If you visit Collin County Animal Services Facebook page, you will see them boasting off save rates for the first quarter in the 90% and above.  That’s great right?

The only problem is the shelter has for the most part stopped killing adoptable animals, but have yet to implement the other much needed programs in order to ensure these animals are not being “warehoused” at the shelter, waiting for a non profit rescue group to have room to take them because the bottom line is folks, adoptions are still terribly low.

What are the missing puzzle pieces?  The army of volunteers needed?, A vet on staff?, More staff in general?, Aggressive marketing to the community?, Public Relations?, More donations?, More funding from cities contracted?, More signs leading the public to the shelter’s hard to find or “hidden” location?, Community involvement?, Frequent offsite adoption events to bring the animals to the people….since clearly the people are not coming to the shelter?  We firmly believe ALL OF THE ABOVE!

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Monday, May 21,2012 marked a tragic day for the shelter, staff, volunteers and the unfortunate animals that were killed for their kennel space.  The shelter has been overcrowded for months, with animals becoming sick due to air systems not working properly, becoming “cage crazy” from being locked up in cages 24/7 for up to months at a time because there is no where near enough staff or volunteers to ensure dogs are walked and the shelter has no designated area to exercise them.  The shelter is planning more killing this week due to overcrowding in spite of the 3 day Memorial Day weekend offsite adoption event planned for the upcoming holiday weekend, simply due to low adoptions, even the rescue groups are struggling so they cannot help as many and there is no end in sight to the animals coming in.

Collin County Citizens support is needed, and I hope each and every one of you reading this blog will “Paw it Forward” if you will.  If you cannot adopt, maybe you can volunteer? No time, maybe you can donate?  The economy got you down, maybe you can simply talk to your city and county leaders about supporting this shelter at the capacity needed?  We are begging you please, support your community!

Inspire change, by investing in your local animal shelter any way you can.Image

Please don’t miss the Memorial Day Adoption event this weekend, adoption specials as low as $30, even lower if you happen to be a veteran, police officer, fire fighter, or currently serving our great nation.  After all, that is what this weekend is about.  Remembering those who gave the greatest gift, their life, for our freedoms. 

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Collin County Animal Services has tons of wonderful volunteers.  They spend countless hours taking wonderful pictures, writing great bio’s, making video’s and marketing these to the rescue community and anyone who will listen.

I for one greatly appreciate them.  To have so many doing this now is nothing short of a dream come true.

I often wonder though, with the volunteer support the shelter has now, why small steps that can make such a huge difference are not being implemented.

Like Petfinder.  Through years of fostering for private non profit groups, when we receive an application on a foster pet we ask were they were referred from.   8 times out of 10 the potential adopter found this pet on www.Petfinder.com.  This is one of the most used search engines by families looking for a new family member.

For example please everyone go to Petfinder and on upper left corner (purple box) there is search for pet.  Input dog or cat, and in location put McKinney, Texas.  You will find your results yields zero results of animals at Collin County Animal Services.  So that means John Q. Public, who know nothing of this shelter, will never see their potential family member might be there.  How many lost opportunities have been lost because of this ONE SMALL STEP?

By my count, from the volunteer page for this shelter there are 33 dogs available for adoption.  Plenty of cats too according to their volunteer page.

Why are they not on Petfinder as adoptable for the public to see?

It is a simple process, and could easily done by volunteers.  They could also add their great photo’s, bio’s and videos, which do a great job of marketing the pet!

One small step, that could change the life for some lucky shelter dog or cat.

If you agree, maybe you will speak for those who cannot.  Email the shelter director today, Misty Brown at Misty Brown <mbrown@co.collin.tx.us>.

Ask her to take this One Small Step for the animals of Collin County in hopes that for them, A Christmas Wish will come true.

To have a family.

The Definition of a Naysayer, according to Merriam-Webster; : one who denies, refuses, opposes, or is skeptical or cynical about something.

So here I am, an early riser and it will be hours before my human family will join me among the living.  Just me, the dogs and my thoughts, well and of course Facebook.  I stumble upon a comment from a classic naysayer on the album I posted about the 17 innocent animals scheduled to die last week at Collin County Animal Services.

Quoting them directly:

Naysayer- none of these dogs were killed – none were euthanized this week – would be nice if you updated this with the truth

Now, this comment blows me away for several reasons.  For that, I must give a bit of history.

