Friday, December 31, 2010

You forgot to give me a Name…

Despite the radical changes that the No Kill Movement has made across the country, I still find myself surprised by the shelters who oppose this model.

This morning, as I browse the listings of animals at my local [Austin, TX] shelters, I am truly excited to be part of a community who is embracing this model. With Town Lake Animal Center’s live outcome numbers steadily climbing throughout 2010 , I cannot wait to see where we will be at this point next year.

Contrary to Austin’s success, it seems that the city where I grew up is moving in the opposite direction. Houston, TX is fighting the No Kill Model. Houston has 5 (!!) high kill shelters that kill approximately 80,000 animals each year. BARC, Houston’s city shelter’s kill rate actually rose from 57% (October 09 – March 10) to 69% (July 2010) yet they continue to do nothing to change.

Not only am I disappointed in the shelter leadership for allowing this, I have to wonder why Shelter employees continue to do as they are told and end the lives of healthy, happy and very adoptable companion pets.

Has the shelter system, including employees, become so desensitized to these helpless lives that they cannot attach themselves emotionally? I think this is exactly the problem. In addition to the excuses of why these animals cannot be saved, I must note that many of these pets are not even given a name.

As Animal I.D. # 22294987* is injected with the lethal blue liquid and lay dying on the exam room table, how is the person holding that needle going to feel attached if the life before them has no name?

As a shelter leader or employee, how do you feel compassion for a life that is nothing more than a number in your system?

While the changes brought by the No Kill Model can be intimidating, setting goals, and actually reaching those goals, holds the shelter accountable for every pet, every life that enters into that Shelter’s care. 

If a shelter cares so little about the animals that the leadership doesn’t even name each pet, how can a community trust the lives of their homeless to them?

Houston and every other city fighting the No Kill Model.... it's time for change! Real Change! Step up and take responsibility for your actions. Admitting that the past hasn’t worked will be saving lives in the future.

Stephanie Conrad
The Pet Studio

- No Kill Houston's Bett Sundermeyer article: Deception, Spin and Lies
- No Kill Advocacy Center:

*Not a real I.D. number, just making a point!