Monday, October 31, 2011

Running scared, or DCAP's co-option dance begins

Earlier today, I listened to Nathan Winograd's October 30 interview on Animal Wise Radio. It's available as a free, downloadable podcast.

During the interview, Winograd referred to the "Co-option" chapter of his first book Redemption. He saw the Dallas Companion Animal Project (DCAP) coming a long time ago, because this sort of reaction is not uncommon. It's happened in other cities.

Here's how co-option works. It's a three-step process.

  1. The folks who did nothing to stop killing in the past begin to get nervous, as more of the public insist that the shelter gets rid of bad management and stops killing the majority of animals in its care.
  2. Eventually, these folks decide that the only way they can hang on to power is to begin to start tossing the phrase "no kill" around. This will buy them some time. For example, they'll probably begin to classify many more animals as "unadoptable". This cunning little math trick will immediately increase the numbers of "adoptable" animals that aren't killed. Easy!
  3. However, this charade, combined with the others in store for us, won't fool us forever. When their failure eventually becomes obvious, the DCAP task force won't be blamed. Nor will they be held accountable. Instead, the public will be blamed for the killing again, as they were before the task force was formed.

DCAP's Rebecca Poling, is refreshingly honest about her unsuitability to chair this task force. If you read her "About Me" page here, you'll get the drift. For example, she admits she isn't involved in any "hands on" rescue any more. She's not lazy - she's "focusing on the big picture". And she thinks we need tons of unenforceable laws to keep the "stupid" members of the public in line.

And where are these brilliant plans to reduce shelter killing? Not for our eyes. DCAP's Facebook page and Web site have NO details of what the task force is planning to do to reduce euthanasia rates, even though Poling knew it was coming way back in May (see previous post).

Instead, DCAP's Web presence is nothing more than pages of cheerful mutual masturbation, thanking other shelters for joining the Project. Here are some examples from the DCAP Facebook page:
Welcome A Different Breed as a new Animal Advocacy Partner! Thank you for your support!
More new Animal Advocacy Partners... thanks Take me Home Pet Rescue for joining the Dallas Companion Animal Project!!
A big shout out to Paws in the City for joining us as an Animal Advocacy Partner. Your support is appreciated!
French Bulldogs are in the house via Short Mugs Rescue Squad! Thank you for joining us as an Animal Advocacy Partner!
To be fair, not 100% of the Facebook messages are suckups. I think some of the shelters who are now "Animal Advocacy Partners", whatever that means, mean well.

Occasionally, someone will dare disagree with this rubbish - including those who have been truly successful with the No-Kill Equation. But any message they post will be deleted in minutes.

They are also occasionally told to fuck off and not post any more. Here's an example:

Asking Poling and Co. to be accountable is kind of like asking Wayne Pacelle to be honest about the HSUS's fundraising efforts. (And since the HSUS reports have done nothing to improve things at Dallas Animal Services, can we have our $50,000 back?)

I feel sorry for many of the shelters who are joining, as they're ready to do what needs to be done to make Dallas a no-kill city. Instead, they'll eventually realize that DCAP's message hasn't changed - just the name.

In the meantime, the killers at Dallas Animal Services and in Dallas City Hall will continue to kill the majority of animals they take in, while they continue to tell us to shut up and let them do what they want to do behind closed doors, without accountability.

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