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No-Kill Louisville Leader Finally Speaking Out

April 28th, 2011 by jake · 57 Comments

Jessica Reid, the leader of No-Kill Louisville, is speaking out about Louisville Metro Animal Services, Greg Fischer’s crew and the Kentucky Humane Society.

Here’s a taste:

Having mentioned our successes, I need to address some concerns that have been raised – namely about whether I am still speaking up for the pets or being yoked by the Mayor’s office. Since January of this year, when I went “on the record” regarding issues. I was asked to do so or the story would not move forward. At the same time, several LMAS staff members went “undercover” about the same issues I raised. Since then, I’ve faced a new kind of frustration. I was criticized for speaking out by members within the rescue community despite the fact that employees mentioned the same issues. I was surprised by this.

Still, I stayed on that path despite those criticisms and despite hearing from those in the mayor’s office that I should not be so critical, that time is needed to fix things. All the while, Mr. Zelinsky and others at LMAS and connected to LMAS were putting up road blocks to saving more pets – all because they were angry and calling me “unprofessional” for speaking up. In actuality, that anger had to do with an email I sent out the week before that was copied to the entire NKL board asking Mr. Zelinsky if the rescues tied to the board could save the pets slated to be killed after what I understood was an argument among mid-level management that would lead to the unnecessary deaths of dozens of dogs.

He ignored that email and instead those groups that called me “unprofessional” continued to do their best to align themselves with LMAS. This made me sick because to do so was allowing more animals to die and, in fact, condoning it. Still, I took the criticism, tried to recognize it for what it was, and moved forward and kept speaking up.

-SNIP-

At this time, several people asked if I would consider applying but I felt it was more important to *ensure* a director with the No Kill ideals got into the position. I am not in this for me but for the pets of our community, and it was very important to ensure a No Kill director would lead us into the future.
I immediately disagreed with the job description that was hammered out and said so but was ignored. When the media asked me about the job description, I told them it meant getting the “same old thing” and getting an “old school shelter director mired in the old ideas rather than the progressive No Kill ideas that the city and its people deserve.”

Once again – I got in “trouble” for speaking up but I argued it was my opinion and I’m allowed to express that as a proponent of No Kill ideas. I have not *once* spoken about the candidates, the process, or what anyone in particular has said in these meetings. I feel that honors my confidentiality agreement. However, I was not about to be muzzled and continued to raise concerns with Debbie Fox when she took the interim helm and met with her. She was extremely smart and a good manager, but she handled the immediate “window dressing” and was then called back to MetroSafe for needs there.

-SNIP-

I made it clear that there have been issues at LMAS since KHS taking over – such as the dogs dying in the cages, pets being killed when they were promised rescues would be contacted (just this last Saturday, in fact), fosters being entered in their computers without consent, and other things. I also made it clear that I felt I was misled and lied to when I asked *point blank* what KHS’ role would be at the shelter. I put my faith in the idea that we could work together when, it appears, others are simply moving forward with their own agendas.

I do NOT support this move because KHS is not transparent. I do NOT support this move of handing over our community’s pets to an organization who can decide their fate without the public’s interference. I do NOT support this. No Kill Louisville will not stand by and allow the killing to continue. We will not forget all we’ve endured and all the pets who have died as we wait for change.

Bravo to Jessica Reid.

You’ll want to read her entire statement after the jump. You’ve gotta. It’s damning.

Greg Fischer: heed her words. Take action now. Stop this madness.

Reid’s Statement:

No Kill Louisville’s mission is to establish a No Kill community and work hard to maintain that community. As its co-founder and President, I can tell you No Kill Louisville remains strong and steadfast in this effort. We are RESOLUTE! During the last year, NKL has worked to raise awareness about the issues at Louisville Metro Animal Services including the lack of management that has led to the needless killing of thousands of animals.

We also opened a Pet Food Bank when KHS closed theirs and when we were just eight months old; we’ve saved hundreds of pets through The Hope Fund; spayed hundreds more through the 28 Days of Spay and by partly funding the Cat-Snip-a-thon (we did the latter when we were just 6 weeks old); have held a rally in support of the No Kill movement dubbed the Million Mutt March; lobbied for hundreds of volunteers and fosters to help LMAS and other groups; we helped get dozens upon dozens of people to Humane Lobby Day helping to make it one of the largest ones ever; we’re paying for establishing the Rescue Waggin’ program at LMAS (this cost includes training and equipment); we’ve gotten the word out about hundreds of adoptable pets through our weekly Furry Features; and we’ve spoken out despite criticism from others on the “inside” and the outside really. There’s so much more, but on to the point:

The Last 4 Months
Having mentioned our successes, I need to address some concerns that have been raised – namely about whether I am still speaking up for the pets or being yoked by the Mayor’s office. Since January of this year, when I went “on the record” regarding issues. I was asked to do so or the story would not move forward. At the same time, several LMAS staff members went “undercover” about the same issues I raised. Since then, I’ve faced a new kind of frustration. I was criticized for speaking out by members within the rescue community despite the fact that employees mentioned the same issues. I was surprised by this.

Still, I stayed on that path despite those criticisms and despite hearing from those in the mayor’s office that I should not be so critical, that time is needed to fix things. All the while, Mr. Zelinsky and others at LMAS and connected to LMAS were putting up road blocks to saving more pets – all because they were angry and calling me “unprofessional” for speaking up. In actuality, that anger had to do with an email I sent out the week before that was copied to the entire NKL board asking Mr. Zelinsky if the rescues tied to the board could save the pets slated to be killed after what I understood was an argument among mid-level management that would lead to the unnecessary deaths of dozens of dogs.

He ignored that email and instead those groups that called me “unprofessional” continued to do their best to align themselves with LMAS. This made me sick because to do so was allowing more animals to die and, in fact, condoning it. Still, I took the criticism, tried to recognize it for what it was, and moved forward and kept speaking up.

