Saturday, May 7, 2011

Are you an enabler of the needless killing of shelter pets?

Our battle for a No Kill nation is not against the public. It is against the cowards of our movement who refuse to stand up to their colleagues and friends running shelters that are mired in the failed and defunct philosophies that allow (indeed, cause) killing. Our battle is against those who claim to be part of our movement but fail to recognize the killing of millions of animals every year as an unnecessary and cruel slaughter and to call it what it is. It is against those who will not do for the animals that thing which is their solemn duty to do: to change themselves and to demand that their colleagues change, when that is what the situation calls for.Nathan Winograd

While I read Nathan's comments in his book "Redemption" and as it's been repeatedly been used in other conversations about the No Kill movement I never realized that those involved in rescue like myself are the "enablers" who are in fact causing this senseless slaughter of our nations shelter pets.

This gets pointed out in Shirley's "YesBiscuit" blog "Are YOU an enabler of the needless killing of shelter pets?" when she emphatically states

"Rescuers who pull animals from a shelter in order to save them while remaining silent about the needless killing of healthy/treatable pets there are enabling those who kill shelter pets." 

I first noticed this blog when it was posted on the No Kill Revolution Facebook page.  While I expected NKR to set the record straight on the foolishness of her comments instead they chose to defend her comments.  Since I'm blocked from commented on No Kill Revolution I will share my opinion here.

For those of you unfamiliar with Shirley - she is the resident "No Kill Nation" blogging expert who writes about everything no kill including shelters she has never visited.  In fact, Shirley's never been involved in rescue except for an occasional stray dog she's claims to take in.  Now that Shirley has a following on No Kill Nation she has been ordained as an expert on "all things" No Kill and in fact will be a featured speaker at the upcoming No Kill Conference in Washington DC later this summer.

So what are Shirley's viewpoint on rescuers who "only" rescue dogs and cats from kill shelters?  Here's what Shirley has to say about US enablers as she writes: 

While I can understand the idea that saving a few is better than saving none, I tend to maintain a broader view.  I say, speak up for no kill policies and let the shelter director ban every last rescuer from the place.  Organize and go to the people above the director, to the media, and to the public.  Shine a light on the needless killing going on at the shelter and the director’s efforts to prevent rescuers from saving pets. 

Common sense, which appears to be lacking with the No kill Nation leadership team would suggest that if all rescuers took this confrontational approach with high kill shelters that NO dogs or cats would be rescued and rather then saving "some" lives we would save No LIVES.  While Shirley the the No Kill Nation team may be willing to sacrifice innocent lives in this Armageddon against kill shelters I am not.  I hardly suggest it is my right to choose to sacrifice an innocent dog or cat solely to promote a poorly conceived agenda of superiority that "YesBiscuit" suggests.  Thinking like this is not only ignorant but lacks any moral compass I would be willing to follow.  The zealots leading this so-called No Kill Movement need to step back and tell us all what the end game is all about.  Certainly they would lose or have lost support from those of us who have spent years agonizing over dogs and cats in our kill shelters and who have sacrificed so much so even a FEW might live.

I won't apologize for EVEN one of the hounds I have been fortunate to save even if that effort required me to "look the other way'.  I'm reminded of years ago when I tried in vain to rescue a single beagle I called Hunter from the Spalding shelter.  I knew full well that Spalding had a horrible record of not providing adequate care for their shelter dogs/cats and I knew full well that the community's silence played a role in the many dogs and cats who died horrible deaths in that shelter's gas chamber, but it was my silence that made rescuing Hunter a possibility.  In Hunter's case my efforts failed. 

When I showed up at this horrible shelter the doors had been locked by the Department of Agriculture in order that all the dogs be killed because of a parvo outbreak.  For days I wrestled with my conscience and mourned the loss of a single beagle I had never met.  I suppose I could have slammed the shelter director, who was only following the advise of the DOA, I suppose I could have attacked the county commissioners who allowed this to happen, I suppose I could have blamed myself for not reacting quicker to pull poor Hunter to safety.  In the end, I remained silent.  Does that silence make me an enabler?

The fact is I chose a different course because experience had taught me that reacting with anger would only prevent me from rescuing other beagles in the days and years to come - while this anger may have fueled my ego on being a vocal advocate this anger would not bring about the change needed nor would it bring Hunter back.  Ultimately, those of us who actually rescue have played out this lesson over and over again.  While we have failed innocent dogs like Hunter time and time again we have to understand the significance for the perhaps the hundreds we have saved by funneling our anger in a more productive way. 

In time change did come to Spalding, but that change didn't come as the result of hot headed rescuers who were willing to toss out the baby with the bath water.  It came from working in partnership with other advocates who cherished EVERY dog and cats right to be rescued even if those efforts failed from time to time.  Those of us who choose to open up our hearts, our homes and our wallet's to dogs like Hunter do so because we cherish the shelter dogs we get involved in/  Anyone who tries to explain away that love by accusing us of being "enablers" is not only wrong but ignorant as well.

Advocates need to get involved in our local shelters and in our local communities as well.  My advice for Shirley is that if she truly cares about making a differences she might try volunteering and supporting change at her local shelter first.  My guess is she's not as interested in getting involved locally as she is in being on the national stage. 

YesBiscuit "ARE YOU ENABLING THE NEEDLESS KILLING OF SHELTER PETS? Our battle for a No Kill nation is not against the public. It is against the cowards of our movement who refuse to stand up to their colleagues and friends running shelters that are mired in the failed and defunct philosophies that allow (indeed, cause) killing...  Enablers make the continued practice of killing possible.  No shelter director can go it alone.  He counts on the support of those who are sympathetic to his lies about being “forced” to kill friendly pets.  Strip away that support.  It’s time to sink or swim.  Learn.  Grow.  Change.  Join us.

So there you have it - we who silently rescue are the cowards of our movement who not only allow this killing but cause it as well.  Should I say more about this twisted physiology of hate spewing from lour "No Kill" movement?  Shirley, your going to have to "go it alone" because what YOUR asking is too high a price too pay.

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