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No-Kill Tallahassee

Working to reform the Tallahassee-Leon Community Animal Services Center

Don’t Cry About It, Fix It!

Tomorrow, the Tally Pets group is holding a Candlelight Vigil on International Homeless Animals’ Day.  That’s nice, isn’t it?  Well no, and here’s why.  Tally Pets states on their Facebook promo for the event that:

local animal advocates are inviting Tallahassee citizens to gather at Kleman Plaza to bring attention to the pet overpopulation crisis. The event will take place on Saturday, 18 August 6-8pm with the candle lighting happening at 7:45pm.”

What’s wrong with this? It is easy to trace all the information by reading special literature and thematic thesis for dummies if you are completely unaware of details. Simply that there is no pet overpopulation crisis.  This myth has been debunked so thoroughly that it’s not even funny — read here, and here.  It has been debunked by Maddie’s Fund, which is the recognized leader in shelter statistics in the United States.  Maddie’s Fund collects statistics from over 400 shelters and has an enormous database.  The people who are trying to contradict Maddie’s Funds statistics have — nothing.  So why is Tally Pets perpetuating this myth?

The Tally Pets announcement goes on to say:

The message of the candlelight vigil is to honor those pets whose lives were lost, and to prevent the cycle of pet overpopulation and euthanasia by encouraging people in the community to spay and neuter their cats and dogs.

Again, this is wrong, wrong, wrong.  The solution to the problem of the Tallahassee shelter killing pets is not spay/neuter, which was tried in Austin and other places for years and never made much of a difference — the solution is the No Kill Equation, which has already created over 50 no-kill communities in the Unites States alone.  If you don’t believe me, read this detailed post by Dr. Ellen Jefferson about the exhaustive spay-neuter campaign in Austin for 10 years that was a complete failure at reducing shelter intake, and her explanation of what finally did work (the No Kill Equation).  Again, with Dr. Jefferson we have statistics that debunk spay-neuter as the solution to the problem, and on the other side we have — nothing.  And yet we continue to hear “spay-neuter” as the solution to the problem.

The problem with events like this candlelight vigil is that they teach people to be helpless in the face of the fact that the Tallahassee shelter is killing thousands of pets each year.  The message of this vigil is “we’re all going to stand around and hold candles and shed a tear or two and hope that people spay and neuter because there’s nothing more we can do.”  The message of this candlelight vigil is insidious and bad because it teaches people that the public is to blame for the pet killings, not shelter management.  That’s wrong because the killings could stop right away if the city and county simply hired a competent shelter director who was dedicated to no-kill.

So, instead of standing around tomorrow waving candles and singing Kumbaya, do something that will actually make a difference.  Read Nathan Winograd’s books Redemption and Irreconcilable Differences.  Read Ryan Clinton’s account of how a small group of people transformed Austin into a no-kill city (hint: it did not depend on spay/neuter).  Then write your city and county representatives and ask them to get some competent no-kill leadership at the shelter — someone who will implement the No Kill Equation — and to pass a no-kill resolution.  Write the media and ask them why they are buying the shelter’s excuses when so many other communities are saving 90% and more of the pets they take in.

Don’t waste your time waving candles — write those letters instead.

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Tallahassee Advocates At The National No-Kill Conference

This weekend the national no-kill conference is taking place in Washington, DC.  As Nathan Winograd has noted:

In 2005, the No Kill Advocacy Center held its first No Kill Conference. Less than two dozen people attended. This weekend, we have over 800 registered from 44 states and nine nations. In 2005, there was one No Kill community. Today, animals in roughly 200 cities and towns across America are cared for by shelters saving over 90% of all intakes and as high as 98%.

Over 800 people!  And Tallahassee can be proud that one of the presenters at the conference is its own Jack Cory.  Tallahassee also has two representatives from Tallahassee Pets Alive attending the conference.  I’m sure they will all come back energized and with lots of new ideas.