On a personal note, my best friend passed away this same week and while I was driving to her funeral North of Chicago I was taking calls from the media regarding the issue. I was not even allowed the time to grieve. I ONLY bring this up to illustrate my commitment to this movement – it is not about me but about ENDING THE NEEDLESS KILLING OF OUR COMMUNITY’S PETS.

What followed were weeks of frustration and road blocks to saving the lives of pets in need. Then, I was astonished when I received an email s that The Ville Voice had broken the story on the escort service run by Mr. Zelinsky. Little did I know that the next day, he’d resign and things would look better for the pets at LMAS. I *truly* believed that this was a new day *because* now we could have the barriers lifted that were in place and the mayor’s office could not deny that there were truly issues with the management at LMAS.

In the weeks that followed, the mayor’s office formed the audit team, the first level of the director’s search committee, and the second level of the director’s search committee. I was told I must sign a confidentiality agreement and was basically hand slapped for speaking to the media in front of my peers on the committee.
By the way, I raised concerns that two people from KHS were on the first level search – KHS’ President and KHS’ board member Patti Swope. I was told that Ms. Swope was a business rep and not there for KHS. Also, KHS members were on the audit team. I found that very underhanded but was told this was the selection and that was all there was to it.

At this time, several people asked if I would consider applying but I felt it was more important to *ensure* a director with the No Kill ideals got into the position. I am not in this for me but for the pets of our community, and it was very important to ensure a No Kill director would lead us into the future.
I immediately disagreed with the job description that was hammered out and said so but was ignored. When the media asked me about the job description, I told them it meant getting the “same old thing” and getting an “old school shelter director mired in the old ideas rather than the progressive No Kill ideas that the city and its people deserve.”

Once again – I got in “trouble” for speaking up but I argued it was my opinion and I’m allowed to express that as a proponent of No Kill ideas. I have not *once* spoken about the candidates, the process, or what anyone in particular has said in these meetings. I feel that honors my confidentiality agreement. However, I was not about to be muzzled and continued to raise concerns with Debbie Fox when she took the interim helm and met with her. She was extremely smart and a good manager, but she handled the immediate “window dressing” and was then called back to MetroSafe for needs there.

In the meantime, there were discussions about reworking the job description when we indeed did not receive appropriate candidates as I predicted. (I’m dying to say “I told them so” but I won’t – although, does that mean I just did?) There were also discussions regarding how we could streamline everything and save more animal lives. Things were discussed regarding joint teams at LMAS and KHS so we could have a transparent and true picture of the animals coming into the shelters in Louisville AND begin to truly work together. I agreed that this needed to happen.

Then, I find out about KHS going into “streamline adoptions.” This was no *joint team* at both places to ensure transparency and “working together.” I immediately contacted the mayor’s representatives and was told that this was just in the “interim” so that we could continue forward movement and continue saving more lives. That KHS would be working *with* LMAS to streamline adoptions and that it was only so we would not lose our momentum. Basically, that we would have an even better environment for the new director to work within once he or she came on board – thereby saving more pets’ lives in the interim and the long term.

Now, I will say right here and now, that I have some major trust issues with KHS as do many other rescues, mostly to do with transparency and the fact they’d prefer all pets to be killed/euthanized at LMAS which is not dealing with the killing but rather moving it around. BUT, I was willing to forego my concerns and my personal misgivings if it meant that more pets could be saved while we continued our search for a No Kill director. I was willing to put my faith into the idea that we can only move forward by working together.
There was a rescue meeting held about two weeks ago and KHS’ President Lori Redmon led that meeting. They invited area rescues to the meeting and discussed getting each group involved. They talked about lowering the pull fees and improving… the process. I support anything to improve the efficiency at LMAS and despite some questions I still felt this was only going to help more pets.

Let me say that multiple times during this meeting Ms. Redmon made it clear that KHS was only there *temporarily* to lend their support to LMAS’ staff and help get the process moving forward. KHS is good at adoptions and has an efficient process, but they are not No Kill and their leader does not necessarily believe it’s possible – she resigned from the board of No Kill Louisville telling me that our mission did not line with their mission. She later retracted that saying that it was a conflict of interest because KHS fundraises and so does No Kill Louisville. All of this after she said she’d like to be on there on an “advisory capacity” but then it became “what, I’m not on the board at all. I resigned.” It was very duplicitous.

So, needless to say, I have mirrored some of the trust issues that other rescues have from my own experience. I did not think this before this exchange.

Meanwhile – as you may all know – KHS has asked to take over adoptions at LMAS multiple times, approaching the city and mayoral candidates during the election to do so.

In addition, and so you have all the facts, I was confronted while out with friends at the Nach Bar by a KHS employee telling me I didn’t know what I was talking about – this is *despite* the fact that I’ve never *publicly* come out against KHS, so where are they getting this information that I’m against KHS? I had a second KHS employee show at Wags to Whiskers and do the same thing. It seems others were feeding that rumor mill and I have to ask “to what end?”

There are rescues in this community that are very territorial and rather than work together and figure out how to save MORE lives, they’ve sold themselves into this ridiculous idea that their turf is more important. I think they’ve simply lost sight of what matters most – the pets’ lives. At the same time, there are some incredible rescue groups in our town that have remained steadfast in their commitment to No Kill ideas despite criticism and seen the criticism for what it is – an effort to subvert.

I’m willing to eat crow and try to work with groups I have had issues with or don’t trust BECAUSE saving pets’ lives is what I and all the co-founders and board members of No Kill Louisville believe in more than anything else.

Wednesday (Yesterday)
Let’s move to yesterday (Wednesday) – I was at LAX airport heading for San Francisco last night when I got a call from a Courier-Journal reporter informing me about the contract talks that KHS is now involved in with the city. This reporter told me that there would no longer be a search for a committee director. This was the first I’d heard of any of this and I do not think it’s a coincidence that I was gone at the time.

I made it clear that there have been issues at LMAS since KHS taking over – such as the dogs dying in the cages, pets being killed when they were promised rescues would be contacted (just this last Saturday, in fact), fosters being entered in their computers without consent, and other things. I also made it clear that I felt I was misled and lied to when I asked *point blank* what KHS’ role would be at the shelter. I put my faith in the idea that we could work together when, it appears, others are simply moving forward with their own agendas.

