Ding Dong, the witch is dead!

Ding dong, the witch is dead!  The wicked witch is dead!  

Randy Wallace, with Fox 26 news, reported that Dawn Blackmar has retired as Director of Harris County animal control…. and all over Texas rescuers, and animal lovers, are rejoicing.

Blackmar6

A person who directed the torture and deaths of hundreds of thousands of helpless animals, during her decades long tenure, is finally gone. 

This is a good day for lost and homeless animals in Harris County, Texas!

Personally, I am THRILLED that Blackmar is out.  Some of the most horrific stories of abuse that I have ever heard have come from Blackmar’s vile leadership of Harris County animal control.   For those who are unfamiliar with Dawn Blackmar and the House of Horrors that she ran in Harris County, please read my blog here.

Nathan Winograd also gave Blackmar his Phyllis Wright “award” for being one of the worst of the worst in the entire country;  someone who epitomizes everything that is wrong with our broken animal “shelter” system.  Considering the horrific shape our sheltering system is in, that is saying a lot and Blackmar beat out a lot of heinous people to win.  Winograd even dedicated a page in his new book, Friendly Fire, to the atrocities at Harris County animal control.

You would be hard pressed to find a facility in the entire country with a worse reputation than Harris County animal control under Dawn Blackmar’s direction. 

So, today is a good day and I am celebrating.

But we all need to remember that, even after the Harris County Attorney’s investigation confirmed that Blackmar and her employees had been committing absolutely heinous and torturous acts against helpless animals;  and that she and her employees, had been breaking state humane laws for YEARS, the Harris County Commissioners did nothing.   The Commissioners allowed Blackmar to keep her job for over a year, and they allowed her to retire from that job.   I am assuming that she will receive a nice, fat pension from Harris County in payment for her decades of running the animal version of Auschwitz.

Folks, these are our ELECTED officials who have done nothing while humane laws were broken in the most horrific ways imaginable by county employees, and it is our tax dollars that is paying for it.  

We all should remember this when we go the voting booth in November to vote for County Commissioners.

And, although we are celebrating today, if the past at other kill shelters is a guide, the Harris County Commissioners are not likely to hire someone with a better track record than Blackmar.   What we have seen is city and county officials who hire the same types of people over and over again.  They hire people with experience in high kill shelters who just continue the slaughter.

We cannot sit by and wait for this to happen in Harris County again.  

We must tell County Commissioners that we expect them to hire someone who will allow Harris County join the other 200+ communities (and counting) who are saving 90% to 98% of all animals

We must tell them that killing 89% of all animals is not acceptable.

We must tell them that we are voters and this matters to us.  

We must continue telling them this until they do what is right, and hire a leader who is dedicated to saving lives.   Only this will turn around Harris County animal control.

The contact information for your County Commissioners is listed here.

Thank you for standing up for the animals.

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The biggest hypocrisies of the sheltering industry–Exposed!

FF imageHouston, TX – I just read Nathan* and Jennifer Winograd’s new book, Friendly Fire.   When I read the last page and put the book down, the sole word that kept going through my mind was WOW.   Even though I was already familiar with some of the stories, this book is still so stunning that I had trouble forming any other words but wow for some time.

The Winograds’ absolute honesty about the shocking state of our nation’s sheltering system makes this book, in many places, a hard read for anyone who cares about animals.  It is a hard read for anyone with a conscience, for that matter.  You cannot read this book and not be shocked, stunned, enraged and moved.  I read Nathan’s first book, Redemption over 4 years ago and was shocked and also moved to act.  It literally changed the entire way I thought about animal sheltering and quite literally changed the direction of my life.   And, even though I have personally experienced much of what is described in Friendly Fire within Houston and Texas’ broken shelter system, I was still just as stunned reading this book as the first time I read Redemption.

