If you live in a community that does not currently embrace the “no-kill movement” and would like that to change, you aren’t alone. Across the country, citizens are working to make their communities no-kill.
“It is a political process and, like all such endeavors, it requires lobbying for new leadership, new priorities, and new policies,” Nathan J. Winograd, founder of the “no-kill movement,” says. Although working toward a no-kill community can be hard work, the rewards are worth it: an end to euthanizing healthy cats.
The first step is to search for a no-kill coalition in your community. These coalitions work with local animal shelters, rescues, citizens and government officials to determine how to bring change to the community. Existing, active coalitions understand the political climate of the community, have established relationships with stakeholders and have done the research to understand what it will take to turn their community “no-kill.”
If you can’t find a no-kill coalition, consider creating one. Ryan Clinton of FixAustin.org did just that. He started by rescuing dogs and cats one at a time, but says he began thinking that there must be a better way to help.
“I started reading as much as I possibly could about animal shelters and learned about the incredible turnarounds in San Francisco and Tompkins County, N.Y.,” Clinton said. After seeing a two-day presentation by Winograd, I was hooked.” FixAustin.org strives to educate the citizens of Austin about the no-kill movement and to educate city council members about how to turn Austin into a no-kill community.
Before forming a no-kill coalition, Clinton advises that you first learn everything you can about proven no-kill communities — both the successes and the obstacles to success. “Once you’ve armed yourself, then set up a website and Facebook group, talk to local animal-welfare stakeholders and begin building a coalition of animal advocates from both inside and outside traditional animal-welfare circles. You’ve got to get to know policy makers and decision makers, get involved with politics, and whatever you do, don’t give up.”
Winograd agrees with that advice and adds that, “It is a political process and like all such endeavors, it requires lobbying for new leadership, new priorities and new policies.” If you are forming a no-kill coalition or getting involved in an existing coalition, review the No Kill Advocacy Center’s homepage. It includes a step-by-step guide for helping your community become no-kill, information on no-kill seminars and workshops and much more.