I do NOT support this move because KHS is not transparent. I do NOT support this move of handing over our community’s pets to an organization who can decide their fate without the public’s interference. I do NOT support this. No Kill Louisville will not stand by and allow the killing to continue. We will not forget all we’ve endured and all the pets who have died as we wait for change.

Let me end with this. If you’ve ever wondered why I speak up, know it’s because I BELIEVE in the No Kill movement. It’s logical, brings the community in as the shelter’s partner, and saves thousands of lives, ending the needless killing.

I’ve had members of NKL say I say too much and I speak up too much and I should watch what I say. But, I believe, the truth is the MOST important thing and is the ONLY thing that will save these pets’ lives. We sat by idly for far too long. I’ve also had members of NKL say I should speak out MORE and organize a protest. So, what’s the answer? What’s the right thing to do?

All I can think of is the cats I took photos of when I first volunteered at LMAS in the Summer of 2009. They all died the next day without a chance. I also think of my foster cat, Buttercup, who died after her spay surgery, and my other foster, Minnie, whose sutures came open; of my first foster dog, Peanut, who was scheduled to be killed and after I fostered her for just 10 days she found a wonderful family; of the 7 lab/pit puppies I fostered and the one that came back without anyone telling me and who was killed; and of all the dogs, cats, rabbits, and more killed every day simply because we’ve all remained silent for too long.

There are so many more stories of pets that had a rescue lined up and were killed, of people who showed up to foster even this past Saturday only to learn the pets they came to help were killed, and the stories go on and on and on.

I am sick of the rhetoric and games. I feel my desire to save lives has been used against me. I want to work with ALL rescues and shelters if it means more pets’ lives are saved, but there comes a time to work together and a time to expose things for what they are.

I have a book that sits at my desk at my house where I do a lot of the work for No Kill Louisville. It’s called “A Testament of Hope” and is the essential writings of Martin Luther King, Jr. I admire this man more than anyone else who has lived. He peacefully protested for the rights of African Americans. This was not a black and white issue – this was a human issue. All of us are one people – the world is one people. He spoke up and was criticized – despite the justice of his words. When I am feeling down and like giving up, I recall that this incredible man lost his life for something so dear to him and so right. I remember that it is unlikely I will have to die for my cause – instead pets will if I do not succeed.

I believe that the No Kill movement is another social issue that someday will be looked upon with reverence to the respect for life it brought to our communities in this nation. Despite what many think of my position, I support many of those in our shelters currently trying to effect change and, as I’ve long held, I believe it is the lack of leadership, management, and checks and balances at the shelter that is the issue.

In Martin Luther King, Junior’s words “..one seeks to defeat the unjust system, rather than the individuals caught up in the system. And that one goes on believing that somehow this is the important thing, to get rid of the evil system and not the individual who happens to be misguided, who happens to be misled, who was taught wrong. The thing to do is to get rid of the system (in this case the old model of sheltering) and thereby create a moral balance (the no kill model) within society.”

Jessica Reid
President, No Kill Louisville

Tags: Bad Behavior · Dogs · Greg Fischer · Metro Government

57 responses so far ↓

  • 1 ukfan1969 // Apr 28, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Thank You Jessica!!! You have done so much for the pets in our community and we need a leader more than ever.

  • 2 Jessica Reid // Apr 28, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Thank you, Jake, for posting this in its entirety. I know it’s a lot of space to give up but I truly wanted everyone to know what the reality is of what is happening. I have had reasons to remain quiet and put my fears aside (i.e. hopeful that we were moving to a better place and trying to allow that to happen) and reasons to speak up (i.e. learning that there was another agenda afoot). This is a time to speak up. ~Jessica

  • 3 Eileen // Apr 28, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    I appreciate Jessica’s statement and Jake’s printing it here. I now have a better understanding of the reasons for keeping quiet, but all ambiguity is pretty much gone and it is time for everyone to speak up.

    LMAS can go No-Kill, and it can do so practically overnight. But it can only achieve that goal with a Director who understands and is committed to comprehensively implementing the No Kill Equation, and who is willing to clean house, literally and figuratively, at LMAS. The Kentucky Humane Society cannot provide that leadership. There are still a few competent and dedicated staff there, and they need competent, No Kill-oriented leadership and the community’s full support.

  • 4 Marianne Eaves // Apr 28, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    I hope these words act to wake up some in the community to realize that it is possible and will help so many pets. Thank you everyone for your efforts. I know it is so hard to handle. You really are a blessing.

  • 5 Baxter Eaves // Apr 28, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    Behind you heart and soul Jessica!

  • 6 ukfan1969 // Apr 28, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    I think clears up a lot about the inner politics and workings of some of the more well known animal welfare agencies in the city. It’s time to unite and stop this. No Kill Louisville is 100% about the animals. NO ONE makes a paycheck there. We all just want to see every adoptable pet find a GOOD home.

  • 7 Anita Dunn // Apr 28, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    I hope Jessica’s letter wakes a lot of people up. She and our rescue groups work tirelessly to speak for those who can’t, our beloved animals. The community will always back them up financially or otherwise and we have proved it. Greg Fisher said what he needed to say to get the heat off at the time. He has done nothing to back it up. He does not care about our animals and has proved it by his actions. I wrote to the mayor again and I encourage everyone to do the same. Greg Fisher, you should be ashamed of yourself. If you think this community is going to let this go by, you better think again. We are just getting started.

  • 8 Bill Sullivan // Apr 28, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Jess – You are an incredible individual. Thanks for speaking up for all of the animals that need the voice. Your efforts and selfless actions speak a thousand words. You are very much supported by those who believe in the NKL mission! Keep the passion as it is invaluable!! Thanks again!! Wake up LMAS!

