Nathan Winograd is a man on a mission - and he won't be deterred.
His new book, Redemption - The Myth Of Pet Overpopulation And The No Kill Revolution, is sparking controversy - and with any luck , a revolution - in how animals are treated and killed -that's right - killed - in our nation's shelters.
Before I go any further, if you live in or near NYC - get free tix to see Nathan Winograd LIVE this Friday, 9/7 in NYC at his book signing or book tickets for other cities click HERE)
AND -I have this say to all dog owners, get thee to a bookstore or Amazon.com and get yourself a copy of Redemption - immediately. And to all pitbull owners - I COMMAND you to get a copy immediately. For real.
The founder of the No Kill Advocacy Center, Mr. Winograd, a Stanford educated attorney and former prosecutor, as well as the former director at the San Francisco SPCA and the Tomkins County SPCA in upstate New York, clearly and intelligently makes the case for a No Kill Nation - a policy that helps raise the rate of adoptions and lower the rates of shelter killings.
Squirming In Their Seats
But the release of his new book, Redemption, coupled with a national book tour with stops in 17 cities across the country, seems to be making more than a just a few people at some large, national "animal protection" organizations just a teensy bit uncomfortable.
OK - make that a LOT uncomfortable. I'd say that the HSUS, PETA and the ASPCA are squirming in their seats over Redemption, as evidenced by .........
several well-timed (if not well pitched and well-placed) articles that magically appeared just as the Redemption Tour was about to launch (Oh those crafty PR pimps!)
ASPCA's Prez Ed Sayres - "No Kill Is Not Morally Superior"
Just like "magic", a news story from Syracuse said that said the Tompkins County SPCA was suddenly 'overcrowded". How's that for timing?
Or how about the article that "coincidentally" appeared just over a week ago in USA Today in which PETA, HSUS and the ASPCA were all quite critical of No Kill.
In USA Today, HSUS' Kim Intino and PETA's Darling Of Death, Daphna Naminovitch, had a few choice words for No Kill, which basically amount to unsubstantiated innuendo.
In the attack on No Kill, Ed Sayres, President of the ASPCA, is actually quoted saying, "There is no room for no-kill as morally superior".
Oh really, Mr. Ed? Sounds like sour grapes to me. It would seem these organizations just don't like the idea of sparking a No Kill Revolution - gee, I wonder why?
Burn The Mutha Down
Is it that No Kill just might be the death knell for the "pet overpopulation" fundraising scams for the Big Three - especially since the ASPCA operates just one shelter and how many shelters do HSUS or PETA operate? That would be ZERO.
Is it that No Kill just might facilitate a shift not only in thinking but in the path of giving, and perhaps re-route donations from ASPCA, HSUS and PETA to the No Kill movement and true No Kill shelters?
Is it that No Kill just may be the solution that burns the monolithic and hypocrisy-filled facade of "animal protection" to the ground?
Nathan Winograd seems a man whose ethics are uncomprised by allegiances to HSUS or PETA or the ASPCA. He is described as a maverick and a visionary by supporters.
Well, dear readers, I have a few words for Nathan J. Winograd myself - "You go, baby - and burn the mutha down".
And here's why...........
Calling A Spade A Spade
Redemption - The Myth Of Pet Overpopulation And The No Kill Revolution, is a winner of a book that traces the history of humane movement from its infancy and Henry Berg, founder of the ASPCA, to the modern day monoliths that now dominate the animal sheltering scene.
A central figure of the No Kill movement, Nathan Winograd writes that the humane movement has lost its way, changing into something so distant and unrecognizable from it's compassionate beginnings, as to now endorse the systematic mass killings of innocent animals on a daily basis.
The blame for this sorry state of affairs, Nathan says, lies not with those "irresponsible owners " or "puppy mills" so frequently cited by you-know-who, but squarely at the feet of the very organizations and shelters that purport to protect animals.
He calls a spade a spade.
