FINDING OUR WAY HOME:USING INFORMATION-

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Published on December 22, 2008

Author: nsal

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SPAY/USA ROAD MAP CONFERENCEOCTOBER 16-19, 2008 CHICAGO, ILLINOIS : SPAY/USA ROAD MAP CONFERENCEOCTOBER 16-19, 2008 CHICAGO, ILLINOIS FINDING OUR WAY HOME:USING INFORMATION-BASED PROGRAMS AS A MAP TO AVOID AND BY: PETER MARSH UNTIL RECENTLY, ANIMAL PROTECTION GROUPS FOUGHT COMPANION ANIMAL HOMELESSNESS WITHOUT MUCH INFORMATION ABOUT THE SOURCES OF THE PETS WHO HAD BECOME HOMELESS. : 2 UNTIL RECENTLY, ANIMAL PROTECTION GROUPS FOUGHT COMPANION ANIMAL HOMELESSNESS WITHOUT MUCH INFORMATION ABOUT THE SOURCES OF THE PETS WHO HAD BECOME HOMELESS. WE WERE “WORKING ON A MYSTERY WITHOUT ANY CLUES” UNLESS MOVED BY OUR HEART, WE ARE LAME. UNLESS GUIDED BY OUR HEAD, WE ARE BLIND. INFORMATION IS A CANDLE IN THE DARK : 3 INFORMATION IS A CANDLE IN THE DARK MYTHS AND URBAN LEGENDS FLOURISH IN THE DARKNESS IT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ASTROLOGY AND ASTRONOMY MYTH # 1: WE CAN ADOPT OUR WAY OUT OF PET OVERPOPULATION : 4 MYTH # 1: WE CAN ADOPT OUR WAY OUT OF PET OVERPOPULATION FACT: IN THE EARLY 1970s, AFTER A GENERATION OF INTENSIVE SHELTER ADOPTION PROGRAMS, THE U.S. SHELTER EUTHANASIA RATE STILL HAD CLIMBED TO 115 PETS PER 1000 PEOPLE (PPTP). FACT: THE HIGHEST STATEWIDE ADOPTION RATE IN THE UNITED STATES HAS BEEN 12 PPTP, ABOUT ONE-TENTH OF THE REPRODUCTIVE CAPACITY OF INTACT CATS AND DOGS. SECTION I: MYTHS AND URBAN LEGENDS. MYTH # 2: WE CAN BUILD OUR WAY OUT OF PET OVERPOPULATION. : 5 MYTH # 2: WE CAN BUILD OUR WAY OUT OF PET OVERPOPULATION. FACT: TO END THE KILLING OF ADOPTABLE CATS AND DOGS IN THE UNITED STATES BY INCREASING SHELTER AND SANCTUARY SPACE, WE WOULD HAVE TO HAVE ABOUT 44 TIMES MORE THAN THE CURRENT CAPACITY. FACT: THE COST OF MAINTAINING 11 MILLION CATS AND DOGS IN SHELTERS AND SANCTUARIES WOULD BE ABOUT $22,000,000,000.00 A YEAR. MYTH # 3: WE DON’T NEED LEGISLATION TO ERADICATE PET OVERPOPULATION. : 6 MYTH # 3: WE DON’T NEED LEGISLATION TO ERADICATE PET OVERPOPULATION. FACT: WITHOUT DIFFERENTIAL LICENSING LAWS, PEOPLE WHO MAINTAIN INTACT PETS HAVE NO FINANCIAL INCENTIVE TO HAVE THEM STERILIZED. FACT: WITHOUT STERILIZATION-AT-ADOPTION LAWS, MANY SHELTERS AND RESCUE GROUPS ADD TO PET OVERPOPULATION BY PLACING INTACT HOMELESS ANIMALS BACK IN THE COMMUNITY. STERILIZING INTACT SHELTER ANIMALS BEFORE THEY ARE ADOPTED REDUCES FUTURE SHELTER OVERPOPULATION. ADOPTING OUT INTACT SHELTER PETS WITH A NEUTERING DEPOSIT OR AGREEMENT INCREASES FUTURE SHELTER INTAKES. : 7 STERILIZING INTACT SHELTER ANIMALS BEFORE THEY ARE ADOPTED REDUCES FUTURE SHELTER OVERPOPULATION. ADOPTING OUT INTACT SHELTER PETS WITH A NEUTERING DEPOSIT OR AGREEMENT INCREASES FUTURE SHELTER INTAKES. COUNTY ’00 INTAKE ’05 INTAKE % CHANGE LOS ANGELES 193,190 184,723 -4.4 ORANGE 44,200 41,081 -7.1 SAN DIEGO 50,798 43,078 -15.2 RIVERSIDE 55,947 42,794 -23.5 SANTA CLARA 30,114 22,910 -24.0 FRESNO 51,963 48,911 -5.9 TOTAL 426,203 383,501 -10.0 SHELTER INTAKES DROPPED 10% DURING THE FIRST FIVE YEARS AFTER THE STERILIZATION-AT-ADOPTION LAW WAS PASSED IN CALIFORNIA INTAKE IN THE SIX LARGEST COUNTIES FOR WHICH COMPLETE DATA IS AVAILABLE DROPPED BY 10% DESPITE AN 8.2% GROWTH IN THE HUMAN POPULATION. DURING THE 5 YEAR PERIOD BEFORE THE LAW WAS PASSED, SHELTER INTAKES IN THESE COUNTIES HAD INCREASED BY 8.6%. MYTH # 4: WE DON’T NEED NEUTERING SUBSIDY PROGRAMS TO ERADICATE PET OVERPOPULATION. : 8 MYTH # 4: WE DON’T NEED NEUTERING SUBSIDY PROGRAMS TO ERADICATE PET OVERPOPULATION. FACT: FERAL AND UNOWNED CATS AND DOGS WILL CONTINUE TO BE A SIGNIFICANT SOURCE OF SHELTER ADMISSIONS IN THE ABSENCE OF NEUTERING SUBSIDY PROGRAMS. FACT: WITHOUT SUBSIDY PROGRAMS FOR INDIGENT PET OWNERS, MORE OF THE PETS THEY KEEP WILL REMAIN INTACT AND MORE WILL BE RELINQUISHED TO SHELTERS. BETWEEN 1983 AND 1993-- A DECADE IN WHICH NO NEUTERING SUBSIDIES WERE AVAILABLE--THE STATEWIDE SHELTER EUTHANASIA RATE IN N.H DID NOT IMPROVE. IN THE FIRST SIX YEARS AFTER NEUTERING SUBSIDY PROGRAMS WERE ESTABLISHED IN 1994, THE EUTHANASIA RATE DROPPED BY 77%. : 9 BETWEEN 1983 AND 1993-- A DECADE IN WHICH NO NEUTERING SUBSIDIES WERE AVAILABLE--THE STATEWIDE SHELTER EUTHANASIA RATE IN N.H DID NOT IMPROVE. IN THE FIRST SIX YEARS AFTER NEUTERING SUBSIDY PROGRAMS WERE ESTABLISHED IN 1994, THE EUTHANASIA RATE DROPPED BY 77%. NEUTERING PROGRAM BEGAN MYTH # 5: WE DON’T NEED PUBLIC INFORMATION AND AWARENESS PROGRAMS TO ERADICATE PET OVERPOPULATION. : 10 MYTH # 5: WE DON’T NEED PUBLIC INFORMATION AND AWARENESS PROGRAMS TO ERADICATE PET OVERPOPULATION. FACT: FROM 1970-2000, THE SHELTER EUTHANASIA RATE DROPPED BY MORE THAN 85% DUE TO EFFECTIVE PUBLIC EDUCATION