I was privileged to “sit in” via Skype at a recent meeting of Tallahassee Pets Alive, and I was very impressed with the number of attendees and how serious and businesslike they are.  This is a group that will get things done.  If you would like to be a part of Tallahassee’s energetic no-kill movement, then check out their Facebook page and website and contact them at .

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The Top Five Myths About No-Kill

There are five myths about no-kill that keep coming up over and over.  In fact, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard someone repeating one of these myths, I could probably buy a tropical island.  Here they are, with an explanation of why each myth is not true:

Myth #1: No kill is impossible because there aren’t enough homes for all the animals in shelters.  Twenty or thirty years ago, this “pet overpopulation” idea might have had some validity.  Back then there were far more animals in shelters than there are now.  But today a look at the number of animals in shelters versus the number of people who are planning to adopt, and are willing to consider a shelter animal, shows that there are more than enough potential homes available for the roughly three million pets that shelters are currently killing each year.  It’s simply an issue of marketing.  Successful shelters market their pets and remove barriers to adoption.  They make it easy for people to get their next pet from the shelter rather than from a pet store, Craigslist, or a backyard breeder.

Myth #2: No kill is impossible because people are so irresponsible.  Ah, the “irresponsible public.”  Yes, there are some irresponsible people, but there are a far greater number of people who will spend their time working very hard for no kill, if their local shelter will just let them.  It’s been proven time and time again that people will volunteer, foster, donate money, and generally work their tails off to save animals from being killed.  Instead of blaming the public, shelter directors need to reach out to the community in good faith.

Myth #3: The only way a shelter can be no kill is by limiting admissions and refusing to take in animals when it gets full.  I have a blog called No-Kill Communities that is devoted to refuting this myth, and so far I’ve listed 43 communities that have open admission no-kill shelters.  These shelters take in both strays and owner surrenders for their service areas, yet they maintain a 90% or better live release rate.  In some cases they are municipal shelters and in some cases they are non-profits that a city or county has contracted with for animal control and sheltering.  Myth refuted.

Myth #4:  No kill leads to animal warehousing.  The idea behind this myth is that some animals are undesirable and no one will adopt them, and over time a no-kill shelter will fill up with these undesirable animals and have no choice but to warehouse them.  It’s a funny thing about people though — it turns out that people will adopt older pets and pets with medical and behavior issues.  And it also turns out that volunteers from the “irresponsible public” will network these animals and will help with medical care and training.  A 10-year-old dog with arthritis may not fly out the door the way a puppy will, but with networking and proper marketing that dog can find its special home.

Myth #5:  No kill will never be possible until everyone spays and neuters their pets.  This myth is the granddaddy of them all.  Pretty much every time shelter killing is mentioned, you can expect some one (or lots of people) to pipe up saying that shelter killing will never stop until people are required to spay or neuter their pets.  Spay and neuter assistance for low-income people is a good thing, and it may help lower shelter intake rates a little.  However, there has never been a community that got to no kill through spay/neuter programs alone — in fact, the research I’ve done has convinced me that spay/neuter is a very minor factor in most no-kill success stories.  And mandatory spay-neuter requirements fail because they just drive people underground and make them less likely to get their pets spayed and neutered.  The argument that spay/neuter is the solution to shelter killing has been shown to be wrong — just ask Dr. Ellen Jefferson, who tried spay/neuter for 10 years in Austin before realizing that she wasn’t getting anywhere — she switched her efforts to high-volume adoptions, and the rest is history.

How did these myths arise and why do we hear them so often?  If you examine these five myths, you will see that all five have something in common — each myth takes the blame for killing shelter pets off of shelter management and places it on the general public.  According to these myths, the reason shelters have to kill pets is that they are overwhelmed with so many pets carelessly bred and then cast off by the public.  The reality is that there are enough homes and that most people (far from being irresponsible) want to help shelters be successful.  The proof is that there is a large and growing number of open admission shelters that are saving 90% or more of their intake.  Behind every one of these myths you will find a lazy or incompetent shelter manager who simply finds it easier to kill than to take the proven steps that will save lives.

