I believe in the equation because I know it works. I know people who are using it at this very minute and are saving the lives of countless animals in the process. In spite of the success of the programs and services of the equation, opposition still abounds. I should no longer be surprised by the toxicity of the opposition, but I am. As Nathan has said before, this is not just some clash of egos. People who either promote or oppose No Kill concepts and programs can’t just get in a room together and talk and hug it out and all just get along. While those who promote No Kill as an ideal and as a cultural norm champion saving lives, those who oppose No Kill as an ideal (or even say it is not possible, ala “the world is flat”) champion the status quo and do so at an incredibly high cost.
- The first group will agree with the message, be sympathetic to the cause, and want the same goal. Nonetheless, they will claim it ignores the success of others and focuses too much attention on San Francisco and later Tompkins County, communities in which [Nathan] played a significant role in drastically increasing the live release rate for shelter animals. (Making this observation more current, the first group will say that Austin, Texas, had to spend a lot of money [when in fact it became No Kill with no initial cost output)] that Huntsville, Alabama is "different" because of the progressive and diverse nature of the community, that there is no one on Earth quite like Doug Rae in Fremont County, Colorado and that compassionate leaders like him are hard to come by or that there must be something magical in the water in Lake County, Florida for it to become a No Kill community virtually overnight.
- The second group that will take issue with the book are the animal activists who are intent on doing what they have always done, regardless of the facts. They will continue to blame the public and fight for more and tougher laws-once again buying into the false paradigm of pet overpopulation and public irresponsibility. They will argue that their community is different and that citizens in their community are particularly irresponsible. The evidence clearly shows that none of this is true. What is true is that shelters are filled with animals, in no small part because of a small segment of the public's throwaway attitudes about their pets. But that is why shelters exist in the first place. They are supposed to be the safety net for animals the same way orphanages and child protective services are the safety net for parentless and abused children. While people surrender animals to shelters it is the shelters that kill them, and one does not necessarily follow or excuse the other.
-The fourth and final group of people who will criticize the book are a group I collectively call “the naysayers.” The naysayers are those who have a predetermined agenda of support for animal control, regardless of how many animals the local shelter kills or how otherwise dysfunctional the agency is. They cannot be swayed by logic, facts or alternative points of view. They seek out that which fits their beliefs and reject everything else to the point of taking facts out of context - and in some cases, making up “facts” - to fit the story.
It is incredibly unfortunate that so many people expend so much time and energy fighting against programs which have been proven to save lives when fully implemented. Some of the most vocal and toxic opposition to animal shelter reform comes from people who claim to advocate for animals - which seems completely illogical. Because it is. I never cease to be amazed that people view free speech seeking better for shelter animals as "bashing" or an "attack." It is neither when it is done respectfully, diplomatically and it is focused on accountability and leadership (as opposed to being focused on specific people).
As I have written before, a time will come when we no longer destroy savable pets in America. When that fine day comes, will you look back and know that you championed life? Or will you look back and regret all those hours and days and weeks and months you spent defending the killing because you were more focused on people than on animals? Or worse yet, because you would not speak your personal truth to save innocents when that is what the situation demanded of you.