Monday, March 23, 2009

Next Up: Targeted/Incentivised Programs

I'm sorry it is taking a while to post my next addition to this blog. For some reason, everyone kept taking a different flu bug to work with them every day this past month, and one of those bugs follwed me home one day. However, I think I'm over it (cough, cough), and I'm hoping the next post will be worth the wait!

I'm going to talk about our shelter's 2008 statistics and our January 2009 statistics and how we can target the biggest areas of need in our community, or at least the ones we can identify from these stats. I also have some older statistics to show by way of comparison and for a bit of history.

One of the biggest issues for our area is how we deal with cats; 300+ were killed in January 2009 alone because they were deemed feral or had upper respiratory infections. We could reduce our kill rate by half of what it is NOW if many of us banned together and called for community cat and TNR programs supported by our Animal Control departments and shelter and ordinances. These programs are now endorsed by every major animal group in this nation, including the National Animal Control Association. We need to implement these programs instead of what we are doing--trapping and killing cats in a neverending, failing loop of insanity, as shown by our steady kill rate over the the years.

There was a great comment on The No Kill Nation recently describing how one community in Texas deals with this issue and has changed since 2007; for tonight, I leave you with this comment. By later this week, I'll post a more in-depth discussion and look at how our community can target our problem areas, do more to identify problem areas more accurately, and communicate more effectively with people to address the issues with incentivised, subsidized programs aimed at reducing shelter intakes and our high kill rate.

Comment By Gavin Nichols on The No Kill Nation on March 6, 2009:

"This is an answer that begs the question, but in San Antonio, the law was changed in 2007 to make it legal for free-roaming cats and cat colonies, as long as the cats are sterilized and vaccinated. Due to the new law, the City of San Antonio Animal Care Services no longer accepts cats in traps, nor do they trap cats themselves.
ACS has a pretty good relationship with the San Antonio Feral Cat Coalition and has assigned two animal control officers to providing education and public information. If a citizen calls in and complains about a cat colony, the ACOs will actually go out to the citizen, provide them information about the laws and feral cats, and give them some education on how a feral cat colony that is being cared for is actually a benefit.
Private property owners, such as apartment complex owners, and neighborhood associations can disallow free-roaming cats and cat colonies, but it is not the city’s problem.
Cats that are a true nuisance or threat can be taken, but that is very rare. Most, if not all, of the cats in the ACS shelter today are "owner surrenders."
One story to give people hope is the San Antonio municipal Olmos Basin Golf Course. A feral cat colony was being taken care of there, with feeders provided by the city. The golf course had a change in management and the new management wanted the cat colony removed. The acting director of ACS and the ACOs went out there and explained the laws and the benefits to the new manager. They convinced the manager to support the cat colony. The latest report is that the manager was able to discontinue his pest control service because the cats are taking care of it for him. He's actually saving a little money!"

No comments: