Sunday, April 28, 2013

Title: Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America
Author: Nathan J. Winograd
Genre: non-fiction, animal issues

Our local newspaper ran an article a few weeks about the kill rate at our local animal shelter; the rate is between 60-70%! I was shocked and appalled by these numbers. I researched our animal shelter because you never hear about them. Even though our animal shelter has a website, there are no pictures of animals available for adoption and the shelter's Facebook page hasn't been updated since November 2012. Seeing a glaring need, I called the shelter about volunteering and volunteer hours are only Monday-Friday 1-4:30 and the shelter is open to the public Monday-Friday 11-5. Hmmm... My first thought was, "When are working people and families supposed to come out to the shelter and save an animal?"

Then I came across this book. When I first saw the subtitle, I thought, "What does he mean by the myth of pet overpopulation?" Winograd introduces us to the humble beginnings of the American SPCA and how the 200 years of shelter killing has not reduced the number of strays, owner turnins or feral cats in this country. In order for there to be lasting change, Winograd says that shelters need a change of thinking and usually a change of leadership; shelters must become No Kill. What does No Kill mean? It means establishing a foster program, a behavior therapy program, implementing Trap, Neuter, Return for feral cats and free or low-cost spay/neutering for adopted animals. It sounds impossible but the San Francisco SPCA achieved this in the 1990's (until the director left and his successor changed things for the worst) and Tompkins County, New York has achieved this as well.

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