During my tenure as executive director of Maricopa County’s Animal Care & Control (1998/2003), I prevailed upon the County Board of Supervisors, with the support of Public Health Director, Dr. Jonathan Weisbuch, to proclaim Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) the County’s official methodology for humanely reducing feral cat populations.
It is commonly understood that any serious initiative to end shelter killing has to focus on ending the “supply side” of the surplus animal equation. The only way to do that is to preemptively spay/neuter those animals most likely to “supply” (give birth to) animals most likely to die in animal shelters.We
The three categories of animals dying in the largest numbers in most shelters throughout the United States are feral cats, pit bulls/pit bull mixes, and Chihuahuas.
How often do you get to say, “I saved a life today?” When you volunteer with the your local animal shelter that assertion can be a daily affirmation. That is especially true when you volunteer as a foster caregiver. Every animal fostered back to health or to an adoptable status is a life saved. The ability of a local animal shelter to care for all the animals rescued depends on reliable foster volunteers willing and able to help. The more foster volunteers, the more lives saved.
Foster volunteers are typically caring people who do everything from bottle-feeding orphaned neonate babies around the clock to socializing little ones to ensure they are able to interact with both humans and animals to caring for an older animal recovery from an injury or surgery. Foster volunteers provide care, safety and love. Continue reading “Did you save a life today? by Ed Boks”
Over the course of my career I may have been responsible for safely placing more pit bulls into loving homes than any other person in the United States.
I have long been troubled by the fact that no dog in history encounters more misunderstanding and vilification than the pit bull; a canine category I define as the American pit bull terrier, the American Staffordshire terrier, the Staffordshire bull terrier, and any crosses of these three. I admire these animals for their tenacious athletic ability, loyalty, intelligence, and high-energy.
I recently became reacquainted with an important program in Los Angeles. Although, this program could be useful in every community in the United States, it appears to me to be one of the best kept secrets in the battle to mitigate animal cruelty and abuse in our communities.
The B.A.R.C. course is appropriate for adults and juveniles (aged 15-17). The course is only open to individuals referred by a member of the criminal justice system (judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, or probation officer); an animal control professional; a social services agency; an educational institution (teachers and school counselors); or a mental health professional. Continue reading “Best kept secret in the battle to end animal abuse by Ed Boks”
Over the years I have come to understand compassion as a deep awareness of the suffering experienced by another – coupled with the desire to relieve it. Compassion is more vigorous than sympathy or empathy, compassion gives rise to an active desire to alleviate another’s suffering – making compassion the essential component in what manifests in our social context as altruism.
In ethical terms, the “Golden Rule” may best embody the principle of compassion: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Compassion does not simply mean caring deeply about someone else’s suffering. Compassion actually causes you to get personally involved. Compassion manifests in the face of cruelty, moving you to say out loud, “This is wrong” – and it moves you to actually do something to end the suffering. Continue reading “How do you define compassion? by Ed Boks”
The name Ed Boks is associated with life saving programs and results. Ed Boks has managed three of the largest animal control programs in the United States; Maricopa County, AZ, New York City and Los Angeles. He also successfully transformed Yavapai County, AZ into the a “no-kill” community while serving as the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society.
Life saving results is the one consistent hallmark in all of Ed Boks’ assignments. “If people want to save lives, it can be done, but it will mean hard work and sometimes upsetting the status quo, and that will draw its share of naysayers.”
But there is no denying the results. Ed Boks’ compassionate, non-lethal programs and strategies are proven to help the greatest number of animals at risk in any community.
In communities large and small, Ed Boks “know how” reduced killing to historic lows, while transforming animal shelters into high volume pet adoption and safety net programs. Ed Boks effectively replaces historic “catch and kill” methodologies with a new generation of life-saving, user and animal friendly programs. Ed Boks can do the same for your community!
Did you know that the presence of a cat or dog in a counseling office can speed the therapeutic process for some patients? Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) was introduced by psychologist Boris Levinson in the 1950s when he discovered that his dog Jingles was able to connect with autistic children in a way humans had not.
Since then, AAT has continued to develop as a therapeutic science. Although dogs are the most frequently used therapy animals, cats, birds, rabbits, horses, donkeys, llamas and even pigs and snakes participate in different programs.
In many communities, decisions regarding animal welfare are complicated by a host of competing priorities. When evaluating competing priorities it’s easy to look to the bottom line. When that happens, the questions of conscience concerning animal welfare can be overlooked.
There will always be enough injustice and human suffering in the world to make animal welfare seem less important. But compassion is not a finite commodity. We demonstrated the power of compassion in 2012 by ending euthanasia as our community’s method for controlling pet overpopulation. That is no small achievement; indeed, it places us among the nation’s most humane communities. Continue reading “Compassion is not a finite commodity By Ed Boks”
Early in my animal welfare career I developed a “no-kill” ethic. I trained shelter staff to apply this “ethic” by using the same criteria for deciding a homeless animal’s fate that a compassionate owner or conscientious veterinarian would apply to a beloved pet. That is, healthy and treatable animals are not killed simply because we lack the room or resources to care for them.
The “no-kill” ethic embodies a commitment that for every animal who comes through a shelter’s doors there is a kind and loving person or family – and it is our mission to bring them together.
There are three statistics animal shelters can use to measure their success, or failure, in reducing pet euthanasia (or killing). To rely on any one or two of these numbers tells only a partial, and possibly obfuscated, story. When you compare all three of these numbers you are better able to tell your organization and your community’s whole story:
The Live Release Rate (LRR) refers to the number of animals who get out of a shelter alive. I call this “heartbeats in/heartbeats out”. It includes adoptions, transfers to rescue organizations, and lost pets returned to owners. Some shelter experts claim a 90 percent LRR is the threshold to “no-kill.” During my tenure at the Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) in Arizona, I maintained a 97 percent LRR for several years. This is a good internal measurement.
The Euthanasia Rate reports the actual number of animals euthanized. In the first year implementing the no-kill ethic, YHS achieved a 63 percent reduction in killing, followed by a 64 percent reduction in year two, and a 40 percent reduction in year three; for an overall reduction of 92 percent. This too is an important internal measure of success or progress.
The Per Capita Kill Rate refers to the number of animals killed per 1,000 residents. Prior to implementing the no-kill ethic, YHS was killing 17.25 animals per 1,000 residents. This was one of the worst kill rates in Arizona. However, at the end of my tenure we had reduced the YHS kill rate to 0.2; the lowest in the nation for several consecutive years! This number is the best for comparing your community with other communities in your state or across the nation.