For the critics of my blog- I wish to challenge and insult you even more. Sheltering and Humane Society work is big business - Period - End of Discussion. Anyone who thinks otherwise is totally misinformed, uneducated, or at best a bleeding heart with good intentions. We can and should solve the overpopulation problem within 3-5 years. At the end of this blog I will list just a few of the largest so-called Humane groups and give the best available info on how they spend their dollars and how much they are worth.
As I have believed and stated hundreds of times the primary problem is one of supply vs. demand (economics 101). Why should people put large sums of money into a broken dog or cat when they can get a replacement for nothing? People working in the field love animals for the most part & would do almost anything within their means to help their family companion animal. Unfortunately, many more people don’t have the desire or means to put a lot of money into their companion animal. We can debate whether certain people should own companion animals, and we can debate whether certain people should have kids. It doesn’t matter how you feel about this - people do own animals & have kids, that in all good conscience probably shouldn’t. But then, what are we telling people when well-established groups like the Denver Dumb Friend League ( DDFL) have “buy one, get one free” or literally give away cats for free. You can get dogs for $5 at times.
Adoptions are not supposed to be a production line. Even with the most rigorous screening, many animals end up in bad situations, there are many things worse than death. The only logical way to truly confront the massive killing, the massive neglect and cruelty, and the massive waste of money used on sheltering animals is to look at the supply vs. demand issue. DDFL has around a $12,000,000 a year budget, but I’m confident my for-profit business does more spays and neuters every year than they do. Why? Take $2 million & put it into more low-cost/free sterilization. Take another $2 million and put it into true enforcement of laws, and education of what a progressive society expects from companion animal ownership.
I find it grossly appalling that Bob Rohde just received a Human Hero Award from the Colorado Veterinary Medical Foundation (CVMF). Now, that is a joke. I would argue that the DDFL has probably killed more companion animals in their 100 year history than any group in Colorado- you tell me what is humane about killing cats with ringworm, or a dog with a torn ACL, or whatever they want to use as an excuse to reduce numbers. The new buzz words in the industry are “we only kill non-adoptable animals”. PEOPLE WAKE UP! If you truly want to help the companion animal movement: Here are some tips
1) Try to adopt from smaller groups that have more foster homes than big expensive buildings.
2) Never adopt from any group that doesn’t have 100% spay/neuter policy prior to adoption.
3) Instead of giving to the large shelters find the groups that are doing more spay/neuter work. For example,
#1. Best Pets
#2. Community Cat Care (CCC)
#3. Evergreen Animal Protection League (EAPL)
#4. Cat Care Society (CCS)
#5. Spay Today
#6. Spay Colorado
4) If you really feel a need to donate or support the inefficient, corporate groups, then at least give with conditions on your donation. For example, donate for public education (have them define what that means), or for a public low-cost spay/neuter program.
For the morons that responded to me. Saying what are we supposed to do, just turn out all the animals and let them run free. Well, not exactly, I would submit if all humane societies refused to take animals in for one month and send everyone over to local government facilities while demanding far more government help in the way of legislation, education, and establishing a true standard of care, things would change quickly. For example, people move across town all the time, & just leave their cats - that is illegal, yet how many times has anyone ever been tracked down and prosecuted? Believe me when I say that any city could establish a dog/cat court, and it would in fact be a revenue generator if anyone is actually concerned or interested in pursuing the massive amount of neglect and cruelty. For the record the number 2 complaint to government agencies in most metropolitan areas involves animals.
As a spay/neuter guru, I have always believed by lowering the supply of surplus pets, it will make them more valuable to those who have one. They will in fact be a less disposable product. I have contended for over twenty years that spay/neuter with education is the only long term answer. Sheltering, warehousing, and adopting will never solve the overpopulation problem but its great for business. For over 200 years, we have had the same approach & we have still failed. There are a lot of groups worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Their only goal should be to put themselves out of business- not to get richer, bigger, and less efficient. The only real progress over the last twenty years has come from so many small groups & veterinarians like myself who have dedicated themselves to low cost spay/neuter. Coupled with a more aware and sophisticated society in general.
I have made my reputation and living on spay and neutering and I am one of the best in the world at what I do. Yet I have no problem with that being taken away from me. There are many other things I can do for the care of animals and I long for that day. My fear is I will die long before I see that day. The trend in many parts of the world is not to build shelters. But to have more vets involved in overpopulation, and to do a lot more education, as well as dealing with behavioral and training issues. Peter Kiraly D.V.M. (The Rex Foundation)
in Budapest, Hungary and Patti Chan in Panama City, Panama (Planned Pethood Panama) are two great examples of individuals making huge differences. The countries of Slovenia and the Czech Republic are examples of countries moving in more progressive directions.
I understand the heart strings, and I understand that when you give, you feel better & trust things will be done right. I also understand and believe whole-heartedly that people are basically good. As Americans we give blindly too often, mostly because of our busy lifestyle. How many of you have ever asked for the financials & have them explained by any non-profit you have donated to? How many of you know of animals transferred from a no-kill shelter because of overcrowding or cage aggression, only to be evaluated and euthanized at the shelter transferred to.
Let’s look at those statistics, the no-kill shelter transfers the animal and thus doesn’t kill them. The kill shelter never really admits the animals, and evaluates and euthanizes on the spot. So these animals don’t count on any ones books. What a wonderful system! Its like these poor companion animals never really existed in the end. Yet, everyone can still feel warm and fuzzy about the various groups in question. Yes, this is an every day occurrence.
The only way to move forward is to reduce the number of surplus companion animals. Yes, we need stronger animal cruelty laws, we need more public education, but more than anything we need fewer companion animals born. Anyone who takes overpopulation seriously must push hard and use their financial & political influence to advance spay/neuter. Sheltering, warehousing, and adoptions will never eliminate overpopulation. Big humane groups take valuable resources away from people on the front lines, who are really trying to have an impact. My goal at the end of the day is not to feel warm and fuzzy, but to know in some small way I have helped to eliminate future suffering, neglect, and death. All wars have casualties but in the end it should be about the greater good and reduction of pain and suffering.