It was made by a person I worked closely with for several years while “shelter walker” for the Collin County shelter.  Someone, who while I was working with the shelter and quietly whispering about change, agreed and supported what I was saying.  Someone, I have always respected, considered immune to the gossip mongers, and as level headed and savvy as they come.

All of that changed when the shelter director “fired” me.   http://www.examiner.com/american-pit-bull-in-national/longtime-shelter-volunteer-fired-without-cause-texas

It was a Wednesday morning, my day at the shelter and after a particularly brutal summer my frustration shined in my last post on Facebook as the Collin County Shelter Walker, August 31, 2011.

An entire litter wiped out except for one, are you brave enough to look at the gone but not forgotten albums? What is going on here? Every shelter is in dire status, all rescues are crammed to the gills. What is the solution? We must encourage CCAS to market themselves to the public, they leave that job to rescues and volunteers but if you live in Collin County this is your tax dollars at work. Are you ok with that? Please speak out for them. We need them to advertise adoptions, get the staff needed, treat sick dogs not kill them.....This shelter needs drastic improvements and considering the wealth and affluence in cities contracted please tell me what is the excuse?

Now, although the director did not give me a reason at the time I was fired, I knew that after several years of me volunteering with no issues, all of a sudden a few months earlier a “volunteer contract” was now in order and no doubt created especially for me.  She knew, and I knew when I signed it,

I would violate it.

CCAS Volunteer Application (1) =DeDe Termination Letter

And there you have it folks, in the blink of an eye.  Then one by one, the ones who had agreed with me while I was whispering for change, now turned away because I  had traded my whisper for a bull horn.  Of course those who never liked me were like sharks on blood.

Although, even some of my closest  most respected rescue friends have scolded me for not keeping quiet to maintain my position in the shelter, I regret nothing.

Before all of this happened, I had booked passage to the Austin Pets Alive No Kill Seminar.  I was particularly exited because I knew all of my tricks and idea’s had been exhausted to help the animals of this shelter and I needed to learn more about this No Kill Movement.  I had purchased Nathan Winograd’s books Redemption and Irreconcilable Differences before I ever left Austin.  I am now working my way through Redemption for the second time to make sure I missed nothing.

My life has changed, my thinking has changed, and I am recharged with the desire to bring this philosophy not only to Collin County but to any place and person who will listen.  I have no desire to “bash” any person, or even the shelter as they have always been doing the best they can with what they are given.

My desire is change the Status Quo, engage the community, and change policies that result in needless death of healthy, adoptable shelter animals.

Yet, I am continually accused of posting falsehoods or misleading, even though the information comes directly from the shelter, public records request or current shelter volunteers.

I have a message for you Naysayers.  Please step aside from any personal feelings and vendetta’s you may have, and look closely at what your are defending and protecting.  A broken system.

Imagine what we could accomplish if we all worked together?

I have attended two events in the last month, one in Frisco and one in Farmersville, and at each found 98% of people had no idea this shelter existed.  I stood in front of McKinney Walmart, handing out flyers promoting shelter and again, no one knew the shelter existed.

Collin County has a roughly 20% rate of killing.  So many shelters have such a long and hard road ahead of them to achieve No Kill, this shelter could be there with a snap of their fingers with a few changes.  What is holding them back?  What are the naysayer’s so angry about?

You decide.

A current picture of "Story" the one survivor of the litter posted above. She has come to symbolize so many things, and motivates me daily to never give up.


17 dogs sentenced to death tommorrow, November 7, 2011 at Collin County Animal Services. Not because they are aggressive, or sick or unadoptable for any reason, but because the shelter is out of space.

The shelter does not have a marketed adoption program, does not advertise to the public so animals at this shelter are dependant on volunteers and the rescue community in order to live.

We think they have the right to live, We think until every option is exhausted killing them is nothing short of murder. Laziness. Pride. 
They will tell you they have held on to them for weeks….
does no good since they are not marketing to the community
their public does not know about them.

Quoting the No Kill Advocacy Center as this is what is needed~
“Two decades ago, the concept of a No Kill community was little more than a dream. Today, it is a reality in many cities and counties nationwide and the numbers continue to grow. And the first step is a decision, a commitment to reject the kill-oriented failures of the past. No Kill starts as an act of will. The next step involves putting in place the infrastructure to save lives.