If you are someone who is new to no kill and you’d like to find out more about what does and does not work, the very best place to start is by reading Nathan Winograd’s books Redemption and Irreconcilable Differences, and checking out the No Kill Advocacy Center’s website.  The No Kill Revolution Facebook page has handy links to these and many additional documents about the no-kill movement.

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They are YOUR Statistics — So Why Is The Shelter Hiding Them?

You, the people of Tallahassee and Leon County, pay the salaries of the people who manage the Tallahassee animal shelter.  It is YOUR shelter and each of you has a right to know everything about the official business of the shelter.  So why is the leadership of the Tallahassee shelter hiding that information?

One of the most important things about any animal shelter is its statistics — how many pets it takes in and what happens to those pets.  So you would think that a shelter funded by the taxpayers would post its statistics right on its website, where the taxpayers could see what they are getting for their money.  Most city and county departments are happy to report on their performance to their citizens.  The water department reports on water quality.  The police department makes crime statistics available.  The trash division doesn’t make you guess what day the trash will be collected.

Unfortunately, it’s not that way with the Tallahassee animal shelter.  The shelter does not post its statistics online.  It doesn’t tell the citizens how many animals it takes in, how many are returned to their owners, how many are adopted, or how many are killed.  To get this basic data, a citizen has to make a formal record request to the shelter, which the shelter is required by law to answer.  And you cannot make an ongoing request — you have to make a new request every time you want to see the latest statistics.  Since this is information that the public has a right to know, why is the shelter hiding it?  Why is shelter management making people jump through hoops to find out how well they are doing their jobs?

Usually, when someone hides something it’s because they are ashamed or because they think if the information becomes public it will harm them in some way.  I suspect that both of those reasons are involved in the shelter hiding its statistics.  The shelter should be ashamed of its statistics, because so many other shelters in Florida — open admission municipal shelters just like Tallahassee — are doing so much better at saving animals.  The Tallahassee shelter has been running at a live release rate of barely over 50%.  Contrast that with Manatee County, which is now at an 81% save rate.  Jacksonville just completed a mega-adoption event that found homes for 950 animals in one weekend — 96% of their available pets.  Tampa, Broward, and Miami have all made official pledges to get to no kill.

Tallahassee’s high kill rate is important because it represents more than just a statistic.  Each animal killed could be some family’s loving pet.  Each animal killed has only one chance at life, and it is wrong for the shelter to just casually snuff out that chance.  Each animal killed could be saved if the shelter had management who cared.  The shelter is killing adorable puppies like Miss Piggy, whom any shelter director with even a tiny bit of marketing ability should have easily been able to place.  The shelter is killing infant kittens because the “foster coordinator” that the shelter director appointed last year was just a sham, and as a result there is no effective bottle-baby program.  The shelter continues to falsely label animals as having behavior problems when they don’t, and using that as an excuse to kill them.  In fact, the shelter labels one out of every four animals who enter the shelter as a behavior risk — an absurdly high percentage.  Behavior experts have shown that the actual number of dangerous animals who enter shelters is very small — on the order of 1 or 2%, not 25%.

In addition to being ashamed to post the statistics, I believe that the managers of the Tallahassee shelter are also afraid to post them.  They are afraid that if the people of Tallahassee find out what’s really going on at the shelter, they will rise up in anger and insist on a change in management.  This is happening all over the country, with protests, petitions, election campaigns, and grass-roots movements where citizens have gotten sick of poor management at their local shelter and insist that the slaughter must stop.  The managers of the Tallahassee shelter try to deflect criticism by blaming YOU for the killing.  They say that you, the “irresponsible public,” force them to kill animals because you don’t spay and neuter.  That’s ridiculous, because there are more than enough homes for every animal in the shelter.  The real problem is THEM.

