Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Expecting Different Results

Best Friends has been running four campaigns for a while now and the poster here comes from the resource section of their Focus on Felines Campaign.  On the surface the numbers don't seem to apply to Nova Scotia where the live release rates on a bad day are never as bad as 28 %.
Why are the live release rates better in Nova Scotia?   Is it because more cats are getting adopted?  Or is it simply that the shelters and groups that AREN'T killing the cats aren't taking every cat who needs a new home?  
The cats are still being killed ... just not by the shelters and rescues, eh?
Here in the real world, the general consensus is that there is no possible way to be open admission for cats.   For example, when the Cape Breton SPCA was open admission,they needed a gas chamber to keep up with the volume.
Here in the real world, where cats can remain in care longer than the homeless pet site has been around, are there any other options?
At the risk of sounding like a stuck record ... if the adopters won't come to the shelters ... then perhaps its time for the shelters to come to the adopters.  If off site cat adoptions have been such a success elsewhere, why is the concept meeting such resistance in Nova Scotia?
I think there are a few misconceptions about off site adoptions:
  • any that I have seen and researched still require the adopters to fill in an application and provide references. 
  • References are still checked and pets ONLY get to go home that day if everything checks out.   Noone is passing the pets out like candy
  • In many cases the pets don't actually go home that day because the offsite adoption events are actually Meet and Greets. 
  • In some cases where adoption rates are up, it is thought that offsite events are not necessary, and
  • Is it not a little elitist to imply that off site adoptions might attract all the "wrong kind of pet owner" ( as opposed to all those wonderful loving pet owners who have simply never thought about the adoption option? )
I LOVE living in Nova Scotia.  I've lived and travelled all around the world and Nova Scotia is my very favourite place on this planet. 
Our old fashioned charm holds a special appeal, but at times that has its drawbacks.  We can be reluctant to embrace new ideas from "away" such as Early age spay neuter, pregnant spays and even the baseline premise that TNR solves as many nuisance behaviors as overpopulation issues.
Not everyone is able to find a vet who will alter a pet before six months of age.  It can be even harder for rescues to find vets willing to do pediatric spays.
This is in spite of the official position of the Canadian Veterinary Association, which may be found by clicking here , which is: 
Dog and Cat Spay/Castration
The CVMA believes that neutering is an important aspect of responsible pet care, both to combat the pet overpopulation problem, and because of the many health and behavioural benefits. The CVMA strongly recommends that all cats and dogs not part of a responsible breeding program be neutered, preferably before 5.5 months of age (i.e. before sexual maturity).
Early spay/castration is now used by animal shelters wherever possible to ensure all pets are neutered before adoption. Long-term studies that evaluated risks and benefits in cats and dogs concluded that there are more benefits than risks associated with early-age gonadectomy in male and female cats and in male dogs (1, 2). Therefore, the CVMA supports the concept of early (prepubertal, 8 to 16 weeks of age) spay/neuter in male and female cats, and male dogs, in an effort to reduce the number of unwanted animals of these species. For female dogs, however, it is recommended that spaying be delayed until at least 3 months of age due to an increased risk of urinary incontinence (1). Just as for other veterinary procedures, veterinarians should use their best medical judgment in deciding at what age spay/neuter should be performed on individual animals.
Euthanasia is not an acceptable means of population control. The CVMA supports all education efforts to promote responsible pet ownership, including that neutering is part of being a responsible owner.
1. Spain CV, Scarlett JM, Houpt KA. Long-term risks and benefits of early-age gonadectomy in dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;224:380-387.
2. Spain CV, Scarlett JM, Houpt KA. Long-term risks and benefits of early-age gonadectomy in cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004; 224:372-379.
3. Aronsohn MG, Faggella AM. Surgical techniques for neutering 6- to 14-week-old kittens. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1993; 202:53-55.
4. Faggella AM, Aronsohn MG. Anesthetic techniques for neutering 6- to 14-week-old kittens. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1993; 202:56-62.
5. CVMA position statement on euthanasia
(Revised March 2006) Copyright 2005
And before the keyboards catch on fire, the real issue is whether Early Spay neuter is available to all pet owners and rescues around the province.  From the feedback that I get, not all Vets are on board with the idea and sadly some of the biggest resistance comes from rural areas which have significantly fewer rescue options or adopters.
What time is it?  Its always time to remember that outside of the original Mi'Kmaq, everyone ... along with all their ideas ... came to Nova Scotia from Away.
"Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"  Albert Einstein

No comments: