Understanding the other side

dog_cageOk…so when I wonder why Reno can save 94% of the animals that come through their doors, why Philly and Charlotte are making great strides toward becoming no-kill, why we can add Austin and Las Vegas and so many other cities to that list of places where no-kill is more of a reality than a dream, we have New York City…where Maddie’s Fund and the ASPCA have poured more than $20 million into making NYC No-kill, and Jane Hoffman hangs on by her fingernails to keep the Mayor’s Alliance deciding who will live or die needlessly while moving the goalposts of when New York will become No-Kill every year from 2008 to 2010 to 2012 now 2015.

The No-Kill Conference was overflowing with people who have actually DONE it…actually taken their major city or metropolitan area from killing animals to NOT killing animals. One of my favorite parts of the No-Kill Conference was Nathan Winograd (“New York doesn’t NEED a Nathan Winograd” – Jane Hoffman) asking speaker after speaker “After you decided not to kill animals anymore, how long did it take to become no kill.” This confused most of the people he asked. “Uh…it was instant.” “One day.” “That same day.”

Jane Hoffman and the Mayor’s Alliance and the organizations who are reliant on the money that comes from the Mayor’s Alliance (Maddie’s Fund money) have been at this for YEARS and the CACC still reportedly kills at least a thousand animals A MONTH.

That means that at the CACC alone they kill three times as many animals in a year as my entire state (Connecticut) does.

If you want to see all the arguments the other side has for continuing to kill animals, I am reproducing an email we received recently. Embedded in this email are all the arguments the Mayor’s Alliance and the ASPCA are using to keep Oreo’s bill from passing and to keep control over the lives of the animals in New York city, deciding who will live and who will die. Please read through the email and we’ll talk about it afterword. It is actually in response to my blog Best Friends Welcome to New York. Here it is:


hamster1This sour grapes is astonishing.

Or maybe it isn’t….maybe its just sad.

I work with a no Kill rescue that pulls and places over 600 NYC Companion animals every year with just a handful of volunteers.

And frankly, I wouldn’t leave a rescued hamster at Pet’s Alive. It was a horrific hoarding facility before BF spent all that time and money in rehabilitating not only the facilities, but the hoarding mindset that was entrenched there. The especially painful thing is that Pets Alive has reverted to some really awful practices that lead to death after death of the animals in their care….all while they point fingers at other shelters that do their killing more honestly and directly. But dudes, death is death. And withholding medical care from sick animals in your care is imposing a truly horrific death on those poor captive animals.

Which I guess is why, rather than keep on watching cats in your care die of stress induced dehydration and anorexia, you are implementing the release NON FERAL domesticated cats (most of whom have been living in cages for years and have no survival skills) out into….well, the streets, basically.

Nice job! You don’t have to take direct responsibility for the deaths, but you wash your hands of the responsibility.

Watching the battle between you and Mayor’s Alliance is like watching two pigs in the mud calling each other “dirty”.

I can’t fault Best Friends for wanting to distance themselves from the failure they had in getting you guys to do the right thing.

Since Oreo’s law would have forced the city to hand over dogs and cats to facilities like yours, I was against it as well. And, as I said, I work with an exclusively no kill rescue. None of the local NK rescuers I know feel any differently than I do, about Oreo’s law, nor about Pet’s Alive.

The national PR campaign has been brilliantly run, however. I have to give you that.

Arguments against Oreo’s Law and against no kill in general can be distilled into the following:

hugs21. Why can’t we all just get along? So we see things a little differently (we want to kill animals and you don’t). Stop pointing that out to everyone. We are supposed to be in this together. I actually had someone tell me at the no-kill conference that “we are on the same team.” I said “Really? I’m on the team that doesn’t kill animals. What team are you on?”

2. You suck. You are hoarders, crazy people, idiots, bullies, terrorists, Republicans. And everyone knows it.

3. You’re just doing this for your own gain. You just want publicity, money, recognition, etc. What we find really ironic is that this is usually said by people who take donations from people and then pay themselves salaries of several hundred thousand dollars.

4. We know better than you. Who do you think you are, daring to suggest that there is a better alternative than killing? This usually starts with some inflated credentials of the person making the excuse and then is normally followed by excuse 2 – You suck.

5. We don’t kill animals — we end their lives. This was started by an HSUS killing technician that was giving a killing seminar at one of their conferences. The idea is that the kill shelters do the best killing, but it’s not really killing. It’s helping healthy, adoptable animals by ending their lives. That’s not a joke.