PROGRAMS ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF PET STERILIZATION. FACT: SPAY/NEUTER PROGRAMS ACCOUNT FOR LESS THAN 5% OF ALL THE PET STERILIZATIONS PERFORMED EACH YEAR IN THE UNITED STATES. FACT: MORE THAN HALF OF ALL CAT AND DOG CARETAKERS EITHER DON’T KNOW WHETHER FEMALE CATS AND DOGS WOULD BENEFIT FROM HAVING A LITTER BEFORE BEING SPAYED OR MISTAKENLY BELIEVE THAT THEY WOULD. : 11 FACT: MORE THAN HALF OF ALL CAT AND DOG CARETAKERS EITHER DON’T KNOW WHETHER FEMALE CATS AND DOGS WOULD BENEFIT FROM HAVING A LITTER BEFORE BEING SPAYED OR MISTAKENLY BELIEVE THAT THEY WOULD. FACT: MORE THAN 80% OF ALL KITTENS AND PUPPIES BORN TO HOUSEHOLD CATS AND DOGS IN THE UNITED STATES ARE BORN TO MOTHERS WHO ARE ULTIMATELY STERILIZED, BUT NOT BEFORE HAVING HAD AT LEAST ONE LITTER. LESS THAN 20% ARE BORN TO MOTHERS WHO REMAIN INTACT THEIR ENTIRE LIVES. SECTION II: PRINCIPLES OF EFFECTIVE PROGRAMS : 12 SECTION II: PRINCIPLES OF EFFECTIVE PROGRAMS PRINCIPLE #1: WHETHER COMMUNITIES HAVE HIGH OR LOW SHELTER EUTHANASIA RATES, THE DRIVING FORCE IS THE SAME: INTAKES DRIVE EUTHANASIAS. THE PROGRESS WE’VE MADE IN REDUCING THE SHELTER DEATH TOLL OVER THE YEARS HAS COME FROM REDUCING SHELTER INTAKES. : 13 THE PROGRESS WE’VE MADE IN REDUCING THE SHELTER DEATH TOLL OVER THE YEARS HAS COME FROM REDUCING SHELTER INTAKES. PRINCIPLE #2:A COMMUNITY’S PET STERILIZATION RATE LARGELY DETERMINES ITS SHELTER INTAKE RATE. : 14 PRINCIPLE #2:A COMMUNITY’S PET STERILIZATION RATE LARGELY DETERMINES ITS SHELTER INTAKE RATE. LOS ANGELES 1970-1983 DATES ANIMALS LICENSED DOGS IMPOUNDED STERILIZED ‘70-71 144,000 5% ‘82-83 72,454 49.0% AS A COMMUNITY’S PET STERILIZATION RATE GOES UP, ITS SHELTER INTAKE RATE GOES DOWN . INCREASING SHELTER INTAKES DROVE THE NATIONAL SHELTER EUTHANASIA RATE HIGHER AND HIGHER UNTIL THE MID-1970s, WHEN PET STERILIZATION BECAME WIDELY AVAILABLE. : 15 INCREASING SHELTER INTAKES DROVE THE NATIONAL SHELTER EUTHANASIA RATE HIGHER AND HIGHER UNTIL THE MID-1970s, WHEN PET STERILIZATION BECAME WIDELY AVAILABLE. 