Damianoff agreed to allow experimentation on BARC pets

Houston, TX – I recently sent a Public Information Request (PIR) to the City of Houston for several years’ worth of minutes of meetings of Houston’s Animal Shelter Advisory* (ASA) committee.  I was curious about what this committee actually did for shelter pets.   I assumed that the purpose of this “Animal Shelter Advisory” committee is to come up with ideas to help Houston’s shelter pets; as in how to save more of them from being killed at Houston’s five kill shelters.**  At the very least, I expected the ASA committee to work on programs and services to help save more lives at Houston’s high kill pound, BARC .

As an example of what other cities have accomplished, Austin’s Animal Advisory Committee worked with their city council to create ordinances which mandated that their pound save at least 90% of the animals…. a Save Rate that Austin’s pound has met or exceeded every year since the ordinances were passed.   However, as I was reading through the minutes of a January 2013, Houston ASA committee meeting, I came across information that was shocking beyond belief.

The Minutes state that Houston ASA committee member, Chris Souders (Associate Medical Director-Houston Fire Department), requested an “arrangement” with BARC to allow Houston Fire Dept. personnel to practice doing intubations on cats at BARC. 

And as utterly appalling as that agreement is, it is equally appalling that not one Houston ASA committee member had any objections to Souders’ ghoulish request. In fact, the Minutes say “Action: Neil [Sackheim] will get back with Chris Sounders re: numbers of euthanasias and the general schedule so HFD can see if it can be incorporated.” (AnimalShelterAdvisoryCommMeeting2013-01-30).   So, another member of Houston’s ASA committee thought this idea was just peachy and even offered to help make arrangements.   Not one person on Houston’s Animal Shelter Advisory committee actually stood up FOR the cats at BARC.   Not one.

Houston Fire Department memos indicate that, after that January ASA committee meeting, HFD-EMS personnel then discussed the shelter pet experimentation arrangement in meetings on at least 6 occasions.   On December 20, 2013, an HFD memo states “The department will support a program to allow paramedics (both interns and veteran) to intubate recently euthanized feline as a proxy for pediatric intubation”.

So the program to experiment on BARC cats was approved by HFD. (See HFD-Memos here)

CatinCage2009-05-01_188-1

Let’s think about this scenario. Imagine that your pet accidentally got lost.   Imagine searching frantically for your pet for days, maybe weeks or months, but you could not find your pet. (Considering the fact that there are five Houston area kill shelters spread out over 600 square miles and a lot of people would have no idea where to look for their lost pet, never finding a lost pet is not an uncommon occurrence.)   Imagine discovering that BARC had had your pet, but because you did not find your pet at BARC within Houston’s measly 3 day stray hold period, BARC killed your pet.  (Believe me, it happens.  With BARC’s low 7% Return to Owner Rate, it happens A LOT.)

Now imagine that you discover that not only did BARC kill your pet, but BARC’s director allowed his cronies to experiment on your pet.  This scenario is repulsive and literally makes my skin crawl, but that is exactly what BARC, Houston’s Animal Shelter Advisory committee and HFD have been planning.

The experimentation agreement between these people is beyond repulsive.  Instead of working to try to save shelter pets, like Austin’s Animal Shelter Advisory committee did, Houston’s Animal Shelter Advisory committee uses shelter pets for their own personal unlimited supply of bodies.

Also, not only is this agreement reprehensible, but this type of animal experimentation is entirely unnecessary as there are non-animal alternatives which are far superior.  Dr. John Pippin, with Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), said that “Using cats is an antiquated and discredited practice that persists in fewer than one percent of training programs in the U.S. and Canada. In the past, cats have been used to teach neonatal and pediatric intubation, but this has been replaced by simulation and using animals is now considered substandard training.” [Emphasis added]

Two hundred and fifteen (215) facilities currently have non-animal simulators which can be used for intubation practice. 2 of those facilities are right here in Houston and 1 is in Galveston. (See “Pediatrics Survey Results 2014-11-13”). 

Besides being heinous and entirely unnecessary, I believe that this ghoulish experimentation agreement also violates Houston ordinances. Section 6-138 states “Under no circumstances may an animal be sold or donated for research or teaching purposes to a medical school, licensed hospital, or nonprofit university or college.  It is against the law because the animal loving public does not want shelter pets used for experimentation.

Dr. Pippin also sent a letter to BARC, HFD and ARA Dept personnel informing them of far superior non-animal alternatives in 215 facilities in the country. (See Dr. Pippin’s letter here DrPippinLtrToHoustonFD) To date, no one from the city of Houston has responded to Dr. Pippin.  If those experiments never took place, why didn’t any of these people immediately respond to Dr. Pippin and say so?

This arrangement is also a huge conflict of interest on the part of Chris Souders and Greg Damianoff. Since BARC continues to kill thousands of pets year after year, Damianoff can provide a never ending supply of pets to Souders to be used for HFD experiments. There is no incentive for Souders, as a member of the Animal Shelter Advisory Committee, or Damianoff as BARC Director, to do anything that will lead to the end of killing pets at BARC.

Are you are curious about the rest of the members on Houston Animal Shelter Advisory committee? According to the City of Houston, below are the names of the people who were on the ASA committee at the time the January 2013 meeting took place.   All of these people, except Ms. Gebhardt, are still on the Houston Animal Shelter Advisory Committee today.

Tippit, Taffi 04/21/2010 12/31/2015 Council 01 ACTIVE
Souders, Chris 10/21/2009 12/31/2015 Council 02 ACTIVE
Muenzer, Kappy 03/05/1998 12/31/2015 Council 03 ACTIVE
Sackheim, Neil 10/21/2009 12/31/2015 Council 04 ACTIVE
Mantor, Michelle 08/15/2012 12/31/2015 Mayor CC 05 ACTIVE
Gebhardt, Deborah 03/30/2011 12/31/2013 Mayor CC 06 REPLACED

The below information was online concerning these members:

* Taffi Tippit – Veterinary, Bissonnet Southampton Vet Clinic

* Chris Souders – Associate Medical Director-Houston Fire Department

* Kappy Muenzer – Director of Citizens for Animal Protection

* Neil Sackheim – Board Member, SNAP

* Michelle Mantor – Publisher/Editor at Houston Pet Talk magazine

Looking at these names and positions of these people, it is simply mind boggling that not one of them stood up to protect BARC pets. .

Reporters have recently begun asking the City of Houston questions about this ghoulish agreement. Not surprisingly, personnel at HFD now claim that they have not actually done experimentations on BARC cats. (At least, not yet.)  However, IF they have not begun their experimentations, it is not because Greg Damianoff, or anyone on the Houston ASA committee has ever attempted to stop it.

In fact, Damianoff told Randy Wallace with Fox 26 news that he had no idea why HFD didn’t follow through with the experiments.  

And, if all of that isn’t bad enough, BARC i.e. Greg Damianoff has lied about the existence of documents in connection with this grisly agreement.  In February, 2015, I sent a PIR to BARC asking for “all documents between the City of Houston and/or BARC and the Houston Fire Dept. and/or Chris Souders and/or any other Fire Dept personnel or city personnel, in connection with any agreement, plan, proposal or discussion to allow paramedics to practice intubation techniques on any animal in the possession of BARC and/or located at BARC’s facility.”

The reply? “BARC does not have any responsive information”.

But, that statement is a lie because I have the January 2013 meeting minutes in which this very agreement is discussed. BARC should have produced that document in response to my PIR, but they instead lied. I’m sure there are more documents which BARC is legally required to produce, but city of Houston employees continue to lie in an attempt to hide the details of their experimentation agreement from the public.

More attempts at coverup:  I sent anther PIR to the Houston Fire Dept. asking for additional documents concerning HFD’s use of animals for training purposes.  The city attorney has written a letter to the Texas Attorney General claiming that documents that I requested should not be produced to the public and the reasons are beyond ridiculous. The city attorney claims that the records that I requested are “highly intimate and embarrassing, such that its release would be highly objectionable to a reasonable person, and it is of no legitimate concern to the public”. The city also claims that documents responsive to my request contain “medical requests of a patient”. See the city attorney’s letter here. COH-ReqToWithholdDocs  

Again, my PIR concerned only HFD’s use of animals for training purposes.  I’m sure that since reporters are now asking questions about their experimentation plans, the city is trying to keep this ghoulish, and possibly illegal, agreement hidden from the public.

Houstonians, sadly this is what is running Houston’s taxpayer funded “shelter” and this is who is making decisions affecting the lives of shelter pets.

Even Annise Parker’s campaign promises that “Houston can do better than this” and after all of BARC’s claims of “transformation”, BARC still has a director who would actually agree to allow shelter pets to be used for experimentation. 

BARC still has a director who is obviously satisfied to “save some and kill the rest”.

With this type of person as the shelter director, I do not believe that BARC will ever stop killing pets.

The type of person, who would make such a heinous agreement, should NOT be running an animal shelter.  Damianoff should be moved to another city department, just like Austin’s regression pound director was moved to another dept. (After she was moved, the Save Rates at Austin’s pound skyrocketed)

Act Now - Red Button

If you are sickened and outraged about Greg Damianoff’s agreement to allow shelter pets to be used for experimentation and if you are sick of the continued killing of thousands of shelter pets month and month, year after year, then please speak up for the animals of Houston.  Their lives are in your hands.

Please call or send a letter or email to the mayor and city council and tell them you are an animal lover, a taxpayer and a voter and Enough is Enough.  It is time to hire someone to run BARC who actually cares about saving lives….. not someone who would make such a grisly agreement.

It’s an election year, and the city council members who are running again, will need your votes. So make sure you tell them exactly how they can get your vote.   Click here for their contact information

TALKING POINTS;

It has come to my attention that BARC’s director, Greg Damianoff, and Houston’s Animal Shelter Advisory committee, made an agreement to allow Houston Fire Dept personnel to experiment on BARC pets.  Not only do I find this ghoulish agreement absolutely heinous, but I believe it violates Houston ordinances and federal animal welfare laws.   This does not represent the type of person that I believe should be managing the care of shelter pets in Houston.   After five years of killing thousands of pets, and macabre deals to allow experimentation on shelter pets, it is clear that Greg Damianoff is NOT the type of person who should be running an animal shelter.

BARC’s Save Rate was only 61% in 2014, while hundreds of Open Admission facilities and communities across the country are SAVING 90% to 100% of all animals.  BARC’s 61% Save Rate is ludicrous.

BARC killed or lost 10,050 animals in 2014.  That is 838 pets KILLED BY BARC every single month in 2014.