  • 9 Turner // Apr 28, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    No matter which way you lean, KHS is not doing much for the money they are getting from city, KHS runs an efficient program and city could learn from them, KHS is old-school and we need new voices…please do the simple things to help while this plays out. LMAS begging for BLEACH donations today. Foster an animal, consider expanding your household by one pet :) , donate kitten and puppy mom’s milk replacement formula for animals w/out moms, donate wet cat food. Believe me: we have enough baby blankets and toys right now. We need wet food and formula and bleach! But if you have a child that has made a collection of toys or blankets–bring it on–these kids are heroes.

  • 10 Britt // Apr 28, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    I read this with tears coming down my face thinking of the needless deaths that have occurred. Animals with souls so sweet that were never given a chance.
    The red tape has got to stop! There is not a bottom line that can’t be changed when there are so many folks willing to help and sacrifice to make a mission work. Politics and dis-passionate directors and leaders will not lead this movement but destroy what it stands for without a care.
    Well all creatures deserved to be cared for and I can only hope that eyes and hearts are opened in time.

  • 11 Marion Richardson // Apr 28, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    Jessica, I just want to say thank you for all you have said and done. I know in my heart that every animal deserves a chance. Look at my Hombre. His time was limited, it wasn’t looking good and I seen one of your post, Lonesome Hombre, I fell in love and now he is home with us. So he made the trip from there all the way here. There is people everywhere that would foster, or like me, that will take a wonderful soul into homes and make them family. There is no excuse for a little souls (and thats what they are) to be put to sleep just because of money or not wanting to take the time to find homes. With the way the internet is today, these little souls can have forever homes. It just takes a person with a heart, like you, to do it. I hate to hear of all the problems that KHS is causing. How would she feel if she was scheduled to be put down just because someone decided she wasn’t needed or wanted.
    Thank you again Jessica for all you do.

    Marion Richardson & Hombre
    Foley, Alabama

  • 12 ukfan1969 // Apr 28, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    I agree with you 100%. I always have at least one foster. I currently have 4! I am maxed out, but it is worth it. We can all agree that everyone needs to step up and do “just one thing”. Imagine what our city would be like for animals if everyone did one thing. Jessica brought us all together and got us organized so we could help more animals. Jessica is an angel. I am so glad she spoke her mind!

  • 13 TallGuy // Apr 28, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Can someone fill in a little context here for us not in the know, but still follow Jake’s blog on this most interesting issue?

    Are ALL cats & dogs able to be re-distributed to pet lovers if LMAS had good management? Saying the same thing, is LMAS just taking an easy way out by killing the animals that come in, instead of the harder work of working with adoption people?

    Where does this massive inflow of cats & dogs come from? How massive is it? A 100 animals a day – week – month – year?

    Just trying to understand the crux of it?

  • 14 DM // Apr 28, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Many support you 110% Jessica and stand behind you all the way. LMAS is so far in the gutter at this point and dragging a non city dept – another organization into this is only going to further add to the problems. It is time to clean house and revamp this shelter over. If I would’ve ever ran the shelter I ran like this, I would’ve hoped someone would have come in and canned me for it. It’s upsetting when you do have some good people in sheltering jobs and you see things like this happening and wonder why they didn’t care as much as you did in this job. This is NOT a job for someone that doesn’t have the animals best interest at heart 100 percent.

  • 15 DM // Apr 28, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Can we not organize a day strictly for speaking out against all of this? Ask the community to join us to show the support that they want CHANGE? We need a “change” campaign just like the politicians have their campaigns and let them know we as a “community” will not allow this to continue any further and we will not sit quietly while animals die day after day and nobody is held accountable.

  • 16 Angie // Apr 28, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Jessica WTG girl. Are babies as I call them need all the voices we can give. We can be a No Kill nation if everyone would work together!!!! So I support the No Kill Louisville and would do anything to make my city a No kill city!!!! Thank you thevillevoice for putting this on here. Its great… One voice can change a crowd alot of voice can change a nation… So thank you Jessica….

  • 17 LMAS Foster // Apr 28, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Thank you Jessica! It’s time to speak for the animals!

    The most telling part about this entire KHS debacle for me & proving MONEY is their principle concern was taking 27 thousand dollars to consult. Especially given I see first hand that No Kill Louisville is doing all the work behind the scenes FREE!

  • 18 The Realist // Apr 28, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Jessica, I appreciate your mission and I respect your commitment. But even mildly evoking the Civil Rights movement in order to draw a parallel to your passion is approaching something resembling a straw man argument directed towards the supposed beliefs of your detractors.

    What is going on with the KHS and LMAS is a mess and I wish you all the best.

