It's in the section where he talks about the beginnings of the San Francisco SPCA's rebirth and when they started implementing changes there and how they openly defied conventional shelter practices. He said about Richard Avanzino:
Instead of citations, he was providing incentives. Instead of threats, he was giving people opportunities. The SPCA was making it easy for th public to do the right thing, and in the process he was making the shelter more proactive and accountable...And the results - lower impounds, less killing, and more adoptions - were nothing short of revolutionary."
When I read that paragraph yesterday I was walking down the street and all of the sudden I stopped reading and said out loud "OH MY GOD!" - I hope there wasn't anyone standing around me, because I probably looked like a fool. That paragraph is just so amazing! Instead of citations they gave people opportunities.
That is what really bothers me about Calgary. The Calgary dog bylaw has 3 pages of fines - if you are at a dog park and your dog is more than 100 feet away from you - you WILL be fined for that. If your dog is deemed vicious, you have to post a sign at every entrance to your home and property. If your dog hangs his head out of the window of your car - you WILL be fined for that. It all just seems TOO punitive for me. If I lived in Calgary - I don't know if I'd ever take the dogs out, because I'd be doing nothing but getting fined all the time, because it sounds like - if it's a fun thing to do - you're going to get a fine for it.
So I wonder what Nathan Winograd thinks about Bill Bruce - or "bylaw Bill" as he likes to call himself. I just wonder....
Nathan also thinks it is a very bad idea for SPCA's to hold animal control contracts. In the same chapter he says about the San Francisco SPCA:
"Until then, virtually every major city had an SPCA or humane society that contracted for animal control services, and these shelters had become dependent on the revenue streams provided by animal control contracts, although in most cases they did not provide the level of funding needed to perform the services mandated. As a result, these agencies' proviate fundraising efforts, which brought in revenue above and beyond contractual payments from cities and towns for animal control services were not being used to maximize life saving. Instead, they were being spent performing animal control enforcement. Animal lovers who donated to their local shelter were inadvertently paying officers to write citations, rather than fund expanding adoption services."
That is interesting, eh? I bet a lot of us never thought about that before. That our fundraising efforts for SPCA's might be going to fund animal control contracts that don't actually pay enough to cover the contract itself. That is an excellent point - and an excellent reason why an SPCA shouldn't be killing animals for the city - they should be sheltering and saving animals only....
Avanzino goes on to declare that the San Francisco SPCA would do just that - they wouldn't renew the SPCA's contract with the city - "his SPCA would provide oversight to make sure thatkilling was done as humanely as possible, while using it resources and advocacy efforts to recue is as much as possible" - and -
"Consequently the "animal control" functions Avanzino saw asd antithetical to the mission of an organization dedicated to advocacy on behalf of animals - impoundment of vicious animals and city ordinance enforcement (including ticketing for dog licence violations, leash laws, and "pooper scooper" laws - would go back to the city."
Nathan goes on to say that "By 1993 Avanzino's SPCA was not only saving more lives than ever before, it was gaining huge public support....thanks to San Francisco's pet-loving public, which no longer felt it was subsidizing the killing of pets if it supported the San Francisco SPCA".
Isn't that amazing? No wonder everyone who reads Nathan Winograd thinks he is just the bees knees. Everyone should go out and buy his book today. Every page is just as good as this post. I can't wait until May, 2009 when I am going to get to meet him.