Month: August 2011

The Truthiness of PETA

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PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is a multi million dollar non profit organisation located in Norfolk, VA with 297 employees and 130 volunteers. PETA is lead by President Ingrid E. Newkirk who oversees a Asset of about $21,000,000. For more detail please read the latest PETA Tax Return, Form 990.
PETA also operates a very nice website with the following mission statement:

“People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is the largest animal rights organization in the world, with more than 2 million members and supporters.

PETA focuses its attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most intensely for the longest periods of time: on factory farms, in the clothing trade, in laboratories, and in the entertainment industry. We also work on a variety of other issues, including the cruel killing of beavers, birds, and other “pests” as well as cruelty to domesticated animals.

PETA works through public education, cruelty investigations, research, animal rescue, legislation, special events, celebrity involvement, and protest campaigns.”

Unfortunately, not everything PETA does is mentioned on their website. As example, most people do not know that PETA is operating an Animal Shelter in Notfolk, VA. I would like to encourage the reader to keep PETA’s “Mission Statement” in mind while continue reading.

Since 1998 PETA killed more then 25000 domestic animals in it’s Shelter. Unfortunately, most animals entering the PETA Animal Shelter do not leave the Shelter alive. The kill rate always is between 92% and 97%.
As example:

2008: Received 2218 animals, adopted out 7, killed 2124
2009: Received 2366 animals, adopted out 8, killed 2301
2010: Received 2345 animals, adopted out 44, killed 2200

And remember, this is paid for by “your” donations. But wait, there is more:

In 2005 two PETA employees were charged with 31 felony counts of animal cruelty each, after authorities found them dumping the dead bodies of 18 animals they had just picked up from a North Carolina animal shelter into a Dumpster. According to the Associated Press, 13 more dead animals were found in a van registered to PETA.

In 1991, PETA killed 18 rabbits and 14 roosters it had previously “rescued” from a research facility.

In an Interview Ingrid E. Newkirk once said after she was asked about her work in an Animal Shelter in the 1970’s:
“I would go to work early, before anyone got there, and I would just kill the animals myself. Because I couldn’t stand to let them go through (other workers abusing the animals.) I must have killed a thousand of them, sometimes dozens every day.”

I’m asking myself if Miss Newkirk just doesn’t know what ethical means or if she just gave ethical a whole new meaning?

For you, Miss Newkirk:
eth·i·cal: Being in accordance with the accepted principles of right and wrong that govern the conduct of a profession

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The “Humane” Holocaust

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April 11, 1945, U.S. forces liberate the Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar, Germany. American forces liberated more than 20,000 prisoners at Buchenwald. They also liberated Dora-Mittelbau, Flossenbürg, Dachau, and Mauthausen.

August 24, 2011, Carbon monoxide gas chambers, a euthanasia method used since World War II, are routinely used in animal shelters throughout the country. Only nine states in the US have officially banned all forms of gassing for all types of animals in shelters: Arizona, Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Washington and Wyoming. Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Virginia have prohibited carbon dioxide and monoxide for shelter cats and dogs.

“Two employees began pulling and tugging larger dogs toward the chamber — this, in itself, was savage. The eyes of the dogs were full of fear as they were shoved into a large cylinder with another six dogs, all types. Next, five puppies were placed in the chamber.

Noise. Yelling. Fighting. All scared, they shivered again and again, their eyes huge, their nostrils flaring. They were completely bewildered. One dog in the chamber, a male chow mix about one year old, started snapping at the puppies. All the dogs and puppies were in a desperate struggle, and the gassing had yet to begin.

Then a button was pushed, and the two employees walked away as the chamber machine began pumping out streams of carbon monoxide. The little puppies started to paw at the glass window. After one full minute they started to whine and then produced a piercing squeal. Then the larger dogs started a high, mournful wailing, then a deeper howl that rose in great desperation for 45 seconds.

