One reason I am such a proponent of TNR is its role in reducing the number of cats euthanized in shelters each year. Feral cats admitted to shelters or animal control facilities have an almost 100% kill rate. They simply aren’t adoptable, and most animal care facilities won’t take the time to even try adopting them out. With hundreds of friendly, easily adoptable cats being killed each year, it is hard to blame animal control facilities for not wanting to try to adopt out feral cats. According to research nearly 72% of cats admitted to animal care facilities each year are euthanized. That’s a hell of a lot of cats. As most of you know, TNR is such an easy way to reduce the number of unwanted cats in shelters and thus the number of cats killed each year. It is just one step on the road to creating a No Kill Nation.
Another step was taken on June 11, 2012 with the Just One Day campaign. The campaign, spearheaded by Nathan Winograd and Animal Ark No-Kill Shelter in Minnesota, was an effort to end the killing of shelter animals for just one day. According to Winograd’s blog they “asked shelters to pledge not to kill any healthy or treatable animals.” Instead shelters picked up cameras and promoted the heck out of all their animals. (Read Winograd’s post on the follow up to the Just One Day Campaign. There are so many heart warming stories. I was nearly in tears after reading it, but happy tears!)
I didn’t learn about the Just One Day campaign until the day of the campaign, and I have been following it ever since. The team just announced the final figures and they are beyond impressive. They estimate between 7,000 and 9,000 animals were saved on June 11. I am getting goose bumps just thinking of how amazing that is. That is just from the 766 organizations that took the Just One Day pledge. At the very least 7,000 animals across the country were adopted, or transferred to no-kill shelters, instead of being euthanized. It just goes to show how the no-kill method can work, if rescuers team up and work together, and if people actually pay attention to the plight of animals in shelters in this country.
I want to quote the Just One Day team on the full impact of the day. I think they say it better than I can. The following is from the Just One Day Facebook page when they posted the number of animals rescued.
The impact of Just One Day reaches far beyond the “numbers” though. It has inspired hundreds of animal welfare organizations to continue hosting special adoption events and to discover and actually pursue various ways of reaching out to and engaging communities. From a small rescue in Chicago called St. Sophia’s Forgotten Felines who adopted 13 cats/kittens and transferred in 4 from high kill facilities, to Kern County’s Just One Day event that had 40 people waiting in line prior to opening, to the significant achievements of B.A.R.C.-Houston in saving the lives of 231 animals, to Miami-Dade Animal Services saving 57 animals and reporting “many more hold commitments”, not to mention they are on the verge of achieving ‘No Kill’ status (and are sending 5 people to the No Kill Conference this August)… A nation made a commitment to save lives for Just One Day, and the pay off was there!
Think of how much more we can do if we all work together every day. If we all work to increase the number of animals spayed/neutered, increase the number of feral cats protected by county laws and thus kept out of shelters, increased the number of shelters who believed in the goal of a no-kill nation, increased the number of people who adopted animals. Obviously there is a desire in this country to reduce the number of animals killed in shelters, if not there would not have been so many people showing up at shelters looking to adopt*. We need to keep working together in the rescue community, educate the public and rejoice at these small victories.
*The cynical, jaded part of me, the part who has seen animals abandoned to shelters for no good reason, wonders just how long some of these animals really will enjoy the comfort of a home before being relinquished to a shelter. I will suppress that voice though, for that is the voice of defeat. And this is a victory, and a time to rejoice.