Friendly Fire is the biggest, most thorough, expose of absolute corruption and hypocrisy that the “humane” industry has ever seen.   It is methodical, like a criminal indictment.  Step by step;  one mind boggling story after another; one betrayal after another;  failure upon failure;  and lie upon lie perpetrated upon animal lovers who spend their very last dimes to donate to the “humane” organizations who have promised to save the animals that we love.  The proof is all there.

The massive lies perpetrated on animal lovers and the mass death and horror supported, and actually committed, by the “humane” organization is simply mind boggling.   The lengths that the multi-million dollar “humane” organizations have gone to sell out companion animals, and fool the animal loving public is in a word revolting.   It is particularly maddening to me as I have been fooled into donating to almost all of the “humane” organizations described in Friendly Fire before I learned that they are fighting against everyting that I believe in.

Others within the animal sheltering industry have been afraid, or simply unwilling, to speak about the atrocities and betrayals, but the Winograds are not.  They are not content to keep the lies a secret any longer.  They turn over all the rocks and expose the ugliness to the light of day, so it can be reformed.

This book also examines the excuses that kill shelters, and their defenders, use to continue killing even when faced with proven life-saving alternatives.  The absurdity of the arguments in favor of killing animals is beyond rational comprehension.  Arguments such as “an animal is better off being killed by a “shelter” rather than released to a rescue group because transporting might be stressful to the animal.”  You think that surely this must be some kind of sick joke.  But it isn’t.  The leaders of the “humane” organizations actually tell us that it is better to kill animals than allow rescue because a car ride might be stressful.  It is simply insane.

The “humane” organizations’ fight to maintain the horrible, sadistic status quo is so irrational as to be unbelievable.  But I do believe every word because, unfortunately, I have seen and experienced some of it personally.  Some of the stories in this book come from the kill shelters, and their defenders, right here in my community.

I live in a city with a non-profit kill shelter that claims to be “humane” and even has the word in its name, but that also has an 89% Kill Rate.  Pit Bulls or Pit mixes never leave this facility alive regardless of temperament and adoptability.  They are not Open Admission, meaning they can so no to intakes, yet they continue to kill the vast majority of animals that they take in.

I live in a city with a city pound that allowed puppies to be washed down kennel drains for years by abusive pound employees, and was only stopped after massive negative attention by reformers.  A pound that has killed cats that I offered to save.  A pound that, to this day, still kills animals that rescuers and the public have offered to save.  This is more than 3 years after our Mayor promised to do everything in her power to transition Houston to a No Kill city.

I live in a county with a county pound that has an 85% Kill Rate.  A pound that the County Attorney confirmed has broken state humane laws for years, maybe decades.  A pound with a director who forces severely injured animals to suffer for days with no medical care. A pound who has killed animals, out of spite, that rescuers offered, and even begged, to save.   Yet the pound director still has her job.

I live in a city with multiple kill shelters that kill all Pit Bulls or mixes, and who even label other breeds as Pit Bulls to have an excuse to kill them.

I live in state with a self-labeled “humane” organization who has taken donations from animal lovers and promised to protect animals by fighting for humane legislation.  Yet, they instead fought against critical, life-saving Texas state legislation in 2011 with ridiculously feable and egocentric excuses such as 1) the bill is 30 pages long and 2) they were not notified before the bill was filed.

This so-called “humane” organization joined with the sell-out HSUS and fought against proposed legislation that would have:

*ended the inhumane gas chamber and heart sticks;

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

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

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

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

*prohibited selling shelter animals to research labs;

*protected feral cats and feral cat caretakers.

Instead of supporting our efforts to pass legislation that would have prevented immense suffering and death of animals in Texas, the self-proclaimed “humane” organizations instead fought against our efforts.

The stories like this are absolutely astounding and sound too ludicrous and macabre to be true, but every word is true.