  • 19 Jessica Reid // Apr 28, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Hi TallGuy! I’m happy to update you on what I know:
    Question 1: Are ALL cats & dogs able to be re-distributed to pet lovers if LMAS had good management? YES. With the exception of a *very minimal amount* who are truly so sick or injured or so dangerous, they should be euthanized, they could ALL go into foster homes or be adopted or go to rescue or be reunited with their families. Currently, they adopt out on average about only 5 pets from Animal House. Imagine if we could increase that even by 10% each month over a year? Five is unacceptable, but if you go there you can see why – there’s no signage leading to the place, no continuous advertising and pr push, and no one among the public who even really knows about Animal House.
    In addition, if you are handling your influx correctly – you should alert rescues immediately that there are certain pets their meet their general criteria. If they’re owner surrendered, there’s no stray wait and they can go right away. If there’s a stray and the pet is claimed, wonderful! There also needs to be a push to reunite pets and have a place for people to find their pets the moment they enter the shelter.
    And the solutions go on and on and on… such has programs to help people keep their pets like pet food banks, help for the low income to pay for vet services, behavior help, and so much more.
    ——–
    Question 2: Saying the same thing, is LMAS just taking an easy way out by killing the animals that come in, instead of the harder work of working with adoption people? Yes and no. There are some employees who truly try but the system is broken. There is no infrastructure and has been a lack of leadership at the top for so long that most do not even know the basic SOP, which does exist. I’ve seen it.
    ——–
    Question 3: Where does this massive inflow of cats & dogs come from? Some of it is truly irresponsible owners. But they number in small percentages when compared to the public at large who cares for pets. I can understand why employees get frustrated. I equate it to police – they see the dregs and hear the excuses that many, not all, but many begin to frame ALL people as dregs or, in this case, bad pet owners.
    Some are from the poor who could not get their pets spay/neutered – which is why comprehensive spay/neuter is vital. Some are lost pets or stray pets. Some are simply feral cats who should be spay/neutered and returned so their colonies slowly die out. Just killing feral cats does not address the problem otherwise we wouldn’t have the problem today. Another cat simply “moves into the spot” but if you alter the cat they keep other cats out of their territory and the colony slowly dies out without unnecessary killing. Feral cats would not stay around if they did not have food and shelter so don’t listen to arguments otherwise. See our local Alley Cat Advocates group for more explanation.
    But all those issues can be dealt with and addressed.
    How massive is it? A 100 animals a day – week – month – year? In slow times it can be just a few, but in “high seasons” – kitten and puppy months (right now) – it can be as many as 120 a day or more, mostly because they come in litters. Here’s some explanation on numbers and addressing them and really stepping back and looking at “crunching the numbers”: http://www.nathanwinograd.com/?p=1390
    Let me know if that helped and/or if you have more questions
    ———————————————————-
    And, thank you everyone for your support. The MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do is share the No Kill message with others so they are made aware that we don’t have to”save a few and kill the rest”. We must END this public misconception and give people ways to help – through fostering, volunteering, spreading the word, and, of course, adopting!

  • 20 Eileen // Apr 28, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    TallGuy, Louisville Metro Animal Services takes in about 15,000 animals a year, and yes, all the cats, dogs (and other domestic animals) that need a home can be saved, unless they are truly suffering with no hope of getting better, or truly aggressive and not able to be rehabilitated. The true meaning of euthanasia is ending irredeemable suffering, and there is a very limited need for that.

    So, how would we do that? It’s called the No Kill Equation and you can read more here: http://nokilladvocacycenter.org/nokillequation.html

    It’s not just a matter of re-distributing animals; it’s also a matter of population control through high-volume/low-cost spay and neuter and through trap-neuter-release of feral cats (instead of bringing them into the shelter and killing them). And it’s a matter of helping people keep their pets through training and sometimes through emergency help, like the pet food bank that NKL runs or an emergency medical fund. And it’s a matter of volunteers, fosters, and community outreach and education. People think that everyone who wants a pet knows to go to the shelter and get one, but that’s not true. I taught a seminar on companion animal welfare to college freshmen this year and even though 80% of them were animal lovers, only about 10% knew about shelters and adopting. There’s a huge role for community outreach and education.

    Most importantly right now, it’s a matter of a “Compassionate Director” (I capitalize because it’s part of the No Kill Equation)–someone who understands and is committed to and capable of implementing the no kill equation. That’s what Louisville needs right now.

  • 21 ukfan1969 // Apr 28, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    The Realist…Really, Really….???

  • 22 Jessica Reid // Apr 28, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    REALIST – this is no fallacy or misrepresentation of an opponent’s position (i.e. straw man effect) – I truly believe what I said can and should be applied and whether you want to or not is your choice. I’m not misrepresenting anything. It is a social movement that is rooted in morality and the rights of our pets and our community. I do believe I laid out and refuted everything directly throughout and did not distract from the argument – which is what you are basically saying it by labeling in such a way.

  • 23 The Realist // Apr 28, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Yeah, really. I’d be interested to see why you disagree instead of just being snarky.

  • 24 ukfan1969 // Apr 28, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Why do you having a problem with her idolizing MLK jr. and expressing how he gives her strength?

  • 25 Jessica Reid // Apr 28, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    TALL GUY – the “adopt out only 5 animals from Animal House” that should have said “a day” – an average of 5 pets a day.

  • 26 Jessica Reid // Apr 28, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Well put, UKfan, that is how I see it – I get strength from that book, definitely. It was a gift because my love and respect of MLK is well known among my family and friends.

  • 27 DM // Apr 28, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    @Tall Guy,
    It seems to me that yes killing is a far easier method of management then promoting adoptions, working with rescues locally and otherwise to ensure as many pets as possible have a chance at a new life. For those that think KHS is no kill, think again…..they can pick and choose what animals they put up for adoption. The money being paid to them is being foolishly spent.

  • 28 The Realist // Apr 28, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    I certainly don’t have a problem with anyone idolizing MLK Jr., and if his work and sacrifice don’t give you strength then you probably don’t have a pulse. I am on the same page with you there, I am sorry if I implied otherwise.

    The problem with that entire paragraph is that it rests on the proposition that those standing in the way of the No Kill mission are comparable to those standing in the way of MLK Jr. and the Civil Rights movement. Those who criticized MLK were objectively wrong. Those who have objections to No Kill are not doing so because they want to kill animals. They may simply doubt the long term feasibility of the operation.

    This is not an accurate assertion and doesn’t even compare in scale.

    I know this cause is important to you, and I really have no business standing in the way of that. But passion, belief and emotion will only take you so far in this extremely political environment. Pretty soon people are going to demand more.

    Like I said before, I hope you all succeed. I really do. I would love it and it would be great for the community. But this situation calls for more tact from everybody involved.

  • 29 ukfan1969 // Apr 28, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Thank you for explaning what you meant. I can respect differences of opinion.

  • 30 AnimalAdvocate // Apr 28, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Derby is next weekend, an event relative to animals. I’ve read & seen the debate relative to LMAS & KHS. I firmly believe KHS is not motivated by love for the animals, but greed.

    Lori Redmon’s remarks about No Kill, despite the City council endorsement clearly shows KHS is not what LMAS needs for change.

  • 31 Jessica Reid // Apr 28, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    But REALIST – you don’t understand. I DO think those opposed to the No Kill movement are standing in the way of the movement. IF they truly, as you assert, believed in not killing, then they would not stand in the way of a movement that seeks to end it (by the way, euthanizing and killing are two different things).

