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08 September 2008


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"Why is anyone still listening to PETA?"

That is indeed the question of the century, to be followed by "What more can we do to make people understand the incredible cruelty and hypocrisy of PETA"?

But Heather is also correct in noting the 2 different forms of "no kill" which enables people like PETA (and HSUS...) to sneer at the whole notion. The "no kill community" movement is tarnished by its association with the "no kill shelter" reality she describes. And which is why I so wish Winograd and the "no kill community" movement didn't hold so fiercely to the "no kill" name.

Gina Spadafori

More out of the loop than on board, I'd say.


When I saw your headline, I was going to ask 'Why is anyone still talking about Peta?'. They're a death cult these days and long past their sell-by date. They started out well but twisted thinking and corruption got in the way.

The organization is obviously still not acquainted with the facts, which is proved every time they comment on an issue.

No Kill is the exact opposite of their mission, which is to kill domestic animals or failing that, to prevent them from reproducing. That's so they can be 'viewed at a distance, like starlings'. Sure. That sounds viable.

They say it themselves, it's not a secret.

What amazes me is that media outlets still consult them for opinions as if they are respected members of the animal welfare community. It shows that newsies are either onside with the mission or just out of the loop where animal issues are concerned.


Out of the loop and too lazy to find "real" sources.


Let me preface this by saying I am NOT an advocate of PETA by any stretch of the imagination. However, they are not all wrong on the environment of "No Kill" in many places. Currently, there are 2 mainstream versions of No Kill. Nathan's version and the version most No Kill shelters operate as. In my area, there are many "No Kill" but closed admission shelters. Many pets DO languish there for years and years and years. One shelter I know has had some cats there for 10+ years. If something were to happen to me, if a home could not be found amongst my family/friends, I would rather have them euthanized than relinquished to one of the local no kill shelters.


I agree, Christie and very well said.

Since this is a media war (on all fronts), the fact that the enemies of animals, such as Peta, are desperate to frame 'No Kill' as a bad thing means it is a good thing.

What's truly sad is that all the people who claim to 'speak for the animals' are unelected and unendorsed by their constituents - the animals themselves.

Anybody can say anything about what is best for them without their consent, in other words.

We have to stick with what we know in our kind hearts and experienced minds in order to stop the use of animals as gamepieces in turf wars -and worse.

No Kill the Winograd Way works for me.


Are pets "languishing for years" in no kill shelters the way they "languish" for much shorter periods in shelters like King County WA? A no-kill shelter may keep "unadoptable" pets for years but they are not by definition "languishing". They have daily human attention, food, water, shelter, etc. More than can be said for some dogs and cats with owners! 'Better dead than in a no kill shelter'? How horrible!

Christie Keith

Emily, I have thought a great deal about this since the last time it arose in the comments here, and this is how I see it today.

There is a branding problem with the term "no-kill," but ONLY AMONG POLICY WONKS IN THE ANIMAL WORLD.

The general population has a very positive idea of what "no-kill" is. It's a good thing to them. That's why PETA and their cohorts are trying so hard to counter that positive branding with their own "through the looking glass" definition of what "no-kill" is.

Now, on one hand we have the use of the term "no-kill" by anyone who wants to use it, including some loony hoarders or whatever, as well as some badly-run rescue groups and even some high-kill shelters who are "no-kill" when they fundraise or issue media releases, by using a macabre definition of "no-kill" that means something like "we're no-kill for the animals we don't kill, and all the animals we kill were unsavable. You know, like cats who have fleas and stuff."

But what this tells us is that the term "no-kill" is a powerful, powerful term that reaches right into the very core of people's deep emotional bond with animals -- even many people who we'd deem "irresponsible." They WANT to believe in a community, a nation, that doesn't kill animals that could be saved.

So, you have the no-kill movement, defining itself as a community-based set of policies and programs that are designed to quickly end the use of killing as a tool of animal population control.

You have PETA et al trying to get the public to change its positive perception of "no-kill" to a negative one, in service of its own agenda.

You have individuals mis-using the term because they know it has a positive image with the public, to help with fundraising or other PR purposes, or their weird emotional issues.

