Archive | July, 2011

No Kill Conference Workshop: Here Comes Social Media

30 Jul

Social media has become an absolutely essential tool for any effective No Kill advocate in today’s world. Today, Alan Rosenblatt, Associate Director of Online Advocacy at the Center for American Progress, instructed a conference room full of eager students on the many tools of his trade. From Facebook to Twitter, Alan covered the social media gamut, and helped us all gain an even better understanding of how we can utilize these tools to drive change.

Some of the key highlight’s from Alan’s presentation included the following:

  • Reaching out to key legislators via Twitter and Facebook is very effective, as these are completely public forums. Via email, they can easily claim to have never seen the correspondence, but with social media, the proof is public.
  • Before reaching out, do extensive research. Determine who the key legislators are, and find their social media profiles. The easiest way to do so is via Google – a simple search with their names and the word “Twitter” or “Facebook” is usually effective.
  • When it comes to petitions, act.ly is a simple tool that easily allows petitions to be shared via Twitter. Users can sign directly from the page or Re-Tweet another’s signature.
  • Although Twitter allows 140 characters per Tweet, 120 characters is the maximum recommendation, so it allows for followers to add their own commentary or additional information when Re-Tweeting.
  • When linking to outside content or information, use a trackable service like bit.ly. This website offers a free URL shortening service that also provides click-through statistics when users are registered for an account.
  • Twitter hashtags are an invaluable tool to insure your message begins to reach a wider audience. Look for relevant and frequently used hashtags through Twitter search. Identify four to five that relate to your cause, and use them to share your message with like-minded users. You can search for issue-specific hashtags, state-specific hashtags, and ideologically-specific hashtags, among others.
  • Always remember that Twitter is an entirely public forum. Don’t share anything you wouldn’t want the world to see. Private messages are an option, but the site is primarily
  • If you click “favorite” on any given Tweet from another user, it prevents them from deleting said Tweet. Additionally, remember to take screenshots of your comments to organizations and legislators. This provides proof should the content be deleted.
  • Social media has made everyone a citizen journalist. Now, every individual has a platform from which to speak that could potentially reach the far corners of the globe. Social media also allows everyone access to influencers – both traditional and new: press, legislators, bloggers, etc.
  • Among institutions, Non-Governmental Organizations are the most trusted in the US, however, Americans trust individuals that they know far more highly.
  • There is a three-step process for increasing followers on any social network. One: connect with them. Two: engage with them. Three: Recommend them.

Alan’s presentation was impressive, and left us pondering a world of possibilities for No Kill advocates everywhere.

Stay tuned for additional blogs outlining content from the conference!

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Manatee County, Florida, Takes the First Step Towards No Kill

27 Jul

Time marches on – and as it does, greater numbers of progressive, animal-loving communities are beginning to see the light and take the turn towards No Kill. The most recent community to adopt a No Kill pledge is Manatee County, Florida.

Inspired by Nathan Winograd’s book, Redemption, and having attended one of Nathan’s seminars, Kris Weiskopf, the chief of Manatee County Animal Services, realized that his county could develop a plan to reach the ultimate goal of a 90%+ save rate.

The local community in Manatee County has previously expressed their interest in going No Kill (including the Humane Society of Manatee County), so this county already has a strong community support base in place.

This chief has been in position for over 13 years, and he was still able to open his mind and embrace a new, lifesaving concept. The many entrenched shelter directors who refuse to see any way but the status quo should look to Mr. Weiskopf’s example.

Please stop by and visit the Manatee County Animal Services Facebook page and show your support for their efforts. Let’s help them hit that 90%+ save rate!

Additionally, you can read Mr. Weiskopf’s new column,“A View to No-Kill” every Tuesday for the Bradenton Herald.

Congratulations, Manatee County. In the words of your chief: “This is a new beginning, a new Animal Services.”

Miami Dade Animal Services Leaves Bagged Carcasses Exposed to Heat, Rain

13 Jul

On July 6th, in the aftermath of holiday weekend killing at Miami Dade Animal Services, a disposal truck parked behind the shelter was stacked high with bagged carcasses of homeless pets (these are the trucks that come in twice daily to cart away the many dead). The truck sat, in the boiling Miami heat, overnight – with no refrigeration. Then, it rained.

Concerned rescuers attempted to contact MDAS officials for an explanation (and to inquire about the many health risks involved in such a scenario), but as of yet have received no response.

The following day, rescuers were appalled to see bagged bodies lying on the sidewalk behind the shelter, exposed again to the heat and rain.

The below photos show the bags on the sidewalk and after being loaded onto the truck.

As the Journal of the American Veterinary Association (JAVMA) says, “An animal carcass is composed of microbiologically active material that may contain viruses, bacteria, protozoa, parasites, prions, toxins, drug residues, and other chemicals. All of the biologically active materials need to be reduced to safe amounts, eliminated, or sequestered to minimize their potential hazard.”

Does lying on a sidewalk in the hot summer temps sound like an effective way to reduce biologically active materials?

Obviously the lives of these animals aren’t worth much respect to MDAS leadership – whether dead, or alive. And the health & safety of our community doesn’t look like it’s too high on the priority list, either.

And in the midst of this situation at MDAS, shelters across the country are achieving No Kill success, despite higher per capita intake rates and countless other obstacles. They’re still doing it. They’re not making excuses. They’re not placing the blame on the “irresponsible public”. They just made a commitment to stop the killing – and followed through. Congratulations to one such success story, Austin, Texas – who just celebrated six months of a 90%+ save rate!

If they can do it, so can we. And we won’t settle for anything less. Are you listening, MDAS?!