Exploding The Myth Of Pet Overpopulation
Winograd is brutally honest - I like that in a guy.
He writes with civility as he explodes what he calls the myth of pet overpopulation, a repetitive term so frequently cited by PETA, HSUS, the ASPCA and others, that it has become the mantra, if not the excuse, for the mass killings that go on daily behind closed doors in our nation's shelters.
There is no pet overpopulation, says Redemption. Why not?
Because market conditions indicate that there are plenty of homes for animals - otherwise pet stores, "puppy mills" and even hobby breeders couldn't survive - if not thrive.
"Pet overpopulation" says Winograd, is an excuse for laziness, organizational incompetence, a failure to recruit and work with volunteers, a failure to make adoption as attractive as buying "new", a failure to connect with the community, a failure to work across party lines, a lack of leadership, a lack of vision, shallow job protectionism, a lack of political will, a lack of compassion, greed, sloth and more.
But wait - there's more.................
A Time To Kill
Why are we killing so many animals, he asks? Animal control agencies and shelters kill for lots of reasons:
- Cages are too full
- Too busy with paperwork
- Make room for new animals
- Too many pitbulls
- Too many black dogs
- Shoddy "temperment tests" (hello ASPCA with the Vick dogs!)
- Refusal to socials cats
- No one will adopt the animals anyway
- Easier to clean empty cages
There are lots of reasons to keep those cages empty, right? After all, if you kill all the animals, those cages are much easier to clean. And isn't it cheaper and more effective to just kill them anyway?
With laser precision, Winograd outlines for the reader in great detail the dates, times and places that HSUS has called for the mass extermination of feral cats, Ingrid Newkirk's DISMAL record of killing when she workd at the Washington Humane Society in D.C., and how the together, the ASPCA and the HSUS condone mass killings at shelters as beinging within the "norm".
The unvarnished truth is that the nations largest - and wealthiest - "animal protection" groups seem quite comfortable with killing as the "norm", which is hard to reconcile.
Pitbulls - The Path To Free PR, Profits & Power
Ohh- goody, Nathan Winograd writes about the subject of pitbulls. My favorite.
Now as many DP readers already know, I reserve that special brand of contempt for organizations like PETA and HSUS, which routinely use pitbills as the evil master plan to realize more press, more profits and more power.
I personally will not let you forget that millions - if not billions -go into supporting these organizations, whose leadership routinely advocate for public policy that kills animals instead of saving animals - especially animals born as the "wrong breed".
I will not let you forget that they point the finger of "pet overpopulation" using pitbulls as the excuse for "taking too much room up in shelters" - and PETA and HSUS - I'm talking to you.
Pitbulls are overcrowding our shelters, they cry. And pitbulls should be eradicated as a breed, they say - and pitbulls are used as the lightening rod to spur mandatory spay/nueter laws, which not only translate to the "kind" way to exterminate a breed, also in turn drive UP shelter populations and killings of pitbulls.
Should we, as PETA's Daphna Namiovitch says, just give them a "good death"? That is certainly PETA"s position, which seems bizarrely opposite to what PETA markets itself to be, while raking in the cold hard cash.
And as Ingrid Newkirk is so fond of saying - pitbulls should go out the back door in body bags to make room for "more adoptable" animals - isn't that so Miss Ingrid? (Now kids - don't for get to donate to PETA's DeathMobile - coming to a shelter near you!)
Nathan Winograd's book serves up the validation for my position - that shelters have failed pitbulls, and that pitbulls are used as an excuse to kill, kill, kill.
In fact, I have many emails from shelter workers and volunteers who are distressed, outraged and sickened by the fact that their local shelters are killing pitbulls in high volume, not even bothering with adoption efforts at all.
In many shelters, its SOP that pitbulls get the needle ASAP. And that makes PETA very happy indeed.
Expanding The Universe
Nathan Windograd is someone who believes, as do I, in expanding the universe of potential homes for dogs.