I think Friendly Fire is one of the most important books on animal sheltering issues that has been written to date.  It blows the lid off of the industry’s tightly held, horrible, secrets.  The Winograds expose a corrupt industry that, in many cases, has become very wealthy from the deaths of the companion animals that they have promised to save.  Once animal lovers read this book, it will leave the high kill shelters and the corrupt, self-proclaimed “humane” organizations that defend them, scurrying for cover.

This book also answers some of the questions that have perplexed me for a number of years, such as why do some self-proclaimed animal lovers and rescuers fight No Kill efforts?  Why do they continue to claim that the No Kill model of sheltering does not or cannot work even when it already is working in 82** Open Admission pounds and shelters.   It has been truly mind boggling to watch the “No Kill naysayers” fight efforts to reform high kill shelters in Houston, Harris County and Texas even when the animals in those “shelters” are subject to the most horrific treatment imaginable.

Just as described in Friendly Fire, the naysayers have gone so far as to personally attack me and even my family in their desperation to defend the kill shelters.  They have blamed animal advocates when the kill shelters continue to kill and commit unspeakably inhumane acts against the animals they proclaim to care for.   One Houston naysayer actually said that we were causing “Dr. Death” to kill more animals.  They claimed that Dr. Death was killing animals out of spite because we are speaking out, so we should just stay quiet about the atrocities that we witnessed.  (Dr. Death was the nickname given to the city pound’s horrible vet by volunteers.  She has since been fired because we kept speaking out).   Even after the naysayers have seen improvements such as puppies no longer being washed down kennel drains by cruel shelter employees and animals no longer being purposely starved for the entertainment of a psychopath shelter employee, the naysayers still support the kill shelter and fight reform efforts.   The positive changes that have occurred, such as dozens of horrible and inhumane  employees being fired, occurred solely because of our reform efforts.   Yet the naysayers still attack No Kill advocates and continue to defend the high kill shelter.   Their absurd reasoning and their fight to maintain the status quo of a high kill, inhumane “shelter”, is beyond all logic and beyond my comprehension.   But, Friendly Fire explains their motivations.

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.

Friendly Fire*** is available exclusively on Amazon.

* For those who are not familiar with Nathan Winograd’s work, he can arguably be called the father of the No Kill movement.  He was the first person to take over a high kill shelter and transform it into a No Kill shelter, saving all healthy and treatable pets.  And he is the person who has pushed the No Kill model of sheltering farther than anyone else in history.   His work has, no doubt, made more of a difference in the lives of companion animals than anyone else.

** This number is as of today’s date.  The number of Open Admission shelters and pounds that are saving 90% or more of all animals is growing constantly.

*** To the No Kill bashers, and Winograd attackers, who have claimed that the Winograds are only in it for the money or to sell their books, I would like to point out that the Winograds are selling Friendly Fire at their cost.  Friendly Fire is being sold with the Winograds’ altruistic goal of ending shelter killing.

Follow Nathan Winograd on Facebook and Twitter.

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The upcoming Harris County elections

Save shelter pets by exercising your right to vote!

Houston, TX – As I’ve written previously, the upcoming elections for Harris County are really a one issue election for me.  The most important issue for me is who will step up, do their jobs, and fix the broken animal control system in Harris County.  Who will work to transform the House of Horrors known as Harris County animal control?

The Harris County Attorney’s office issued a report last February which confirmed that the Harris County animal control has been breaking state humane laws for years.  For instance, it was confirmed that Harris County animal control employees:

1) Killed animals in view of other animals.

2) Re-used euthanasia needles.

3) Placed live animals in freezers.

4) Performed painful heart sticks on fully alert and conscious dogs, cats, kittens and puppies

The report also confirmed sky high kill rates of over 82% and no effort to stop, or even slow, the killing.

Since the report was issued, over 8 months ago, not one elected Harris County official has recommended the firing of employees who broke state humane laws.   Not one elected official has shown even the slightest interest in trying to fix problems in this department.   In fact, they have done absolutely nothing.

