I think the opposition to the ballot initiative for changes in the Colorado’s Pet Animal Care Facilities Act is missing the opportunity put forth for Colorado to save more homeless pets.
In communities across the country, more than 200 to date, a new approach to sheltering has saved thousands of animals and continues to improve the positive outcome of a cat or dog entering Shelters in these communities.
The kind caring generous people of Colorado have repeatedly shown they support better treatment for pets than the law currently upholds. Last year alone saw support and success for a number of passed bills that show Colorado is ready to go further to protect the lives of its pets.
Passed this year, Senate Bill 201 designates shelter pets as the official state pet. Colorado is the first state to designate shelter dogs and cats as state pets. The Dog Protection Act was also passed this year. This is trend driven by the will of Coloradans, the majority of who care about homeless pets.
Municipal shelters have a responsibility to save homeless pets. I for one do not want any of my taxes used to kill homeless cats and dogs. I do want it to go to my community shelter and I do want it to be used for saving homeless pets and helping them find a new home. That’s what Coloradans expect from their shelters. It’s why we support taxes go to municipal shelters, it’s why we donate to them, and it is why many of us adopt from them.
A shelter that kills homeless pets for the simple lack of a home does not reflect my values as a person. And I believe it does not reflect the will of Coloradans.
No Kill is a humane, sustainable, cost effective model that has been proven to succeed and is doing so in increasing numbers. In communities diverse in every way: urban and rural, affluent and less well off, red and blue politically, north and south, communities have changed the rates of killing in shelters, sometimes to zero.
How did they do it?
First the economics work very well in lifesaving. The estimated cost of taking an animal into a shelter and killing it are just over $100. Aside from the moral rejection, financially, there is no way to recoup this cost. The money is spent and an animal has been killed.
If you take that animal, and allow any registered rescue to pull the animal, you save the money used for drugs to end that homeless pet’s life, and disposal of the body.
In addition, if the shelter adopts to the community directly, the shelter gets an adoption fee, which can offset the cost of taking the animal in the first place. Adoption fees range from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars. And either way the average pet owner spends more than $1000 each year on each pet adding to a benefit to local business and generating sales tax revenue that we spend on shelters.
So lifesaving isn’t just the right thing to do. It is financially responsible.
Today across the U.S. there are hundreds of communities saving more than 9 out of 10 pets entering their shelter system. Some of them right here in Colorado. We can do this as a state starting with these changes to the Colorado’s Pet Animal Care Facilities Act help us reach it faster.
UPAWS in Marquette Co, MI was killing 64% of all animals until in 2013, a change in approach saw them save 97%. The Board President from this, one of the most successful shelters in the country said,
“What is important is the unwavering decision to not kill healthy, treatable, adoptable animals. Once that decision is made and everyone (board, staff, volunteers) are committed to that goal, it can be done.”
Just one example of hundreds. Colorado can be a No Kill state.