I don’t know about you, but I often skip the comments section of a post if I don’t comment myself (in which case I go back to see if anyone agrees with or has dissed me).
In the case of my recent post, Is”No Kill” a Misnomer? One Shelter Says Yes, it would be a pity if one response were missed. My pal Mary Haight of Dancing Dog Blog has had long experience in the animal welfare world. From the site’s bio: “Mary is an officer on the board of Lake Shore Animal Shelter, one of the first No-Kill shelters in the US, and also serves on the board of the Chicago Animal Shelter Alliance. She has been involved in animal welfare for over 15 years.”
So her take on the issue is invaluable.
No Kill has always been an objectionable term to open admission shelters. But without that easily remembered sound bite, we would not be seeing the major shift to creating solutions to euthanasia that we are seeing today.
The simple truth is the competition for dollars drove the open admission organizations to take a look at their accepted method of operation. Boards took note of lost donors. Having been an executive on the board of a No Kill for 13 years with a hands on role in shelter operations, I can say No Kill was never a religious movement, and never meant “never kill.” It was short for “no-kill due to lack of space.” It was a slogan that shook people awake, resonated with the public – until eventually many saw that what was happening was wrong, and the general public was wrong to ignore it. So after wasted years of name calling, and fighting about it, finally solutions crept in when groups began cooperating with each other. The slogan was right for the times – change doesn’t happen without a push, or a shove, to create lasting momentum.
People who vilify others for doing the very hard work at a shelter whose mandate requires they put down animals to make room for more animals are just wrong. And the opposite is also true. “Low kill” is actually considered to be a slur of “no kill” facilities. What’s been lost is the original intent of the phrase, and the fact that it was key to getting today’s results. Where would we be now, I wonder, had we not had a slogan that captured people’s imagination?