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 REPRODUCTIVE STATUS OF DOGS AND CATS ADMITTED TO MICHIGAN SHELTERS IN 2003 DOGS SIX MONTHS CATS SIX MONTHS OF AGE OR OLDER OF AGE OR OLDERINTACT 74,609 (80.4%) 52,071 (79.0%)STERILIZED 18,105 (19.5%) 13,776 (20.9%) : 16 REPRODUCTIVE STATUS OF DOGS AND CATS ADMITTED TO MICHIGAN SHELTERS IN 2003 DOGS SIX MONTHS CATS SIX MONTHS OF AGE OR OLDER OF AGE OR OLDERINTACT 74,609 (80.4%) 52,071 (79.0%)STERILIZED 18,105 (19.5%) 13,776 (20.9%) INTACT CATS AND DOGS MAKE UP A DISPROPORTIONATE SHARE OF SHELTER INTAKES. PRINCIPLE # 3: A COMMUNITY’S PET STERILIZATION RATE LARGELY DETERMINES ITS SHELTER EUTHANASIA RATE. : 17 PRINCIPLE # 3: A COMMUNITY’S PET STERILIZATION RATE LARGELY DETERMINES ITS SHELTER EUTHANASIA RATE. LOW PET HIGH SHELTER HIGH SHELTER STERILIZATION RATES ? INTAKE RATES ? EUTHANASIA RATES HIGH PET LOW SHELTER LOW SHELTER STERILIZATION RATES ? INTAKE RATES ? EUTHANASIA RATES PRINCIPLE # 4. PET STERILIZATION PROGRAMS ONLY INCREASE A COMMUNITY’S PET STERILIZATION RATE IF THEY ACCOMPLISH STERILIZATIONS THAT WOULD NOT HAVE TAKEN PLACE OTHERWISE. : 18 PRINCIPLE # 4. PET STERILIZATION PROGRAMS ONLY INCREASE A COMMUNITY’S PET STERILIZATION RATE IF THEY ACCOMPLISH STERILIZATIONS THAT WOULD NOT HAVE TAKEN PLACE OTHERWISE. BY NOW, MORE THAN 60% OF THE DOGS AND 80% OF THE HOUSEHOLD CATS IN THE UNITED STATES HAVE BEEN STERILIZED. IN A COMMUNITY OF A MILLION RESIDENTS WITH AN AVERAGE PET STERILIZATION RATE, 30,000-35,000 PET STERILIZATIONS ARE PERFORMED EACH YEAR, THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF WHICH ARE PERFORMED IN PRIVATE VETERINARY HOSPITALS WITHOUT A SUBSIDY. PRINCIPLE #5. ONCE A HIGH PERCENTAGE OF PETS IN A COMMUNITY HAVE BEEN STERILIZED, THE MOST EFFECTIVE STERILIZATION PROGRAMS LIMIT ELIGIBILITY TO PREVIOUSLY UNDERSERVED POPULATIONS. : 19 PRINCIPLE #5. ONCE A HIGH PERCENTAGE OF PETS IN A COMMUNITY HAVE BEEN STERILIZED, THE MOST EFFECTIVE STERILIZATION PROGRAMS LIMIT ELIGIBILITY TO PREVIOUSLY UNDERSERVED POPULATIONS. EVEN IN COMMUNITIES WITH HIGH PET STERILIZATION RATES, THERE ARE USUALLY THREE GROUPS OF CATS AND DOGS WITH LOWER STERILIZATION RATES: PETS IN HOUSEHOLDS ELIGIBLE FOR MEDICAID; CATS AND DOGS ADMITTED TO SHELTERS; AND FREE-ROAMING AND FERAL CATS AND DOGS. PRINCIPLE # 6: THE MOST EFFECTIVE PROGRAMS TO REDUCE PET OVERPOPULATION ARE INFORMATION-BASED. : 20 PRINCIPLE # 6: THE MOST EFFECTIVE PROGRAMS TO REDUCE PET OVERPOPULATION ARE INFORMATION-BASED. (1). NEW HAMPSHIRE REDUCED SHELTER EUTHANASIA BY 77% BY ESTABLISHING INFORMATION-BASED PROGRAMS: * NEUTERING SUBSIDY PROGRAMS FOR INDIGENT PET OWNERS WERE ESTABLISHED AFTER DATA SHOWED THAT THEY ACCOUNTED FOR 48% OF KITTEN INTAKES. * A REHOMING