Last night the San Antonio Area Foundation, which has not given up despite San Antonio’s history of fruitless No Kill planning, sponsored a forum with the architects of Reno Nevada’s No Kill Community. Washoe County Nevada is said to be the safest place for dogs and cats in America. (Arguably Bexar County is the most dangerous.) How did they do it? That was the question last night and we heard the nuts and bolts.
But here is how they really did it. Washoe County was made to do it.
The 2002 ballot question [came out of a] grassroots citizen campaign . . . borne out of animal advocates who wanted to see the 40-year old city-operated animal shelter replaced and better operational procedures implemented. The ballot question was approved by 60% of the voters. When the Washoe County Regional Animal Services Center opened in 2006, the community celebrated the grand opening as it truly marked the beginning of a new era in how our community viewed public safety vis-à-vis our animal population.
Starting to see a pattern here? What did they do in Austin? They put it on the ballot.
Last night the Mayor was there in support. But did he take away that message? Washoe County became No Kill when the citizens demanded it.
Can San Antonio reach No Kill with the same city administrators recycling the same failed ideas?
We need a mandate, not a plan.
Planning and No Kill is an oxymoron. You don’t plan to stop killing. You stop killing and you tell everyone. San Antonio told everyone and never got to the stop killing part.
We don’t need a new facility, because we have a state of the art facility perfectly sited to process animals to die. (The visitors from Reno pointed out the lack of signage made Animal Care Services difficult to find.)
What we lack is an adoption facility. The construction keeps getting pushed back, so that now the building of the adoption facility, wherever it might be, looks more and more like the failed No Kill effort.
What San Antonio city government fails to realize is an adoption facility is a state of mind. Just like No Kill, we could have it tomorrow if we wanted it. An adoption center is not a physical location named after a donor.
An adoption center is a list of adoptable dogs and cats that San Antonio pledges to keep alive and adopt out, no matter how long it takes.
Sure there are lots of great ideas on how to showcase adoption center animals, including having an on or off-site ACS adoption center. But how many animals will die each day until it is constructed?
ALL IT TAKES TO HAVE AN ADOPTION FACILITY TODAY IS FOR MAYOR CASTRO
TO PICK UP THE PHONE.
He seemed sincere last night in his remarks. All he has to do is call and say, “I want 72 animals selected that will not be killed.” There is the adoption center. If he builds it, the volunteers will come to promote the adoption of those animals.
Will he do it?