Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Plea To New York's Animal Rescue Community

As we all know (or should by now), this upcoming Tuesday is the Board meeting of the New York City Animal Care And Control's Board of Directors.

Yes, they waited until the last second to post this.
Yes, they have cut down the amount of time allocated for speakers.
Yes, they have cut the time for each individual speaker.

My response?

There is nothing we can do about it so I am not going to get up into a lather over it.

I will say this - Sometimes, we are our own worst enemy. I don't think we did ourselves any favors by talking over the speakers, or heckling them. If you don't want to listen to me, fine, I'm no one.

But, I know a lot of you follow Nathan Winograd and his (I think it's his) "No Kill Equation." I'd like to point out Step Three (page 8). What's the first item listed under "Fight Smart?"

Be Professional.

"One of the most important aspects of No Kill advocacy is to be professional at all times, including in your appearance, preparation, presentations, and communications."

Think about it. What good do you hope to accomplish by shouting down Farley or Bank? Any press that is there will refer to us unruly fringe-type activists, cause that's what's going to sell newspapers. Not only that, but it will give Farley ammunition to further limit our rights at these meetings.

You wanna scream about Bank claiming euthanasia is down, do it on Facebook. You wanna heckle Farley when he commends Bank on a job well done, write down your frustration, write an op-ed about it, and send it to a newspaper. You wanna laugh when Bank talks about how great their tea is selling, well, okay, laugh, cause that would be pretty funny.

I know it's hard, but for the animals sake, try to be respectful...even if you don't think they deserve it.

See you there...

Harris Bloom
President/Founder/Wet Blanket

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The ASPCA Does It Again...

There is a current uproar about a cat named Gloria. If your not familiar with the story, advocate John Sibley wrote about the situation here and updated it here.

Thanks to the power of the Internet, everyone has become aware of it. Who knows what kinda crap they pulled before there was a Facebook? I will say that everyone I have ever spoken to who has worked there,  has told me that while they obviously do some good, they do a lot of bad, and overall, their experience was disillusioning. This is besides how they cherry pick the animals that they choose to take from the AC&C.

None of this should be a shocker to me, not after I found out the reason why they left the NYC shelter system in shambles was due to public relations.

Read this article from the NY Times in 1993.

It seems to me that they did exactly the opposite of what you'd expect (hope?) that they'd do - There was a situation in crisis, and rather than help, they choose to leave.

Seriously, think about what they did for a second... (I'll wait)...

Rather than work to create a better shelter system, they told NYC to drop dead, much as they have recently. Why? It was costing them donations.

Take a gander at this quote from them the ASPCA's then President -

"Philosophically, it's a nightmare to kill 30,000 to 40,000 animals a year," Mr. Caras said. "That's not our mission."

Exactly whose mission is it to kill 30,000 to 40,000 animals a year (besides McDonald's)? They ran the shelter (and others) since 1894 and in all those years, they couldn't come up with ANY workable ideas?!? They kept the status quo and once they saw how much it was hurting their coffers, they left. And then, right after is this lovely quote...

In addition, he said, being perceived as an animal killer has crippled the society's fund-raising... 

My guess is that the "in addition" is the EXACT reason why they cut bait and ran.

With all of this history, how can anyone take these clowns seriously? Why would anyone want to donate money to an animal rights organization that won't fight for the animals when the going gets tough? How long will it take for the public to see through their commercials?

Harris Bloom

Monday, January 23, 2012

You Have 60 Seconds...Go!

I was taking a look at the No-Kill guide to reforming shelters on your area  and I saw something that interested me..

"Focus your message so succinctly that you could tell a complete stranger everything they need to know in 60 seconds."

I agree, as I have at times come across people interested in whats going on with our shelter thanks to my Facebook/You Tube posts, but can't tell the story without, well, telling a story.

How would YOU tell a stranger our problem with the NYC AC&C in 60 seconds?


Harris Bloom
Founder/President/Bon Vivant

Sunday, January 22, 2012

You Are Julie Bank! (A New Series!)

Okay, so Julie Bank's contract is up in a couple of months and there's a good chance she's gonna get a new one. That would mean another two years of Julie.

What does that mean for us? 

Well, my guess is two more years of adversarial relationships between Animal Care and Control (AC&C) management and the rescue community (if you're new here, just read some older blogs with "Julie Bank" tags). Actually, that's a pretty educated guess.

We know nothing's going to change in a big way until NYC divests itself of the ACC (can anyone tell me why they are so headstrong on keeping it?), but let's put that aside for now. I think that will happen but not in the foreseeable future (meaning two years). So, we're stuck with the DOH and Julie. With that in mind, let's look at the here and now, as animals are needlessly dying due to actions that the AC&C has taken (or not taken) that just seem like no-brainers (pun intended). 

This series of blogs is intended to come up with solutions to some of the issues that we have with the AC&C in a way that would help the animals and also help Julie save face (and like I said in my previous blog, I really don't care if she takes credit for implementing others' ideas - All I care about is the animals).

So, let's start....

As I mentioned on Facebook recently, I have no idea why, not only doesn't the AC&C market its animals on Facebook, but actually impedes Urgent Part 2, who does! (By the way, my monthly animal rescue fundraiser will be mostly to assist Urgent on February 15th at Gotham Comedy Club). I think it's pretty indisputable that the social networks have played a major part in animal rescue and there's no reason why the AC&C shouldn't be on there.

