Perhaps I am being old-fashioned, but I was always led to believe that people who are members of various city and state committees and commissions are in charge of improving a certain situation.
This is why reading the past two years of Animal Shelter Commission notes bothered me so much - the members of the Commission don't seem interested in lowering our fair city's euthanasia rate, and getting the DAS spay/neuter clinic going. Instead, they obsess about:
Enforcing the unenforceable laws. The Intact Animal Permits are a good example. Why don't these people realize that running a city in police-state fashion is not going to work? There are two types of people who own intact animals: breeders of purebred animals, and people who can't be arsed to have their animals fixed. Both types are going to either ignore, or be resentful, of this law - especially when they find out that they're required to attend a "responsible pet ownership" class. Sort of like the blind leading the not so blind...
Pursuing personal vendettas. Thankfully, some of the most recent ones - like the Gideons, Texas Pawprints, and Companion Animal Network - seem to have ground to a halt after some spectators stood up at recent Commission meetings and complained about them. Bullies are generally cowards at heart, and can often be stopped by a single confrontation.
Administrative, paper-pushing stuff. This came up at this month's meeting, when a Commission member decided that she still didn't have enough committees to run. (But then thinking up new sub-committes beats doing REAL volunteer work - the kind that gets your hands dirty.)
Although the new sub-committees are supposed to improve things at DAS, and the sub-committee members were supposed to "get with Kent" regarding their suggestions for improvement, Kent Robertson's facial expression during this discussion suggested that he'd just learned that he needed a couple of root canals.
Add on stuff like the endless discussion of the Jumbotron (some big sign at the new animal shelter). I don't know why this makes me snigger, but it just does.
Just in case any of the Commission members are not familiar with how other cities have drastically lowered their euthanasia rates, I will be posting details of some of the more encouraging success stories in the next few days. Some of them DO read this blog.
Here is a link to a PDF brochure with details of Washoe County, Nevada's success in going no-kill. One of the most impressive figures is the increase of volunteers - from 30 to 1,300 - and the understanding that volunteers play a vital role in decreasing euthanasia and pet surrender rates. For one reason or another, DAS has an abysmal record of recruiting/keeping volunteers, but show no interest in recruiting more - or finding out why they don't stay.
Most cities worked with the No Kill Advocacy Center, Nathan Winograd, and/or others who realized that the old modus operandi needed to be discarded.