Archive for February, 2012

No Kill Hillsborough County

Is it possible to completely stop unnecessary killing of dogs and cats in Hillsborough County? We think so! And so does Nathan Winograd, author of Redemption and founder of No Kill Advocacy Center. ACT is proud to have brought Nathan to Tampa yesterday to talk about the reality of becoming a no kill community.

Over 250 attended

The event was presented by the Alliance to Save90, a program of community advocates recently started by ACT. The Alliance aims to save the 90% of animals that go into our local shelter that are healthy and deserve loving, permanent homes.

Nathan began with a history of animal advocacy and shelter policy in the United States, pointing out that most shelters today are still using models from the 19th century – resulting in over four million animals being killed each year in the United States (14,000 last year in Hillsborough County). But, many communities across the country such as San Francisco, Tompkins County NY, Reno NV and Charlottesvillle, VA have adopted Winograd’s no kill equation and successfully stopped the killing (some virtually overnight).

Of course these communities had naysayers, who tried to rationalize why no kill is not possible in their community. Excuses ranged from “it’s only possible in urban communities” to “it’s only possible in rural communities.” Some places were told they only succeeded because they had unlimited funds, but that doesn’t explain why San Francisco achieved no kill while 90 days away from bankruptcy. They even heard it isn’t possible in the south because of the “bubba” mentality. Then, Charlottesville, VA proved that wrong! The bottom line is, no place is truly unique in their challenges and there is a solution to every issue. We just have to be creative, and we have to believe we can succeed.

No kill has been questioned by popular national animal organizations, but the facet is that  no kill is the ONLY method that has been proven to work.

Elements of the no kill equation include: high volume, low-cost spay/neuter, feral cat trap-neuter-return programs, foster care for animals that need rehabilitation, innovative adoption programs, medical and behavior rehabilitation within animal shelters and effective use of volunteers. Many of these things are already being done in Hillsborough County, but we need to step them up in order to really see the benefit. According to Nathan, the most important factor of an effective no kill community is a hard working shelter director who doesn’t hide behind excuses. Hillsborough County currently has an opening for the position of Director of Animal Services, and we’re looking for someone who shares this philosophy and won’t except anything less.

Rick Reidy

Rick Reidy, legislative aide to Commissioner Ken Hagen, attended the event and made a commitment on behalf of the Commissioner to ask the County Commission to make Hillsborough County Animal Services a no kill shelter. THANK YOU Mr. Reidy and Commissioner Hagen for supporting the animals! Reidy’s announcement resulted in a standing ovation from attendees. The animal community is ready to do what it takes to save animal lives!

Thanks to Cynthia Smoot from Fox 13, a long time advocate and ACT supporter, for attending the event. Nathan was featured on Good Day Tampa Bay yesterday morning.

Although with other community organizations, ACT has headed the community in the right direction – through targeted, high volume spay/neuter programs and the opening of the ACT Clinic in 2006.  But there is still more work to be done and ACT will not call their mission accomplished until 90% of the shelter animals are being saved.

Click here for more information about the Alliance ,to Save90 and how you can get involved in the solution.

“We are the generation that questioned the killing. We are the generation that has discovered how to stop it. Will we be the generation that does?” – Nathan J. Winograd


February 5, 2012 at 8:03 pm 1 comment

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