6. Moral relativism. Some animals are better off dead. One animal’s life is more valuable than another’s. And they are definitely better off dead than with you.

Notice something very important. All the arguments are about either US or THEM. They are not about the animals and their lives.

So let’s analyze this email using those arguments.

This sour grapes is astonishing.

So I’m confused already, and I’m 5 words in. Sour grapes? Aside from the fact that this person is leading their debate argument with a hackneyed cliche, where are the sour grapes? Sour grapes is an expression originating from the Aesop Fable The Fox and the Grapes. It refers to envious behavior, especially pretending to not care for something one does not or cannot have.

What are we envious of? Best Friends? The Mayor’s Alliance? Hardly. I’m guessing this is a combination of excuses 1 – Why can’t we just get along and 2 – You suck.

I work with a no Kill rescue that pulls and places over 600 NYC Companion animals every year with just a handful of volunteers.

Uh oh. Credentials are being whipped out. Expect the one two punch…excuse 4 – We know better followed by excuse 2 – You suck.

And frankly, I wouldn’t leave a rescued hamster at Pet’s Alive. It was a horrific hoarding facility before BF spent all that time and money in rehabilitating not only the facilities, but the hoarding mindset that was entrenched there.

dogpretzelBang…there it is. Textbook. We suck. And I don’t even know where to start. Just look at this sentence, the terrible sentence structure and use and the pretzel logic that ties itself up into knots. I understand why this person would go out of his or her way to mask their identity. Wow.

1. What’s your beef with hamsters? Made me think of PJ and the Empty Cages Collective. They SAVE hamsters.

2. It was a “horrific hoarding facility.” Facilities can’t hoard. Yes…Sara Whalen in the last few years of her life, developed brain cancer and things went downhill. And yes, BF did spend that time and money “rehabilitating” the place. I’m not sure how you rehab the mindset of a dead person…Ouija board? Seance? Channeling?

Okay, so this person sets it up that Best Friends “fixed” the hoarding problem, right?

The especially painful thing is that Pets Alive has reverted to some really awful practices that lead to death after death of the animals in their care….all while they point fingers at other shelters that do their killing more honestly and directly.

We have? What practices would those be? How many animals have we killed? Death after death? Wow…someone needs to fill me in. Ready folks? Here’s a statistic for you. Since Kerry and I took over, here are the number of animals euthanized that weren’t suffering:

0. Zilch. None. Nada.

So I ask this person to come forward and provide the proof to back up the statements. This is, of course, excuse 2 – You suck with a little of 4 – We know better. But to be fair, we have made baseless anonymous accusations against organizations that are definitely actionable (that means can be sued over). Oh wait…that would be YOU.

I want you all to pay very close attention to the end of this paragraph. This is 5 – We don’t kill – we end lives rearing it’s ugly head. Can you possibly imagine someone making the argument that they kill better than we do? That’s exactly what this says: shelters that do their killing more honestly and directly. That’s what we want to fight for…honest and direct killing. Sigh. We’re not even in the same universe here, let alone on the same planet.

catgreenAnd withholding medical care from sick animals in your care is imposing a truly horrific death on those poor captive animals.

Which I guess is why, rather than keep on watching cats in your care die of stress induced dehydration and anorexia, you are implementing the release NON FERAL domesticated cats (most of whom have been living in cages for years and have no survival skills) out into….well, the streets, basically.

Huh? We do what now? We withhold medical care from sick animals? That would come as a surprise to Janet, our medical liason, and to the cadre of vets we paid $150,000 to last year to care for our animals. It’s on the 990. See for yourself.

And we’re what? Releasing domesticated cats on to the streets? We are? Where and when? Let’s see one shred of evidence of any of this.

Yawn.

My mind wandered as I was reading this prattle and for some reason I thought of the scene in Ghostbusters (one of the greatest New York City movies of all time) when Bill Murray is trying to convince the mayor that there are some serious problems coming:

Dr. Peter Venkman: Or you can accept the fact that this city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
Mayor: What do you mean, “biblical”?
Dr. Raymond Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor– real wrath-of-God type stuff! Fire and brimstone coming down from the sky! Rivers and seas boiling!
Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…
Winston Zeddmore: The dead rising from the grave!
Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!

jasperjakeNice job! You don’t have to take direct responsibility for the deaths, but you wash your hands of the responsibility.

