Wednesday, January 16, 2013

No Kill - When the Math Doesn't Add Up

No Kill Advocates will tell you that we have the ability to end shelter of adoptable animals by simply focusing on adoptions programs that will triple the number of shelter pets saved. 

Do those numbers "add up" to a "myth of pet overpopulation" or is this nothing more than "nutty" no kill math?

Posted on No Kill Nation

Myth: You can't adopt your way out of killing

Fact: Using the most successful adoption communities as a benchmark and adjusting for population, U.S. shelters combined should be adopting almost nine million animals a year. That is almost three times the number being killed for lack of a home. In fact, it is more than total impounds. But the news gets even better.

There are over 23 million people who are going to get an animal next year. Some are already committed to adopting from a shelter. Some are already committed to getting one from a breeder or other commercial source. But 17 million have not decided where that animal will come from and research shows they can be influenced to adopt from a shelter. That’s 17 million people vying for roughly 3 million animals. So even if 80% of those people got their animal from somewhere other than a shelter, we could still zero out the killing. And many communities are proving it.

Another tool in the fight for No Kill in your community –

Of course, these number projections come from Nathan Winograd’s book "Redemption" which was first published over five years ago. If it is true that shelters can expand adoptions far past a mathematical point that would completely wipe out shelter killing then why aren’t these numbers becoming a reality?

Groups like No Kill Nation (formed in 2009) would be able to at least prove the point that successful adoptions programs that follow the No Kill Equation can be safely, quickly and cost effectively implemented merely because advocates have the will to end shelter killing as we know it. Yet, south Florida alone continues to struggle under massive shelter intake numbers that leads to nearly 80,000 dogs and cats being killed in south Florida alone.

No Kill Nation likes to project leadership or maybe some purpose in the discussions on reforming Florida’s massive pet overpopulation and shelter killing dilemma. 

Yet even communities like Manatee who have successfully engaged it’s community in saving more lives still killed one out five homeless dogs and cats that entered Manatee’s "No Kill" shelter in 2012. That is not math that adds up to a number that ends the killing of Manatee’s homeless pets despite the community effort and despite the unreleased effects on the county’s animal control budget.

The only proven method of reforming your community’s animal welfare programs that nurture life saving while working at reducing the financial and cultural impact of killing innocent homeless pets is through programs that focus on reducing shelter intake. Those programs include targeted low cost or free spay neuter services, community breeder licensing laws, pet retention programs and educational initiatives that focus on raising awareness on responsible pet ownership in the community.

Jacksonville has proved that large metropolitan communities can succeed in ending the killing by focusing funding investments in programs that work towards simply reducing shelter intake numbers now and in the years to follow. In these difficult economic times communities simply do not have the resources to expand animal control budgets while slashing other programs.

As we move forward in 2013 shouldn’t we learn from the lessons in Manatee and Jacksonville focusing our reform efforts on real change rather than the "pipe dream" thinking from the nuts of no kill?

If you want to make a difference please stop tossing your money away donating to a misguided no kill movement. Your donations will go much further towards ending not only shelter killing but the suffering of animal hoarding as well by simply throwing your support towards local efforts that truly provide the programs that responsible pet owners need most.


  1. I have never understood Winograd's numbers. They don't make sense to me, either.

    In the small rural parish where I live, there are 2 public animal shelters. I don't have any figures for one, but at the other (which serves a small town of 13k people), about 500-600 dogs are killed every year. The animal control officer that I interface with to pull dogs and take pictures of them tells me he euthanizes greater than 90% of the dogs. The shelter doesn't handle cats at all.

    Innumerable dogs in the unincorporated rural area around the town are shot, drowned, starved, dumped, etc. There is, as yet, no shelter for the unincorporated areas.

    So when I go out with my group of great, housetrained dogs I should be able to adopt out all of them, lickety-split, because SO MANY people are looking for dogs?

    He's nuts. The numbers have to be made up. Oh, not to mention, there are a substantial number of people who want a certain breed of dog, not the Heinz 57s that most often show up at our local shelter (and many of them pit bulls or pit bull mixes). The question I'm most often asked is, "What kind of dog is he?" "Um, purebred shelter dog, sir" doesn't cut it for the many people who want to get a pet that they feel they *know*.

  2. Wow Randy I can't believe your using Jacksonville as an example, they are trying to adopt their way out of No Kill and it is not working. They have massive Adopt A Thons where in one weekend 800 animals are adopted out to anyone and everyone who wanted one. Many dogs are being returned, people are dumping dogs at Vet Offices to be euthanized. Rescues like ours are being called to take these animals because Jax Humane Society and the rescues they got them from will not take them back. People come in groups to get these dogs and resell them in GA. One dog was chained up and when his new owners left he impaled himself on the fence trying to jump it. We have had people pick up dogs off the street that were chipped back to Jac ACPS. No it is not working. There are several people in Mantee County who said they are facing the same problems.