Saturday, September 13, 2008

Join us for the first No Kill Study Group

We will be holding our first No Kill Study Group meeting on September 24th, Wednesday, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the foyer of the Unitarian Universalist Church, 2000 S. Solano Dr.

What this group will hope to achieve is monumental and will take alot of work. We will be taking an in-depth look at each program and service of the No Kill Equation, listed at left and described in more detail at the No Kill Advocacy Center's website (also available from the links at left).

What we hope to accomplish is first research-based. From all of my reading and investigation into sheltering and No Kill successes, what is very clear is that very little detail exists in writing about how it is done. I'm hoping to write detailed reports, or one large detailed No Kill report with an awesome executive summary. The intended audience is our local leaders and maybe a resource that could be used nationally.

I'm a technical writer, but I work full-time. I've had this idea for some time, but I don't have the time to do all the research myself. Because little is in writing, what we'll need to do is get on the phone, talk to people, and gather the information piece-by-piece. All I need help with is this information gathering; I will personally write the report, which we will then all review and finalize.

From that, I hope that in this group we start discovering as individuals which programs we'd like to start working on locally and find ways to implement them through existing groups, as individuals, or exerting pressure on our shelter's leadership to implement some of the programs. If we can implement each program, we can start tracking our own progress and how this starts impacting our community's kill rate.

Some of these programs are happening here to a certain degree. Some are in the works, such as the pet retention efforts I am starting with HSSNM via a pet help line. We have some transplants that have come here who have extensive experience and expertise in some programs, such as TNR, along with locals that have a program we can also model (NMSU's program).

The toughest battle we have ahead of us is reaching our city and county leaders with a concrete message and with factual data that we hope they will adopt because it is overwhelmingly clear the programs work. We have to prove that the current catch and kill philosophy of our shelter and AC departments is not the only way to go. It's not necessarily the most cost-effective, and it will never lead to the kind of community support and buy-in that can lead to huge monetary contributions. We need to give our state and local leaders objective data that their staff can then follow up on if they don't trust the numbers.

Sheltering is a hard nut to crack when it comes to the numbers. Shelters do not necessarily keep statistics nor share them willingly, or they all don't keep them the same way. Categories can be defined differently (unadoptable vs. adoptable, for example), and in many cases thorough assessment is not being done, so dogs and cats are arbitrarily thrown into the unadoptable heap and killed (hence, the high kill rates). This is what makes it difficult to compare from one area or shelter to another.

What we are especially interested in is the shelters and communities that have implemented or are in the process of implementing the No Kill Equation's full list of programs and services and trying to learn how anyone can export that model in their area. I'll have the list of places and contacts we can begin to call to gather the data. The good news here is that from the few I have talked to so far, these progressive shelters and directors are more than willing to share the knowledge and their materials/statistics in hopes other areas will adopt the model programs and services.

It will be alot of hard work and long hours, and I understand if people's time is limited. We'll try to divide the work up as evenly as possible, and if you can only do so much, that is still something. We still welcome your help and input.

If anyone has questions about this group, please e-mail me at