Huh? What deaths? Who’s hands?

Watching the battle between you and Mayor’s Alliance is like watching two pigs in the mud calling each other “dirty”.

I can’t fault Best Friends for wanting to distance themselves from the failure they had in getting you guys to do the right thing.

We’re fighting with the Mayor’s Alliance? Where? And again…first hamsters then pigs. What’s your beef with pigs now?

Best Friends is distancing itself from a failure? They are? So that was a DIFFERENT Best Friends we worked with to save 120 Beagles on Independence Day? You know, the video that was viewed by 50,000 people? If you combined ALL of your loyal supporters of all time, supporters who believe in you and sustain you and spend their hard earned time and toil to help you, would it add up to anywhere near 50,000?

Since Oreo’s law would have forced the city to hand over dogs and cats to facilities like yours, I was against it as well. And, as I said, I work with an exclusively no kill rescue. None of the local NK rescuers I know feel any differently than I do, about Oreo’s law, nor about Pet’s Alive.

A-HA! So here we are at the core of this “argument.”

That paragraph encapsulates just about all the excuses above. We suck. They know better which lives should be saved and some animals are better off dead then with us.

Oh and by the way…all of the NK rescues agree. ALL of them? In the whole state or city of NY? Does that include the ones that call us every day and beg us to take their animals? The ones like Empty Cages Collective and the many, many others we work so well with? Or does it really just include YOU and the other stooges that need the money that is on the table more than you need to stick to your ethics and your morality?

That’s ok. We’ll do it without you.

dogmustaSo…who wrote this? Honestly I really don’t care. It’s someone who doesn’t have the stones to identify themselves. Someone who has used an email address that appears nowhere else on the Internet. This is basically an anti Pets Alive rant. And it’s not even original. At first I thought it was the nutjob we had to throw out of the cat house because he was, well, crazy. But there are too many big words and not enough grammatical errors.

I traced the IP address to a Roadrunner POP on 89th St. between 2nd and 3rd. Interestingly enough that’s where the ASPCA’s Roadrunner would terminate, as well as a building on 83rd St. that houses Blackstone Investments, where Jane Hoffman’s husband works and an address with which her name is connected. Hmmm. (I’ve been doing this since 1993. I will always find a thread to tug on.)

Here is my challenge to the writer of this letter. I will have them picked up in the city and driven to Pets Alive. Nice town car. They can sit in the back and be a big shot.

They can get the tour and they can present the evidence of all the accusations they have made.

That day they can either apologize and start working with us to end the killing of animals in New York, or we will admit that they are right.

Easy deal. Never happen. I’ve made it a dozen or so times and not a single person would take it. I’ll even throw in a network camera crew to film the entire event. If “all the groups in New York” agree, then all of you should get together and take me up on the offer. You can get rid of us once and for all. Yeah. I thought so.

So let’s get to the important part of this blog. How to counter these arguments. These arguments are non-sensical and designed as sleight of hand to move the debate away from the facts and on to us. That’s called ad hominem, which means insulting or belittling one’s opponent in order to invalidate their argument.

So how do you invalidate these arguments? Simple…

Keep the Oreo’s Law argument as a debate about right and wrong.

Here:

Opponent: Well, Pets Alive is Satan. Living and breathing and walking the earth.
You: Do you think it’s right to kill an animal when there is another alternative?

Bang. Right between the eyes. That’s all this debate is.

It’s about what’s right. It’s about saving the lives of animals. When they use scare tactics get them to admit they believe only THEY know what’s good for these animals. Good equals right. So killing them is sometimes RIGHT.

NEVER. Killing an animal when there is another alternative is WRONG. That resonates time and time again. It’s, like Oreo, black and white. Simple. All the smoke and mirrors in the world will never change that. Oreo is NOT better off dead. She is better off in a brand new run with our trained employees and volunteers caring for her and loving her. But she’s dead. So she can never get better. Killing her was WRONG.

Morally WRONG. And you have not only the right but the OBLIGATION to point that out. Don’t let them bully you.

*Jul 31 - 00:05*

What I find absolutely fascinating about the other side saying that only THEY know which organizations are best for these animals is language that a horder would use to justify hoarding. Just for giggles I included the language from the New York City Bar Association, one of Jane Hoffman’s puppet organizations that outlines some of the reasons Oreo’s Law could never work below:

The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, Inc., founded in 2002, is a coalition of more than 160 animal rescue groups and shelters that are working with the City of New York to place shelter animals. The groups and shelters are vetted and meet minimal requirements. The Mayor’s Alliance reports that 1,500-1,700 animals each month in New York City alone are sent to rescues by Animal Care & Control.