BARC KILLED 28+ pets every single day in 2014 under Greg Damianoff’s management.

Enough is enough.  BARC’s continued killing of healthy and treatable shelter pets, under Greg Damianoff’s management, is not acceptable.  I expect a shelter director who is willing to work hard to save all animals; not a director who is satisfied with saving some and killing the rest, or someone who would allow shelter pets to be used for experimentation;

I ask that you work to hire leadership for BARC who is dedicated to saving all lives, and who is willing to work hard to rigorously implement ALL of the programs and services of the No Kill model of sheltering so that BARC can stop killing shelter pets.

This is an election year, and I vote!

If you can’t call or write an email or letter, I have created a petition which will send an email to the mayor, all city council members and the director of the ARA Dept (over BARC) every time someone signs.  

Please sign the petition, then forward it to all of your friends and family.  Click here for the petition.

* An animal shelter advisory committee is mandated by both Houston city ordinance and Texas state law. Members of Houston’s Animal Shelter Advisory committee are appointed by the mayor and city council.

**When Houston’s ASA committee was first being formed five years ago, under Annise Parker’s direction, I contacted several city council members asking to be nominated for the committee. But, I got the run around from several council members saying that another council member was going to make the nomination even Houston ordinances state that any of them could nominate for that committee position.   It was quite clear that the mayor and city council did NOT want a person on that committee who would actually advocate FOR the lives of shelter pets.  And considering the experimentation agreement that these people made.  Mission accomplished.

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Houston’s problem is not 1.2 million stray dogs

Houston, TX – In 2013 and 2014, I wrote about BARC’s ridiculous claims that there are 1.2 million strays roaming the streets of Houston.

You can read the blogs here: Repeating Lies from Kill Shelters Harms Shelter Pets and,

here:Repeating Misinformation Does Not Help Shelter Pets

The No Kill Advocacy Center wrote about the myth of pet “overpopulation” and how BARC’s absurd claims of 1.2 million strays simply cannot be true.   Click here to read more.  (Houston is discussed on pages 12-14)

Many media outlets have continued to repeat the “1.2 million strays” number over and over but have apparently failed to do any fact checking whatsoever to find out where that number came from.  Apparently, no one even pulled out a calculator to find out that “1.2. million” strays in Houston would equal 2,000 stray pets in every single square mile of Houston.

As I wrote in my blog post, “The ‘1.2 million strays in Houston’ claim is yet another fabrication spread by management of a kill shelter in order to defend and excuse their mass slaughter of shelter pets.

Not only should we animal lovers reject this absurdity, but we certainly should not repeat it. When we repeat ficticious claims, such as this number, we provide them an excuse as to why BARC is still killing over ten thousand pets per year. It allows BARC/city of Houston leadership to continue to refuse to do the work necessary to implement the programs and services that have been proven to work to save 90% to 99% of all pets in hundreds of communities. Repeating fictious information such as the “1.2. million strays” claim allows them to continue to take the easy way.

They can continue to save a few and kill the rest, and animal lovers won’t complain because they think that the situation is hopeless and they believe that BARC’s only option is to kill thousands of shelter pets. It is not hopeless and we can end shelter killing in Houston.”

Finally, a reporter has done some fact checking into BARC’s “1.2 million strays” claim!   I am grateful that Ken Hoffman actually researched BARC’s fabricated claim before printing it.

By Ken Hoffman. Reprinted with permission.

From the city that once gave us “400,000 spectators attend Thanksgiving Parade downtown” – a number that city officials now admit was ridiculous – more headlines:

“Houston’s 1.2 million stray dog problem”

“One million stray dogs in Houston”

“Houston’s dirty, furry secret”

It’s a headline that’s been out there for years – we have 1 million, or 1.2 million (do I hear 1.3 million?) stray dogs roaming our streets, wreaking havoc in neighborhoods, making residents prisoners in their homes, creating health problems.

Say something enough times, and people will accept just about anything as fact.

Houston isn’t alone.

In 2012, a Rolling Stone headline declared, “City of Strays: Detroit’s Epidemic of 50,000 Abandoned Dogs.”

Let’s crunch some numbers. Detroit covers 139 square miles. If there were 50,000 stray dogs, that would have been 360 stray dogs per square mile. It wouldn’t have taken until 2012 to cry epidemic.

That’s when Tom McPhee and World Animal Awareness Society entered the Motor City. Using scientific survey methodology, including sending volunteers into the field, McPhee studied and counted stray dogs for two years. It was the first time anybody had done a responsible, accountable census of stray dogs there. His findings:

There were – and this is stretching it – 3,000 stray dogs in Detroit, a figure that may be knocked down to 1,000 by the time McPhee concludes his research.

A Detroit columnist jumped on McPhee’s report:

“Hey, guess what? Turns out there aren’t 50,000 stray dogs roaming the streets of Detroit. It seems the number is closer to 3,000. It’s a far cry from 50,000, a figure that a host of national publications swallowed with an embarrassing gullibility. Folks in the city would hardly be able to step outside without being surrounded by a dog pack.”

The thing is, 3,000 stray dogs, or 1,000, that’s a major problem. Especially when it’s your neighborhood with the problem.

But let’s get a grip, Houston, 1.2 million stray dogs?

Houston covers 600 square miles. We’ll be nice and use the lower number. One million stray dogs are marauding our streets?

Houston would have 1,666 stray dogs per square mile. And that’s every square mile in Houston.

Including River Oaks, Tanglewood, Memorial and many more well-maintained, patrolled areas that virtually have NO stray dogs. I’m not talking about Scruffy getting out of the backyard for an hour, until he’s picked up by a friendly neighbor.

Put it this way, if Houston really had 1.2 million stray dogs, many neighborhoods would look like the migration scene from “Lion King.” There would be an army of dogs, 100 across and 100 deep, pouring down Westheimer.

Hey, guess what?

The 1.2 million stray dog figure makes 400,000 people at the Thanksgiving parade look like a lowball estimate.

Why do we constantly hear that there are 1.2 million scavenger mutts on Houston streets? Where did this number come from? Why isn’t anybody challenging it?

It came from the city a few years ago. And to be fair, the city originally said “1.2 million stray animals” – dogs and cats. The media is to blame for headlines and reports repeating the number as “1.2 million stray dogs.

“We’ll go with dogs and cats here. I asked the city’s Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care, how on earth did you come up with 1.2 million stray animals in Houston? A spokesperson said that BARC has never conducted a physical survey of Houston’s homeless animal population. It just doesn’t have the budget for that. Instead, it used a math formula hodgepodged from a couple of sources.

Here’s the explanation from BARC: “The North Shore Animal League is the self-proclaimed world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization. The North Shore Animal League says that each day 10,000 people are born in the U.S. and each day 70,000 puppies and kittens are born. Animals are reproducing at alarming rates. If half of these animals live, that’s 12,775,000 animals born in the U.S. each year. Even if only 33 percent survive, that is still a whopping 8,431,500 animals born in the U.S. each year.”

The ASPCA says: “It is impossible to determine how many stray dogs and cats live in the United States; estimates for cats alone range up to 70 million.”

BARC, which takes in about 2,000 animals each month, concluded, “4.25 million people live in Harris County, which is 1.36 percent of the total population of the U.S. If the stray cat population (70 million) mirrors the U.S. population, that’s 952,000 cats. If you add about 300,000 stray dogs (or owned dogs allowed to roam) then Houston has over 1.2 million stray animals.”

BARC said its 300,000 stray dogs figure is an estimate.

Houston is about to find out how many stray dogs really roam our streets.

McPhee and World Animal Awareness Society, as they did in Detroit, are here counting stray dogs in all far reaches of Houston. This time, in addition to sending teams of volunteers from local animal welfare groups into neighborhoods, McPhee is using a high-powered, camera-equipped drone to fly above areas most troubled by stray dogs.

McPhee is gathering footage for a proposed TV series called “Operation Houston: Stray Dog City.”

I know, Space City or Bayou City or Clutch City or H-Town, heck, even Screwston sound a whole lot nicer than “Stray Dog City.”

McPhee will be here for about 10 more days, doing research and counting dogs. In early June, he will hold a press conference, show the pilot episode of “Stray Dog City” and announce a real number of stray dogs in Houston.

I asked him, are we going to have another Detroit, where you come up with a figure way, way lower than what’s been used for years?

He said, “I believe the number will be demonstrably different than the number that you’ve seen in headlines.”

Why are you making my job hard? Will the number be demonstrably higher or demonstrably lower?

“I don’t suspect that it will be higher.”

McPhee wouldn’t give me his early guess on the number of stray dogs in Houston. He doesn’t pull numbers out of thin air – where his drone will operate. But …

“I’ve found that, when a resident sees a stray dog, and tells other people, who tell other people, it becomes 100 dogs,” he said.

Read Ken Hoffman’s article in the Houston Chronicle here.

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Photos from Ken Hoffman’s article:

My Letter to Virginia Delegates

Bett Sundermeyer:

ACTION ALERT FOR ALL VIRGINIANS!

Originally posted on mom2nomads:

Tomorrow I will be e-mailing all one hundred Virginia House members, asking them to vote yes on SB 3181. The following is the letter I’ve written to them — I wanted to share it on my blog as well. I’m giving my perspective not just as a former PETA employee but as someone who has experienced animal rescue overseas, and someone who has seen how shelters and rescuers have done so much with so little in order to help the sickest animals I’ve ever seen. Keeping that in mind, I know PETA, with its incredible resources, is capable of more — SB 1381 would require them to rise to that.

Dear Delegate,

I am writing today to ask you to please pass SB 1381. As a former PETA employee who worked in the Community Animal Project (the division that does field and shelter work), I know from firsthand experience that…

View original 569 more words

Rescued by Black Boy: how a neglected dog set me back on my path, away from PETA

Bett Sundermeyer:

This is an important (and SHOCKING) blog by a woman who used to work at PETA. It confirms so many horrible things we have heard about PETA and so much more. It is a chilling account of what goes on behind closed doors at the slaughterhouse that is PETA.

Originally posted on mom2nomads:

There was a time when I was a True Believer and a very good little soldier, I did what I was told to do, when I was told to do it, I didn’t question orders and if I did it was never to the face of the one giving them. Then, one stormy and snowy evening, I stopped by an abandoned house to check on a dog I’d been feeding and caring for. I pulled up in front of the home and saw him huddled on the open porch, under cover as much as his short chain would allow, his thick fur encrusted in ice. In that moment I made the decision to unchain him and usher him into my van and, unlike past days when he’d been slightly timid and unwilling to trust me completely, he followed me. I rubbed him with towels to dry his soaked fur, wrapped…

View original 3,114 more words

BARC pledged to stop killing for Just One Day; then killed 30 pets

Houston, TX –  Just One Day is a nationwide campaign which occurs every year on June 11th.   It is a day that shelters nationwide are asked to explore and experiment with alternatives to killing shelter pets. These are alternatives that have already been proven successful in 200+ communities.