And you have private rescue groups and shelters who are operating alone rather than as part of a community effort, but who do not kill for space. THESE are the organizations and individuals that are being "re-defined" by PETA et al as bad guys, when in reality, it's the right of every individual and private organization to save whatever animals they choose to. Even if they do have a "closed admissions" policy, so what? They still create more carrying capacity for animals in need in their community. They give those people whose animals make it in their doors an option, a safety net for their animals.

A friend of mine just spent the weekend doing an adoption event for a group like that in her area. They are a private no-kill, closed door organization and they found homes for fifteen senior and special needs dogs at this event. In two days. That's fifteen dogs who did not put a burden on the county or town animal control agency, but went straight to the public with a well-managed, well-publicized event.

They are a piece of the human resources that a community-wide no-kill effort would need to make alliance with to be successful. Such groups are essential in this effort. They aren't in and of themselves the answer, but they do help animals. Just because they sometimes say "no" to owners because they are at capacity doesn't mean they always do -- after rehoming these 15 dogs this weekend, they can now take 15 new dogs in as soon as the adopted ones are speutered and taken home by their new families.

I think it would be bad marketing and a very bad idea to abandon a term like "no-kill" that has such strong positive buy-in from the general public just because we, animal world insiders with our heads full of policy ideas, know all this.

I think it's wrong to allow no-kill opponents to try to re-define OUR term out from under us. The very reason they're trying so hard to do just that is that we are on the side of the angels as far as the public is concerned. Giving that up would be crazy.

Instead, we need to consistently frame the no-kill movement as a community based movement to end the use of killing as a tool of animal population control. Individual rescue groups and shelters that don't kill for space are allies and essential resources of the community in this struggle, but in and of themselves aren't the no-kill movement, or the solution.

And bad shelters and rescue groups, that let animals suffer through their bad policies, bad management, lack of caring, psychological problems, or any other reason are bad -- and should be condemned -- whether they call themselves "no-kill" or not.

H. Houlahan

One of the more disturbing pieces to this nationwide discussion was revealed in the HBO documentary Shelter Dogs, which followed private shelter owner and temperament-test advocate Sue Sternberg.

She is an outspoken critic of no-kill shelters. (The Winograd framing of the no-kill equation was not on the radar when this documentary aired.) In the film, they visit a no-kill that is near Sternberg's own facility, and she decries their "hoarding."

This would be less disturbing to me without the context of some of Sternberg's pronouncements about pit bulls and other "tough" breeds, her promotion of one-shot temperament testing as a live-or-die litmus test for shelter dogs, and her book on Successful Dog Adoption -- which, if I had read it as a dog-naive prospective pet owner, would have sent me running screaming from a toothless Maltese puppy, in fear for my life.

Do I think Sternberg is a PeTA plant? Not at all. Do I think that her own unacknowledged fear of dogs and being bitten, and chronic burnout, colors the "facts" that she presents on sheltering and adoption and behavioral euthanasia? Absolutely.

I hate to think that Shelter Dogs is forming anyone's conceptions of what No Kill can be, but I'm afraid that has done more than the arguments that don't filter out of the choir loft to the general public.

Cheryl Lang

Very well written, Christie and I believe all of our friends at Best Friends would applaud you!


Christie, I appreciate your very thoughtful post.

I agree that "no kill' is an extremely powerful and positive phrase.

And an extremely powerful and positive reality.

If it were a reality.

We have had this discussion many times before.

Even "no kill the Winograd way" does not mean that no animals die (avoiding our semantic debate over whether "kill" and "euthanasia" are different things).

Can anyone blame the public for being unable to distinguish between the "good no kill" in which some animals die (the Winograd way) and the "bad no kill" in which animals don't die but live horrible confined lives (the caricature that PETA/HSUS promote)?

I don't.


I must say that I have never met anyone who did not understand that vicious or incurably suffering animals would be euthanized in a no-kill setting.

I do not doubt that there are some out there who do not comprehend that, but none that i have ever encountered personally.

For my part, I stress that no-kill is all about maximizing adoption and reaching out to at risk pets and owners to help keep pets in homes. I do not consider "shelters" like the no-kill example used in Shelter Dogs to be shelters but rather sanctuaries. And like shelters, sanctuaries may be good or bad. The one depicted in the movie appeared to be pretty awful.

Breed rescues catch the same sort of flack that private no-kill shelters do in that we are selective and not open admission. But as with private no-kills, each animal taken in and rehabed and adopted out frees up space and resources at the local open admission AC.

