The Safest Day for Shelter Animals

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Yesterday may have been the safest day for shelter animals in US history.

Animal Ark of Minnesota joined forces with the California-based No Kill Advocacy Center to ask shelters across the United States and beyond to experience a new way of operating. More than 1,200 shelters and rescue organizations responded.

For the effort, Just One Day, euthanasia technicians put down their syringes and picked up cameras. Instead of injecting animals with lethal doses of sodium pentobarbital, they photographed them and posted them on the Internet, on Facebook, on twitter. OnJune 11, 2014, they marketed their animals to the public, reached out to rescue groups, hosted adoption events with discounted rates, stayed open for extended hours, and asked their communities to help them empty the shelter the good way.

Instead of going into body bags in freezers, the animals went out the front door and into the loving arms of families. At the end of the day, the shelters were emptier than when the day started--and no animal had to die in order to make that happen. To help them succeed, the No Kill Advocacy Center, Animal Ark, and Animal Wise Radio teamed up to offer shelters the tools they need to be successful.

"Any organization that takes the pledge on the Just One Day website [was] emailed a link to a media kit that contains everything they need to ensure their day is a big success," said Nathan Winograd of the No Kill Advocacy Center.

Each day in America's animal shelters, about 10,000 healthy or treatable dogs and cats are killed. Historically, these deaths have been blamed on so-called "overpopulation." However, a growing body of research clearly shows that there are plenty of homes wanting new pets to ensure that all savable animals in shelters can get new families. Policy changes in shelters can and have ended the killing. More than 200 cities, counties, and towns have already implemented a set of programs that have permanently ended shelter killing. Just One Day offers other shelters an opportunity to experience the fun, joy, and excitement these other shelters experience regularly.

"The beauty of Just One Day is that it allows shelters that have operated in a very traditional way to experience a new way of sheltering, without need[ing] to commit to major policy changes organization-wide," said Mike Fry of Animal Ark. "What we have done is to make it easy and risk-free to try something new."

Safest Day for Animal Shelters in History
June 11, 2012 was the inauguration of Just One Day. It was an inspiring success with animal welfare advocates all over the nation declaring it the safest day for shelter animals in US history. Nearly 800 organizations participated. Nearly 9,000 lives were saved. In 2013, about 1,200 organizations participated, saving more than 12,000 animals, more than erasing a typical day of killing.

From a small rescue in Chicago called St. Sophia's Forgotten Felines, who adopted 13 cats/kittens and transferred in four 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 BARC in Houston which saved the lives of 231 animals, to Miami-Dade Animal Services that adopted 57 animals and reported "many more hold commitments," there was unprecedented life-saving all across the nation.

"Some shelters literally ran out of animals," said Nathan Winograd of the No Kill Advocacy Center. "With empty cages all over their shelters, many of them realized they were not going to have to kill any animals on June 12, either. Many decided to continue their events each day for Just One More Day."

In 2014, several large animal control operations took the pledge, including New York City Animal Care and Control.

"This year, we have more shelters participating than ever before," said Fry, "including some of the largest animal control operations in the nation. Just One Day is bound to be the safest day for animals."

This year, Just One Day followed just days after the premiere of a documentary film titled "Redemption: The No Kill Revolution in America." Based on a book by Winograd that is credited with starting a revolution in animal shelters across the USA, the film chronicles the history of the no kill movement in the United States. The premiere of the film was held on June 6 in front of a crowded theater in Columbia Heights, Minnesota. The film is now scheduled to go on a national tour. More information is available at nokill.org.


Source: Animal Ark, animalarkshelter.orgnokill.org