We need to insist that Tallahassee shelter management start posting their statistics online on the official shelter website, where every taxpayer can easily see and evaluate their performance.  Shelter management should not be allowed to hide what they are doing and stonewall the very people who pay their salaries.  The stakes are too high to let them continue to kill in secret.

Posted in TLCASC Statistics | 2 Comments

Setting The Bar Low, Then Tripping

Last year, I wrote about how the Tallahassee shelter was trying to divert attention from its failed five-year plan by entering into a “Partnership” with the ASPCA.  According to the shelter, this new partnership would carry them forward bravely into the new world of 21st century animal sheltering.  Each side has something to gain from this unholy association — the Tallahassee shelter leadership gets to claim that it now really, truly, for sure, believe-us-this-time is making progress, and the ASPCA gets to claim that it really, truly does use some of the bazillions that it scoops up in donations on, you know, actual shelter animals.

Of course, this whole “partnership” charade has very little to do with actually saving Tallahassee pets.  The shelter and the ASPCA set the bar very low for their partnership by setting a goal to raise the live release rate a smidgeon, to 62.5% for the year 2012.  For purposes of comparison, Manatee County’s first year of their no-kill plan has raised their live release rate from about 45% to over 80%, and they are on track to reach 90% by the end of 2012.  And they didn’t even need the “help” of the ASPCA to do it.

But the Tallahassee shelter isn’t even going to make the very easy goal that it colluded with the ASPCA to set for itself.  The statistics for the first half of the year are now in, and the shelter isn’t even close to 62.5%.  The shelter’s live release rate (figured by the method recommended by Maddie’s Fund and the Asilomar Accords) was only 54% for the first 6 months of 2012.  In order for the shelter to achieve its 62.5% goal for the full year, it would have to make up lost ground by having a live release rate of 71% for the last 6 months of the year.  Erika Leckington, the shelter’s current director, could no more achieve a 71% live release rate than she could fly.

So it’s obvious right now that the new ASPCA “partnership” goal is going to fail.  Leckington and crew have gained another year of employment on the taxpayer’s dime by wrapping themselves in the ASPCA flag as evidence that they are making progress, even when they aren’t.  The Tallahassee shelter leadership is like Lucy with the football.  They keep saying “just give us one more chance — we really will stop killing animals this time — just look at our shiny new plan.”  And the city and county leadership in Tallahassee fall for it every time, and then act surprised when the shelter yanks the football away.  Now that it’s become obvious that  Leckington will not achieve even the very modest goal that the ASPCA helpfully set for her, how long will it be before city and county leadership decide to hire some real leadership?

By the way, when I say the ASPCA partnership has “failed,” I’m speaking for people who love animals and for the pets of Tallahassee.  From the viewpoint of the ASPCA and the Tallahassee shelter management, the partnership is a roaring success, because it’s kept shelter management in their jobs for yet another year, and the ASPCA can use the “partnership” program as a fig leaf to help it in fundraising by claiming that it really does help local shelters.  What a witch’s brew.

If the city and county leadership would just wake up, it would still be possible to make the shelter’s save rate shoot up in 2012 — it wouldn’t even be that hard.  All they would have to do would be to hire a new director who would (1) stop accepting out-of-county surrenders, (2) stop impounding community cats, (3) start returning animals to their owners in the field instead of impounding them,  (4) get a foster coordinator who has a clue (the foster coordinator installed a year ago hasn’t budged the foster totals one bit, she might as well be doing nothing), (5) set up an appointments system for owner surrenders to provide an opportunity for counseling and get information about the animal (with exceptions for those who cannot wait), (6) become truly rescue-friendly (not pretend rescue friendly), (7) devote time to running the shelter instead of lobbying against reform legislation, (8) start an offsite adoptions program, (9) ask for volunteer help from some professional marketers to develop a real marketing program, (10) set up a comprehensive lost and found program, (11) close the drop boxes, and (12) get some people who have a clue to do the behavior evaluations.

There is lots more that could be done (see the proven steps in the No Kill Equation) but the simple steps listed above would make the live release rate soar.  It can be done.  It just takes leadership.