I responded to a Craigslist ad for a found bulldog once to offer help to the person who had found a stray bulldog. He was absolutely opposed to the idea of breed rescue as it was exclusionary and wanted nothing to do with rescue. His mind was completely closed. Most shelters however are happy to send a dog with us, especially if the dog is old or ill or needs remedial training.

When a member of JQ public says no-kill isn't really because they put dogs down, tell them that proper no-kill will not kill because of age or breed or space, but will euthanize animals with no hope of adoption due to suffering or severe temperament. The vast majority of people seem to have no problem making that distinction

Stressing that ultimately no-kill is achieved when the community as a whole is saving 90% or more of all homeless pets makes a real impact on the people I talk with as well

cj swartz

My brother just died a week ago, and I'm not making any progress on finding available space in a no-kill rescue for his many cats (over 30).

I'm in favor of as much spaying/neutering as possible, and finally was able to convince him to get it done (via free vouchers and my work to make the appointments and my transport of him and the cats to the clinic). I want to offer most of them a chance to be adopted (2 or three may not be suitable). Many of the rescues in my area (metro Phoenix - Mesa, AZ) use foster homes to care for the cats while waiting for adoption, but some do have facilities where some/all are kept while waiting for a home. If the conditions are good - food, attention, room to play, etc., then I think waiting for a good home is better than being killed by strangers in a "shelter". This summer has found very high numbers of cats/dogs being turned in to all the rescues (if any had openings) and the county pound and local humane society - I'm sure that foreclosures added a lot to the normal mix of unspayed females having "unwanted" kittens, and cats no longer being wanted as well as other families who lost a family member and don't have room for their pets.

I wish there were open admission no kill shelters, but all I find is the choice between closed admission no kill and open admission shelters like the Humane Society that announces on their website "The Arizona Humane Society is full when it comes to cats. Any cat(s) you surrender will more than likely be put to death. We want your cat to live, so we ask you to reconsider your decision."

The cats/dogs who need new homes have many more options than when I was a child (dump them out in the country, or drown them/gas them, etc.)but there are still more in need than there are places to take them WHEN they need help. I am a proponent of what Nathan Winograd is trying to accomplish, and I wish I could find some places with openings that want the same.

Gina Spadafori

cj, I am so sorry about your brother.


cj - it's possible you can find a vet who will cut you a break on the vaccination/testing cost. Call around with your story (maybe some shelters will let you know which vets they use) and I bet you'll be able to find a vet who will be sympathetic to your plight.

Christie Keith

Yeah, I noticed Boks is attributing the shocking rise in shelter killings at LAAS "partially" to the foreclosure crisis. The thing is, Los Angeles has the LOWEST foreclosure rate of the largest metropolitan areas in the country, and even that has been FALLING, not rising.

Even in areas with high foreclosure rates, such as Washoe County, Nevada, they are seeing only slight increases in shelter intake, and have managed to bring down their shelter kill rate despite taking in more animals and having a smaller budget per capita than Los Angeles.

The problems at LAAS have nothing to do with the foreclosure crisis and everything to do with longstanding management issues that are no secret to anyone following that situation.


Sorry if I was unclear. Nathan Winograd, in his blog, recently blamed the recent increase in pets surrendered in Los Angeles on a spay/neuter ordinance, which has not actually gone into effect yet. He claims the ordinance caused an uptick in euthanasias in Los Angeles - but as this article notes, it's the economy and the housing crisis that has led to so many abandoned pets.

I find it ironic that he's now criticizing PETA for making this about no kill. And I don't care for PETA at all, don't get me wrong.


cj, so very sorry to hear about your loss.

When we have had strays to place, we put ads in the local "pennysaver" or "nickel" type paper, often low cost. A cute flyer placed in every feedstore and vet clinic can go a long way too.

I've never had to place more than a few cats at a time, never thirty at once!, but we have placed some older, truly "bad adoption prospect" dogs and cats which have been dumped at our property or happened across our path.

The purebreds we foster for rescue are less stress as there is a whole network in place for them, not so with strays and I know the whole "where do I start?" feeling .