No Kill Texas Advocates sent all of the incumbent candidates a candidate questionnaire so that voters could learn their position on Harris County animal control.  Not one of the incumbent candidates responded.

Chuck Maricle is the only non-incumbent candidate who responded to the questionnaire.  See his response here.

In addition, Chuck Maricle and Glorice McPherson are the only candidates who showed an interest in talking about these issues in a candidate forum.   All of the other candidates refused.

Maya Angelou is credited with the quote that “when someone shows you their true colors, believe them.” 

I think this is a valuable piece of advice.

Since the confirmation of inhumane and criminal activity in Harris County animal control, not one of the incumbent candidates has shown the slightest interest in fixing Harris County’s taxpayer funded House of Horrors.  I believe they have shown us their true colors, and I plan to vote accordingly.

I believe that every voter should be as educated as possible about the candidates.

Before you go to the polls, I urge you to contact those candidates who have refused to speak openly and honestly about the serious issues that are important to you i.e. transforming the House of Horrors that your tax dollars are funding.  Your vote matters and you need to know which candidates are worthy of your vote.

To make it really easy for you to contact the candidates before you vote, I have listed all of their contact information in this blog post.  I’ve even listed a few sample questions.

Make your vote count.  Vote for the candidates who will protect the defenseless animals in Harris County.

***

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Tell your candidates that you care about animal issues

Houston, TX – The elections for Harris County candidates are this November.  Early voting starts in just a few weeks.  Do you know the positions of the candidates on animal issues?

If you vote for a candidate, will he or she then work to protect shelter pets?   

Will he/she support the No Kill model of sheltering in Harris County or will they simply allow the House of Horrors that is Harris County animal control to continue indefinitely? 

Do the candidates know that this issue matters to you, the voter? 

It is critical that we have elected officials who will work to fix the broken animal control system in Harris County.  As I have written previously, last February, the Harris County attorney’s office completed its investigation of Harris County animal control. Our tax dollars paid  for 11 employees to work on the investigation for 8 months.  The investigation confirmed what former employees, volunteers and rescue groups had alleged… that Harris County employees, under Dawn Blackmar’s direction, had been breaking Texas humane laws for years.  It confirmed that the employees consistently carried out very inhumane acts against the defenseless animals who were unfortunate enough to enter this facility.

The County Attorney’s report also confirmed that Harris County animal control had a horrific 83% KILL rate in 2011.  Yet, after confirming all of the above atrocities, Harris County officials have taken absolutely no action whatsoever.  None. There has been no attempt to discipline employees who broke the law and who tortured animals on the job, and there have been no changes that would increase the miniscule save rate.   

It is time for this House of Horrors to be reformed, but, it is clear that Harris County employees and elected officials will not do what is necessary to accomplish this.  The only way that positive changes will be made at this facility will be for us to elect candidates who will do it.  Harris County needs leaders who actually care about this issue and who will not continue to sweep it under the rug.    And, we need the candidates to know that voters care about this issue. 

That is where you come in.

It is imperative that all of the candidates hear from you about this issue.   It is critical that they know that voters are outraged about the House of Horrors in Harris County and that you want to know what they will do about it, if you vote for them in the upcoming election.

Right now, it appears that a lot of the candidates do not believe that voters care about animal issues as most of them are not paying attention to it.  No Kill Texas Advocates sent Candidate Questionnaires to all of the candidates several months ago, but Chuck Maricle is the only candidate who has responded.  See his responses here.     

In addition, over the last couple of weeks, No Kill Texas Advocates has contacted many of the candidates regarding attending a Candidate Forum (see my previous blog post) in order to answer the voters’ questions.  Yet only 2 of the candidates have indicated an interest in attending such a forum. 

Personally, the upcoming elections in Harris County are a one issue race for me.   Potholes or opening the next park are not high on my priority list.  

The main issue that I care about is which candidate(s) will work to stop the inhumane treatment, lawlessness and mass killing of pets at Harris County animal control.   