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Shelter Director In Excuse Overdrive

I have the Tallahassee shelter’s statistics for the first six months of 2012 and I’m going to be posting about them in depth in the days ahead.  First, though, I have to sound off about some comments that the shelter’s director, Erika Leckington, made in a TV interview recently.

For starters, she said that the Tallahassee shelter receives three times the national average intake of animals.  According to the Humane Society of the United States, average shelter intake in the United States is 30 animals per 1000 population per year. So, if what Erika is claiming is true, that would mean that the Tallahassee shelter is taking in about 90 animals per 1000 people per year.  The intake of animals at the shelter has averaged about 10,000 per year over the last several years.  The population of the Tallahassee shelter’s service area consists of about 280,000 permanent residents plus a population of about 50,000 students, for a total of 330,000.  Dividing 10,000 by 330 to get the number of animals per 1,000 people gives us — tada– 30 animals per 1000 population per year.  In other words, the Tallahassee shelter’s intake is exactly average, not three times average.

Now why would Leckington say something that, according to HSUS, is not true?  My guess would be that she is desperately trying to cover up for her dismal performance as a shelter director by blaming the people of Tallahassee.  By blaming people for dumping far more animals than pretty much anywhere else in the United States, she creates an excuse for herself.  Too bad that her excuse is simply a lie.  Reno, Nevada, has an intake that is actually higher than Tallahassee’s intake, and the Reno shelter had a 91% live release rate in 2011 and they are running at 93% this year.

In another part of the interview, Leckington points to the “drop box” cages behind her and complains that people drop off from 1000 to 1200 animals per year in those cages.  Well guess what — most progressive shelters have closed their drop boxes in recent years.  Old-fashioned shelter directors like Leckington complain that when the boxes are closed, people will simply drop their animals in the street, but she doesn’t point to a single city in the country that has had an increased problem with strays after closing their drop boxes.  The Lynchburg, Virginia, shelter not only refuses to use drop boxes, it also requires appointments to surrender animals, and their experience was that the city’s stray population actually decreased when they adopted the new policy.  Complaining about people being irresponsible is just another excuse that Leckington is using to justify her execrable performance.

While we are waiting for the city and county leaders to wake up and insist on shelter management that can actually do the job they are being (well) paid to do, I have a few suggestions for Leckington.  These are very simple things that even a person with her lack of talent as a shelter director can do: (1) stop accepting animals from jurisdictions outside the shelter’s service area (why should Tallahassee and Leon County taxpayers pay to take care of surrenders from other counties?), (2) close the drop boxes, and (3) stop taking in community cats unless they are sick or injured (a tiny minority).  These three simple steps that even Leckington could do would decrease the shelter’s intake by about 25%.

There are lots of additional steps that Leckington could take if she were willing to invest some energy in acting rather than whining.  She could set up a volunteer program within the shelter to counsel people who are thinking of giving up a pet.  She could institute an appointment system (with exceptions for people who must surrender an animal immediately).  She could offer a voluntary program whereby an owner could foster their animal until placed, giving the owner the assurance that the animal will go to a good home.  She could work with animal control officers in the field to return animals to their owners without ever impounding them.

But I don’t think she will take any of these steps because for her, an intake of 10,000 animals per year represents job security.  She doesn’t seem to care that her refusal to take simple steps to lower intake means that thousands of pets will continue to be slaughtered in her charnel house each year.  The number of no kill shelters is increasing by leaps and bounds, and as of today 41 no-kill communities have been identified, which encompass perhaps 100 or more no-kill jurisdictions.  Leckington can churn out excuse after excuse, but that doesn’t change the fact that she’s an old-fashioned shelter director who simply does not have the skills needed to be a successful shelter director today.  Someday soon, city and county leadership will see through her excuses, and that will be a great day for the pets of Tallahassee.