If you live in a small town, local papers often love to get involved with stories like this ( our does)and that is free advertising. If you are in a rural area, spayed and neutered but more or less feral cats may appeal to farm or winery owners needing pest control. Not PC with some rescue groups but for ferals without an established colony to move into, it is a better fate than many.


Believing as I do that most people are not, in fact, dumb as rocks, I seriously don't believe that the general public is easily confused on the question of the difference between ending the lives of animals who are untreatably ill or who have genuinely unmanagable and dangerous behavior issues, and ending the lives of healthy or treatable animals.

It's the difference between euthanizing animals for the same reason a loving owner would, and killing for convenience. It's about as subtle as a ton of bricks. Evidence that "the public" is confused on this point, is at present rather lacking.

Granted, much of the media, when they notice the issue at all, do seem to be confused, but they're not the general public. They don't know the difference between PETA with its anti-domestic animals agenda and genuine animal welfare organizations, either.

Yes, PETA is working hard to try to confuse the public on this, of course they are. The part I'm not getting is why that means we have to lay down and play dead on the subject, and meekly surrender a very powerful phrase that PETA so hates that animal welfare people were smart enough to grab.


On a side note - PETA folks must have been foaming at the mouth on Friday when Best Friend's Dog Town showed the Vick pitties being pretty normal dogs - not a lot different from those taken from mills. Loving on the folks caring for them and learning that not all humans are killers - Vick and PETA alike. Obviously they need a lot of love and to be retrained and some have a longer road ahead of them but the difference in some in just a few short months was wonderful to see.

H. Houlahan

I'm so sorry for your loss, CJ, and so sorry that you have been left holding the bag on so many cats.

Are the cats in a living situation where you could maintain them for a while and adopt them out privately yourself? It's a lot of work and effort, but you may get more interest if you are forthcoming about their plight. I got my two kittens via Craigslist, and have placed at least one rescue dog because we put a poster up at the dog park. While it may be something you find too intrusive, this could even be a situation that the local media would publicize. (I had to suck it and go the papers when one of my SAR dogs needed something I couldn't find otherwise -- a pool for PT after surgery. I didn't like it either, but Mel got what she needed.)

A few years ago our breed rescue found ourselves with two dogs, mother and daughter, whose owner had died.

That is what Rescue should be there for!

What could be higher priority than two orphaned pets?

They'd been cared for gratis at their vet's office for a couple weeks before someone thought of breed rescue.

The owner had left money to a friend for their care. Unfortunately he had not structured it as a trust, just left the money no strings. The creep took the money and not the dogs.

These two dogs needed extensive expert foster care -- no behavior problems, but the owner had died of an obesity-related disease, and the dogs ate on the same plan. But that is what Rescue should be there for!


Pot, meet Kettle.

Is this the same Nathan Winograd who just a few weeks ago in his blog, blamed the foreclosure pet crisis on AB1634, a recent city spay-neuter ordinance which few in the public even know about and has not even been enforced yet, as there is a 6-mo grace period? Winograd has a lot of great ideas but this is, to me a self-serving manipulation of facts no more legitimate than PETA's.

Here's the quote:

"Ed Boks should know. Since passage of his local version of AB 1634, impounds and killing have skyrocketed at the Los Angeles pound he oversees, exactly as concerned animal lovers feared. In fact, the increased killing was the first at LAAS in over a decade."

-Winograd's Blog, 8/15/08.

We have a massive housing crisis and a 22% increase in surrendered pets due to foreclosures and evictions. How is this caused by a spay/neuter ordinance again?

cj swartz

"Are the cats in a living situation where you could maintain them for a while and adopt them out privately yourself?..." - H. Houlahan

Just today, I received an email from a rescue organization that offered to let me post photos/info about each cat on their website (as long as they meet the requirements of being altered/FeLV-FIV tested and vaccinated) - this is the first real help offered. Petfinder's has classified ads, but they don't include photos, and I think that reduces the chance to get people's attention. I'm keeping my brother's home until I can find placements/homes for the cats (couldn't sell it WITH the cats living there anyway). Thanks for your suggestions - I've thought about contacting the media, but haven't tried it yet. I have to make a lot of appointments for vaccinations and testing now - glad I know places that are lower cost, but it still is going to be a big bundle of money getting them ready for adoption. If some of them get adopted, the fee can help cover some of the costs.


Anne - huh?


If Los Angeles' increased numbers have nothing to do with the new ordinance, then I really dread seeing what happens when the city's MSN kicks in. I've been following the effect of these laws since San Mateo and they never fail to make a bad situation worse.


Gosh I'm really excited to hear this as everything I've read tells me that California has one of the HIGHEST foreclosure rates in the country, along with Florida, Nevada and Ohio. Yet Los Angeles has the LOWEST of any metropolitan area? Amazing if true. I can't wait to see those "for sale" signs all over my neighborhood come down!

There are a lot of management problems at LAAS and there's no question that other shelters do a lot better, but there is absolutely no doubt that the housing crisis is bringing in many, many more pets than usual. And my only point is that PETA is not alone in wanting to blame their "pet peeve" issue for the increase in homeless pets.


Anne, I did read Nathan's blog and did not come away with the impression he was attributing those pets surrendered due to foreclosures to the MSN ordinance. Rather that fear of the ordinance was causing an increase in relinquishment additional to what the slowing economy has already brought. I will read it again when I have the chance to see if I missed something.

MSN ordinances have historically had the effect of driving up impound and euthanasia rates. . That has been during both economic upturns and downturns. And the city of L.A. has been making determined efforts to publicize their new ordinance in the local papers, on the local news and on the city website. Additionally, folks who have applied for or paid for their pets licenses these past few months are being warned that the paperwork they have submitted to obtain unaltered licenses this year will be insufficient to qualify next year but what precisely will be accepted is not yet known. The idea that the ordinance is not yet known to the pet owners of Los Angeles is therefore unlikely.


JenniferJ, I talk to the public all the time about spay/neuter when I'm out trying to get pets adopted and there really is very low awareness of the new ordinance. People who license their pets to begin with are a small fraction of pet owners in our city - see City Controller Laura Chick's audit of the department if you are interested in statistics.

I know this blog is very anti-MSN and don't need to argue it here, I just do not believe it's caused much of any impact as yet on the shelter population, either way.

Gina Spadafori

Anne, how about some FACTS? California has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country, but L.A. County doesn't even make the top 10:

"The Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., metro area registered the highest foreclosure rate among the 230 metro areas tracked in the July report. One in every 64 households in the metro area received a foreclosure filing during the month — more than seven times the national average.

Three California cities followed in the metro foreclosure rate rankings: Merced was at No. 2 with one in every 73 households receiving a foreclosure filing; and Stockton and Modesto were in a virtual tie, each with one in every 82 households receiving a foreclosure filing.

With one in every 85 households receiving a foreclosure filing, the Las Vegas metro area’s foreclosure rate ranked No. 5, followed by three more California metros: Riverside-San Bernardino, Bakersfield and Vallejo-Fairfield.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla., documented the ninth highest metro foreclosure rate, and the foreclosure rate in Phoenix took the No. 10 spot."

Source: Realty Trac

Don't know how low you have to go to get to L.A., but it won't take me but a few minutes to find it. And I'll guarantee you Sacramento County has a higher rate, so L.A. can't be sitting at No. 11.

You gonna mouth off here, you better bring your A game. We don't mind opinion -- in fact, we consider a diversity of intelligent opinion (in the great words of John Scalzi) a feature, not a bug. But you'd better be able to back it up, because I guarandamnteeya we can ... and we will.

Real Estate, by the way, is one of my strengths. I used to be a real estate editor, and I knew Fannie and Freddie when everyone loved them.


Sorry, I thought I was polite but if you consider my posts "mouthing off" I will not post any further.

But if you do find the LA Metropolitan area's foreclosure ranking to be the lowest in the US I would be very interested in the link.


It's interesting to see that Dallas is so hard hit, comparatively, since the market is still pretty hot here. Things are still being bought and sold at a nice clip- prices have just come back down to a reasonable level in some neighborhoods that had gotten really overvalued.

Susan Cosby

You know, the most ridiculous thing about the recent news stories from LA is that just about everyone, except for the mayor, seems to have been critical of he job that the GM Ed Boks is doing. And to go back even further, he drew criticism in the previous cities where he worked for everything from fiscal management to the ineffectiveness of his programs - labels no substance.

Sound familiar? (

Yet somehow - despite the fact that this person's particular abilities as a senior manager have been questioned - the problem is now being framed as a problem with No Kill.

