Gimme Shelter Portland was featured in an article published in the May 15th issue of the Oregonian.
Rather than focus on the many failures of Multnomah County Animal Services and its inability or unwillingness to change, the article was written as a human interest puff-piece.
The article contained several statistical inaccuracies including MCAS intake and kill-rate. MCAS itself claims an official intake of 8,045 and a kill rate of 47%, not 43% as stated in the article. Another inaccurate statement is that Washoe County Regional Animal Services/Nevada Humane Society, the lifesaving model whose performance MCAS should aspire to, has a kill rate of 10% for dogs and 25% for cats. As stated on the NHS website, the correct numbers are 10% for both dogs and cats.
For far too many years, MCAS has gotten away with playing the role of the beleaguered agency, burdened by “too many animals and not enough money,” suffering the slings and arrows of the misinformed, misguided public, which doesn’t understand that ANIMALS MUST BE KILLED.
MCAS kills in lieu of choosing to put aggressive and effective adoption, spay/neuter, pet retention, foster, feral cat, medical and behavioral programs into place.
In other words, IT FAILS TO DO WHAT IS NECESSARY TO STOP THE KILLING.
As stated in the article, Multnomah County Animal Services’ leadership disagrees with GSP on the extent of its problems and the potential for solving them. It is asking for a 2012 budget of $5.3 million for more of the same – no expanded programs and services, no plans or projections for improved performance, NO REDUCTION IN KILLING. MCAS is also spending tens of thousands of dollars, originally designated for marketing, to hire outside consultants to conduct a formal feasibility study for a new $15-20 million building with an undetermined completion date. Sadly, it sees a shiny new building as the solution to all its problems.
THIS IS ALL THE IMPROVEMENT MULTNOMAH COUNTY HAS TO OFFER.
In the article, GSP founders are dismissed as idealists. We ARE idealists. But ours is not an idealism rooted in naivete or magical thinking. It is an idealism born of a fierce desire to better the lives of animals and people. It is grounded in our knowledge that what is happening in other communities throughout this country CAN HAPPEN in Multnomah County.
Responding to the charge that GSP’s call to remake MCAS does not jibe with current fiscal or political reality is simple: MCAS does not need more money or a new building to change. MCAS’ traditional, out-dated, animal control model and leadership, needs to REPLACED today.