Getting to the heart of the matter

I love our little play yard!  What’s not to love?  From a purely practical point of view, it is the only safe off leash option for Miss Ruby and her beautiful hound nose!   Even better, it allows all of the dogs to investigate and explore more independently than even our long lines allow us in the woods!

Best of all of course is that we are lucky enough to have enough land that the play yard fence has a ‘buffer zone’ of at least a hundred feet in any direction!   What does that mean in realspeak?   To put it simply, it just adds an extra layer of protection for my dogs without isolating them from the everyday bits of the world around them!

Do we always go ‘off leash’ in the play yard?   Of course not!    At this time of year, once twilight starts to settle in around us, the big dogs are always leashed!   Why?  Gosh, if you have to ask then you clearly live somewhere too urban for skunks 🙂

In my perfect fantasy world, the big dogs would ignore the skunks!   But here in the real world …. as with so many other things in life …. our best chance of success is to play the cards that actually lay on the table!

When I first started doing the homeless pet site five years ago,  it was the rule rather than the exception for society shelters to hold the housing contract for their local Animal Control.   Did I think this was a good idea?   Anyone who has followed the old blog and this one knows the answer to that!   The short version is that when non profits fall into this practice, they usually wind up subsidizing the actual sheltering and vet care costs at the expense of their own obligations.

But its a hard habit to break, eh?    It was far easier for the shelters to insist they were providing better outcomes for the impounded animals than a commercial contractor could offer.

That was of course BEFORE 2010, when Metro lost the AC contract to the (then) new kid on the block, Homeward Bound City Pound!    Suddenly the provincial board and the management team had to find a sustainable path for the shelter that did NOT include any AC revenue!

How did they do it?    No question that it was a struggle!   Almost overnight the shelter had to be reinvented.    Everything from staffing levels to sheltering protocols and beyond switched gears!  

At the end of the day, losing the contract turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to the shelter!  Why?   Because of course the creative process  ultimately produced a superior shelter to the ‘old’ one! 

Inspired by the success of Metro, in 2011, the provincial board decided to make Animal Control a “time sensitive Strategic Issue” … in recognition of the “operational/ ideological conflicts between AC and the society.    Was that not a good thing?  

On the surface … yes!   But the remaining shelters with AC contracts were in a completely different situation.   There was no need for an exit strategy when Metro lost the contract because a new contractor had won the bid.    

Now this is where people are going to want to start throwing things ar their computer screen!    Not to be mean, but the real elephant in the room never made it into the online board meeting minutes!   What would happen if the society was to bail out of the AC business in a shelter like Yarmouth?   Why the numbers would suddenly magically improve for their squeaky clean No Kill Stats!   Huh!

So for the first time ever, the Yarmouth SPCA got to get onboard the No Kill wagon!   Fun fact # 359 ….. this of course did not mean that 90 percent of the stray and owner surrendered dogs and cats in Yarmouth were magically able to live to tell the tail 😦    Sadly in realspeak, it simply meant that someone else was killing them 😦

But I am wandering afield … as I am often wont to do in my meandering way!   How is this relevent to this weeks’ focus here on the newly minted Bill 55?

As with anything else in life, the success or failure of No Kill is measured by numbers.   By now the benchmark is well-known …. 90% of ALL intake has to get out alive.  Straight, sweet and simple.   There is no fudging allowed for “unhealthy and untreatable” … the live release rate has to be at least equal to that magic 90% of the total intake!

So here is tonight’s food for thought:    What will happen to those squeaky clean numbers if a genie shows up tomorrow and grants the Big Kahuna of Animal Advocate Wishes?   I am of course referring to Anti Tethering Legislation!  

Why am I being so mean?  Wouldn’t dogs be happy, happy, happy if someone was to break the chain?   Of course they would!   But …. isn’t there always a but … many chained dogs have never been trained or socialized.   What does that mean in realspeak?  

Why of course that this would be an excellent time for the society to revisit its policies on killing.  Right now, any branch is allowed to kill if they cannot afford the treatment!   Does this mean they will be able to kill if they cannot afford the training?    And before the keyboards catch on fire, no I am NOT going to discuss situations without first party witnesses who are willing to be quoted.

Gosh …. it would just be churlish of me to suggest that the society is deliberately dragging its heels about supporting Anti Tethering so that it does not impact on their squeaky clean stats!

But I will say this … any group that could think outside of the box well enough to create a Provincial phoenix from the ashes of the Metro Shelter is certainly capable of coming up with humane options to prepare for the day when Anti Tethering will arrive!  

All they have to do is put their heart into it, eh?

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