Like the foreclosure crisis being the direct cause of an increased impound or euthanasia rate... that is yet another leap of logic I cannot follow.


Just the fact that was asked for: Spay/neuter was passed in February 2008. In Q2 of 2008, among the 100 cities with the highest foreclosure rates, Los Angeles ranks #19. It is not the highest in the country but it is in the top 20% of the top 100 metropolitan areas. It does not have "the lowest forecloure rate of the largest metropolitan areas in the country" any way you look at it.

I do not dispute that LAAS management is lousy, a large group of employees brought a vote of no confidence to the city council yesterday.

I do no agree that foreclosures have not impacted the large increase in intakes at LA City shelters. The story is written in the shelter cards and tons of emails I've received and ads on craigslist - "dog needs home immediately or will go to shelter, owner losing home!"

I don't believe the spay/neuter law, which has low awareness and is not being enforced yet due to a grace period has caused massive owner surrenders and dumping of dogs.

Those are my views, your mileage may vary.


Nathan Winograd, in his blog, recently blamed the recent increase in pets surrendered in Los Angeles on a spay/neuter ordinance, which has not actually gone into effect yet.

The Los Angeles MSN ordinance passed in February and went into effect in April. Full enforcement begins in October.

The foreclosure crisis has been going on for two years. During most of the foreclosure crisis, and for years previously, LAAS shelter euthanasias were dropping steadily.

LAAS shelter euthanasias took a sharp increase -- 32% higher in the past several months -- after the LA MSN ordinance passed.

There's no correlation between the timing of the foreclosure crisis and what's been observed for LAAS shelter euthanasias. There's a perfect correlation with the LA MSN ordinance.

Winograd and others are correct that the history of MSN laws is that they lead to more dogs and cats being killed. Many pet owners lack the means to comply with an MSN ordinance, and this leads to an increase in abandonments. Shelters have to deal with an increasing number of difficult to adopt out pets, so they end up euthanizing more of them for population control.

San Mateo County experienced a 126% increase in dog euthanasias and an 86% increase in cat euthanasias after they passed a sterilization ordinance. That happened ONLY in the unincorporated parts of the county, which is where the ordinance applied. In the incorporated parts of the county, where the ordinance did not apply, shelter euthanasias continued to drop.

The pattern of more killing has repeated itself across the nation, wherever MSN laws have gone into effect. It's been observed in Australia where they passed MSN, as described in this report by the Australian Veterinary Association.

Mandatory spay/neuter laws kill.

Christie Keith

your mileage may vary

Yes, because as I said very clearly, I was using both 2007 foreclosure AND shelter stats, apples to apples. And I additionally said that foreclosures in Los Angeles went up early 2008 (which is all you cite, that rise), but that rise is now reversing itself.

Laura then, separately from me, compared some other figures, the shelter stats for the period since MSN was passed. Those, too, were apples to apples.

Christie Keith

There are a number of Southern California cities in the top ten... so the region in general is very hard hit. But the city of Los Angeles, while it has very high absolute numbers because of its size, is quite far down on the list. The top 20 from

Stockton, Detroit, Las Vegas, San Bernardino/Riverside, Sacramento, Denver, Miami, Bakersfield, Memphis, Cleveland, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, Ft. Worth, Fresno, Indianapolis, Dayton, Dallas, Akron, Oakland, Columbus

Now, in the beginning of 2008, which is not included in those figures, LA did have an increase, which is currently reversing. The shelter stats I was using were from 2007, though, so were an apples to apples comparison.

I don't want to minimize the fact that LA has a low RATE to imply that people aren't suffering in this crisis there as well as other places. My own city is hardly a blip on the foreclosure radar. I have a friend in Richmond, VA, where foreclosures are actually DOWN, and I know the economic downturn has hit everyone hard even in those cities.

But the problems at LAAS, irrespective of what Ed Boks says or Nathan Winograd says, are not due to foreclosures. Even in areas much harder hit than Los Angeles, the increase in shelter surrenders due to foreclosure is not that high. It really pissed me off when he used that in the LA Times to justify their exploding kill rates, when other cities harder hit than LA have managed to bring their kill rates down.

Bad management is the problem in that shelter system, not foreclosures, but that doesn't mean I don't have compassion for people in Los Angeles, pet owners or not, who have lost their homes or jobs, or who are just having hard times.

