbers. Nathan argues that there is no pet overpopulation, just deception and poor marketing on the part of shelters. Anyone who has ever worked in a shelter or with a rescue that pulls from a municipal shelter knows that human irresponsibility results in a staggering number of unwanted animals. And no, there are not enough homes for them all. But that doesn't mean we should accept "euthanasia" as necessary. In a civilized, humane (and wealthy) society, killing healthy cats and dogs is not "necessary." Even so-called "no kill" shelters--including those championed by Nathan--are killing feral cats and dogs with behavior issues. They are doing this while calling themselves "no kill." This only serves to further obfuscate the truth and lull people into thinking, as Nathan we have us believe, "There is no overpopulation problem." Change will be impossible if we can't start by acknowledging the truth. (Emphasis supplied.)

Reply: I am reposting your comment in its entire as every word is so accurate and important for others to read.

"Overpopulation" is a blanket term that, in fact, cannot be universally applied to all cats and dogs.

We don't have an overpopulation problem with Bloodhounds for example or Scottish Fold cats. Of course one could argue and question why we need so many "breeds" when millions of adoptable animals die in shelters every year. Especially with cats who don't differ significantly in size, body shape or behavior whether "purebred" or not, the argument is a legitimate one.

However, as stated yesterday we DO have a huge "overpopulation" problem with one particular breed of dog and that of course is Pitbulls. Almost ALL of the dogs currently dying in New York City (and other big city) shelters are Pitbulls and Pit mixes. That should tell everyone involved in this issue that we have a specific problem that needs to be addressed specifically.

"Breed bans" (and subsequent shelter killings) seems to be the typical knee-jerk reaction to a problem like this, though as with most bans of anything, the problem tends to go underground and/or abusers of animals go on to another breed of dog to exploit. Moreover, breed bans punish the responsible owners of said breeds of dogs more so than actual abusers.

I believe we need TARGETED educational and spay/neuter programs to go into the schools and communities where most shelter dogs (and cats) come from. This means that shelters have to do a better job of obtaining accurate information regarding original location of shelter animals, how and where such animals were acquired (if owned) and owner "profiles." We need community, political and sometimes cultural activists and leaders to address the issues and urge constituents and/or followers or fans to act in more responsible manner towards their animals.

Most important of all (as you point out), we need shelters to be HONEST and forthcoming about the real problems facing animal shelters and rescues and how these issues can be responsibly addressed and hopefully solved.

Putting out false messages that a particular city "is on the road to no kill" or will be "no kill" by a specific year when the above problems are not being addressed in any significant manner is to be as irresponsible (and worse, deceitful) as the very public that creates the problems in the first place.

The idea that rescue groups and special adoption events are somehow the "solution" to the cat and Pitbull overpopulation problem is like saying it is possible to empty out an overflowing bathtub with a teaspoon.

We have to find ways to turn off the running faucets.

As you so correctly point out, the first step in that process is full acknowledgement and acceptance of truth.

As said hundreds of times to callers over the years, "We have to deal with the world as it is, not as we would wish it to be." -- PCA