I care about knowing which candidate(s) will step up and help implement the same model of sheltering that 62 other Open Admission shelters (www.NoKillNews.com)  and animal controls have implemented to stop shelter killing, just like Austin Texas did.  

I care about knowing which candidate(s) will help drag Harris County out of the dark ages of catch and kill and help us join the 21st century where 90% or more of all shelter pets make it out alive.  

But, since some of the candidates are not responding to No Kill Texas Advocates’ request for a Candidate Forum on these issues, it is apparent that these candidates do not think that we voters care about animal issues.   

We need to prove them wrong. 

Therefore, I am asking each of you to contact the candidates and ask them about their views on Harris County animal control.  Let them know that this issue matters to you and that you will vote accordingly.   Please call the candidates and email them.   Also, post questions and comments on their Facebook pages and Tweet them, so that others will see your questions as well.  Ask your friends and family to do the same.

Let’s prove to the candidates that we voters DO care deeply about this issue 

I am providing the candidates’ contact information below.  I have even provided some sample questions, if you need help.   

Questions for the candidates:

 1) Are you aware that Harris County animal control has an 83% Kill Rate?  If you are elected, what will you do to reduce this rate?

2) Are you aware of Vince Ryan’s report confirming allegations that Harris County employees, under Dawn Blackmar’s direction, broke several state humane laws over a period of years?

3)  To date, no action has been taken regarding any of the employees who violated state laws.  Likewise, no action has been taken by the District Attorney to file criminal charges against employees who violated state laws.  What is your position regarding county employees who break the law while on the job?

4)  Are you aware that the No Kill model of sheltering has been successfully implemented in at least 62 Open Admission shelters/animal controls across the country and they are now saving 90% or more of all animals?

5) Are you aware that the No Kill model of sheltering not only saves on the cost of killing animals, but it brings in additional adoption revenue and other user fees and also provides an economic boon to local business?

6) Are you aware that Austin’s city council passed the Companion Animal Protection Act in 2010 and subsequently Austin’s Open Admission, animal control facility began saving 90% or more of all animals (their Save Rate was 93% for 2011)?

7) If elected, will you support the No Kill model of sheltering by passing the Companion Animal Protection Act in Harris County?

Here are the candidates’ contact information

Harris County Attorney – Robert Talton
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Robert-Talton-For-Harris-County-Attorney/9865667370
Email: rtalton2@att.net
Phone: 713-944-4005
Website: http://roberttaltonforcountyattorney.com/
 
Harris County District Attorney – Lloyd Wayne Oliver
Facebook: None that I can find
Email: attorneylloydoliver@yahoo.com
Phone: 713/542-1818; 281/796-7731; 713/382-8009
Website: http://lwoliverda.com/
 
Harris County District Attorney – Mike Anderson
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/VoteAnderson
Email: campaign@andersonda.com
Phone: 281-310-1201
Website: http://www.andersonda.com
 
County Commissioner Precinct 3 – Glorice McPherson
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/mglorice
Email: info@glorice4cc.com; glorice4cc@gmail.com
Phone: 281-741-7922; 281-670-8817
Website:  http://www.glorice4cc.com/

Note from No  Kill Texas Advocates:   Ms. McPherson has agreed to be part of our Candidate Forum and is open to discussing reform at Harris County animal control.  She has not responded to our Candidate Questionnaire as yet, but we hopeful that she will so that we can include her in our endorsements.
 
Ms. McPherson’s opponent, Steve Radack has not responded to our Candidate Questionnaire and thus far, has refused to be part of our Candidate Forum.
 