JOD-2014

In 2014, roughly 1,200 organizations pledged to participate in the Just One Day campaign.  They put down their “euthanasia needles” and picked up cameras instead, to photograph and market animals. They reached out to rescue groups, hosted adoption events, stayed open for extended hours, and asked their communities to help them empty the shelters. Roughly 10,000 animals were adopted that day across the nation.

Houston’s pound (BARC) took the pledge to stop killing for Just One Day in 2014.   They posted their promise to not kill pets on their blog and they convinced Proler Southwest/Sims Metal Management to sponsor them based on their promise.

BARC promised the media that they would not kill any savable pets on June 11th.  The city of Houston sent out a Press Release promising Houstonians that they would not kill savable pets that day.

Click 2 Houston reported BARC’s pledge here.

KHOU reported on BARC’s pledge here.

Guidry News reported BARC’s pledge here.

BARC management promised everyone that they would not kill healthy and treatable pets for Just One Day, but they lied.

In fact, BARC killed THIRTY innocent lives that day.  That’s right, THIRTY!  That is roughly 6 pets killed by BARC every single hour that BARC was open that day.

Let that sink in a minute……

BARC killed SIX pets every single hour that they were open.  That means that BARC killed 1 pet every ten minutes!  

That is literally an assembly line of death — on the day that BARC promised everyone that they would not kill at all.*

NorthKennels4

 

Of the 54 animals that left BARC that day, BARC sent more than half of them out in body bags.

  • Only 11 pets were adopted that day;
  • 5 were transferred;
  • 5 were TNR’d; and
  • 1 was fostered.
  • BARC did not bother to update the kennel cards for 2 dogs, so who knows what happened to them? Considering, the mass slaughter that day, I would bet money that BARC killed them as well.  See the kennel cards for “outcomes” that day here.

Instead of killing 30 pets, BARC’s leadership could have picked up a phone and called rescue groups and foster parents to help pull more pets to safety.  They could have called the media to help garner more of the public’s help in getting those 30 pets out alive.

BARC leadership could have gotten on their computers and MARKETED those animals.

BARC leadership could have organized dozens of adoption events all over Houston’s 600 square miles, like this one in which over 400 BARC animals were adopted.

There are dozens of alternatives that BARC’s leadership could have taken that day instead of KILLING 30 pets.

When I first looked at the kennel cards of all of the innocent lives that BARC/City of Houston snuffed out that day, I felt sick.   I can still hardly look at those precious faces without tearing up.

But, now I am FURIOUS.  I am furious at the lies and senseless killing.  And I am furious that my tax dollars are used to enable massacres like this.  I am furious that when Annise Parker first ran for mayor, she promised to “do everything in her power to transition Houston to No Kill community” but those promises have been nothing more than lip service.  For the 5 YEARS that she has been in office, she has done squat to keep her promises.  During that time, over TEN THOUSAND animals have been killed by BARC EVERY YEAR.   And in those 5 years that she has allowed BARC to continue killing, HUNDREDS of other Open Admission pounds and shelters have stopped killing.   In fact, there are over 200 communities with Open Admission, pounds and shelter, all over the country, saving 90% to 99% now.   Most of them achieved their successes after Annise Parker made her No Kill promises to Houstonians.

In fact, the newest Open Admission shelter to join the No Kill club is The Humane Society of Fremont County CO.   That shelter used to kill over 50% of all animals in their care, just like BARC.   But, several months ago, they hired new leadership.  They hired Doug Rae, who is a hard working and compassionate leader and who is dedicated to saving lives.   Do you know what happened?

Fremont County killed ZERO animals in December.   That is right, ZERO.  Doug Rae’s leadership transformed a shelter that was killing 50% to one than killed 0%, within a few months.

So, while Annise Parker take pictures for her “Pet of the Week” PR stunt — and while many of those same “Pets of the Week” then end up on BARC’s death row — shelters all over the country have  worked hard to implement the programs and services that allowed them to stop killing.

Yes, BARC’s Save rate has increased slightly in 2013 and 2014, and an increased save rate is nice.  However, the miniscule increase in saving lives is revolting!

What kind of person, who has the power to hire employees who would end shelter killing, instead does nothing year after year after year?   Why isn’t this travesty at the top of her “to do” list?   It’s not like ending shelter killing is a secret.   Nathan Winograd gave the city of Houston a step by step guide in 2009.  The only thing Annise Parker has to do is hire shelter leadership, like Fremont County did, who will actually work hard to rigorously implement all of the programs and services of the No Kill model of sheltering.

So, why does Annise Parker continue to do nothing to end pet killing in Houston?

CarMagnet3

If we all do not demand that the city hire a shelter manager who will end the killing, nothing is likely to change.  We’ve seen this for 5 years.  Citizens must be the driving force for change for the animals.   That is why I am asking you to demand better from Annise Parker and Houston’s city council.  You can find their contact information listed here.   Calling them is best, but letters and email are good too. If you have trouble coming up with talking points, you can find some on this petition.  You can also sign the petition which will send an email to the mayor and city council.

But, please do not let this be the last time that you speak out for the animal’s in Houston’s pound. 

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*As a result of BARC and the city of Houston’s lies, BARC has been removed from the Just One Day website.

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Will you support No Kill efforts?

KittensatBARC

Houston, TX – No Kill Houston is an advocacy group who is working to transform Houston to a No Kill community. This is no easy task since Houston has the distinction of having 5 kill shelters that are killing approximately 80,000 shelter pets each year.   There are now approximately 500 cities and town who have become No Kill communities, meaning their Open Admission pounds and shelters are saving 90% to 99% of all animals entering their doors.   No Kill Houston wants this for Houston.  We know that it is possible, but we need the support and advocacy of Houston animal lovers to move the No Kill goal forward in Houston.

Since Houston is a huge city of over 1 million people and is spread out over 600 square miles, it is extremely tough to try to reach all Houstonians to educate them regarding what is going on in Houston “shelters” and also educate them on how Houston can end the killing of shelter pets.

2015 is an election year for mayor and city council positions, so it is a critical time to raise awareness about how the right LEADERSHIP in Houston could make all the difference in the lives of Houston shelters pets. If we animal lovers band together, I have no doubt that we can swing the elections, and elect people who will actually work to transform Houston to a No Kill city. 

No Kill Houston is currently running photo contest/fund raiser which will allow them to do more “advertising” in 2015 to reach more animal lovers.  The top 13 photos with the most votes will be featured on the cover and pages of No Kill Houston’s 2015 calendar.  Entering the contest is only a $5 donation and votes are a $1 each donation. If you want to make sure that your pet is shown in the calendar, you may also “Reserve a Day” meaning your pet’s picture will be shown on the day that you choose.   Donations are tax deductibleClick here to go to the contest web page.

If you do not want to enter the contest, but do want to make a donation to support No Kill efforts, you can do so by clicking here.  Please donate generously.

No Kill Houston is also allowing rescue groups and animal friendly businesses the opportunity to market their organizations on the pages of their calendar.   The sponsor’s name, logo, website address and/or any other requested information will be listed across the bottom of a calendar page below the winning monthly photo.   To sponsor one month in the calendar is only a donation of $125 for 501(c)(3)s or $225 for businesses. (Individuals may also sponsor a month at the non-profit rate).

If you are interested in this marketing/sponsorship opportunity, please email No Kill Houston at NoKillHouston@yahoo.com ASAP as the contest ends on January 1st at midnight.  Calendars will be shipped out in early January and sold at various events.

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BTW: If you are considering a donation to local or national animal related charity, I would strongly suggest that you do some research first.   I say this as someone who has, in the past, donated to, and volunteered for, local shelters thinking they were No Kill shelters, but found out later that they were actually high kill shelters.  Just because an organization may have the word “animal”, “humane”, “protection”, “ethical”, “prevention of cruelty” or “shelter” in their name does NOT mean that they are actually working to save animals.  There are a lot of frauds out there, and in the past, I have been duped by some of them as well.

Houston has five kill shelters/pounds.  Many people believe that the 3 limited admission “non-profit shelters” i.e Houston SPCA, Houston Humane Society and Citizens for Animals Protection (CAP) are No Kill.  They are NOT.  Far from it. The kill rates of these 3 facilities are as high or even higher than Houston’s high kill pound (BARC) or Harris county’s high kill pound.

I would never tell anyone to not adopt from these facilities.  Obviously, the animals there need out. Their lives depend on it.  However, be aware that if you send them money, that money could very well be used to buy the poisons they use to kill animals.

Perhaps do a Google search with the charity’s name & the word “kill”. You might be shocked at what you find.  Or, check No Kill Houston’s site.  There is a lot of information there about what these “shelters” are actually doing.

Or read this blog regarding CAP;

Or read this page about the Houston SPCA;

Or read this blog about the Houston Humane Society;

And or this page.

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If you are considering donating to a national animal related charity such as HSUS, ASPCA or PETA, please do some research as well.  I have personally donated my hard earned dollars to PETA and ASPCA only to find out later that they fight against everything I believe in.  Not only that, they are kill shelters as well.  Also, although the HSUS claims to “rescue” various animals, they actually have no shelter.  And the HSUS has historically fought against No Kill efforts.  They have fought hard to kill some animals such as the victims rescued from Michael Vick’s house of horrors.  These organizations rake in millions of dollars in donations, but do little to nothing to actually help pets.

You can start your research about these national organizations here.

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In the meantime, have some fun and enter No Kill Houston’s photo contest.   Your companion may just become a 2015 calendar Pin Up!  Click here to enter and vote in the contest!

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Upcoming Documentary “Redemption” Spreads Message of the No Kill Revolution in America

Houston, TX – Redemption. The No Kill Revolution in America, by Nathan Winograd, is a book that has arguably caused the biggest transformation in the way hundreds of pounds and shelters in America operate.  This book has  changed the minds of thousands of people who read it and realized that there was a better way of sheltering versus what was taking place in most pounds and kill shelters.   They realized that there was hope.  And this book has saved many thousands of shelter pets because of the people who are now educated regarding how to end shelter killing in their own communities.