Well, there is one reason.

Having a FB page that allowed people to comment (and they would have to allow people to comment on the various animals' posts) would open the floodgates to hundreds (thousands?) of nasty posts a day by people not willing to give the AC&C the benefit of the doubt.

The solution?

How about if, instead of fighting Urgent, they actually helped them by feeding them info willingly? News of that change would certainly get out, and while it wouldn't change most peoples' opinions about Julie or the AC&C, it would be an olive branch that some may accept as good faith for the sake of the animals. Best of all as far as the DOH is concerned, it wouldnt cost a cent!

What do you think?

Harris Bloom
Grand Poobah

Friday, January 20, 2012

This is OUR Freakin' Shelter!

Let me make one thing clear before I get into this blog entry -

No, I do not think we should give up reforming New York Animal Care and Control, our city shelter. We should continue to fight tooth and nail (okay, maybe not "nail") to get it out from under NYC's DOH's thumb, we should continue to fight for them to hire better management (maybe hiring an animal lover to the BOD and Executive Director position would be a decent start), and we should keep fighting for greater transparency about what the heck is going on in there (as there's no way that the stories that we all hear can't come with another's the latest unbelievable story making the Internet rounds - please tell me there's another side).

We all know that any progress made in that area is due, not to the ACC's management or BOD, but due to the rescue groups, those who work with the rescue groups, and the volunteers and some of the staff at the ACC. I say "some" because, well, as with any organization, some staff will just work there for the paycheck, which isn't tragic when you're an accountant (ahem)  but it is when you are in charge of animals.

BOTTOM LINE - As long as the DOH runs the show, the city's homeless animals will NEVER be a priority, and there's no reason to believe that the DOH will be relinquishing control anytime soon. So, for any more progress to be made in lowering the euthanasia rate, it's up to US.

I's time we all took the bull by the horns (ok, maybe not the "horns") and redoubled our efforts to do what, at the end of the day, is all we really care about, and that's getting as many animals out of there alive as possible.

Every single one of us should think "What more can I do?" and do it. Here are just a few ideas ...

1 - Apply to work or volunteer at the shelter (I know, they make it extremely difficult to volunteer there, but just think of how the animals appreciate it, and by perhaps giving the animals an extra walk a day, you will relieve their stress, making them less energetic, and therefore easier to adopt out)

2 - Not only share the animals close to being euthanized on Urgent Part 2's Facebook page (I will link later if you don't know them) but really try to get your animal-friendly friends involved (if you just share animals every day, most of your friends will just start ignoring it), or

3 - Volunteer at one of the dozens of animal rescues around the city (My rescue can use someone to help with fundraising - speaking of, anyone wanna buy a t-shirt? We're having a sale! Only $15 each or two for $25!)

I will write more in subsequent blogs about other ways to help...

What am I doing to help?

I am allocating a percentage of Stewie to the Rescue's financial resources to pledge for rescues to pull animals about to be killed at the shelter.

While I ain't gonna stop bitchin', I do think it's time we ALL stepped up our action.

This shelter "system" is a black eye for all New Yorkers. And being a city owned shelter in a city that we live in, this is our freakin' shelter in more ways than one!

If history has taught us anything, it's that we can't depend on anyone but us to make it better.

One last thing - Quite frankly, I don't care if Julie Bank or Bloomberg or Farley or anyone who has done nothing to help, takes credit (as Bank did at the last ACC BOD meeting, not only ignoring Urgent Part 2's obvious role, but actually condemning it). All I give a crap about is that the killing stop.

Enough is enough...

Harris Bloom

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Animal Rights : Obama vs. Romney

The NRA is known as a single issue organization - all they care about are gun rights - Which politician is for a strict reading of the 2nd amendment, and which opposes it, and therefore opposes them.

Their members tend to vote accordingly.

Animal rights/rescuers are similar. Next year's NYC Mayoral race will pit current City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is notoriously anti-animal,  against a host of other candidates, at least one who appears to be very pro-animal, Scott Stringer.

I can guarantee that most animal rights people will be voting Stringer (or, at the very least, anybody but Quinn)!

The upcoming Presidential election is a little more difficult when based solely on animal rights issues.

Let's say it comes down to Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.

They have each been the subject of one headline, as far as I know, that relate to animals rights...

Obama Calls Eagles Owner To Congratulate Him For Signing Michael Vick (Obama has yet to call to check up on the dogs that were saved) - Let's also not forget that Obama didn't initially congratulate them - He waited for a year until it was obvious that Vick was (largely) accepted by fans and was having a good year.

(Obama also just signed into law a bill that repealed a ban on horse meat plant inspections, allowing horses to be killed for food, though this is a more prickly call about whether it is just or not)...


Romney Strapped Dog To Car Roof (this was for a family car rise from Boston to Ontario - Romney later claimed that the dog "enjoyed" it and has shown zero remorse)

So, tough choice, huh? I guess that, as we seem to always have to do when voting, choose the lessor of the two evils.

Which one is it?

Harris Bloom

Monday, January 9, 2012

Dog Tip #172

Never allow your dog to sit on your lap after giving her yogurt.**

** Especially if you are wearing your suit pants for work.