PROGRAM WAS ESTABLISHED AFTER RESEARCH SHOWED THAT PET CARETAKERS RELINQUISHED THEIR PETS TO SHELTERS ONLY WITH GREAT RELUCTANCE. PRINCIPLE # 7: PREVENTIVE PROGRAMS ARE MORE EFFECTIVE IN REDUCING OVERRPOPULATION THAN REACTIVE PROGRAMS. : 21 PRINCIPLE # 7: PREVENTIVE PROGRAMS ARE MORE EFFECTIVE IN REDUCING OVERRPOPULATION THAN REACTIVE PROGRAMS. (1). WELL-DESIGNED NEUTERING ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS SAVE A LIFE BY AT A COST OF LESS THAN $100 PER REDUCED SHELTER INTAKE. (2). SHELTER ADOPTION PROGRAMS SAVE A LIFE AT A AVERAGE COST OF $500 PER ADOPTION. (3). SANCTUARIES SAVE A LIFE AT AN AVERAGE COST OF MORE THAN $5,000 PER ANIMAL THROUGH THE ANIMAL’S LIFE. PRINCIPLE #8: NO SINGLE PROGRAM CAN ERADICATE PET OVERPOPULATION. : 22 PRINCIPLE #8: NO SINGLE PROGRAM CAN ERADICATE PET OVERPOPULATION. (1). CATS AND DOGS BECOME HOMELESS FOR MANY REASONS (FOR EXAMPLE, THEY ARE GIVEN UP BY OWNERS, STRAY FROM HOME OR BECOME LOST OR ARE BORN TO HOMELESS MOTHERS). (2). UNLESS PROGRAMS ADDRESS EVERY SIGNIFICANT SOURCE OF HOMELESSNESS, IT MAY BE REDUCED BUT NOT ERADICATED. PRINCIPLE # 9: COMPANION ANIMAL OVERPOPULATION CAN BE ERADICATED IN EVERY COMMUNITY. : 23 PRINCIPLE # 9: COMPANION ANIMAL OVERPOPULATION CAN BE ERADICATED IN EVERY COMMUNITY. (1). MOST COMMUNITIES NOW SPEND $3 OR MORE PER RESIDENT EACH YEAR ON REACTIVE PROGRAMS TO IMPOUND, SHELTER AND KILL HOMELESS ANIMALS. (2). A COMPREHENSIVE SET OF PROGRAMS TO ADDRESS ALL THE SIGNIFICANT SOURCES OF COMPANION ANIMAL HOMELESSNESS WOULD COST $1 A YEAR PER RESIDENT. PRINCIPLE #10: SPECIALIZED SPAY/NEUTER CLINICS CAN GENERATE SUFFICIENT REVENUE FOR ALL PREVENTIVE PROGRAMS A COMMUNITY NEEDS TO ERADICATE OVERPOPULATION. : 24 PRINCIPLE #10: SPECIALIZED SPAY/NEUTER CLINICS CAN GENERATE SUFFICIENT REVENUE FOR ALL PREVENTIVE PROGRAMS A COMMUNITY NEEDS TO ERADICATE OVERPOPULATION. (1). HIGH-VOLUME SPAY/NEUTER CLINICS ARE SO PRODUCTIVE THEY CAN DELIVER PET STERILIZATION SERVICES ATABOUT HALF THE COST OF A FULL SERVICE VETERINARY CLINIC. (2). AS A RESULT, WITH INCOME-BASED SLIDING-SCALE FEE STRUCTURES, A HIGH-VOLUME CLINIC CAN DELIVER THE HIGHEST QUALITY PET STERILIZATION SERVICES AND GENERATE A SURPLUS LARGE ENOUGH TO FUND ALL THE NEUTERING SUBSIDY AND OTHER PREVENTIVE PROGRAMS A COMMUNITY NEEDS TO ERADICATE COMPANION ANIMAL HOMELESSNESS.

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