Building a No Kill Kansas City, Part II

Building a No Kill Kansas City, Part II

So last night, I posted about some of the great work our friends at Animal Haven were doing on the west side of our state line.  I think having the shelter in KCMO privatize will help also.   And while we are making progress, there is still a lot that needs to be done in the other counties (and states) in our metro.

There are a couple of big obstacles that are standing in our way from becoming a completely No-Kill community.

1) Public shelter managers who are unwilling to make changes that will lead to the ending of the senseless killing of healthy dogs and cats.

2) Laws that have been put in place that are getting in the way of No-Kill.

I think we can overcome the first issue if enough people demand it.  If the public outrage over senseless killing becomes loud enough, the shelter managers who are NOT interested in saving lives will be removed. 

The second issue is one that Kansas City Dog Advocates is attempting to tackle head on.

There are many laws in the Kansas City area that are getting in the way of No-Kill. Some are hurting pet retention, because pets are removed from homes. Some are hurting adoptions, because there are fewer homes to adopt to. Some are hurting foster programs, because people cannot take in the animals.

In short, we need to change a large number of these laws and policies and how we view animal control laws.  This is the focus of our group.

One of our focuses has been on repealing breed discriminatory laws (BSL).  Breed bans throughout our metro have made it very difficult to find homes for bully-breed dogs. Currently, about 1/3 of the potential homes in our community are not options for these dogs. This is why dogs like Gramby, from Animal Haven, spend an inordinate amount of time in shelter care instead of in homes. Breed based laws also makes owner retention even more difficult, as perfectly great dogs like NikkoFleas and Brutus(and dozens of others) are removed from homes because of the way they look, not because of the way they act.  The last 3 examples were all victims of BSL in Kansas City, KS.  It is so bad there that Boxer, Mastiffs, anything brindle, short haired or short muzzled has a target on their head.

Arbitrary pet limit laws, mandatory spay/neuter laws, breed bans, outdated vaccination requirements, laws that prevent trap/neuter return programs and punish caretakers of feral cat colonies all have a hand in removing animals from homes, give AC more tools to seize and kill, keeping animals from going to good homes, or eliminate potential foster families that can provide better homes for animals waiting for forever homes.

And all of these laws can be replaced with policies that are better for animals — all can be done with no decrease in public safety.

We are stepping up our efforts in this arena. Two weeks ago, the community of Greenwood repealed their BSL. We are getting involved in the politics of more communities in the Kansas City area by posting political ratingson candidates on a variety of pet-related policies in cities throughout the metro (you can click on “politics” at the top, and find your individual city - as always, this is a work in progress).

There are a lot of reasons to go to the polls and cast your votes. But as a pet-owning population, the desires for pet friendly policies have too often been ignored. According to the AVMA pet owner census, 60% of the US population currently owns pets. We are the majority. While we should demand a lot of things from our public officials, pet-friendly policies shouldn’t be too much to ask.  Why is it be that 60% of the population that owns and cares for pets, has to settle for politicians that institute oppresive policies that increase the number of our pets killed in our communites and compromise our safety?

Short answer: They don’t.

Additionally, KCDA is going to be kicking off some programs in the Kansas City area to help others learn how to get involved politicaly in their communities — so their voices can be heard. We understand that getting involved in politics is a little scary for some. We want to help provide some simple structure and some peace of mind about diving in.  And it starts with one simple rule — your city council members are voted on by you, hired by you, to work for you.

We’re kicking this off with a KCDA Happy Hour on April 1st at 75th Street Brewery. The event kicks off at 5:30 (it is not a fundraiser, so the only cost you incur is whatever you eat and drink).  We’ll be in the sectioned off area in the back of the restaurant.

Following this, we will be having a KCDA 101 meeting. The meeting is designed to be a community forum on the different laws that affect the no-kill model, ways to get involved and hopefully the knowledge and enthusiasm you need to go out and affect positive change in your communities. The first KCDA 101 meeting will be held on April 25th, from 3-5 at the Trails West Library (6242 Swope Parkway)- Room A - in Kansas City, MO. 

Complete information on these events can be found here.

More info to come from me on these events — looking forward to seeing you there.

Stay up to date with KCMO at the KC Dog Blog.

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5 Responses to “Building a No Kill Kansas City, Part II”

  1. Lynn Orbison says:

    Brent, can you or someone blog the KCDA 101 meetings so that those of us who are NOT in your area can read and learn and maybe get brave enough to emulate the plan in our own communities?

    I agree with the logic that animal owners are the majority, but in my neighborhood animal owners can’t agree on much of anything and Animal Control ends up the arbitrator (or is that Arby-Traitor?)

    I’d like us to form a coalition locally, but I’m not politically inclined so I really need some coaching and some training.

    Thanks heaps for sharing your story. We are a few steps ahead of you in that there is a lot less to be repealed and undone in my neck of the woods, but I’d like to be a part of the solution that ensures that it never goes that way in the first place, but still move forward in the no-kill direction.

  2. Brent says:

    Lynn,

    I’ll see how if I can somehow translate that presentation into a series of posts. It won’t be the easiest thing in the world to do, but I’ll try to make sense of it.

    I agree that animal owners can’t agree on much of anything — and that is a huge problem. I think any time you leave animal control/politicians in the situation that they have to choose between the ideas of two different groups of “experts”, they will inevitably go with what is either easiest or will have the most political clout.

    We as an animal welfare community have to get all on the same page so we can speak to politicians in a unified voice about what we need. This is one (of several) reasons I think the No Kill Equation is so essential is because it has provide a proven template for all animal welfare people to rally behind so we can speak in one unified voice of THIS is what we need to do and this is how we do it. Vs the bickering over mandatory spay/neuter, pet limits, etc that we have undergone in the past.

    If we all get on the same page, there will be no doubt that politicians will HAVE to listen to us and make decisions accordingly. But if the animal welfare community can’t agree on a solution, how would we ever expect politicos to figure it out?

    • Funny you mention this, Brent. This is the accusation leveled against all the advocates here by the reporters and politicians. To them, they figure all us “animal wackos” should be on the same page about every animal issue, and it confuses them to no end to hear the endless sides to each issue … some pro-TNR, some fighting it; some pro-MSN, some opposed to it, etc. I wrote them a whole letter explaining why there is so much divisiveness among animal people, but I don’t think it helped.

      For us here, I just wanted to get at least one large GROUP of advocates on the same page–what we mean and want regarding No Kill. So far, we have not done well on this front. Most advocates here do not know about the detrimental effects of some legislation nor do they understand that the standards set forth by the HSUS and ASPCA do not lead to more lives saved. I admit, I have a hard time explaining it to just other animal people, much less “normal peopple”.

  3. Brent says:

    It just seems like for decades rescues have argued with animal rights groups and everyone has argued with breeder groups. There is honestly nothing that is part of the No Kill movement that ANY of these groups should have a problem with — it should be very easy to get people on the same page. It helps that it has a proven track record. I’m still fascinated though by people who fight against it because it wasn’t their idea, they don’t like the messenger, they have a preconceived notion of what should work (even if it never has). It really is pretty fascinating.

    • Lynn Orbison says:

      Fascinating, maybe. But it’s costing the critters their LIVES!!! We need to stop bickering and letting our egos get in the way and start working together to get things done.
      My favorite blog post is the one about: “I don’t believe this, but I’ll try it…” I’ve no idea how to get that mind-set out of our local Animal Control. (I’m pretty sure I’m not the messenger they want/need on this, but I also haven’t found any other likely candidates either!)

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