    If they TRULY believe in not killing, then what is the harm is trying to make it happen even if they do not think it has long term plausibility? Would not in even the short term more lives be saved?

    I did not choose a statement from MLK from his “have a dream” speech. I chose a statement from his “Love, Law, and Civil Disobedience” speech he gave while addressing the Fellowship of the Concerned – who were worried about the “sit ins” and “civil disobedience taking place in support of this movement. I chose this on purpose. I can make that distinction from the overall civil rights movement and did and stand by it.

    I see the above statement as a form of that – speaking out despite others trying to silence the movement – a type of Civil Disobedience. I think that many do not want to make this (the No Kill movement) a moral issue but rather a “can it be done” issue. I assure you it is a moral and just issue that can be done and ultimately is a better business model for our cities, our communities, and our pets.

  • 32 PutFischyinmetrokennel // Apr 28, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Okay Fischy the ball is in your court! Whatcha gonna do? More excuses? more threats from your dumbass spineless staffers? More stalling? More what? You and your weak staff have been called out for your bullshit decisions so are you going to do the right thing or do I spend the next 31/2 years working tirelessly to remove your ass from office?

  • 33 Bonnie Lyons // Apr 28, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Thank You Jess for speaking out. Animal issues are always passionate. We stand behind you 100% and just know that what you are doing is right. Bravo for you!

  • 34 The Realist // Apr 28, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Thanks for the response, Jessica. Best of luck.

  • 35 Jessica Reid // Apr 28, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    You too, Realist. I appreciate intelligent debate and appreciate your points. They were well thought out and good ones.

  • 36 Poodlerama // Apr 28, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    @tallguy: I don’t know specific numbers or percentages for this shelter, but I do know that LMAS takes in a large number of animals. Some are adopted out, some go to rescues, some are fostered until they are adoptable (sick, underage,shy), the rest are killed. There is a range of what is considered “adoptable” from young,(aka exactly 8 weeks old) healthy and cute to a large older dog or cat with one eye and a cold who is nervous around new people. Another example is juvenile animals: I think most members of the public would never imagine that otherwise healthy baby animals get put down, and there is nothing ‘wrong’ per se with a week-old kitten, except for the fact that a high-volume, open-intake shelter is not generally prepared to dedicate a cage for the two months it takes to raise kittens to the age where they can be fixed, then adopted. These are generally killed almost immediately in a typical shelter. One of the justifications is that the kittens would surely become ill before they reached adoption age. At many shelters underage animals, cats with Feline Leukemia or FIV, ‘bully breeds’, rottweillers, feral cats, all fall under UNADOPTABLE and are killed. At other shelters with the same demographics, intake policies, etc, those same animals do not have an automatic death sentence. LMAS has been (with some not-so-gentle nudging and a LOT of help from NKL) doing some of the things a shelter needs to do in order to be a true shelter, and not a place to store unwanted animals before they’re disposed of. With the right attitude, volunteers, and creative spirit, many many more animals can, and should be saved. The person who decides who lives and who dies will always give you plenty of justifications for their decisions, but when NKL has fifty kajillion (approximately) crazed volunteers ready to do whatever is needed to save every remotely adoptable pet in this community, there is no excuse to put down any animal that is not truly vicious, or whose illness or injury is causing suffering that can only be relieved by true euthanasia. The animals who fall into these categories are a very small percentage of the general shelter population. (So how’s that for an explanation/non-answer?)

  • 37 Karen // Apr 28, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    Just to offer information–the email I got from ACS today, soliciting for new members, said that they are called 20-30 times A DAY with requests to take an animal, because they are no-kill. That’s a LOT of animals. I do not know where KHS or Metro get their animals or what the procedures are for taking them.

    I believe Jessica IS right in using the quote from the book, because to think animals must be killed is objectively wrong. I do not know how the process works here and who makes the decision which animal’s time is up, or why. But unless an animal is terminally ill, or is an animal with aggressive behavior that can’t be retrained, there is no reason for an animal to die. There are so many people and groups that want to help, but it seems there are roadblocks being put in their way. NKL tries to find ways to get people involved, to assist the rescue groups, and to aid people in spay/neuter programs. I don’t understand why there is such resistance to the organization.

  • 38 Amy // Apr 28, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Thank you Jessica! You have brought a lot of us together and we are just getting better. NKL is growing and helping more and more animals everyday. Keep up the good work!

  • 39 JohnJ // Apr 28, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Let’s be honest. There is no such thing as ‘no kill.’ There is such a thing as ‘no adoptable animal will be killed.’ That’s what the so called no kill movement means, people. Yes, animals will be euthanized if there’s no room or fosters available, if the animals is too sick or injured to save, if the animal is considered ‘unadoptable’ for any other reason. KHS does that now so don’t go thinking no kill is that simple. What about the ‘fosters’ that take in too many animals? What about the ones who can’t take care of the 3 or 5 they have but want more because they ‘can’t stand to see them killed?’ No kill is not going to stop the breeding! Why don’t you put all this energy into the root of the problem, SPAY AND NEUTER???

  • 40 Citizen~Z // Apr 28, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    I enjoyed the article and the comments. I’ve seen the effects of poor leadership and the culture it creates… it’s systemic in nature and cancerous.

    In all honesty… I think Jessica should step up and apply for the job. She’s got intelligence and grace, as demonstrated by her writing, and she clearly has passion. As a leader, you can motivate and you can inspire your people. Ideally, as the leader, you would prefer to inspire your people to be as good as they can in supporting the vision and mission of the organization. Albeit, a carrot (motivation) can be a handy tool. My point is that passionate leaders often don’t need to motivate… they inspire others through the infectious passion they demonstrate every day.

    Jessica – consider this plea. Even if only to transition LMAS into the NK model of operations and set the stage to attract a great replacement to take over.