The Proposed Legislation may well undermine a collaboration already working to save New York City’s animals. It would be advisable to evaluate whether similar collaborations or transfer arrangements exist or could be established in New York State before passing legislation that does not require and enforce standards for humane care and treatment or otherwise establish that the 501(c)(3) is indeed a “responsible” and reputable” alternative.

Hoarders. Hmmm. Only they know who is responsible and reputable, and saving more animals will undermine their coalition who have taken eight years and need another five to solve the problem other communities have solved instantly. There’s a word for that…failure.

Fight for Oreo and the other innocents who will lose their lives because of people who place their egos and money in front of doing the right thing.

Lock and load.

Filed in Animal Rescue, No-kill by Admnistrator on Aug 12, 2010.  There are 6 Comments

6 Responses to “Understanding the other side”

  1. Vaughan Healy Says:

    Nicely done. I have found it very difficult in a number of cases to explain no kill issues and/or articles to intelligent but uninformed people because they have a hard time believing that the people in the “opposition” (who they would never have thought of as opposition in the first place) are so blatant and adamant in their lies and round about thinking. At first glance the response is “Wait…what? That can’t be right”. When I think back I have to recall that this was my own reaction too. I had to do weeks of research on every group and every player to be convinced that people responsible for the “sheltering” and “care” of animals are killing them because they can. Again, “Wait…what?!” It can even be hard to believe after doing the research because the idea is so alien to those who really care about the animals and not inured to the politics and death mentality that exists. However, every week lately it seems I am treated to a wake up call by video of some cop who shoots a calm stray pet, some shelter worker who is charged with cruelty or some other atrocity. This week I read the line “These are people who will kiss their dogs on the mouth.” (“We” were the “these people” referred to and was written by a man who keeps a fairly reputable large scale commercial breeding kennel – if that’s not an oxymoron.)

    I may be giving away my hippie/new age roots here but when I read the first articles about Winograd and the No Kill Equation the harp strings of my soul were tweaked and I felt that reverberation that an occasional truth creates. I realized at once that the change of mind was the change we needed. Paradigm shift. I hear the words often but most of the users don’t know what they mean. I used to have a bumper sticker that said “Change happens at the speed of thought.” and in this case I think it is especially true.

    Thanks to you and all the people who know this can happen. Most heartfelt thanks to those who know how to stay on track and not be swayed by money & politics. Special thanks to every person who could not take the job “euthanaizing” animals even if they really really need a job.

  2. YesBiscuit! Says:

    I did not see a specific denial on the accusation of you being Republicans. Which I thought was the crux of the whole matter.

  3. kerry Says:

    But…did he call me your assistant? THAT is really the important thing here.

  4. Admnistrator Says:

    One of the things I LOVE about our friends and supporters is their sense of humor. Thanks everyone for taking the time to send the kind emails and funny notes. This is TRULY a tough business, made even tougher by those who have a vested interest in keeping the status quo (in other words turning a blind eye toward the killing).

    I have met many of you in the past six months or so and in this war I am proud to have you all fighting with me. We have the TRUTH on our side and we have RIGHT (as opposed to wrong) on our side. We will win in the end.

    In the meantime let’s keep up the humor. Kerry…could you take a letter?

  5. alice howe Says:

    Oooooh…..they called you Republicans?!!!!!!That’s harsh!!!!
    Kidding aside…..I worked in human services for years. When you’ve been giving it your all and a new way of doing things comes along….a better way….it’s hard to swallow your pride and see your best was not always best. That maybe all these years you were making a grave mistake. I don’t mean this excuses anyone’s opposition to no-kill policies…..I am just struck once again by the stumbling blocks encountered when we try to make changes…….dueling egos!!
    So frustrating!!!!!
    Keep up the exemplary work………and thank you because in the misery that the struggle can bring me…..you make me laugh! (Example…’they had a beautiful baby boy but they did not name him Oreo!’ I chuckled for days.)

  6. Ruth Says:

    Rehabilitation would have been the only reasonable response to the terrible pain and suffering inflicted on Oreo. Her death saddens me greatly.

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