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No-Kill Meeting July 9th

The no-kill movement in Tallahassee is growing by leaps and bounds!  If you want to be a part of this historic effort to transform the Tallahassee shelter and save thousands of pets each year, then attend the next meeting this Monday.  All are welcome.  Here is the information from the Fix Tallahassee Facebook page:

NEXT MEETING – Monday, July 9th at 6:30. Want to improve the live release rate at the Tallahassee Shelter? Then come to our meeting this Monday to see how you can become involved! We welcome anyone who”s interested in improving the live release rate. Even if you have doubts it can be done here, we hope you’ll come. Your opinion matters too. Let’s figure it out together!  We’ll be discussing how to improve the lives of feral/community cats in Tallahassee, increase adoptions, upcoming events, and many other topics. For more info, please message us on this page or send an e-mail to [email protected]. Not able to attend in person? Maybe you can join us through Skype. Hope to see you there! ~ Debbie

Posted in Tallahassee Pets Alive | Leave a comment

First Anniversary

Today is the first anniversary of the No-Kill Tallahassee blog.  It was one year ago today that the first post, “Life or Death,” appeared.  I thought I’d mark the occasion by looking back over the past year and seeing what has been accomplished in Tallahassee.

The blog started right at a time when the no-kill movement was just taking off in Tallahassee.  One year ago, there were no organizations in the city devoted to the No Kill Equation.  Now there are two organizations that are working for no kill and going strong.  Fix Tallahassee was formed last summer, and it concentrates on outreach.  It has a huge mailing list and savvy leadership that knows how to get things done.  It has recently started a Facebook page, where its mission is described as “dedicated to ending the old-guard, high-killing of lost and homeless shelter pets at the Tallahassee/ Leon County Animal Shelter through the use of proven, cost effective methods that have already ended the killing of shelter pets in many other progressive cities.”  The second organization that has formed in the past year is Tallahassee Pets Alive.  TPA has a popular Facebook page that is frequently updated with interesting features, and a new website.  It describes itself as a “non-profit organization run by volunteers dedicated to making Tallahassee, Florida a No Kill city.”

In addition to these two new organizations, another development is that the citizens of Tallahassee and Leon County are starting to question the shelter in a way that simply wasn’t happening a year ago.  Recently, for example, some people expressed their outrage that the shelter killed highly adoptable dogs right before its biggest adoption event of the year.  The “culture of fear” where volunteers and rescuers have been afraid to criticize the shelter is starting to break up.

I think a great deal of this activity and change of attitude is simply due to the fact that the more people learn about the Tallahassee shelter, the more horrified they are at what they see.  One year ago, you could not find the statistics for the Tallahassee shelter anywhere online.  The shelter was able to get away with pretending it was doing a good job because it did not report to the public.  Now there are people who make public information requests each month and then post the shelter’s statistics online.  Recently, one of the largest national no-kill organizations picked up a posting of statistics made by TPA and Fix Tallahassee and featured it on its Facebook page as an example of a bad shelter.  The Tallahassee shelter is now getting national condemnation for the bad job it’s doing.

Even though all this progress in the last year is terrific news, it’s only a start.  The shelter itself has not changed at all.  Instead, shelter management has continued its pattern of putting forward phony “plans” to deflect criticism and make it look like they are doing something.  Last year shelter management reported on their failed five year plan, but tried to forestall criticism by pointing to their new “partnership” with the ASPCA.  The partnership with the ASPCA was announced with much fanfare, but it hasn’t led to any change in the kill rate.  The bottom line is that although the Tallahassee no-kill movement now has a great foundation to work from, we still have a mountain to climb.  I’ve become convinced over the past year that the current management of the Tallahassee shelter either doesn’t want to change or else they lack the management skills to create change, or both.

What can we accomplish in this next year?  I hope that Tallahassee city and county management will start to take an interest in the shelter and demand better performance from shelter management.  That has been happening in other cities, and a push by an interested commissioner is sometimes all it takes for a city to decide to get rid of the deadwood and hire competent management.  It can be done — it just takes leadership!