    Your alternative is someone who is being directed to take over. Do you really think this person will inspire or simply dangle passionless carrots and wave a whip when needed? Ask your network of contacts at LMAS. I’m sure they are not jumping for joy over the prospect of working with this person.

    I bet they would rise up for you! Do it. I dare you. I double dog dare you.

  • 41 warhorse // Apr 28, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    the movement has been explained, what is the plan of action?

  • 42 Lynne Phillips // Apr 28, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    KHS adoptions are done for $1.25 with no background checks, then the animals are open to surrend @ LMAS. IT happens all the time. The biggest telling factor is the fact KHS took 27K from LMAS budget when No Kill is doing the work behind th…e scenes for FREE. Why was KHS trying to take over Animal House BEFORE the election anyway? It’s a new facility that LMAS can be proud of, that the dedicated employees who suffered along with the animals at Manslick look at as an accomplishment. Step in the right direction, HOPE! And KHS is trying to take that away from them??

    Let KHS build their own via donations. Animal house was paid for with taxpayer money for the CITY! Not for a private organization to benefit from.

    Let KHS take care of their own private organization & support LMAS, NOT try to take it over. Mayor Fischer needs to keep his promise of finding a NO KILL director. Paying KHS thousands of dollars & giving them Animal House will be opposed.

  • 43 Fischerisaweenie // Apr 28, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    Fischy needs to stop telling that boring ass story about him working in Alaska on salmon boats. He ran off to Alaska because it was too hot to work on roofs. If you run everytime it gets hot Fischy you’ll never be in the office! In a 100 days you took things from bad to worse. By the way…where is the $9,000 coming from top pay KHS? The LMAS budget that past FY10-11 is pretty pathetic. Members of this community are doing things the right way and moving this community’s pet issues into the 21st Century of dealing with them and you are standing in the way with a dumbass look on your face. Louisville No-Kill can be a successful model and best practices among our peers but like the dumbass you are, you are too stupid to help it succeed and then you could take credit for it like most politicians do. Listen you idoit, we know business background was bought by daddy and its clear you aren’t very at business as you claim to be. You have had every opportunity to take a failing company (LMAS) and make small investment into to make it succesful but you can’t even get that right! I say we just start disposing the high number dead animals on his lawn. They didn’t have to die. The CJ, the Leo, the Velocity should print every photo of every animal that was wrongly put to death. The whole world will be focused on Kentucky next Saturday. Let’s show them just how ass backwards we are. Let visitors from and wide know we have a Mayor to arrogant, to ignorant and to gutless to do the right thing.

  • 44 PutFischyinmetrokennel // Apr 28, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    Let’s see how long for Fischy to step-up. Hey Fischy, go to the local bookstore and pickup a copy of Redemption, read it and then get the audit finished. Read that. Maybe then you will get it. You have made a mockery of the hardworking and dedication of many in the community.

  • 45 Lara // Apr 28, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Thank you for your passionate words Jessica. I simply don’t understand how anyone can be this way towards the helpless, when there are people willing to help. All they have to do is let them help! It’s maddening, and I simply don’t understand why people are mad at a group of people who only want to save animals. But, I agree with warhorse. What do we do next?

  • 46 TallGuy // Apr 28, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    Wow, TMI. The passion is very impressive.

    After 2 different dog experiences, I need to maybe try again.

    Again, is it reasonable for an outsider like me to think ALL dogs & cats can be re-distributed?

    I gave my latest dog back to the adoption agency at PetSmart in Springhurst cause border collies love to dig up your yard if you are at work during the day.

    I’m just an average rich home in Anchorage / poor guy making a living, who thinks Jake makes a real difference in the daily news.

  • 47 Jessica Reid // Apr 29, 2011 at 1:10 am

    Here’s some food for thought for those of you who think nothing shady is going on: Why exactly would KHS consult *the competition* on doing adoptions better? This question was raised tonight during a meeting/discussion on this issue.

    It was a valid and good point so I asked, “what have their done so far?” Here’s the answer (I won’t name names b/c that’s unfair but I’ll say who they’re with): KHS’ reps – two – each one visited Animal House once. Wanted to know why LMAS staff denied adoptions. Recommendation from KHS: Have open adoptions. In other words, don’t even ask a landlord if a pet is allowed (which when I adopted my Luna 5 years ago they were checking for landlords but no longer), don’t check a vet reference or for past ownership.

    Now – what does this mean for the pet? First off, the basic questions are not asked. Two, LMAS staff says many of these pets are returned and then either a) KHS collects another $25 return fee OR b) they end up at LMAS b/c they cannot pay. When, LMAS staff scans the pet and microchip matches up to KHS they call KHS. I was told tonight that KHS will pick up the pet if it’s regarded as highly adoptable and left behind if not.

    Case in point that noted tonight: a basset hound puppy that was dropped at LMAS. The owner said they adopted the puppy for a bottle of bleach and $1.25 but could not afford the $25 to return it and could not afford vetting for the dog, so they brought it to LMAS. Another dog – a pitbull mix – has been sitting in a kennel for 2 weeks at LMAS for the same reason. I was *told* that the puppy was picked up, but the pitbull has not and is scheduled to be killed as a result.

    The other things they’ve done according to employees: had a bunch of closed door meetings, took all the foster information and input it into a laptop that is KHS property, and took all the rescue contacts. How exactly are they using that for adoptions and how exactly is a recommendation to do “open adoptions” really helping the matters at LMAS?

    REALLY THINK ABOUT IT PEOPLE. I’ve had to rethink my point-of-view on this. What would KHS have to gain by *helping* LMAS improve adoptions? They would, in effect, be helping their competition.

    As one person pointed out tonight the whole thing has been a SHAM and it breaks my heart that I was taken in by this. But, the deck was stacked – TWO reps from KHS were on the director selection committee, another on the audit team – so isn’t it a conflict of interest to be working out contracts – even temporary ones? Isn’t it a conflict of interest to say “oh, you need more than just a new director, you need a whole new sheltering organization” – does that not smack of something being wrong? I mean, we’ve got to ask the question – was this even legal?

