Painting by numbers

I’ve never really been a ‘one stop shopper’. Perhaps it was all the years I spent tagging along behind Dad with a shopping list based on the weekly sales. Maybe it stems from the years that we lived overseas and the entire family enjoyed the novelty of shopping European style … where one went had to go to at least three different stores to shop for sandwich makings.
It would be quicker and simpler to make a master list and run up and down the aisles at one or two stores instead of going to the butchers, the farmers market, the health food store, the feed store , etc….
Or would it? This way I have a better idea where my food comes from ( and before the keyboards catch on fire please remember that the word local in retail speak means food that can be transported in a couple of days .. which broadens the geographical boundaries significantly) In the small stores, I’m Janet not Ma’am and the service is as personal as the relationship.
We’ve been so caught up in the improvement made by the provincial board of the society ( the subject of how unevenly this has trickled down to all the ‘independent branches’ is such an interesting topic that it really deserves its very own blog post) that we sometimes overlook one very obvious fact…. the society is not the big box store of animal rescue.
It would be churlish to overlook the very valuable work that has been done by all the hardworking little rescue groups and shelters while the society has been, and is, getting its sh** together.
In the two years since the inception of the homeless pet project, one fact has become clearly evident ….. these groups save an impressive amount of lives. They have been leading the way, often one paw at a time, down the road to No Kill Nova Scotia for years. Indeed, we will never get there without them.
These groups are (deservedly) proud of their work and will not hesitate to provide the numbers to back it up. Their stats are generally not quite as complicated as the society ones … simple statements of “we saved x number of dogs / cats / bunnies /etc” without all kinds of “reclaimed by owner” / died of natural causes / killed for space / etc ….. As a rule, they don’t need the other bits because whether they call themselves No Kill or not, animals stay safe in their care for however long it takes to be adopted.
The real grey area is still Animal Control. If there is one constant it is that there IS no constant. Every area has made different arrangements for the animals. There are sheltering contracts and individual contractors and there are even a few pounds. There are some relationships with animal rescue and some spots where all the outcomes for the animals are veiled in mystery.
If there is one area that should be posting publicly available stats it is animal control. In one form or another, all AC is funded by tax dollars. More importantly, without accurate and honest AC statistics, there is no way to accurately measure the homeless pet problem in this province.
Nor should those who have their family pets killed at an animal clinic slip in under the radar. Obligating animal clinics to provide simple totals of the number of healthy, treatable and adoptable pets, by species, that are killed annually at owners requests would provide a key piece of the puzzle.
It takes real data …. publicly available data … to galvanize people. CAPS was formed almost overnight in reaction to the stories in the news about dogs being shot by Annapolis County AC. Rescues all over the Northern States and even here in Canada respond to the horrific number of dogs killed annually (50,000) in Georgia shelters with enough energy and love to have a lifesaving underdog railroad.
At the end of the day, unless the big picture is painted with numbers, it won’t be vivid enough to wake enough people up to make a difference.

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