Following a commitment to No Kill is the need for accountability. Accountability means having clear definitions, a lifesaving plan, and protocols and procedure oriented toward preserving life. But accountability also allows, indeed requires, flexibility. Too many shelters lose sight of this principle, staying rigid with shelter protocols, believing these are engraved in stone. They are not. Protocols are important because they ensure accountability from staff. But protocols without flexibility can have the opposite effect: stifling innovation, causing lives to be needlessly lost, and allowing shelter employees who fail to save lives to hide behind a paper trail. The decision to end an animal’s life is an extremely serious one, and should always be treated as such. No matter how many animals a shelter kills, each and every animal is an individual, and each deserves individual consideration.

And finally, to meet the challenge that No Kill entails, shelter leadership needs to get the community excited, to energize people for the task at hand. By working with people, implementing lifesaving programs, and treating each life as precious, a shelter can transform a community.

There are communities in the United States that have eliminated population control killing. We want—and the animals deserve—No Kill in every city in the country. But it requires shelter leaders committed to these goals and embarking on a campaign of diligent implementation. That is where we must focus our efforts at reform. Only the No Kill Equation model has achieved this success. It is a program model which changes the way shelters operate and which gives the animal loving public an integral role in that operation. If a community wants success, this is the way to go: nothing else has succeeded.”

The mandatory programs and services include:

Feral Cat TNR Program
High-Volume, Low-Cost Spay/Neuter
Rescue Groups
Foster Care
Comprehensive Adoption Programs
Pet Retention
Medical and Behavior Prevention & Rehabilitation
Public Relations/Community Involvement
Volunteers
Proactive Redemptions
A Compassionate Director

http://www.nokilladvocacycenter.org/shelter-reform/no-kill-equation/

Please share this message far and wide, lets save these innocent animals and ask our County leaders, City leaders, Community to get involved and do what is morally right!
STOP THE KILLING.

” It is our duty as advocates for the animals to point out that there is a better way, to unmask the hypocrisy of shelters that argue the public should not treat animals as disposable, when they infact treat animals that way by killing them. ” ~ Nathan Winograd
 ” The number of animals killed at an animal shelter each year is the predictable result of that animal shelter’s programs and policies. ” ~ Ryan Clinton

Many of you have heard the exiting news by now about the Task Force just appointed in the City of Dallas, to lead the city and shelter towards “No Kill”.

Just days before, “No Kill Dallas” was formed.

One in the same, right? Working for the same goal, right?

Although both seem to be embracing the proven No Kill Methods and Model pioneered by Nathan Winograd, be clear only one is.

Please read Winograd’s blog and letter to Dallas Mayor and Council

In fact, leaders of this No Kill Task Force are the same who opposed The Companion Animal Protection Act and purpose to continue and table this life saving legislation while it is “studied” more by shelters and legislative groups.

For those not completely fascinated and entrenched in shelter reform, politics, and legislation,  the short point here I will quote a great connoisseur of doing things the right and proven way, my son.

“Mom, don’t buy the fake Macaroni and Cheese.  They don’t have the right recipe and it is just not as good!”

The No Kill Methods written by Winograd have worked and continue to reform city’s and save thousands of innocent animals destined for death.  There is a vast amount of information out there to prove and support this, they want you to have full access to all the tools that will work!   There is substantial proof of this in Austin.  There is no other alternative plan that has ever provided the desired results.

So why would we follow any other plan and repeat mistakes we should be learning from?  http://www.examiner.com/animal-shelters-in-houston/those-who-do-not-learn-from-mistakes-are-destined-to-repeat-them

Please visit the No Kill Advocacy Center for more information.

I encourage you to look closely, ask questions, get involved, do your research and support “The Right Recipe”!

 

For the last few years I have been on a journey, for knowledge, for answers, and for solutions.

On the way I have clearly made some great friends and fellow thinkers.   I have also met those for what ever reason, a clash of the minds is unavoidable.

I wish that I had started this journal of sorts at the beginning, but like so many things the past is the past, something we cannot change.  So moving forward, I will document the ups and downs, the highs and lows, and maybe just maybe someone will listen.  Maybe, someone will agree and join me on this journey.

Yesterday, a stop on my Journey enabled me two hours with a County Commissioner and a room full of fellow thinkers.  The first “positive” experience I have had with a government official when it comes to shelter policy and reform ever.

So today I celebrate, a small grain of hope in what seems an insurmountable task of reforming a shelter that is for the most part satisfied with their status quo.  I will never understand that, why it would be ok to kill a healthy, or treatable otherwise adoptable shelter animal when every effort has not been explored or tapped into to find them a happy home.  I hope to find others who agree and who like me are ready to pursue change.

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