Monday, September 19, 2011

The difference between No Kill and No Killing

I have learned not to loan out my recipe box when friends ask for it.    Does that mean my recipes are family secrets?
Of course not!   It simply means that before anything makes it into my little file, it has been tried and tested, eh?   Unsuccessful science projects never make the cut:)
What does that mean in realspeak?    It simply means that my recipe file is long on lists of ingredients and lacking in instructions!   If its in the file, I already know how to make it, hmmm?
from yesterday's Herald
Feral cat colony borders SPCA property

Rescue group leader finds litter of kittens
By BILL SPURR Staff Reporter
Sun, Sep 18 - 4:54 AM The spokeswoman for a local cat rescue group has her back up because there’s a feral cat colony next door to the SPCA shelter in Dartmouth.

Marilyn Pincock of Cat Rescue Maritimes became aware of the colony during a fundraising yard sale held in the SPCA parking lot on Saturday.
"We’re right in front of the SPCA building and one of the children with me noticed a little kitten on the right hand corner of that cul-de-sac at Scarfe Court," Pincock said. "So we went to explore and there are six kittens there and a mother and some other cats.
"We didn’t feel altogether good about that because it’s the SPCA. It’s not their property, of course, but it’s right on the edge of their property."
Kristin Williams of the Nova Scotia SPCA said the society doesn’t accept feral animals because they aren’t socialized.
"And they don’t have a good prognosis for adoption," Williams said. "We will help with trap, neuter and return programs and we also work very closely with a number of trap groups that are donor- driven, as we are.
"The issue of feral animals is a very sensitive one. There are some bodies that will intake them, only to euthanize them. We won’t do that, we won’t euthanize healthy animals. We will make every effort to ensure they are spayed or neutered to address population concerns."
Williams said the shelter was very busy when Pincock came in. She said Pincock was quite short with the staff, who nonetheless gave her some cat food.
"She left very angry. I don’t know what we did to disappoint her," said Williams, who learned later on Saturday that a local real estate board has said they will take care of the feral cats
"We can support caretakers, which is what we’ve done in this situation. The food that we have is donated for animals in our care and we very frequently donate to other rescue groups, if we have extra."
Williams said the Nova Scotia SPCA has increased intake this year by eight per cent. She said this is the worst season for abandoned cats she’s seen and the situation is worsening every year.
Pincock said there is no such thing as a feral kitten because a kitten can be socialized in a matter of hours. She said the kittens next to the shelter are only as big as pop cans.
"We found out . . . that this situation has been going on for about 10 years. People drop off cats because SPCA won’t take them or they’re full or something. Basically the SPCA is not managing that colony in any way," she said.
"If they were managing it they wouldn’t have kittens, first of all, because they would be spayed or neutered through the SPCA vet. I would like to see them call a rescue group about a situation like that, rather than let it multiply over 10 years. That’s cruel.
"I would like them to accept feral kittens. A kitten is a kitten, whether it was born indoors or out. And I would like them to share resources with the rescue community."
Well then!   This isn't one of those obvious black and white bits like this weekend's news stories about the largest puppy mill seizure in Canadian history .... where the owner of the facility was crying crocodile tears while news cameras were capturing the horrific living conditions and the sad shape of the dogs therein.
So where to start here?   I always like the facts .... so let us start there.  Ten years ago ... or even nine, eight , seven, six, five or four years ago ... the society would simply have killed the colony.  
In other words ... the official society position on feral cats really hasn't had a lot of time to gather dust.   Among all the gobbledygook about supporting private groups right to engage in TNR is a little phrase "Kittens that are within the critical window for domestication are removed, socialized and adopted" ... but of course nowhere in the position statement does it actually say that the society should be the ones doing anything about that!
As to the matter of no good prognosis for adoption ... methinks that someday it might be very educational for the society to sit down and have a chat with HART ... who have rehomed hundreds of kittens, many of whom were rescued and brought to HART by a local TNR group.  The altered adults went back to the colony .. the kittens were socialized and went on to good homes!  
Personally, even if the society isn't engaged in TNR, sponsoring and supporting a feral cat colony next to the shelter could offer an incredible education opportunity.
Which of course brings us to the contention that the cats are being dropped off in that location when they find no room at the inn in The Metro Shelter. 
Now I noticed on the latest quarterly stats for the society that they have started including the number of times they refused intake of pets.  Like every other stat the society offers up, those numbers don't even come close to painting the whole picture.  
People looking to "get rid of cats and/or kittens" are often unwilling or unable to wait for phone calls to be returned.  Delays can result in a myriad of other Unhappy Options ... which apparently in this case can include the creation of a cat colony on the shelter doorstep.
Even worse, each and every time one person's request is refused, it reinforces all the old urban legends with all their friends, coworkers, neighbours, family and now of course also in all the social mediums.  What does that mean in realspeak?   That of course that more cats will not pass go but will go straight to some other Unhappy Option.
Worst of all is the failure to recognize that there is a difference between being No Kill and stopping the killing.
Does that mean that the society shouldn't be No Kill?  Of course not!   It was a huge and important step forward to adopt an official position of No Kill!
But there is more to No Kill than squeaky clean stats.   The No Kill Equation offers a proven road map for the road to No Kill.
What is one of the most important parts of the No Kill Equation?   Why Comprehensive Adoption Programs of course!   At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, that includes Offsite Adoptions and Adoption Incentives!     In spite of all the disclaimers .. it has been proven possible to Adopt the way out of Killing
To be perfectly fair, No Kill has to be more than individual shelters or rescue groups.  It even has to be more than the society.    Until Municipalities in this province commit to reforming Animal Control, each and every No Kill group and shelter is like a stand alone sanctuary offering safety for a precious few.
Folks in the society and the experienced cat rescue folks are going to have some trouble seeing eye to eye until the society offers better outcomes for cats who 'flunk' the test.
I could almost find it in me to feel sorry for the society.   Well over half the universe has no idea how the animal welfare world works.    
Many do not realize that most municipalities with any sort of AC arrangement do not have provisions for cats.   Others live in an area where there are no Happy Tails waiting for surrendered strays. 
So they simply assume, that as the well advertised official voice for those who can't speak for themselves, that the society should be able to be open admission.
Nor does it stop there.  Each and every time the society is blamed for every Unhappy Alternative.  
Seriously, I could almost feel sorry for them.  Almost.
But it would be ever so much easier to drum up real sympathy if the society was already pulling out all the stops with aggressive adoption programs.   Maybe then there would be bragging rights for more than an eight percent increase for intake, eh?
What time is it?  It is always, always time to remember that in life in the kitchen ... the secret to success lies in following the whole recipe!

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