 
County Commissioner Precinct 4 – Sean Hammerle
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/ElectHammerle
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/#!/ElectHammerle
Email:  sean@seanhammerle.com
Phone:  832-691-0816
Website: http://www.seanhammerle.com/
 
Email addresses together to copy and paste into an emailrtalton2@att.net, attorneylloydoliver@yahoo.com, campaign@andersonda.cominfo@glorice4cc.com; glorice4cc@gmail.com, sean@seanhammerle.com
 
Note from No Kill Texas Advocates:   
We are happy to report that Chuck Maricle is the ONLY current Harris County candidate who responded to our Candidate Questionnaire.  See his responses posted here: http://www.nokilltexasadvocates.org/harris_co.html (scroll towards the bottom of the page) 
He is also 1 of only 2 candidates who agreed to be part of our Candidate Forum to discuss these important issues that matter to voters.   So far, the other candidates, including Mr. Maricle’s opponent, El Franco Lee, have NOT agreed to be part of the Candidate Forum.  In addition, Mr. Lee has not responded to our Candidate Questionnaire.

We believe that Chuck Maricle could help us make great positive changes at Harris County animal control.

Mr. Maricle has our FULL SUPPORT.

Please THANK Mr. Maricle for taking voters concerns about animal issues seriously and for supporting the reform of Harris County animal control.

County Commissioner Precinct 1Chuck Maricle

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ChuckMaricle
Email:  chuck@chuckmaricle.com
Phone: 713-240-4929
Website: http://www.chuckmaricle.com/

***

Below are the incumbents running for re-election in Harris County.

Sample questions for the  incumbents:

1) Why have you taken no actions toward the Harris County employees that the County Attorney confirmed broke state laws on the job?

2)  What is your position regarding county employees who break the law while on the job?

 3)  If re-elected, will you do anything differently?

 4) Are you aware that Harris County animal control has an 83% Kill Rate?  If you are re-elected, what will you do to reduce this rate?

 5) Are you aware that the No Kill model of sheltering has been successfully implemented in at least 70 Open Admission shelters/animal controls to date across the country and those shelters are now saving 90% or more of all animals?

 6) Are you aware that the No Kill model of sheltering not only saves on the cost of killing animals, but it brings in additional adoption revenue and other user fees and also provides an economic boon to local business?

 7) Are you aware that Austin’s city council passed the Companion Animal Protection Act in 2010 and subsequently Austin’s Open Admission, animal control facility began saving 90% or more of all animals (their Save Rate was 93% for 2011)?

 8) If re-elected, will you support the No Kill model of sheltering by passing the Companion Animal Protection Act?

 9) Explain to voters why we should vote for you again when you have not listened to your constituents’ wishes in the past?

 Here are the incumbents contact information

Harris County AttorneyVince Ryan
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/votevinceryan
Email: vinceryanlaw@aol.com;  vince.ryan@cao.hctx.net
Phone: 713-942-5816; 713-755-5101
Website: http://www.votevinceryan.com/
 
Harris County District Attorney – None
The incumbent, Pat Lykos, lost the primary election.
 
County Commissioner Precinct 1El Franco Lee
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ElFrancoLee
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/elfrancolee
Email:  info@elfrancolee.netelfranco.lee@hctx.net;  janet_duran0402@yahoo.com
Phone: 713-739-1111; 713-755-6111
Website: http://www.elfrancolee.net/
 
County Commissioner Precinct 3 – Steve Radack
Facebook: None
Email:  pct3@hctx.net
Phone: 713-465-8000; 713-755-6306
Website: None
 
County Commissioner Precinct 4 – R. Jack Cagle
Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/pages/Commissioner-Jack-Cagle/290644070998400
Email:  commissionerjackcagle@gmail.com;  jyounts@hcp4.net
Phone: 713-838-8553;  713-755-6444
Website:http://www.commissionerjackcagle.com/
 
 Email addresses together to copy and paste into an email: vinceryanlaw@aol.com;  vince.ryan@cao.hctx.net,info@elfrancolee.netelfranco.lee@hctx.netjanet_duran0402@yahoo.com,pct3@hctx.net, commissionerjackcagle@gmail.com;  jyounts@hcp4.net