As we previously reported, Best Friends Animal Society recently announced its plan for a No Kill USA by 2025. It is a great idea. It is achievable. In most places, it is achievable much sooner than that. We also know, because of the long track record of these plans failing, that they almost never work. Even worse than the plans failing, they inhibit progress that could happen today, because they make it look like progress is being made where it isn't. They also let elected officials look like they are doing something, when all they are really doing is "kicking the No Kill can" down the road to make other elected officials deal with it at some point in the future.
Baytown, Texas is a case in point. Located on the Gulf Coast outside of Houston, the City-run shelter has a Live Release Rate (LRR) of 56%, well below the national average. That is according to their own reports on their own web site. And, the fact of the matter is that the City could be No Kill today. Or, they could commit to the changes required to achieve No Kill next month, or by 2018. But, they are not, because of Best Friend's "2025 plan" they can put it off for another 8 years, according to a resolution being voted on by the City Council in September. Inspired by Best Friend's 2025 No Kill plan, advocates in Baytown have asked the City Council to vote on a non-binding resolution to become No Kill by 2025... in eight years... when many of these officials are likely to no longer be in office. If they pass the resolution, they will have successfully kicked the can so far down the road, none of them will ever have to even deal with it. Even worse: the resolution to put off for 8 years what could happen today will be used as a tool to quiet animal advocates working for real reform today. By our calculation, the body count associated with that will be about 16,000 animal lives.
From our perspective, advocates who brought forward the resolution should be commended for advocating for animals. However, the fact is that they are following a path that has failed over and over again, and which actually delays No Kill reforms. It is understandable that they may not know that, especially when national organizations are pushing them in that direction. What we cannot understand is why Best Friends has yet to figure any of that out. Update: After this blog was posted, we received an email from Baytown City Councilman Bob Hoskins. Councilman Hoskins said he hoped to get more rapid change at Animal Control, but that when working with 'local advocates' that the '2025 date came from them.' And, it is clear, they got the date from Best Friends, who has never done any consulting work in Baytown. The City had a Councilman pushing for more rapid reform, and they delayed them. That is the only interpretation of Hoskin's email we can have.