This past weekend, the No Kill Nation team attended the Building a No Kill Community workshop in Houston. This day-long session was chock full of useful and important information for No Kill advocates and groups. Hosted by No Kill Houston and led by Nathan Winograd, the turnout was terrific, and we laughed, cried and cheered together.
We live Tweeted from the event, and got lots of great feedback and questions. Below are some bullet points of information from our Twitter feed, and check us out at @NoKillNation for the rest of the content. If you have the chance to attend a conference like this in your area, we HIGHLY recommend it! You’ll be blown away.
History of the movement & basic information:
- The “pound” was first created to protect people from the PERCEIVED threat of stray animals, a rationale that still exists today.|
- The original ASPCA’s mission was to protect animals from people. Two different movements with different missions.
- After Henry Bergh’s (ASPCA founder) death, ASPCA sadly takes over NYC’s pound contract and becomes city’s leading killer of dogs & cats.
- Who is to blame for the killing? The national “humane” groups blamed pets for not being adoptable and people for being irresponsible.
- When we seek laws to punish people, too often we end up punishing the animals!
- Most successful communities in US don’t have mandatory s/n, cat confinement laws or cat licensing laws & only passively enforce dog license.
- LA saw 35% increase in cat killing, 24% increase in dog killing after passing mandatory spay/neuter laws.
- Based on using the No Kill equation, there are No Kill communities in Colorado, California, Utah, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan and many more.
- There is NO correlation between per capita spending on animal control and lifesaving. It all comes down to decisions made by leadership.
- A key ingredient of the No Kill Equation is a hardworking, compassionate shelter director committed to No Kill.
- Do good things for animals, tell people about it and ask for their help. Most people WILL help, that’s the key to a No Kill community.
- There are 17 m. ppl annually who can be convinced to adopt, for the roughly 3 m. animals who need homes. We need only convince a small %.
How to adopt your way out of killing:
- It’s key to have shelter workers who like animals AND people.
- Provide good helpful advice to ppl and offer an animal help desk. In Reno, 59% interacting w/ animal help desk end up keeping their animals.
- Adoption promotions happen all year but biggest adoption season is spring/summer so it’s key to be highly staffed during these periods.
- Beat the competition, offer great adoption specials and prices. Do promotions based on your population size, what’s happening in the shelter
- Celebrate every adoption, applaud, ring a bell, dance! Make the adopter feel special!
- Professional website is key, plus social media to get the word out about adoptable animals!
- Good photographs make a world of difference in adoptions, find a volunteer photographer to help.
The shelter environment – saving cats and dogs:
- Most “temperament” testers in shelters have no formal training and have been shown by others who have also had no formal training
- It would be difficult to design a worse or more frustrating environment for a dog than a kennel at a shelter…
- Dogs should get out of the shelters 4x a day between staff and volunteers and comments about the animal should be recorded each time”
- Some shelters claim that up to 70% of cats coming in are feral, but many of these are just fearful.
- Every shelter that has achieved No Kill was once as bad and regressive as those who kill now.
And visit our Twitter feed for LOTS of additional information and discussion.