Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What Austin Pets Alive Is Proving

Town Lake Animal Center's director, Dorinda Pullima, likes to take credit for the lives being saved every day in Austin by a new group, Austin Pets Alive.  The group, having just started this summer, is now on pace to save over 100 animals each month.  They are simply awesome.

But if Pulliam thinks APA's success is proof of her own stewardship, she's got another thing coming.  You see, APA is doing what TLAC should have been doing years ago.  The strategy is simple:  take the animals to the people; don't expect the people to go to the pound.  By taking dogs each day that TLAC deems "unadoptable" and driving them down the street and getting them adopted--- within days and for twice TLAC's adoption fee--- APA is proving wrong every one of Pulliam's favorite myths.

Myth #1:  "Nobody wants the dogs we kill."  APA is proving that's not remotely true.  It's about getting the dogs to the people, and asking the public for help.  When you do, the public will reward you.  APA is proving that the dogs Pulliam "sends to God" (her quote, not ours) are wonderful, adoptable animals.

Myth #2:  "It doesn't matter where the shelter is because people will go anywhere to adopt a shelter animal."  This was one of Pulliam's favorite things to say during 2008's shelter-move controversy.   She couldn't be more wrong.  Again, APA is taking dogs and cats that Pulliam believes need to be "sent to God" for being "unadoptable" and then adopting them right down the street!  If people would "go anywhere to adopt a shelter animal," then why is it that they aren't going to the shelter now?  And why is it that they'll adopt a dog Pulliam finds "unadoptable" right down the street from the shelter?

Myth #3:  "Off-site adoptions won't work in Austin because we have plenty of traffic at the shelter."  The argument that off-site adoptions don't work is just stupid at this point.  APA is taking TLAC dogs and getting them adopted in high-traffic, high-visibility areas minutes away from TLAC.  Off-site adoptions work.  Period.

Myth #4:  "TLAC is doing everything they can to save animals."  We wish this were true, but it isn't remotely true.  Not only is TLAC still not doing it's own off-site adoptions (see Pulliam, supra), but they also aren't letting APA make use of the more than 100 cages that TLAC leaves empty and unused every day--- despite killing adoptable dogs in the mean time.  TLAC could help save more dogs and cats tomorrow if they would would either use the empty cages, or allow APA to do so.

So what does all of this tell us?  It tells us that Pulliam's old-guard, old-fashioned, 1950's style shelter management belongs in the 1950's.  The world has moved on and left her methods and excuses behind.  It's far past time for Pulliam to go.  In fact, under her leadership, the pound has killed more than 100,000 dogs and cats.  I wouldn't want that on my conscience.