There are some great things being done in recent years to find more animals homes and prevent euthanasia. It is a big task – currently 5 million homeless animals are killed by shelters every year.
San Francisco is, as far as I can tell, one of the first (if not the first) communities to set a goal of being a no-kill city.
In 1994, the City of San Francisco broke this tradition and ushered in the modern “No Kill” movement. The San Francisco SPCA guaranteed a home to every healthy dog and cat who entered the shelter system. But ten years after San Francisco’s groundbreaking accomplishment, only one other community has so far achieved that elusive goal.
In 2001, Tompkins County, New York became the second community in the nation to guarantee a home to all healthy, homeless dogs and cats. And in 2002, Tompkins County went one step further by saving 100% of sick and injured treatable animals and 100% of feral cats – 93% of all dogs and cats entering their open door animal control facility.*
*The Tompkins County SPCA also saved all the mice, hamsters, rabbits, goats, chickens, gerbils, and horses who made their way to the shelter. And while the No Kill Advocacy Center’s major focus is to save dogs and cats because they represent the vast majority of animals killed in shelters, we also work to save all other species of shelter animals.
NYC has had great success with the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals.
The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, Inc., is working with the City of New York toward the day when no New York City dog or cat of reasonable health and temperament is killed merely because he or she does not have a home.
Their goal is to be no-kill by 2008. There are lots of great articles and resources on their website, and one of the links I followed was for a magazine called New York City Tails. As luck would have it, they had a recent article on a subject I’d been meaning to research – estate planning for our companion animals.
Alliance for Philadelphia’s Animals began an adoption campaign that has succeeded well beyond what the many critics thought it could do. Their goal is to make Philadelphia a no-kill city by 2015.
The Alliance for Philadelphia’s Animals is a coalition of animal welfare and animal rescue groups who are already working to control and care for the population of Philadelphia’s animals through pet adoption programs and spay-neuter initiatives. The coalition has 14 member groups now and is growing steadily.
Following a model that has successfully reduced pet euthanization in major cities across America, the Alliance, a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit corporation, is developing creative solutions to deal with issues affecting Philadelphia’s animals while serving as the liaison between animal care groups and the City.
The City of Philadelphia has begun a push for more animal adoptions, hosting adoption fairs in city parks, supporting the spay-neuter of Philadelphia’s animals, and hosting town meetings where animal welfare groups can combine efforts to solve Philadelphia’s pet overpopulation. An agreement between the City and the Alliance for Philadelphia’s Animals will result in a joint effort by the City and local animal welfare organizations to make sure that no adoptable cat or dog in Philadelphia is killed simply because he or she does not have a home.
Both groups do a lot to work on prevention – among other services, they offer low-cost spay and neuter clinics and low-cost microchipping.
They aren’t the only cities, either. A July ’06 article about L.A. had encouraging news, and language that seems to signify a shifting of attitudes, placing the blame for the “problem” on the shoulders of humans, and shining light on the fact that killing healthy animals for convenience is not, and never has been, right.
In Richmond, Va, no healthy dogs or cats were killed in 2006.
It can be done.