And yes, the state of California overall is being CRUSHED by foreclosures, even if there are islands in the stream right now. I just don't see any nexus between the city of LA that is being served by LAAS, kill rates, and foreclosures. I think in this case, it's just an excuse that sounded plausible.


Please. I live the the oh-so-lovely Riverside/San Bernardino area and the LAAS is even *worse* than our local shelters (enthusiastic kill shelters all). Here is just one example from today's news (

"Shelter Employees: 'No Kill' Policy Endangers Pets

LOS ANGELES (AP) ― Animal shelter workers are unhappy with their bosses. Union representatives for Los Angeles shelter workers claim city Animal Services chief Ed Boks and assistant general manager Linda Barth are leaving the facilities overcrowded and animals in danger in an effort to cut euthanasia rates.

They want their bosses ousted.

A petition declaring no confidence in the leadership was signed by more than half the Animal Services employees and presented to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's office. Unsatisfied with the mayor's response, they are now appealing to the City Council."

Bad ideas and bad management all around. And the local news acts like it's no big deal.


Crystal, I will say again, no, the general public is not confused by the term "No Kill" into thinking that animals will not be euthanized when suffering from untreatable, unmanagable health problems, or if they are truly unmanagably and uncorrectably dangerous.

No Kill is not hoarding. Hoarding is not No Kill. There are hoarders who call themselves rescues, of course, but that doesn't make them so. My calling myself an Olympic marathoner wouldn't make me one, either, and would cast zero reflection on the physical conditioning of Olympic marathoners.

PETA is attacking the term "No Kill" not because it creates confusion in the public mind, but because it is such a powerful term, so effective at garnering public support because it reflects what the general public wants shelters to be--places that euthanize only when necessary for the animal, rather than killing for human convenience. Using the term "Low Kill" won't engender the same public support because, sorry, it suggests a shelter that, yeah, sure, tries "minimize" convenience killing, but which will still, when the going gets tough, blame the Bad Owners for the fact that they're killing healthy, adoptable animals rather than seriously trying to save every single one that's savable.

Using the term "Low Kill" would be handing PETA a propaganda victory, and I don't see any reason to do that--not when PETA doesn't even have "low kill" as a goal. Not with a kill rate over 90%.

Crystal in MI

In response to the other commentss

I think it's pointless (not to debate, but) to try to make a definite decision WHY people are giving them up with out polling them as they drop them off to the shelters. If it was being done for this specific reason you could either have a fill in the blank as not sway their answer, or have MSN / Foreclosure / Other.

To assume we know peoples motives based on statistics with so many variables is absurd. All sides presented so far have their points as well as their flaws. The only way to know for SURE, is to ask.


Personally I prefer when shelters use the term "LOW-kill." It doesn't mis-lead the less informed public, and you'll be hard pressed to find an honest one that actually carries on a hording no-kill policy. It's a forth right term. They make no promises of being able to save all lives; be it because of finances or health or temperament. They admit through the term itself that not all lives can or will be saved.

The term "no-kill" can quickly become a hot button of discord. I've read accounts the the best of shelters and the worst of shelters who worked under this label.

What set in stone my own negative prejudice was years ago meeting a woman who was with a rescue and her own set of mind included that no pet should be euthanized no matter their temperament and almost with out exception for for any state of health. And judging by the state of the rescue pets they had with them, I could only feel sorry for those that weren't adopted out.

I know that doesn't embody all of "no-kill" but I know for certain that that that particular extreme of mind set is out there. Falling in with those are individuals out there who get in over their heads. Individuals whom society labels as hoarders.

I am grateful for the no-kill facilities out there that do provide the best care, the ones that run like a well oiled boarding center. The ones that produce canine members of society worthy of a CGC (or at least comparatively so in their progress) and not like some wretch forgotten about cower in some unnumbered cell for months at an underfunded pound with a horrible director. Ones that work patiently with the rehabilitatable, and turn away the ones that would make the most notorious street thug proud.

Far better in my opinion to turn away or put down a dog that will never be able to be handled than to have it languish in a cage because none of your workers are capable of taking care of it(not strong enough, too scared, or dog is far too aggressive even after months of patient gentle kindness from staff,) or it is a poor facility in regards to caring for the animals (those that easily could be charged with abuse and neglect.)