The time from inception of hell for the dogs and puppies, to the completion of their cries of desperation, was between two and six minutes.”

Is there such a thing as humane euthanization? What about humane rape? Humane slavery? How about humane Holocaust? What actually is the definition of Holocaust? Is it the massacre of human beings or the massacre of innocent beings?

In 1945 Americans closed the gas chambers and ended the Holocaust in Germany. As of August 2011, americans were not able to close the gas chambers and end the Holocaust in the US.

“Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”. Animals qualify as others.

YOU are somebody

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What was the most used word at this years No Kill Conference? It was the little word “YOU”! YOU as in stand up, YOU as in speak up, YOU as in do something. Often we hear people saying “Somebody needs to do something….”. Well, YOU are somebody. During the No Kill Conference it was said many times by people like Nathan Winograd and Ryan Clinton that it starts with YOU. And right so, it truly does. I would like to use myself as example. Last year in December, a big change took place in the Allegany County Animal Shelter. I went to the Shelter for the first time in the middle of December. The Shelter previously had a kill rate of almost 90%. I did not know anything about Animal Shelter, the No Kill movement or how to do anything in a Shelter. My friend Jodi invited me to come out and walk some dogs. So, I went out and walked some dogs, talked with Jodi and other people. I already knew that the Shelter was a high kill Shelter and that the goal was to turn things around. I learned very quick about the No Kill movement, the No Kill Equation and I spoke up against the killing and for the animals, against the Powers and the Status Quo. I visited several County Commissioners Meetings and held several speeches there. I also said (I actually yelled it) the now famous words “There will be no more killing here” in the Animal Shelter to somebody form the Status Quo. I also learned that people started to follow me rather quickly. It was said over and over that it only takes one person to set the spark and it truly does. But we also have to be honest and admit that it is not a easy journey. Shirley Lyn once summed it up pretty good:

“What does it take to be a no kill community?… “In reality, it takes a group of dedicated animal advocates willing to stir things up in their own community by challenging the status quo and refusing to accept killing as a means of population control. There are consequences to such actions: old friendships may be broken, egos may be bruised, glass houses may be shattered. This ain’t no fairy tale. It’s hard work which will be met with resistance by some. You will no longer be able to ride the I Love Everybody and Everybody Loves Me bus. You will not be nominated for homecoming queen. No soup for you”

Today, the Allegany County Animal Shelter has a saving rate of over 90% every month for the last 8 month. Many people tell me that the change would not have happened without me. I truly don’t know and I don’t really think about it that much. But after all is said and done, it sure was worth it. It was the most important thing I have ever done in my life and I would do it all over again. So please, if you think something needs to be changed in your Community, change it. Get up, stand up and do it! Don’t wait, don’t point your finger at others and say “somebody needs to do something”. YOU are somebody.

Open Letter to the Governor of New Jersey

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Dear Governor Christie,
I ask you, in the name of the animals, to veto Senate Bill 2923, Assembly Bill 4036. This Bill does nothing but bring sorrow and pain to many families in your State.
Governor Christie, let’s assume you have a dog that is 10 years old in your family home. Let’s assume for some unknown reason your dog escapes out of your yard and is picked up by Animal Control. According to Senate Bill 2923, Assembly Bill 4036, your chances to see your dog ever again alive are less than small. Most likely your dog will be dead before you even realize that he escaped out of your yard.
Governor Christie, I believe you are a compassionate animal lover and as such I ask you to veto Senate Bill 2923, Assembly Bill 4036.
Please feel free to contact me and I would be more than happy to discuss with you other options, such as a No Kill Animal Shelter and how to implement a No Kill Shelter.
Best Regards
Peter Masloch

When is enough enough?

