Denver CO

You Can’t Say it is Impossible if it Exists

Saw an article today and had to comment.  You can see the full article link at the end of this post.

I understand how someone with no experience with a good No Kill organization and a bad experience of trying to reduce the killing of homeless pets would assume it was not possible.  I also understand that if it has worked somewhere else, that we know it is possible.  So although there may be an example where it did not work, we still need to strive to succeed as many others have.

You Can’t Say it is Impossible if it Exists

Apparently Steve Brownstein was part of a failed program to “lower euthanasia rates”.  The first thing I would point out is by using that term “euthanasia” you already lack an understanding of No Kill.  It’s not about euthanasia.  It’s about saving lives and defining killing correctly.

 “euthanasia,” is a word the dictionary defines as “the act of killing hopelessly sick or injured animals in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.”

Killing for space is not euthanasia.  So if you start with a good lexicon it helps understand the goal, programs and services needed to be targeted.

Steve Brownstein is a retired Chicago Police sergeant and was the supervisor for a team that investigated animal cruelty. He believes the desire for a No Kill facility in Chicago is an irrational and emotional pipe dream, but not practical.

I could point out numerous examples, but I will stick with two.  The first is to show a comparison of someone from the same field.

Sgt. Karl Bailey of Seagoville Animal Services. When the Chief of Police asked him to take over Animal Services for the town, he had not experience.  But he had conditions.  His first one was the one that drove the approach and strategy.

“We must be No Kill. I was not going to kill animals. “

No-kill is a NOT just a feel-good concept.  It does NOT ignore reality or cause suffering. It si a systematic approach to compassionate, planned shelter management that can yield magnificent results and does.

In Sgt. Bailey’s first year, less animals lost their lives than they did each week before he started.

Now some would argue that Seagoville is small, so it was easier.  But I would point out that was not what people believed the week before Sgt. Bailey was given the job.

But let’s look at Austin Texas.  A major city that had major problems.

Austin was killing nearly half the animals it brought into its sheltering system before 2011.  Over 14,000 some years.  The typical excuses prevailed.  There were just too many homeless pets, irresponsible public, overcrowding would cause suffering, etc.

But a small group of citizens got together and started communicating with the public.  They worked hard to make the city council understand that No Kill was possible, but you can’t succeed without making it a goal.  Trying to “reduce euthanasia” is not an actionable goal.  Saving “every healthy treatable pet” is.

And that is what they did in January 2011.  They implement the programs and services of the No Kill Equation.  In doing so, by August 2011, the City celebrated its highest save rate month ever: the shelter saved 96% of all impounded animals.

Austin has been No Kill since January 2011.  And continues on the path to improve its rates every year.


As I said, I could talk about the many successes all day, but here is a link to communities that have succeeded in saving lives:

You Can’t Say it is Impossible if it Exists


You can see the full article here.

Bark Away!