Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Taking a little measure

I love shopping for the holiday parcel I'll soon be sending to my daughter and her family.   Mind you, while I know that the gifts are always appreciated, it will be the homely touches that will mean the most .. the three flavours of fudge, the little crafty bits of decor and of course Mom's best brownies :)
Shopping is a little different since they moved away ... these days I have to remember that the nice folks at the Greenwood Post Office are going to measure and weigh every box I bring in.   But of course, that is how they know what to charge ... by volume and weight and by distance.
In all walks of life, solutions start with taking stock.   That is WHY I continue to natter on like a stuck record about the need for transparency with municipal animal control statistics.  It is not to point fingers.  It is not to assign blame.   Straight, sweet and simple it is merely to measure the scope of the problem.
There should be no need to put in freedom of information requests for animal control statistics.   This is information that should be publicly available on municipal websites ... right up there with the council meetings, detailed budgets and tenders of all sizes.
Why all the reluctance?  The secrecy?  Are the councils concerned that if the general public was aware of the true scope of the problem that there would be a hue and cry for change?  
Or are they concerned about the cost of addressing the problem? 
Joan and I have both been swamped with emails on the subject ... she's actually a lot nicer than I am and actually publishes some of the sillier ones she receives.  
People sometimes don't realize how well they are arguing our case for us.  The rocket scientist who explained to Joan that donations of kennels were needed to make up for one's destroyed by the high number of aggressive dogs that they see is a good example.
High number of aggressive dogs?   Well, we all know that the pound is only going to adopt out the "suitable" dogs so that paints a pretty grim picture right there.  High number of dogs indeed!
I could almost find it in me to feel sorry for Hope to have such advocates pleading her case.   But, like many others in the animal loving community, I have difficulty drumming up sympathy for someone who has such strong support from the folks responsible for the Celtic Pets Six / Seven / Eight???
But I am wandering afield here ... as I often do in my meandering way.  The bottom line is that numbers are the most effective way of assessing the problem .. and of having it addressed
Before I called the Department of Holidays this week to complain about the dangerous potholes on my road, I got out a measuring tape.  Why?  Because I knew that if I simply used the word potholes, there would be no response.  On the other hand, to be able to explain that one of the potholes was 14 inches deep and 2 feet wide painted a picture they could understand.
Are politicians worried about the cost of addressing the problem?  You bet.  That's the same reason the fill in our potholes keeps popping out every year when the cold weather hits.
But unlike the potholes, the number of homeless pets is only going to keep multiplying until the problem is addressed in an effective and humane manner.  Killing the cats and dogs hasn't solved the problem.  All we wind up with is bins and freezers full of dead cats and dogs.
Nor is it doing any favours to the people who have to work frontline animal control sheltering.   I rather expect, if they  had their druthers, they would prefer NOT to kill the animals who are meant to be our companions.
Or perhaps not .. after all to admit there is a better way is to acknowledge the horrible dirty truth that there is no need to be going down such a dark path.
There are people who will tell you that things will never change.  That there are never going to be enough homes.  That it is better to kill the animals in care so they can be open admission ... so they can kill more animals.
When those people left the society ... what happened?  A new spirit of transparency is what happened.   No more dirty little secrets.  No more trying to seize animals that had been adopted by their critics so that they could have been part of the Celtic Pets Six / Seven / Eight ???
And THAT is how I know that it possible to change how business is done with animal control.
Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.   John Kenneth Galbraith

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