When I read Redemption, it completely changed my way of thinking about the pet sheltering industry.   I realized that so many things that the kill shelters and national “humane” organization have told us were completely wrong.  I read Redemption on a flight to and from Minnesota and  I spent most of the flight with my mouth hanging open in utter  shock and amazement….

* amazed that someone figured out how to stop killing all healthy and treatable pets in pounds and shelters more than 15 YEARS ago yet the directors of those facilities were still killing millions of pets every year;

* amazed that I, as an animal lover and rescuer, had not heard about the life saving programs and services from the pounds and shelters themselves;

* shocked that all of the life saving programs of the No Kill model of sheltering were not being implemented in every single pound and shelter because all of the programs are so utterly common sense; and

* shocked at the hypocrisy of the national, multi-million dollar, animal “welfare” organizations that have been fighting against the life saving programs of the No Kill model of sheltering.

Since I read Redemption, I have encouraged every person, who cares about animals, to read it.  As president of No Kill Houston, I have given away more copies than I can count because I believe that the information contained in Redemption is  critically important to ending shelter killing in all communities.

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I am happy to say that there is now a film based on this ground breaking book and I am happier to say that it will be shown in Houston!

From the film’s website:

Based on the groundbreaking book of the same name, this is the story of animal sheltering, which was born of compassion and then lost its way. It is the story of the No Kill movement, which says we can and must stop the killing.  It is about heroes and villains, betrayal and redemption.  And it is about a social movement as noble and just as those that have come before. But most of all, it is a story about believing in the community and trusting in the power of compassion.”

 Just like the book, this movie is a must see for anyone who cares about animals or who cares about creating a more compassionate society.

Redemption will be shown in Houston on October 7, 2014.    Doors open at 5:30 pm and the film will be shown from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.    Nathan Winograd will do a presentation, from 7:00 to 8:00 following the film, on how you can help build a No Kill community.     

Admittance to the film and presentation are FREE, but you MUST register first. 

Click here to register. 

I hope that I see you there!  

**From Nathan Winograd: This film is an earnest and honest portrayal of sheltering in the U.S. and offers proven solutions.  Because it deals with the truth about shelters in the U.S., it is by necessity, sad and difficult at times, but never gratuitously so.  And because it deals with the solution, people will come out of the theater feeling very, very inspired.

More than anything else, the film is an uplifting story of redemption.

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Crazy Alert! “No Kill can’t be done here”

Houston, TX – I am continually perplexed and saddened by people who continue to say that No Kill is not possible or can’t be done, despite the fact that it IS already being done.  And it is being done not by just one Open Admission shelter and not just by two…..  there are now over one hundred Open Admission, No Kill shelters which represents about 500 cities and towns.

How can people continue to claim that “it can’t be done” when it already IS being done?

From the creation of the very first No Kill community in San Francisco, there were naysayers who made up excuses why it couldn’t be done.   They said it can’t be done because  “there are too many gay people in San Francisco”.   When the San Francisco SPCA started proving them wrong, the naysayers then said it is being done in San Francisco “because” of the large gay population and because “San Francisco is “surrounded by water” —- but it can’t be done in other communities.

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Nearly 2 decades later, hundreds of communities are proving these excuses are absolutely false.  These excuses have no basis in reality.   I’m sure there were naysayers in every single one of those No Kill communities who said that “No Kill can’t be done here”…… until someone else did it and proved them wrong.  [I’m sure glad that No Kill advocates in all of those communities did not listen to the naysayers and kept on pushing for No Kill in their communities.]

Even the HSUS and ASPCA have FINALLY admitted what the HSUS/Maddie’s Fund study showed 5 YEARS ago…. that “pet overpopulation” does not exist.   There ARE enough homes for the number of pets being killed in “shelters” and pounds; in fact, the number of homes that will get a new pet each year far exceeds the number of pets being killed in “shelters” each year by many million.

We can create Open Admission, No Kill pounds and shelters in every community and we can end shelter killing once and for all.  It CAN be done.

The true problem is an overpopulation of shelter directors who refuse to do their jobs and implement the programs that will end shelter killing.  That is the reason that shelter killing still exists.  That overpopulation problem could be solved fairly quickly…. with pink slips.

Still, nearly every day I hear or read that “No Kill can’t be done in my community because“:  

  • “there are too many irresponsible people”; or
  • “too many people don’t spay/neuter”; or
  • “we have too many pets of a X, Y or Z breed”;  or
  • “our city is different from everyone else”; or
  • “other cities are more progressive”; or
  • “our city is too small”; or
  • “our city is too big”; or
  • “our community is surrounded by swamp land”.

These are all excuses that I have heard people use an excuse why certain shelters or communities can’t stop killing shelter pets.

These excuses are all demonstrably false.

What is perplexing and very sad is that instead of saying “I’m going to study what all of those communities have done to stop killing shelter pets and then I’m going advocate for the implementation of those same programs in my community”, those people just keep claiming that “it can’t be done here”.

 It is crazy when you think about it.

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Is it ethical to transport thousands of pets to communities with kill shelters?

Houston, TX – There is an odd myth among a lot of people in the south that communities in more northern states do not have kill shelters.  Some southerners have said that communities up north are literally begging for more dogs and cats and that their shelters have empty cages because there is such a shortage of companion animals there.

I’ve heard many stories about southern rescuers transporting animals up north to what they believe is “mecca”; the magical northern state where no shelter pets are killed.   Unfortunately, this belief is fiction.   If it were true, No Kill advocacy groups like No Kill Colorado, No Kill Wisconsin, No Kill New York, No Kill New Hampshire, No Kill New JerseyNo Kill Ohio and Animal Ark in Minnesota, would not exist. There would be no need.   But they do exist because there are kill shelters in northern states who are killing shelter pets just like in the south.   Those northern kill shelters are killing for the exact same reasons that kill shelters in the south are killing….. shelter management  refuses to implement the No Kill model of sheltering.

Recently, I was contacted by Davyd Smith, who runs No Kill Colorado.   Just like in the south, they are working to end shelter killing in Colorado.  Davyd was concerned because he had heard that a Houston group was shipping hundreds of animals to CO.  He was also concerned because he heard that Houston city council was considering giving this group more than $400,000 to ship thousands more BARC animals to their communities while they are fighting their own battles to end shelter killing.

It turns out Davyd was right.  I later received BARC’s proposed budget confirming that BARC was asking for $415,000 to pay Rescued Pets Movement (RPM) to transport BARC animals to CO.

Obviously, it is a good thing when animals are pulled to safety from BARC, which is Houston’s pound that killed/lost 12,500+ shelter pets last year.   Over the years, I’ve pulled a lot of animals out of BARC either by adoption or by fostering and believe me, I understand the desperation of rescuers who stand in front of perfectly wonderful, adoptable animals that are slated for death at BARC the next day if no one pulls them.  I’ve looked into those innocent faces and I understand the sadness and frustration of not being able to save them all because Houston’s pound in run by management that absolutely refuses to implement the No Kill model of sheltering that has been proven to save lives.

And, I’ve seen the pictures with all the cute shelter pets being loaded onto vans headed for that promised “mecca”.    I understand how some rescuers would be desperate to believe in that mecca.   But, we cannot look at transports in a vacuum.  We cannot turn a blind eye to what is  happening at the other end of the transports.   To do so would be, at the very least, unethical.

If we ship  hundreds or thousands of shelter pets to other communities with kill shelters, that means that rescuers in those communities will not be able to pull animals off the kill lists.  Therefore, animals in those kill shelters are killed.  

Can we really call this saving lives?   Isn’t this  just exchanging one life for another?   

Do Houstonians have the right to “dump” the problems of our high kill shelters on other communities who are also struggling to save lives? 

Is it ethical to make Houston’s kill shelter’s numbers look better at the expense of animals in another community?  

I do not believe it is ethical, nor is it a viable humane solution.Animal shelter

It is not fair to the rescuers in Colorado who now have to scramble even harder to save Colorado shelter pets lives because some of their foster parents and rescue groups are loaded up with Houston pets.   It is not fair to the shelter pets in Colorado who are on death row but will not be pulled to safety by a rescue group or foster parent because those rescuers are full with Houston pets.

Mike Fry, the director of Animal Ark, wrote about the problems associated with the transport of shelter pets from the south to kill shelters in his community and other northern states.  He wrote:

A logical person would be inclined to ask, “If the transports result in no net life-saving (and they don’t), then why do they happen?” It was a question I was able to ask the director at a southern shelter that regularly ships dogs to New York.

The shelter in question was the Huntsville, Alabama animal control facility. The shelter’s director, Dr. Karen Sheppard, has maintained a miserable save rate. She is currently saving only about 25% of the cats for which she is responsible, for example.

During a recent phone conversation with Sheppard, we talked about these transports. Almost immediately, she acknowledged that the New York shelter system was very broken, resulting in a lot of needless killing. When she said this, I immediately asked her, “If you know about all the killing going on in New York, why are you shipping so many animals there?”

Sheppard laughed and simply exclaimed, “You KNOW [emphasis her’s] why we are doing it!”

In fact, I DO know why she, and others like her, are shipping animals to communities that are still killing large numbers of their own animals:   It makes all of the shelters look like they are doing better than they actually are.   Sheppard herself has recently been credited with “improving” the “save rate” for dogs to nearly 50%.   However, a careful look at the statistics shows that nearly all of the “improvement” is the result of the transport of dogs to New York.

This seems to be a very controversial and heatedly debated topic here.  In fact, I posted questions on RPM’s Facebook page asking them if they knew that  communities that they are transporting thousands of animals to are NOT No Kill communities meaning these transports could very well cause CO shelter pets to die.   I even posted some of the Colorado statistics.   No answer was forthcoming from RPM, but some RPM supporters immediately jumped in and called me a liar.

There was no attempt to even look at facts; just the immediate spewing of lies and vulgarity.

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I have records from Colorado that rescue groups and shelters are required to file with the state.   It clearly shows that the communities where RPM is shipping BARC animals DO have kill shelters that are killing shelter pets.  Sometimes, more than one kill shelter.  The numbers are there.  Yes, they have lower kill rates than BARC, but they are still killing adoptable shelter pets.   But, apparently RPM and supporters, do not want to look at facts about the cities where they have sent over 2,600 animals, and the consequences they can cause.

To add to my concerns of Colorado shelter pets being killed because of these transports, additional very troubling information was forwarded to me.   I received copies of a Complaint filed against one of the rescue groups in Colorado (New Hope Rescue) where RPM shipped BARC pets.  The investigation of New Hope includes pictures of animals being kept in absolutely filthy conditions.   The house where many animals were roaming free, shows feces and urine all over the house; not just in cages as BARC’s director, Greg Damianoff, told a reporter;  it is EVERYWHERE.   It looks like a hoarding house.  (The Complaint and investigative reports are linked at the bottom of this blog and pictures from the investigations are posted below).

The investigation report shows multiple visits to the New Hope house with multiple problems noted on multiple dates.  The report says that the ammonia level in one room was so high that the animals in the room were confiscated and taken to animal control…..a KILL shelter in Colorado Springs.   These were animals shipped to New Hope by RPM.   So, BARC animals were pulled from one kill shelter and ended up in another kill shelter in another state.   Look at the pictures, and read the Complaint and investigation report.  Ask yourself if you would be concerned to know that BARC shelter pets were being shipped there.  Ask yourself if you would be concerned when the photos and investigation are shown to RPM and BARC director, Greg Damianoff but are simply dismissed as “just mess in a puppy cage”.   Ask yourself if you think this whole situation is a good solution.

One of RPM’s founders, Laura Carlock, recently told a reporter, that she personally visited all of the locations where they are transporting BARC animals.  RPM also issued a statement saying “We have VERY close relationships with the groups in Colorado with whom we work. Very close. We correspond with them no less than 15 times a day“.  This causes me great concern because I have trouble believing that the New Hope hoarding house got in that condition overnight.

Included in the Complaint is a handwritten letter from a former New Hope foster parent complaining of the conditions.   She stated that New Hope was having spay/neuter surgeries performed in a trailer that was someone’s home, not a vet clinic.   She also stated that New Hope refused to use any of the $50 per pet that RPM paid them on vet care for foster animals.  The New Hope foster animals she was caring for were sick, but she was told New Hope would not pay for medical care.   It seems to me that New Hope was using this RPM transport situation as way to make some money.  Colorado records show that most of the animals that New Hope took in were from out of state;  263 out of 307 dogs and 65 out of 76 cats taken in were transports from out of state    If all of the out of state animals New Hope took were from RPM, then New Hope made $16,400 from that deal and used none of it to provide vet care for those animals.   That is quite a racket.  (Records do not indicate where New Hope got all of their  transported animals, and RPM has been less than forthcoming when questions have been asked).

After a local news report recently aired about this serious situation, RPM sent out an emailed statement claiming that the “Colorado community is furious”.  I have to think that the people who are furious are the people that RPM has been paying $50 per animal to take BARC animals.   Raising awareness of the situation is a threat to their money train.

The people in Colorado who are genuinely concerned about shelter killing in their community and who are working to end it, are upset that Houston is transporting thousands of shelter pets to their communities (over 2,600 shipped by RPM).  In fact, they have asked Houston/RPM to stop transporting animals there until they end shelter killing in their communities.  I think it is a reasonable request.  But, it appears that the city of Houston, RPM, and the CO rescuers getting paid, are willing to turn a blind eye and ignore the serious issues they are causing.   This week, the mayor agreed to give RPM $265,000 tax dollars for thousands more transports to Colorado.   This will, of course, artificially improve the appearance of BARC’s save rates.  Apparently, the promise of big bucks, and inflated live release rates are blinding them all to the killing of shelter pets that are already in Colorado.

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT

In RPM’s recent email, they make a number of false statements.   I would like to clear up a few of the false statements that were made about me and No Kill Houston.

1)  I never told the reporter that spay/neuter was the only answer.  I don’t believe that it is and I have said this repeatedly.  Free and low cost spay/neuter is “part” of the No Kill solution but it is one of several solutions that I offered to the reporter that would save more lives and not burden another community with Houston shelter pets.  I told the reporter about many of the programs and services of the No Kill Equation that must be implemented to end shelter killing.  I even gave her a brochure explaining all of the programs of the No Kill model of sheltering.  I gave her a lot of information, but most of it did not air because of time constraints.

I did tell the reporter that part of that $330,000 additional money that the city just agreed to give to BARC for “live release initiatives” could be better used for more free spay/neuter for low income people, just like the free spay/neuter event held in which people lined up at 5:00 am, walking in the dark with flashlights to get there.  There are people in Houston who are desperate for these services and will use them, if offered.  Why isn’t BARC/city of Houston using this money more wisely and spending it right here in our city where it will make a longer term impact?  Instead of taking in litter after litter after litter and shipping them to other communities over and over or killing them, BARC could say “We’ll take that litter from you but you must bring in the momma cat or dog and we will spay her FOR FREE.”

2) I also told the reporter that part of that $330,000 would be better spent on offsite adoption locations all over the city.  I have been saying this years.  In fact, in 2009, No Kill expert, Nathan Winograd told BARC that offsite adoptions were essential to raising save rates.  No Kill shelters have found this to be critical in many cases because some people absolutely will never, ever go to a facility like BARC because they kill animals there.  They cannot take it.   The problem is compounded because BARC is hidden away, on a dead end street, in an industrial part of town where no one would ever just drive by and see them.

Houston is also 600 square miles, so there are many people who live so far away that they would never drive to BARC to adopt, even if they know where it is.  Offsite adoptions, in high traffic, highly visible areas, all over the city are CRITICAL to saving more lives at BARC.

This was proven to BARC management when they organized a very successful, well marketed offsite adoption event in 2011.  I wrote about it here.  At that adoption event, BARC actually ran out of animals!  They had to go back and get more BARC animals; they told their foster parents to bring their fosters and sent some of the people to BARC to adopt.   It was July and the temperature had been around 100 degrees but people waited in long lines in order to adopt. (See a picture at the link above).   By the end of the weekend, BARC had adopted out more than 400 animals It was more than BARC had adopted out in the entire previous month.  It literally cleared out the kennels at BARC.

Since BARC management has personally experienced how successful this offsite adoption event was, a rational person would expect to see more of them, if not every day, at the very least, every weekend. 

But that is not happening.

3) I also told the reporter that if BARC would implement the same successful Return to Owner program that Washoe County animal control uses to return 60% of their animals to owners who want them back (vs. BARC’s 7% Return to Owner rate) that it could save the lives of more that 8,000 lost pets per year, empty out more than 8,000 kennels per year and SAVE over $900,000 per year in the process.  I gave her this article.  This program would be easy to implement and not require a lot of additional funding, but the returns would be enormous in both life saving and money saved.   Nathan Winograd told BARC/city of Houston leadership this in 2009, but, they have yet to implement it. 

In short, we talked about a lot of life saving alternatives that could be implemented that would not involve dumping Houston’s pets on other struggling communities.  But, none of that made it to the air, or even the online version of the report.

4) Ms. Carlock’s statement to the reporter that the only 2 options for death row BARC animals is transporting them to another state or death is absolutely and demonstrably false.   As I stated above, there are  a lot of alternatives.  There are ten programs and services that are being implemented by hundreds of communities that have been proven to save all healthy and treatable pets i.e. 90% to 99%.   None of those programs include transporting thousands of pets to other communities with kill shelters.

5) RPM stated that “No Kill Houston has not saved one single dog from BARC”.  This was used as some sort of argument that No Kill Houston should not be allowed to express concerns about serious issues involving BARC pets.  Apparently, RPM does not comprehend that No Kill Houston is an advocacy group.   It has never claimed to be a rescue group and therefore does not pull animals from kill shelters under No Kill Houston’s name.   However, I  have personally pulled more animals than I can count from BARC to foster, or adopt, both dogs and cats.    I have also fostered for a number of the rescue groups who pull animals from BARC.

But, regardless of those facts, contrary to RPM’s statement, concerned citizens are not required to have a BARC dog in their home in order to be “allowed” to express concerns about BARC animals.    We are not required to have a BARC dog in order to speak out for animals about serious issues that we see, or when animal lives are in jeapardy.   We are not required to have a BARC dog in order to advocate for the solutions that have been proven to work to save 90%+ of all shelter pets all over the country.

If that ridiculous argument were true, few people would be able to speak out and effect changes in other situations where animals are in danger such as puppy mills, inhumane zoos or circuses, inhumanely treated lab animals or endangered wildlife.   If we paid attention to RPM’s senseless argument, we would all have to have puppy mill dogs, elephants, lab animals and wild life in our homes in order to have the privilege of speaking out for animals.  It is absurd.

6) RPM stated that No Kill Houston and No Kill Colorado are “fringe” groups.  That statement would be comical if it wasn’t coming from a rescue group who say that they are working to save shelter pets.

The fact that RPM board members are apparently unaware that there are more than 500 cities and towns with Open Admission No Kill shelters is tragic

The fact that  RPM board members have not educated themselves on exactly what these communities are doing to become No Kill communities is even more tragic.  

The fact that RPM is trying to recreate the wheel, using hundreds of thousands of tax dollars and using a program that has not created a single No Kill community…. a program that, in fact, puts lives in other communities in jeopardy, is shocking. 

That fact that the city of Houston, and therefore, we are funding this smokescreen to cover BARC’s high kill rates, is appalling.

Just as there are kill shelters in across the country, there are also Open Admission, No Kill shelters across the country.   In fact, there are at least 8 Open Admission, No Kill shelters/communities right here in Texas.   All of those No Kill shelters have one thing in common.   They have leadership who is dedicated to saving lives.  They have compassionate hardworking leadership, who are willing to do what has been proven to work.

If you are not familiar with how hundreds of Open Admission shelters have stopped killing shelter pets, I urge you to do some research.  You can start at the webpages for No Kill Houston and the No Kill Advocacy Center.

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If you wish to receive an email notification each time I post a new blog here, please click the small Follow link in the bottom right corner of your screen. (Note: you can only see the link if you are reading this from my blog site. The link does not show if you are reading this blog in an email.)

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Follow No Kill Houston on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to their email list.

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Follow these stories and writing by other Texas writers on “Texas Animal Writers” on FaceBook.

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Click here to read the Investigation reports regarding New Hope Rescue: NewHopeCrueltyInvestigation-Seizure

Below are pictures taken during the investigation of New Hope Rescue and the seizure of BARC animals from New Hope’s property.

 

Repeating the Lies from Kill Shelters Harms Shelter Pets

CrossFingersFotolia_13943038_XS-EX

Houston, TX – I recently wrote about the claim that BARC management (Houston’s pound) made that there are 1.2 MILLION strays on the streets of Houston  I’ve seen this claim repeated by several reporters lately and  BARC continues to repeat this claim as an excuse and as political cover for the high kill rate that continue year after year at BARC’s facility (almost 51% of all animals at BARC were killed or lost in 2013 i.e. 12,596 in 2013 alone).