  • 48 Lorraine Travis // Apr 29, 2011 at 10:49 am

    @Lynn Plillips. Thumbs up Lynn. I am a LMAS foster. I currently have 8 ranging in age from adult to 3 weeks. I put my heart into my work with my fosters. I do large numbers and I work hard to either make them well or keep them healthy and happy until they can be put up for adoption. KHS’s No screening and giving a kitten to someone that comes in with a bag of cheap cat food is a personal nightmare for me. When my babies to to Animal House and are put up for adoption I know that a screening will take place and gives me some assurance that they will find a good home. I realize it isn’t guaranteed, but it’s better than KHS. They don’t care what kind of home they send an animal to. I also volenteer at AH twice a week and watch the process all the time, it’s a decent one. There’s always room to improve but to let KHS take over adoptions would be a Huge step backward. I don’t want KHS in any of LMAS’ business, it is no fix at all. As we can all see it’s already causing a major problem and I don’t see that stopping as long as they are allowed in LMAS business in any way. 9,000 a month for consult speaks volumes to me. If they were coming over to offer advice for the benifit of our cities homeless animals there would be no fee at all. They were given my peronal information without my knowlege and consent (which I would Not have given) and I take issue with that big time. As far as I can see everything they’ve done to this point to assit Metro has been nothing but problem piled atop problem. LMAS does not need more problems, it needs a no kill forward thinker at the helm and a community behind the changes needed to make our city proud and our animals safe.

  • 49 redcollarphoto // Apr 29, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Thank you Jessica for explaining your position, it is my hope that you succeed with making Louisville a No Kill city.

    Mr Mayor: it’s time for you to stop acting like Jerry. Get your head out of the sand and do something. I remember seeing you at many dog events during your campaign. Even then I thought it was for show and votes.

    Prove me wrong.

  • 50 Amy // Apr 29, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Jessica, your last comment is right on!!! What is our next move?

  • 51 Turner // Apr 29, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Dear Tall Guy, On Tuesday of this week LMAS had taken in 60 animals by 8:00 p.m. and the animal control officer’s trucks had not yet come in for the night with their animals on board. This means the total intake for the day might be greater than 60. That same day six animals were adopted from Animal House, 5 dogs and one cat. Until we have increased S/N and more animal retention programs, I do not know how ET can be avoided. All pieces need to be in place for it to work, rescues, animals to the East Coast in transports, S/N, counseling programs for folks w/difficult animal and pet issues in the home, etc.

  • 52 Jessica Reid // Apr 29, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Agreed Turner – ALL pieces need to be in place. The No Kill model also emphasizes comprehensive spay/neuter programs (such as our 28 Days of Spay) AND Trap-Neuter-Release programs (such as the Cat-snip-a-thon we partly funded). But, you must ALSO deal with those animals who are living – with pet retention programs (such as our pet food bank), better community relations/customer service, efforts to reunite lost pets with families, a comprehensive foster program, more volunteers, comprehensive adoption efforts, and so much more.

    For the very logical, proactive, and community-partnering steps for going No Kill, head here: http://www.nokill-louisville.com/stepstonokill.htm

    A CAUTION FOR EVERYONE: Beware those people who love to label No Kill advocates as “hoarders” or people who will “do anything to save a pet” – it’s an attempt to label a very intelligent, proactive approach as “fringe” or “impossible.” I know there are people who do too much and take on too much and it ends up exasperating the issues. There are always extremes in any effort. But, those people exist whether in a traditional sheltering model or a no kill sheltering model. So don’t allow people to use *shock stories* as a way to discount the logical and intelligent approach that is the current No Kill model in the United States.

    If you truly want to understand the model, I invite you to take a little time and read “Redemption” by Nathan Winograd. It is the book that changed my mind because, guess what, I used to believe we had no other option but to “save a few and kill the rest.”

    Citizen Z – thank you for kind words. For some reason, I didn’t see them before. If I could, I would. I want to save all our adoptable pets. But the fact of the matter is in the current climate I would never be offered the position or opportunity. So, I choose to try to work at finding a person who could carry the No Kill model into fruition.

  • 53 Poodlerama // Apr 29, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    And we have all those things! Ready willing and able fosters, transporters, rescue groups ready to step up and take special needs animals…the powers that be just need to relax their death grip on the city’s homeless animals! There are many groups working on spay/neuter, most of the public understands the benefits and want their pets altered. It is becoming more and more widely understood that TNR of feral cats is actually cheaper than the old “Catch & Kill” model. There ARE enough homes for all of them. If a savvy marketer promoted shelter animals as the awesome unique potential pets they are instead of sad-sack charity cases, more people would adopt instead of buying from puppymills and backyard breeders. (According to the hsus only 19% of pets are adopted from shelters. Sounds more like a marketing problem than a ‘not enough homes’ problem to me).

  • 54 Bonnie Lyons // Apr 29, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Poodlerama, I agree with you. It is much simpler and easier to kill animals than to educate people and ACTIVELY promote spay/neuter and TNR. You need city leaders and people passionate about the job. Currently the city is not leading nor listening!

  • 55 The Highlander // May 1, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Observation: This is the largest number of posts that I recall for any issue since I’ve been following this blog. IF Mr. Fish doesn’t wake up on this EASY AND SIMPLE ONE, God knows what’s going to happen as the REALLY DIFFICULT decisions enter the picture.

    There could well be nearly a hundred task forces before his hegemony (4 years) is over.

    Come on young man — grow some balls and take action.

  • 56 Amy R. // May 1, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    So, Jessica, are you saying if you were asked to be the director for MAS, you would accept?? I think you should apply and make them explain why you are not “GOOD ENOUGH”

  • 57 Phillips // May 1, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    Seems to me the Mayor just wants to ‘pass the buck’–so they wont have to deal with the problems at MAS.

    “Lets just turn it over to KHS–that way everything is Private–and there is no public accountability”

    And of course KHS wants it. Done right, moving animals out quickly–Animal House and Manslick would be a money maker.

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