--- But alas... PETA blaming the no-kill movement for foreclosures... That makes me laugh. At least the other way around is plausible. Silly PETA. It's rare (I think it's a grand total of twice in 20 plus years,) when I agree with them and this certainly isn't one of those times.

Rosemary Rodd

Does anyone have an explanation for PETA's enormously high numbers for "other" (as reason for intake of animals) and "reclaimed by owner" (as final fate of animals)?

You'd normally expect only strays to be reclaimed, but their intake actually categorised as strays seems very low.

In comparison the Richmond SPCA, which seems to be a normal animal welfare society and is dealing with the same ballpark numbers of animals has quite low numbers of animals reclaimed by owners (but excellent rates of adoption).

H. Houlahan

"Animal reclaimed by owner" is their category for the pets brought in for their subsidized sterilization surgery. They use it to try to pad their live-release rate. The dog or cat is only there for a few hours, and is never "owned" by PeTA.

Do the numbers correspond to "other?"


Nathan W is living on his own planet. To think that one can solve the pet overpopulation problem without spaying and neutering animals is ridiculous - as is a belief that no-kill shelters are the solution.

"No-kill" is a label - sounds great, the public likes it. Let's leave the dirty work to the open-admission shelters. (the bad guys)

Unfortunately, along with the "no-kill" trend, we have seen the emergence of animal hoarders disguised as animal rescuers. This is a growing problem and needs to be addressed.

Gina Spadafori

Jen, EVERYONE agrees that spay-neuter is part of the no-kill solution. If you don't think so, you don't know what no-kill is about.

But ... it IS about making spay-neuter easy and low-cost (preferably free or even paying people to bring animal in), especially for targeted problem populations like feral cats. And more ... it about taking the services TO people who need them, because you can't take a big dog on the bus to get to a low-cost clinic 25 miles away when you don't have a car.

And I challenge you to provide ANY PROOF that hoarders have increased along with the emergence of no-kill. I have been covering these issues for 30 years, and there always been plenty of hoarders.

Hoarders have a recognized mental illness. They have always been here, and will always be here. Their existence has NOTHING to do with no kill.

The "dirty work" is being done by the shelter industry because they refuse to do anything except blame the public and continue "business as usual." It's a failure of leadership, aided and abetted by animal-rights groups that use no-kill and hatred as a wedge issue to advance their real agenda: The eventual and complete extinction of domestic animals.

Have you read "Redemption"? You might want to, before talking about what you "think" no kill and Winograd believe -- and being WRONG.

Christie Keith

Nathan's shelter in upstate New York WAS an open admission shelter. And no kill is not about SHELTERS but COMMUNITIES -- a repeated "talking point" that those opposed to no-kill get wrong in their never-ending war to distort this discussion.


How about using the term.. The 99% Solution?. .. The 99% SAVERATE ? the 99% Kept Alive rate? . the 99% NoKillpetrate.. etc..

i am so sorry about your brother..doesn't anyone need a few.. say six or seven "barn cats"

As fo No Kill being hoarders and wharehouses..? If a choive were given. Cat wouold you rather live in barn. or in an office asana offic cat.. or in store as a mouser.. or be dead? I am guessing that he might not chose death.. My mother was a great schoolteacher who instilled the love of animals in her studnets.. so they "adopted ' a shelter dog nmed Rocky.. yes he was a "pit b ull" The class brought food for him made toys for him and visited him once a week. He was in a medium kill shelter.. BUT beacause he had advocates.. he reamied alive and well.. and I think happy unitl he died a the shleter...

pet limits have also driven down the abilities to make an "extra" pet a reality


"Unfortunately, along with the “no-kill” trend, we have seen the emergence of animal hoarders disguised as animal rescuers. This is a growing problem and needs to be addressed."

Can you give me some facts here.. has no-kill benn around as the 'cray cat lady' that lived near me long ago... how about the old guy who had say 12-15 dgs that he takes care of.. they sleep in the barn, get plenty to eat and don't leave the property.. Are these "hoarders" ? The ct lady had all of hers "fixed" and told us to mae sure we did the same with yours.. pretty educational.

Is it a "growing problem" really? Can you show me that statisitic? Or just that some people lie to keep multiple pets?

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