If we take a moment to really think about BARC’s claim, we can clearly see that it cannot possibly be true.   If it were true that there are “1.2 million strays” on the streets of Houston, that would mean there are 2,000 stray animals PER EVERY SINGLE SQUARE MILE of Houston.   We would not be able to walk out of our doors without stumbling across a stray pet.  As a long time resident of Houston, I can assure you that this is not the case.

Even in the low income areas of town, where the most strays are picked up by BARC, there are not 2,000 stray animals per square mile.  

Are there a lot of stray, or free roaming, animals in those areas?  Yes.  

Are there 2,000 stray animals per square mile in those areas?  No.

Are there 2,000 stray animals per square mile in the rest of Houston?  No, absolutely not.

In an attempt to learn how BARC management arrived at the astronomical “1.2 million strays” number, I sent a public information request to BARC asking for “documents which support, corroborate and/or validate recent statements made by city of Houston and/or BARC employees, to citizens and various media, that there are 1.2 million stray animals in Houston.

BARC’s response? “…there are no responsive documents for your request“.

Let me repeat that: BARC / City of Houston stated that there are no documents to support BARC’s claim of 1.2 million stray animals on the streets of Houston.

When pressed again for the source of the “1.2 million strays” number by another skeptical citizen, BARC’s manager, Greg Damianoff, cited a “pet population calculator” on the AVMA website.   I looked at the website and found that it clearly states that their calculations are based on no actual, provable data in Houston.   It uses estimates based on some survey information from vets in other communities and is multipled by guesses as to how many strays there are based on how many owned pets there are.   In fact, the website states,  “… because these formulas use sample survey data, they should not be considered 100% accurate.”   And it is not accurate for Houston.

A look around the city, by the average person, would confirm that the “1.2 million strays” i.e. 2,000 strays per square mile number cannot possibly be true.  It is absurd.   The fact that this claim is being made repeatedly by the person who is responsible for managing the city’s pound i.e. responsible for “sheltering” strays impounded by BARC is, to say the least, irresponsible.

The “1.2 million strays in Houston” claim is yet another fabrication spread by management of a kill shelter in order to defend and excuse their mass slaughter of shelter pets.  

Not only should we animal lovers reject this absurdity, but we certainly should not repeat it.  When we repeat ficticious claims, such as this number, we provide them an excuse as to why BARC is still killing over ten thousand pets per year.   It allows BARC/city of Houston leadership to continue to refuse to do the work necessary to implement the programs and services that have been proven to work to save 90% to 99% of all pets in hundreds of communities.   Repeating fictious information such as the “1.2. million strays” claim allows them to continue to take the easy way.    They can continue to save a few and kill the rest, and animal lovers won’t complain because they think that the situation is hopeless and they believe that BARC’s only option is to kill thousands of shelter pets.   It is not hopeless and we can end shelter killing in Houston, just as 500+ cities and towns have done.

The No Kill Advocacy Center has just produced a new publication that breaks down the real facts, in detail.   It is a very interesting publication and I highly recommend that everyone read it.   Click here to read it. 

Learn the truth and repeat that information, then demand better from our city leaders who control BARC.

If you want to end shelter killing at Houston’s tax payer funded pound, then demand that Annise Parker keep her No Kill promises to do everything in her power to transition Houston to a No Kill city.  

It has been four and half years and it is long overdue that she actually work to keep her promises to citizens and voters.

The first and most CRITICAL thing Annise Parker  must do to keep  her promises is to hire a director for BARC who is dedicated to saving lives.

Contact information for Parker and city council members is listed on No Kill Houston’s website here.

If you are unable to call or write them, No Kill Houston has created a petition which will send an email to them each time someone signs.   Find one petition here or, if you have already signed the first petition, find a new petition here .

DogSigningPetition2

 

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If you wish to receive an email notification each time I post a new blog here, please click the small Follow link in the bottom right corner of your screen. (Note: you can only see the link if you are reading this from my blog site. The link does not show if you are reading this blog in an email.)

Friend me on Facebook and Pinterest.

Follow No Kill Houston on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to their email list.

Follow No Kill Texas Advocates, a No Kill political advocacy group, on Facebook and Twitter, and register to receive their newsletter.

Follow these stories and writing by other Texas writers on “Texas Animal Writers” on FaceBook.

 

BARC would rather KILL this kitten than accept offers of foster and adoption

Kitten

Houston, TX – The email chain below illustrates another instance of BARC & City of Houston management creating IDIOTIC rules that cost animals their lives.

Stacy emailed me because she offered to foster this kitten but BARC management (Amneris Diaz) told her no. Stacy then offered to adopt the kitten, but BARC again told her no because the kitten is 5 weeks old.

So, the 3 day hold period for this kitten expires today meaning that BARC can either choose to kill this kitten or work to find an alternative such as a foster home or adopter. In this case, BARC does not even have to work. An offer to save her is already there, yet BARC has REFUSED offers of adoption and foster care. So that means that BARC would rather kill this kitten. If another rescue group doesn’t offer to take this kitten, which isn’t likely since it is kitten season and most rescues are very full, she will be killed.

A beautiful, perfectly adoptable kitten will be KILLED by BARC…. while an offer to save her is in BARC’s lap.

How many times a day is this happening?!   How many adoptable pets are KILLED by BARC even when people have offered to save them?   Dozens?  Hundreds?  Thousands? 

How long does this have to go on before the citizens of Houston finally say ENOUGH!    How long will our tax dollars pay to KILL perfectly adoptable pets who have a place to go?

This is yet another example of why BARC is still a high kill facility.

 SHAMEFUL!

If you are as outraged at this horrific insanity, tell Annise Parker that it is not acceptable to kill animals that have a place to go.  You can contact her at: 832-393-1000 or mayor@houstontx.gov.  Tell her:

Annise Parker, when will you keep your promises and do everything in your power to transition Houston to a No Kill facility? Continuing to KILL kittens that have a place to go is NOT the way to get there.

Not only are your employees NOT working hard to save lives, they are actually turning down the public’s offer to save them.

You should also tell BARC’s shelter manager, Greg Damianoff.  His contact information is here


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From: “stacey@com”
To: nokillhouston@yahoo.com
Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2014 2:18 PM
Subject: Re: Kitten – Ragdoll Himmie Mix At BARC – due out date today. HELP!!!

he’s too small they said to adopt out. 5 weeks so they said I could foster to adopt but only if in the city limits. They don’t have space to hold her until she is ready to be adopted out and so she probably won’t be put up for adoption and put down. So sad because I have experience with these breeds and have rescued and vetted many of them.
Stacey
From: No Kill Houston
Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2014 2:10 PM
To: stacey@.com
Reply To: No Kill Houston
Subject: Re: Kitten – Ragdoll Himmie Mix At BARC – due out date today. HELP!!!
They won’t let you adopt her if you live outside the city limits??  I knew that they had an insane rule that people could not foster if they lived outside the city limits, but I thought that you could still adopt.  Randy Wallace (reporter with Fox TV) did a story on this topic a year or so ago, and the rescuer was forced to adopt some animals to save them when BARC would not allow him to foster since he was outside the city limits.   I would double check that.

From: “stacey@***com”
To: NoKillHouston@yahoo.com
Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2014 1:30 PM
Subject: Kitten – Ragdoll Himmie Mix At BARC – due out date today. HELP!!!

This little girl is at BARC in Houston. Due out date is today 5/29. ID is A1238418 under LOST and listed as Himilayan Mix. Since I live outside the city limits. They won’t let me foster or adopt. However a rescue group can pull her. Let me know. She is just precious and a shame to be put down. I have attached a picture.

Kitten-PetHarbor

Mayoral candidate, Ben Hall: attorney, doctor, minister and No Kill supporter

Houston, TX – On November 5th, Houstonians will have the opportunity to vote to elect many city officials, including mayor and city council.   I have made it no secret that I believe that Annise Parker has totally failed to even attempt to keep her No Kill campaign promises to Houstonians.   When Parker took office, BARC / city of Houston leadership, was perfectly poised to dramatically increase BARC’s save rates.   Gerry Fusco had fired 70+ HORRENDOUS employees and Nathan Winograd had assessed BARC and given the city a 196 page report detailing exactly how to increase life saving.

We should have seen a dramatic rise in BARC’s Save Rates.  Instead, BARC leadership ignored Winograd’s recommendations, and BARC’s Save Rates actually decreased every year for 3 years.

BARC’s Save Rate was a shockingly low 42% in 2012.

A couple weeks ago, a few animal advocates and I, met with mayoral candidate, Ben Hall, to talk about his stance on sheltering issues and BARC, in particular.   We talked for a long time about a lot of different options….. all better than the situation that we have now.  I am convinced that he is appalled by the sky high kill rates at BARC, and am I convinced that he is committed to implementing the No Kill model of sheltering in Houston.

In fact, Mr. Hall’s position statement committing to a No Kill policy for Houston is posted here.

Hall

No Kill Texas Advocates has also endorsed Ben Hall for Mayor of Houston.

I thought I would offer some additional interesting information that I learned about Mr. Hall.  For instance, Mr. Hall is an attorney, a doctor and an ordained minister:

Dr. Benjamin L. Hall, III is a Harvard-trained lawyer who founded The Hall Law Firm in 2000.   Dr. Hall obtained  a J.D. from Harvard Law School in June 1986;   a Ph.D from Duke University Graduate School in May 1985;  a Masters of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity School in September 1979;  and,  a B.A. from the University of South Carolina in September 1977.

Animal issues have been a concern for Mr. Hall for many years.   For instance, his doctoral dissertation “A Reverence for Life” involved animal issues.  You an read his dissertation here.

I believe that Mr. Hall is genuinely committed to dragging Houston out of the dark ages of catch and kill sheltering and that he is committed to making No Kill the policy in Houston.

Ben Hall is the best candidate to help us save the lives of Houston’s shelter pets.

I urge every animal lover to vote for Ben Hall for Mayor.

BenHall3

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If you wish to receive an email notification each time I post a new blog here, please click the small Follow link in the bottom right corner of your screen.  (Note: you can only see the link if you are reading this from my blog site.  The link does not show if you are reading this in an email.)

Friend me on Facebook and Pinterest.

Follow No Kill Houston on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to their email list.

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Follow these stories and writing by other Texas writers  on “Texas Animal Writers” on FaceBook. 

Annise Parker’s 2009 promises to animal lovers; in her own words

Houston, TX – In 2009, No Kill Houston sent questionnaires to the candidates running for mayor and city counsel in order to learn the candidates’ stances on sheltering issues in Houston.   Annise Parker was one of the candidates who responded to the questionnaire.

