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From Nathan Winograd: No Kill is Cost Effective

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

The are four myths that allow the paradigm of killing to continue. The myth that "open admission" shelters cannot be No Kill because of pet overpopulation. The myth that No Kill is not possible because of the irresponsible public. The myth that No Kill is inconsistent with public health and safety. And the myth that No Kill is too expensive.

The first three are addressed in the No Kill Advocacy Center document "No Kill 101: A Primer on No Kill Animal Control Sheltering for Public Officials." You can download it for free here: Here's the fourth:
Myth: No Kill is too expensive. Our community cannot afford it.

Fact: No Kill is cost-effective, fiscally responsible, and a great economic boon to local communities. Municipalities who want to enact good policy and improve the local economy should invest in lifesaving at their local shelter. Given the cost savings and additional revenues of doing so (both in reduced costs associated with killing, enhanced community support, an increase in user fees such as adoption revenues, and additional tax revenues), as well as the community economic impact of adoptions, a community cannot afford not to embrace No Kill.

Today, there are dozens of No Kill communities across the United States; in states as diverse as Kentucky, Virginia, Indiana, California, New York, Texas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, and elsewhere. These communities share little in common demographically. What they do share is leadership with a “can do” attitude and a passion for saving lives, as well as the model used to achieve it: the programs and services of the No Kill Equation.

These communities not only prove that No Kill can be achieved at “open admission” municipal shelters in both urban and rural, Northern and Southern, large and small, and both politically liberal and conservative communities and that No Kill is consistent with a municipal shelter’s public health and safety mandate; they also disprove the idea that communities with high intake rates can’t be No Kill because of the antiquated and disproven notions of “pet overpopulation” and the “irresponsible public.”

This is good news because not only do the animals deserve it and alternatives to killing exist, but the public is increasing demanding it. In a national survey, 96% of Americans—almost every single person across the social and political spectrum—said we have a moral obligation to protect animals and that we should have strong laws to do so. Saving lives is not only good public policy; it is also good bipartisan politics. But at a time when economic challenges are being faced in communities across the country, legislators are asking if they can afford to embrace a more humane alternative?

As animal lovers increasingly demand No Kill solutions, the good news for policy-makers is that No Kill is cost-effective, saves municipalities expenses associated with killing and disposal, and brings badly needed revenues into public coffers and community businesses.

Although costs vary somewhat, impounding, caring for, and ultimately killing an animal and disposing of his/her body costs approximately $106.00 ($66 for impoundment and $40 for killing and disposal). The process is entirely revenue negative to the municipality; while a No Kill approach transfers costs to private philanthropy, brings in adoption revenue and other user fees, and supports local community businesses. In just one community, for example, a No Kill initiative yielded $250,000 in increased revenues at a time the shelter reduced expenditures by 25%. In addition, the positive economic impact to community businesses due to subsequent spending on those adopted animals totaled over $12,000,000 in sales annually, bringing in over millions in sales tax revenues to local municipalities over the life of those animals.

Does it make more economic sense to adopt out, transfer to private non-profit rescue organizations, and increase the number of stray animals reclaimed by their families, all revenue positive activities that save the costs of killing and bring in fees and other revenues? Of course it does. At a time when dozens of communities across the country have achieved No Kill, including those with per capita intake rates up to eight times higher than New York City, communities which continue to kill in the face of lifesaving alternatives are not only engaging in morally bankrupt conduct (killing animals in the face of readily-available lifesaving alternatives), they are bankrupting community coffers. No Kill animal control not only makes good sense. It makes dollars and cents.

Join me for an extended 40-minute interview on Animal Wise Radio this Sunday at 1:15 pm ET. I'll discuss how communities can reduce costs, increase user fees, support community businesses, and bring in additional tax revenues by embracing No Kill. The discussion will coincide with the release of the No Kill Advocacy Center's latest guide, "Dollars & Sense: The Economic Benefits of No Kill Animal Control." You can listen live by clicking here.

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