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June 11

This Monday, June 11, is one of the most important days that’s ever happened in the world of animal sheltering.  It’s the first annual Just One Day event.  On that day, shelters across the country are pledging to lay down their syringes and not kill any savable animals.  And rescues across the country are pledging to help them.

The purpose of the day is partly symbolic and partly practical.  The symbolism is beautiful — the hope that “one day” can become every day.  The date of the event is the day in 2001 when the first shelter in the United States went no kill — Tompkins County SPCA, under the direction at that time of Nathan Winograd.  Today, the number of no-kill communities is over 40.  It’s fitting that our movement is declaring a national holiday — we’ve earned it and it gives us a powerful rallying point.

The practical side of Just One Day is to prove that no kill is possible, even in the biggest, toughest cities.  The planning for one day of no kill requires shelters to network with rescues, and requires the entire community to come together with ideas to adopt animals out instead of killing them.  The shelters can then use their new contacts and ideas and community engagement all year long.  One day may become two days, or a week, or even forever.

Just One Day is being celebrated by a large number of Florida municipal shelters, private shelters, and rescues.  Check out this link for a list of participants in each state.  As of this morning, 40 Florida organizations have taken the pledge.  Some of the largest city and county shelters in Florida have pledged to stop the killing for Just One Day, including Miami-Dade Animal Services, Brevard County Animal Services, Broward County Animal Care & Adoptions, The Humane Society of St. Lucie County, and Manatee County Animal Services.  This Monday, none of those shelters will kill a single animal.

You may have noticed that the Tallahassee shelter is not on the list.  The Tallahassee shelter is closed on Mondays, but that’s no barrier to participating in the event, as several other shelters have shown.  I think the real reason that the Tallahassee shelter is not participating in Just One Day is that Tallahassee shelter management hates the whole idea of no kill.  They hate it because they do not care to make the changes in marketing, outreach, volunteers, fosters, and procedures that they would need to make to come into the 21st-century world of animal sheltering.

Several people, including me, asked Tallahassee shelter management if they would participate in Just One Day.  Here are my questions to the shelter about Just One Day, and their answers:

January 19, 2012:

Me: I would like to know if the Tallahassee shelter will commit to stop the killing for Just One Day: http://www.justoneday.ws/.  I would appreciate an answer. Thank you.

Shelter: We do not euthanize every day.

Me: You did not answer my question.  Will the Tallahassee shelter observe Just One Day on June 11th by pledging not to euthanize any savable animals that day?

Shelter: Tallahassee Animal Services will not be participating in the Just One Day campaign. Every day is important in a shelter animal’s life and we try very hard to save all the animals we can every day; June 11th is no different for us or the animals in our care.

Other people who asked got the same type of response.  Unfortunately, the shelter does not “try very hard” to save animals “every day” — if they did, then they would not be killing half or more of the animals that enter the shelter, year after year after year.

On February 3rd, I tried again:

Me:  has the shelter reconsidered its decision not to participate in “Just One Day” on June 11th in light of the fact that shelters in every state of the union have now taken the pledge, including the Manatee County shelter and several other shelters in Florida?

Shelter:  Not a public records request.

It’s really sad that the Tallahassee shelter is refusing to participate in Just One Day, because they are missing a great chance to educate the public about shelter animals, rally local support, increase their volunteer and foster base, get some new ideas, and engage the community in adoption drives.  The Tallahassee shelter’s reaction to Just One Day demonstrates that nothing will ever change in Tallahassee until the shelter gets new leadership.

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Blog Update

You may have noticed that the blog hasn’t been updated much recently.  We’re in the process of a long-distance move, and the blog won’t be updated very frequently for the next month.  After that the blog will be back bigger than ever, working with Tallahassee’s no-kill coalition to bring about change.  There is exciting stuff in the works, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, please visit and like the Facebook pages for Tallahassee Pets Alive and Fix Tallahassee.  Also check out the new website for Tallahassee Pets Alive.  Now is the time to get involved!

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