Since Parker has been in office for 4 years and currently running for a 3rd term, I thought that this would be a good time to review her 2009 responses to find out just how many promises that she has kept during her 2 terms as mayor.

Below are her responses (in blue.)  My comments regarding whether she has kept her word are in red.  (You can also see her completed questionnaire here:

1. Will you commit to supporting offsite adoption centers in highly visible, high traffic locations/retail space all over the City of Houston?

Yes

After A LOT of searching of BARC’s website, I found only 3 regularly scheduled offsite adoption locations, which are generally open only on Saturdays for only 4  hours per day.  These are 3 PetsMart and Petcos locations.  I also found 1 location in the Galleria that is open only on Saturdays for only 4 hours.

Houston is 600 square miles, yet BARC has only 4 offsite locations that are only open for 4 hours, 1 day per week.

The one very successful offsite adoption event that BARC organized was located in a HIGH TRAFFIC, HIGHLY VISIBLE location.  This event was so successful that BARC had over 400 adoptions that weekend alone.  As a comparison, BARC had only 343 adoptions during the ENTIRE PREVIOUS MONTH.

So, considering how many lives were saved at this one successful offsite adoption event, logic would dictate that BARC leadership would organize many more just like it.  But, logic does not come into play when BARC leadership makes decisions.  That event took place in July 2011, and I have yet to hear about a similar event.  

All the events that BARC organizes take place AT BARC’s facility on Carr Street.   This is the location that Nathan Winograd said was not conducive to high volume adoptions.  He pointed out that offsite adoption events were critical to increase the adoption numbers enough so that BARC did not kill “for space”.  This is also the very same location that the mayor herself said DETERS adoptions.  Yet, BARC continues to organize events there instead of more successful locations.

STRIKE ONE

2.  Would you support changing/extending BARC’s hours so that working families can get to BARC after work/school to reclaim their lost pets or adopt new pets?

Yes

BARC’s website indicates that their hours are noon to 5:30 for adoptions and noon to 6 to find a lost pet.   Considering the sheer size of Houston, and heavy traffic and congestion on our freeways, I don’t believe that these hours are adequate.  Personally, I work until 6:00 pm every day and it has taken me over an hour to drive across town to BARC during rush hour traffic.  If I was looking for a lost pet, I could absolutely never make it to BARC before they closed, without having to take off work. 

If lifesaving were truly important to BARC leadership, one would think that BARC would have later hours at least a couple days a week… especially considering that they can, and do, kill pets, including lost pets, after only a 3 day hold period.

STRIKE TWO

3. Would you support requiring that BARC be open on most holidays since there are generally the busiest adoption days of the year?

I would consider it, but I would need to review this with the appropriate HR personnel.

This is not happening at BARC.   The holidays are very good opportunies for people to bring a new pet home because they have time off from work and school.   So, why isn’t BARC taking advantage of these easy opportunities?   Nathan Winograd has said that, when he ran the first Open Admission, No Kill animal control/shelter, his shelter was never closed on a holiday.  They made it easy for the adopting public to adopt from them.  This would make it easier for people to rescue and foster animals for BARC as well since the majority of those people have full time jobs and families.

STRIKE THREE

4.  Would you support BARC having longer weekend hours since weekends are busier adoption days than rest of the week?

Yes

On the busiest days of the week for adoptions, Saturday and Sunday, BARC is open only 5 ½ hours each day.

STRIKE FOUR

5.  Would you support hiring a new Bureau Chief who is familiar with the programs and services necessary to drop kill rate at BARC i.e. the steps in the No Kill Equation?

Yes

This has not happened.   Before Parker took office in 2010, the city hired David Atencio to manage BARC.  Atencio was not at all familiar with the programs and services of the No Kill Equation.   Nevertheless, Atencio tried to make some positive changes that would have increased lifesaving.  However, his attempts were continually thwarted by ARA management (management that Parker put in charge).

Atencio eventually quit in March 2012.  I can only assume that Atencio quit out of the sheer frustration of trying to save more lives, but being blocked at every opportunity by city “leadership”.  Since that time, Atencio has not been replaced.   There is no one at BARC, full time, acting as director.   There is no leadership at BARC who is working to implement programs and services that would save more lives.    No one.

STRIKE FIVE

6.  Would you support shutting down the North Kennel entirely and building new kennels to replace it?

Yes, as funds are available.

The funds for this project have been available since before Parker took office.  In 2009, Bill White arranged for several million dollars to be spent on this renovation, yet 4 YEARS later absolutely no work has begun.  The North Kennels (aka North Ward) are still an absolute dungeon.

For those of you who have never seen the North Ward, see pictures below. 

Note that the dog in the top photo is unable to stand normally in this kennel.  His hind legs are up on top of the metal, flip down, “shelf” in the back of the kennel.  

NorthKennels

NorthKennels2

NorthKennels3

The kennels in the North Ward are absolutely appalling.   In fact, Nathan Winograd said that they were some of the most poorly designed kennels that he has ever seen.  Considering that he has toured shelters around the US and other countries, that is quite a statement.  

Personally, I have nightmares about animals stuck in those tiny, dark, dank, barbaric cells, too small for larger dogs to turn around or even stand comfortably.   The first time that I walked through the North Ward, I saw a German Shepherd standing on his hind legs, with his front paws up on the metal bars.  He wasn’t trying to get attention.  He was just standing there.  He did this because he was too large to stand comfortably in his kennel.  That was 5 years ago and the image is forever burned into my memory.

The funds to totally gut and rebuild those barbaric kennels has been available to Parker for 4 long years, yet she has not done a thing to make sure that this happened.

What has Parker done with those millions of dollars that were set aside for the animals? 

STRIKE SIX

7.  Would you support a comprehensive TNR (Trap, Neuter, and Return) Program, which has been proven to drop the population of feral cats without killing them?

No.  I understand the theory and concept. But we need a policy that also balances the need to protect birds and other native wildlife, on which sterile, feral cats have an adverse impact.

One, Parker’s statement about feral cats having an adverse impact on wildlife has been blown out of proportion for years.  Those wild claims have also been thoroughly debunked

Today, there IS a TNR program at BARC, which I am sure is no thanks to Parker.   After all, this is a person who, in 2009, admitted to trapping and taking feral cats to BARC.   She did this at a time, when she knew full well that BARC had no TNR program.

She trapped and took feral cats to BARC knowing that there was a 100% guarantee that BARC would kill them.

STRIKE SEVEN

8.  Would you commit to making ‘no kill’ – defined as killing less than 10% of pets sheltered at an open-admission shelter – the official policy of Houston and support any laws or policy changes necessary to achieve this goal?

Yes

This absolutely has not happened.   In fact, just the opposite.  Parker actually opposed No Kill legislation when it was introduced at the state level in 2011.  

In addition, BARC’s records show that their Kill Rates have increased every single year that Parker has been in office.  If the No Kill model of sheltering had been implemented when she took office in 2010, we would have seen a HUGE increase in life saving. 

I would submit that, if BARC had begun rigorously implementing all of the programs of the No Kill model of sheltering when Parker took office, that today, 4 years later, BARC would be very close to No Kill status, if not there already.

But it isn’t, because the No Kill model of sheltering has NOT been implemented by Parker.

STRIKE EIGHT

9.  Would you support the implementation of performance standards that tie management performance to salary increments or bonuses or continued employment? If not, please explain why not.

Yes.  The official policy of the city already requires such reviews – it requires a written work plan and annual evaluations based on performance called for under that plan.

Apparently, this has not happened either.  BARC’s Save Rates have decreased every year for 3 years, yet Parker has kept the same people in management positions the entire time.   She has even made statements that BARC  management is doing a great job.   In any other business, such continued massive failure would not have been rewarded, but apparently, there is no accountability for BARC management under Parker’s watch.

STRIKE NINE

10.  Are you committed to supporting/enforcing the recommendations in Nathan Winograd’s recent assessment of BARC?

Yes.

Again, this absolutely has not happened.  In fact, BARC has implemented very little of what Nathan Winograd recommended in his nearly 200 page assessment report

Further, in a reprehensible and reckless use of our tax dollars and a reckless loss of precious lives, she actually went so far as to waste an entire year, asking some college students to come up with a solution.   Instead of simply requiring that her employees do what has already been proven to work in more than 200 communties, she asks college students for advice.  

The result? BARC’s kill rates have increased every single year.

STRIKE TEN

11.  Would you commit to providing funding to pay low cost and free spay/neuter services to low-income citizens of Houston?

As funds are available.  Expanding spay/neuter services is a major part of my BARC policy, which you can find at

http://www.anniseparker.com/issue/houston_is_better_than_barc/.

This was not attempted until July of this year.  After 3 ½ years, BARC, with several partners, finally implemented a so-called “beachhead” program in which they have gone into one low income neighborhood and provided spay/neuter services. 

As a reminder, Houston is 600 square miles and has many low income neighborhoods who could use these services.  So much more could have been done in the last 4 years.

Also, I can’t help but notice the convenient timing of this program coincides with Parker’s bid for re-election and the announcement of formidable Mayoral candidate, Ben Hall. 

STRIKE ELEVEN

12.  No city in America has achieved ‘no kill’ success by implementing a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance. Some cities/counties such as Los Angeles, CA, San Mateo, Co.,CA, Lake Co., CA, Santa Cruz Co., CA and Ft. Wayne, IN have seen an increase in shelter killing after introducing mandatory spay/neuter. In addition, such ordinances require increased enforcement costs, money that could be used for life-saving programs that are correlated with reduced shelter killing. In light of this, would you support a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance, or would you support additional funding to increase access to low cost or free spay/neuter services?

As funds are available.

See my comments on number 11 above.

STRIKE TWELVE

13.  Would you support the implementation of CAPA i.e. The Companion Animal Protection Act (attached) or some parts thereof?

I support it in concept, but as always with legislation, the devil is in the details.

This has not happened.   In fact, just the opposite.  Parker, along with the directors of the other high kill shelters in Houston actually opposed the Companion Animal Protection Act (Hope’s Law) when it was filed in Texas at the state level in 2011. 

This was a law that would have protected the lives of shelter pets.  If passed, Hope’s Law would have:

1) abolished the gas chamber;

2) abolished“heart sticks” as a method of “euthanasia” except under certain specific circumstances;

3) banned“convenience killing” (killing when there are empty cages);

4) mandated collaboration by requiring shelters to work with non-profit rescue organizations to maximize lifesaving;

5) mandated transparency by requiring shelters to report how many animals they kill;.