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Gandhi once said “I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man”. The question is, why do we, as society, allow animal abuse and cruelty in so called Animal Shelter? Animal abuse that is broadcasted live over the Internet through the installed cameras in the Memphis Animal Shelter, as example. We see animals are being abused day by day from Animal Control Officer’s and from other Staff in the Shelter. 41 animals disappeared from the Memphis Animal Shelter during the last 8 month. The City of Memphis must be aware of this, unless they are blind, deaf and/or ignorant. The people of Memphis should be aware of this and should be outraged. Outraged about the happenings in the Memphis Animal Shelter and outraged that the City of Memphis does nothing to stop it. But for some reason, I don’t see the outrage in Memphis and I ask myself, what does that say about us, as a society? I don’t think we all became numb and ignorant. Enough is enough. Somebody in Memphis needs to step forward and stop the insanity. It only takes one single person to light the fire. We have seen it over and over in other communities happening. I know it, I am one of the people that stepped forward in Allegany County. I ask you, Memphis, when is enough enough? You are not alone but you do have to take the first step. Martin Luther King once said: “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor political, nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him that it is right.”
Enough is enough, the time is now…..

CAPA and what it means for Allegany County

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For the last 8 month, the Allegany County Animal Shelter is saving at least 93% of all incoming animals. The Allegany County Animal Shelter has a extensive Foster program and progressive adoption programs. However, the County Code has not changed and it still allows the killing of animals for any reason. We will be looking in to changing the County Code by approaching the County Government.

Another way to legally put a stop to the killing in Allegany County is CAPA which stands for “Companion Animal Protection Act” and would be introduced on State level.This law mandates the programs and services which have proven so successful at lifesaving in shelters which have implemented them; follows the only model that has actually created a No Kill community; and, focuses its effort on the very shelters that are doing the killing. As a result, it provides a framework for success unavailable from traditional legislative models such as punitive legislation aimed at the public or through counterproductive national efforts that legitimize the killing.

CAPA highlights:

• Establishes the shelter’s primary role as saving the lives of animals
• Declares that saving lives and protecting public safety are compatible
• Establishes a definition of No Kill that includes all savable animals including feral cats
• Protects rabbits and other animals, as well as dogs and cats
• Makes it illegal for a shelter to kill an animal if a rescue group or No Kill shelter is willing to save that animal
• Requires shelters to provide animals with fresh food, fresh water, environmental enrichment, exercise, veterinary care, and cleanliness
• Makes it illegal for shelters to kill owner relinquished animals without making them available for adoption or transfer to a rescue group, even in cases where the owner wants the animal killed unless the animal is suffering
• And more…
CAPAmod

In a national survey, 96% of Americans–almost every single person–said we have a moral obligation to protect animals and that we should have strong laws to do so. CAPA mandates the programs and services which have proven so successful at lifesaving in shelters which have implemented them; follows the only model that has actually created a No Kill community; and, focuses its effort on the very shelters that are doing the killing. As a result, it provides a framework for success unavailable from traditional legislative models such as punitive legislation aimed at the public or through counterproductive national efforts that legitimize the killing.

What does that mean for Allegany County? Even if we fail to change the County Code through the County Government, we still have a second chance with introducing a State Legislation (CAPA) for the State of Maryland.

2011 No Kill Conference Notes

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Now that things are finally starting to settle down, I wanted to share some things I learned while attending the No Kill Conference. There were so many presentations providing excellent information on just about anything involved with advocating for a No Kill community. Saving Shelter Cats,  Saving Shelter Dogs, Saving Community Cats, Pet Retention, Reducing the Length of Stay, Forcing Transparency, Innovative Shelter Designs, and using social networking, blogging, and media to get your message heard. There was also a moderated discussion of Shelter Directors who are saving over 90% of the animals that come into their shelters.