He is opposed to punitive, anti-dog, anti-pet laws and measures that artifically contract the pool of available , potential homes for shelter pets, - which also shrink the pool of existing homes and force the surrender of pets that currently have loving homes.
These punitive laws and measures translate to public policy that KILLS animals, including:
- Mandatory Spay/Neuter Laws
- Breed Bans
- Pet Limit Laws
- Feral Cat- TNR Opponents
along with other, sundry and senseless idiocies that lead to the wholesale slaughter of animals in shelters.
Winograd also challenges the blind faith that so many animal activists place in PETA, pointing out the glaring inconsistencies in policy positions in all of the Big Three - including HSUS as the ASPCA - positions that support mandatory spay/neuter - positions that leads to killing of more animals.
Let's repeat that last part for the benefit of all - mandatory spay/neuter laws KILL more animals than they purport to save.
The No Kill Solution
Could it be that the No Kill Solution is the answer ? Can we stop the killings? Can we stop killing pitbulls too?
Can we stop blaming the irresponsible public, greedy evil breeders, and "drug dealing, crackhead, gang members who are pitbull owners?
Nathan Winograd says YES! as so do many other people across the nation who are tired of the endless body counts, tired of greed and excuses so pervasive in the sheltering community, and tired of the punitive measures taken against those in shelters who dare to speak out against what is the status quo - that dare to speak the truth.
Redemption is not the wholesale indictment of compassionate people, of which there are many but rather the indictment of a system that is sick.
His book reminds us of the original mission of the humane movement, and urges us to look for the heroes in our own backyards.
The No Kill Model
In moving toward a No Kill Nation, Nathan Winograd's model includes shelter accountability, which means mapping successes and failures, engagement with the community, and leadership with a committment to succeed.
While the book provides much greater detail (read it!), the key components of the No Kill blueprint include:
- Feral Cat TNR Program
- High Volume/Low Cost Spay/Neuter
- Coordination with Rescue Groups
- Foster Care Program
- Comprehensive Adoption Programs (Including Marketing)
- Pet Retention Programs
- Medical & Behavioral Rehabilitation
- Public Relations/Community Involvement
- Coordinated Volunteer Program
- A Compassionate Director (The Keystone To Success)
This is a clear shift which moves shelter thinking and operations from a reactive position to a proactive strategy.
Mr. Winograd's model is easily exported to shelters large and small, rural and urban, those with funding and those without funding.
Heroes In Our Backyards
The heroes in the animal community are those who take a stand against the senseless slaughter of innocent animals.
The heroes are those who refuse to kill based on breed, not deed.
The heroes can be found standing up and standing tall against not just local political forces, but the forces within the "animal protection" movement that use pet overpopulation as the means to kill and profit from that killing.
The heroes are the every day pet lovers who care, the foster families, the legions of shelter volunteers and directors, the dog and cat clubs and breed rescues that pledge their emotional and financial support to the betterment of all.
The heroes are those who have the courage to take on the establishment, who strip the masks off villians, and whose ethics are not managed or compromised by power, fame or money.
Nathan J. Winograd is a hero in my book.
And in my view of the world, heroes will always win the day.
Nathan Winograd's Redemption - The Myth Of Pet Overpopulation And The No Kill Revolution is an incendary device that I hope will not just spark a revolution in the way we think about and care for lost, homeless or abused animals, but will blow the current state of "humane care" out of the water and greedy "animal protection" groups to smithereens.
Then, out of the ashes, will rise a new way of thinking, a new way of sheltering. A model based on competence, on caring, a model that embraces the entire animal community.
Nathan Winograd not only inspires, he illuminates the pathway. In Redemption - he draws a roadmap to the future with a clear and concise blueprint for those who seek true leadership, and a way out of the SOP of "Killing is Kindness".
Maybe then we can not only give more animals a shot at redemption, and an opportunity to be loved and cherished, but we can redeem ourselves along the way.
Now get going. The revolution awaits.