6) banned the killing of animals based on arbitrary criteria such as breed, age or color;

7) prohibited selling shelter animals to research labs;

8) protected feral cats and feral cat caretakers.

and more…….

BARC representatives, and the directors of other high kill “shelters”, again opposed a similar law in 2013.  As a reason for opposing this life saving law, BARC’s “director” was reported as saying that if this law passed, then people would actually expect BARC to save more lives.  

STRIKE THIRTEEN

14.  Would you support programs which have been proven to keep pets in their homes instead of being relinquished to a shelter such as distribution of heart worm preventative, food, animal behavioral counseling, low cost dog training, pet friendly rental programs and dog walker referrals?

Yes, but not with city funds.

Volunteers, who saw the lifesaving potential of a program to help keep pets from being relinquished to BARC, attempted to create and run such a program themselves (it was FREE to the city).  They eventually quit, no doubt from lack of support from BARC leadership.

Volunteers simply cannot run such a program without the full support and involvement of BARC management.

STRIKE FOURTEEN

15.  Would you support the reformation of an animal advisory committee as defined by state and city ordinance? If so, how would you, propose that members of this committee be chosen?

Yes.  I support such a committee and am open to suggestions.  I will consult with City Council and other stakeholders on how to proceed with such a task.

This committee was reformed, however not a single No Kill advocate was appointed to the committee by the mayor or city council.  When appointments were being made for the first committee, I contacted several city councilmembers and asked to be appointed.  But all of them told me that a different council person or the mayor would make the appointments.  I had the city ordinances in front of me which clearly stated that each of those city councilmembers could have made the appointment, but all refused.   Instead the committee was filled with many of the mayor’s “yes people”.

In fact, when one veterinarian, who was appointed to the committee, spoke to a reporter about Keiko‘s prognosis while BARC was foolishly performing delicate surgery on her, the vet was kicked off of the committee.

It is quite clear that the mayor only wanted “yes people” on this committee; those who would not offer differing opinions from her own.   No one on that committee would be allowed to actually speak out for the animals.

STRIKE FIFTEEN

16.  Have you ever rescued an adopted pet?

I currently have 1 dog and 5 cats; all are licensed with the city.  All are indoor pets.  I found my dog – a 15+-year old pincer cross named Dancer – as an adult stray.  Rembrandt is a 15-year old DLH cat that I took home as a stray kitten.  Willie is a one-year old DLH cat that I adopted from the SPCA.  Cinder is a 19-year old DSH cat that I adopted as an adult stray.  Galahad is a 7-year old DSH cat that I bottle fed after I rescued it as an abandoned kitten.  Isis is a one-year old DSH cat that I adopted from the SPCA.

As you can tell, I am definitely an animal lover.

From her inaction over the last 4 years, when it comes to implementing programs that have been proven to save lives; and considering the fact that she trapped feral cats and took them to be killed at BARC herself, I absolutely do not agree that she is an animal lover.   A true animal lover would absolutely never do this.

In addition, now that we have 4 long years of Parker’s leadership to review, we unfortunately are able to see that tens of thousands of animals have been killed, every single year, under Parker’s watch; that is over 14,000 shelter pets killed or lost by BARC in 2012 alone.  

Thousands of animals were killed by a city department, under her control, while she did nothing differently.   More than 200 Open Admission communities are now saving 90% to 99% of all animals, yet Parker has refused to demand that her employees implement the same successful model of sheltering.

No, I do not call this an animal lover by any stretch of the imagination.

STRIKE SIXTEEN

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Annise Parker refuses to implement the No Kill model of sheltering, then claims that Houston’s pound cannot be No Kill

Houston, TX – A concerned citizen, Trina, recently emailed me because she, like thousands of people in Houston, is concerned about the sky high kill rates that continue at Houston’s pound.  She wrote Annise Parker asking when she will keep her promises to do everything in her power to transition Houston to a No Kill community.

Annise Parker sent a letter to Trina stating in part “Because BARC, unlike other shelters, cannot turn down any animal brought to it no matter its condition, it will never be a 100% No Kill.”

My question is “How could Parker possibly know if BARC can be No Kill?”  She has not required BARC employees to implement the No Kill mode of sheltering.   She cannot state that it cannot be done, when she has not even bothered to attempt it.

Personally, I find Parker’s response incredibly repulsive on so many levels, not the least of which is that her statement is entirely false.    In 2009, Parker promised to do everything in her power to ensure that BARC became a No-Kill shelter.   However, after 2 terms and four years of broken promises and complete and utter failure, Parker now conveniently claims that BARC cannot be 100% No Kill.  This is despite the fact that there are now more than 200 Open Admission, No Kill shelters/communities in the US.  Most of them became No Kill communities while Parker has been mayor.

pinocchio

What is certain is that, as long as Parker continues to claim that No Kill cannot be achieved at Open Admission facilities like BARC, it absolutely will not be achieved at BARC.  She is giving BARC management a free ticket to just keep on killing thousands of pets.  BARC management can continue to just skate by, doing a half-way job instead of working hard to implement the programs and services that have been proven to work.

And, the claim that BARC cannot turn down any animal is also not true.   A couple weeks ago, I talked to a man who recently visited BARC.  It was a Monday and BARC was closed to the public, so he drove to the back gate.  In front of him was a person in a car who was trying to surrender an animal.  BARC turned them down and turned them away.  So BARC can, and does, turn down animals.  This is just another excuse for her failure.

Parker’s letter also claims that they want to meet with Trina to “hear your ideas about how to achieve No Kill at BARC”.   The kicker is that city of Houston and BARC leadership already know what is necessary to achieve No Kill.   They do not need citizens to continue to tell them.  They have already heard it from the people who are actually doing it every day.  No Kill Houston brought No Kill expert, Nathan Winograd to Houston twice to teach his “Buidling a No Kill community” workshop.  Nathan Winograd is the first person to create an Open Admission, No Kill community and he has taught thousands of others how to copy his success.

Employees from the ARA Dept (the Dept over BARC) attended Winograd’s 2011 workshop. In addition, shelter manager, Greg Damianoff and several other ARA Dept employees, also attended the national No Kill conference in Washington DC last year.  This is the premier No Kill conference in which hundreds of people, who are already achieving No Kill, gather to teach others exactly how they are accomplishing it.

So Parker, and the people she hired to manage BARC, know exactly what needs to be done to stop killing shelter pets at BARC, but they have chosen to ignore it.  They have chosen to continue doing the same thing that they have always done, even though it has been a colossal failure for 4 years.

When I wrote about this issue, and the litany of lies coming from the city in November 2011, there were 27 Open Admission, No Kill pounds and shelters (just like BARC) saving 90% to 99% of all animals.  Today, less than 2 years later, there are more than 200!   There is absolutely no good excuse that BARC is only saving 42%.

I want to know exactly how many other Open Admission shelters/communities will reach the No Kill goal before Annise Parker admits that No Kill IS possible at BARC as well, with the right leadership?   I really want to know what that number is?   Apparently, 200+ of them is not enough to convince her to even try.

How many other communities will pass by Houston on the way to No Kill before Parker admits that she has not even attempted to implement the No Kill model of sheltering at BARC?

How many thousands of shelter pets must be killed by BARC and the city of Houston before Parker admits that she has failed to demand that BARC management, such as Greg Damianoff, actually do their jobs and work hard to save lives?    

How can anyone, with a conscience, stand by and do absolutely nothing while people, under her direction and control, KILL tens of thousands of pets every single year?

Ostrich-HeadInTheSand

How long will Parker keep her head in the sand, ignoring what is going on in the world around her, at the expense of tens of thousands of shelter pets who will be killed on her watch?

How many sweet, loving, adoptable pets will be killed before Houston gains leadership who will truly work on this issue?

Parker stated, in her letter to Trina, that BARC “will never be 100% No Kill”.  I agree that, under Parker’s administration, BARC will never be a No Kill shelter.  We have 4 years of proof of this fact.

Houston desperately needs city leaders who will make life saving in our shelters a priority, not just an afterthought while running for re-election.

The only way that BARC will make any positive improvements in life saving is after pink slips are issued at city hall.    We voters have the power to write those pink slips on November 5th.    It is up to we citizens to elect city leaders who actually care about saving lives. 

simple pink slip

Learn about the candidates on No Kill Texas Advocates’ website.

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The world is rushing past Houston on the way to No Kill…

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Houston, TX – Today is the last day to download Nathan and Jennifer Winograd’s book, Friendly Fire, absolutely  FREE.   Click here to download it from Amazon.

As I wrote in my review of Friendly Fire:

If we want to end shelter killing, and I believe the majority of us do, then we will be the ones that will have to fight for it. The kill shelters have proven that they will not stop killing voluntarily even when we literally hand them the solutions. The wealthy, national “humane” organizations have proven that they will fight our life saving, shelter reform efforts.  So, it is up to us. Luckily, Friendly Fire gives us the tools to reform an industry that has become the antithesis of everything that it proclaims to be.  If I could place this book in the hands of every animal lover in the America, I would.

The most important thing that you can do for companion animals is to READ THIS BOOK… then pass it on to everyone you know.

In my review of Friendly Fire, I noted that the number of Open Admission, No Kill shelters in the US was at about 80.  It is less 11 months later and that number now stands at nearly 200!   That is nearly 120 additional Open Admission, No Kill communities in less than 11 months!

The world is literally passing by Houston on their way to a more compassionate, more humane (and more cost effective) No Kill community.  Not only are they passing Houston by, they are RUSHING by and in huge numbers, while Houston/Harris County’s five kill shelters remain firmly entrenched in the dark ages of catch and kill sheltering.

It is time that we all stop listening to the kill shelters, and No Kill naysayers, who say that No Kill can’t be done or that shelters are “forced” to kill healthy and treatable pets.   Every single day, HUNDREDS of communities, some right here in Texas, are proving that No Kill in Open Admission shelters IS possible.  It is already being done.

It is up to US to demand leadership who will end the mass killing in Houston.  For Houston’s pound, that leadership starts at the top with the Mayor’s office.  The incumbent Mayor has allowed BARC’s kill rates to increase every year for 3 years.  She has used our tax dollars to allow BARC to kill or lose nearly 15,000 animals in 2012 alone.

It is clear that it is time for change.

Please VOTE for Ben Hall for Houston Mayor on November 5th.   If elected, Mr. Hall has committed to a No Kill policy for Houston.  Click here to read his statement.

Hall

Help save thousands of shelter pets in Houston.  Vote for Ben Hall for Mayor.

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