The first class Aaron and I attended was Pet Retention-Reducing Intake. This involves making sure the public knows to come to your shelter with questions and concerns. As our Shelter Director, Karl Brubaker, points out, it takes an average 8 behavior instances for a person to want to surrender their companion animal. If we could get people to understand that the Shelter can be a source of resources and information, we may not have to ever get to that 8th instance. I really liked the idea of getting a Help Desk to be that resource for the community. People can call and ask questions, sort through problems, brainstorm, find resolutions, and get information about spay/neutering options, training tips, lists of landlords who permit companion animals, and resources for financial help with vet expenses. There is an excellent website with information about dog aggression, www.k9aggression.com, that can even provide information if aggression is becoming an issue. Pet Retention all boils down to the 3 E’s- Educate, Encourage, and Enable!

We also attended the class, Shelter Medicine for Non-Veterinarians. This class discussed the ways that shelters can help decrease potential vet costs through using preventative measures such as asking for health records and information about the animal during an owner surrender, treating every stray intake as if they have an infectious disease, and looking for signs of potential disease or illness. It is recommended that an evaluation, screening, testing, and vaccinations be done during intake. Wood lamps can be used to look for small lesions which can be indicative of ringworm.

Here Comes Social Media was an excellent class that discussed how using networks like Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Google + can assist in your advocacy and finding homes for animals. A couple of suggestions given during this class include using Act.ly, Twitter’s petitions, using little links such as bit.ly on tweets to save on characters, and my new favorite lesson is that if you Favorite a tweet, the author cannot delete it as it will become permanently archived.

I learned an interesting statistic during Saving Community Cats. There are currently 82-88 million pet cats in the United States, and 80-85% of them are already spayed or neutered. The National Animal Control Association is a proponent of Trap, Neuter, Return and has information about grants, reducing population through non lethal means, and shows how TNR creates healthier, safer cats who have a lower adverse impact on the environment, and ultimately reduces the number of public complaints. Examples of successful TNR programs include the University of Central Florida, which started TNR in 1991 and within 4 years all the cats were photographed, kittens were socialized and adopted out, and the 96 cats that they maintained is down to a population of 11 cats in 2011. In Ocean Reef, FL, approximately 2,000 cats were tracked and put through a TNR program. There are now approximately 500 cats. In Alachua, FL, of the 2,226 cats, approximately 55% have been spayed or neutered, and Animal Control has seen a 68% decrease in cat intake from the zip codes that were targeted during the TNR. These are all excellent cases that prove that Trap, Neuter, and Return works!

Some excellent tips from Forcing Transparency includes how you can use the Freedom of Information Act or Public Record Act to your advantage in finding out information such as holding periods, medical records, use of controlled substances, staff qualifications, statistics on adoptions and euthanasia, policy manuals, and even Camelian or Pet Point software print outs, which can be used to look for patterns. All public shelters and private shelter with a public contract are required to cooperate.  Make sure you send a copy to the legal department of the entity and the Shelter Director. You should also be allowed to view documents at no cost.  Online resources include Your Right to Federal Records, and the First Amendment Project, which will even provide information for whistle-blower protection and SLAPP suits. Advice to follow when filling out a PRA is do your research, look at sample requests, find out state laws so you know if they are being broken (i.e.- hold periods), know what you are looking for, and why you want the information, ask for specific documentation and be specific to include time periods as well. If the organization fails to provide the information, file an enforcement action. Attorney’s know how to do this and most of the time you can obtain the attorney fees in the suit. If you can’t find an animal lawyer in your area, look for one that specializes in environmental or employment law as they frequently use PRA’s as well.

With so many classes on a wide variety of subjects, advocates could gain tons of knowledge from the people who have proven successful in their areas of specialty, and after inspirational key notes speeches from Nathan Winograd and Seth Godin, author of many books including Tribes, I can guarantee every person walked away with an even stronger desire to promote change.

The No Kill Revolution Starts with YOU ~Nathan Winograd

See you in Chicago for the 2012 No Kill Conference!

Karl, Aaron, and Jodi on their way to the No Kill Conference
Karl, Aaron, and Jodi on their way to the 2011 No Kill Conference