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bites, impounds, and No Kill

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  • Laura McKieran
    from http://www.mysanantonio.com/opinion/letters_to_editor/Your_Turn__May_19_2009.html.  Also want to make sure folks know about the calendar of spay/neuter
    Message 1 of 1 , May 20, 2009
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      from http://www.mysanantonio.com/opinion/letters_to_editor/Your_Turn__May_19_2009.html.  Also want to make sure folks know about the calendar of spay/neuter and other events at http://www.sapaws.com/calendar/ .
       
      Dog data uplifting
       
      An April 5 Express-News headline on spay/neuter declared the no-kill movement dead, but, in fact, San Antonio has decreased kills by more than half in just four years. A May 8 story and a May 15 editorial take the stance that the way to protect the public from dog bites is to increase impounds, as the low animal intake (33,233) last year coincided with a high number of bites.
       
      However, Metro Health District and ACS data show in 1997 the rate of bites was 3.0 per 1,000 population — the same rate as 2008 — yet impounds totaled 54,223, just 767 fewer than in 2004 when ACS was the single most effective catch-and-kill operation among all large U.S. cities, and our bite rate was 2.1.
       
      In contrast, in fiscal 2007 the bite rate was 1.5, the lowest since at least 1994, and impounds totaled only 40,113. A return to wholesale pickups is clearly not a slam-dunk solution.
       
      Impounding more animals than the facility can handle will return us to the days of dogs fighting and killing each other in shared kennels, conditions that force ACS staff to violate local and state animal cruelty laws, and infectious disease outbreaks that kill adoptable pets and end adoptions and transfers. Most or all perfectly adoptable owner “surrenders” will be killed upon drop-off, with zero chance of adoption or rescue
       
      Reducing impounds by expecting citizens to shoulder responsibility for a problem we continue to create ourselves is good policy, not a numbers game. We find ways to make neighborhoods safe from aggressive dogs through responsible policy and innovative approaches. If catch-and-kill worked, we wouldn't have the problem we do now.
       
      - Laura McKieran

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