Woke up this morning to find the in-box filled with missives from friends and fans of a man named Nathan Winograd -- "the de-facto face of the 'No Kill' movement," as Huffington Post called him last year, referring to efforts to stop animal shelters from euthanizing strays. Winograd, an attorney who ditched his high-paying job to become an animal advocate-slash-shelter crusader, has written two books on the subject: Irreconcilable Differences: The Battle for the Heart and Soul of America's Animal Shelters and Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation & The No Kill Revolution in America. And he's served as both director of operations for the San Francisco SPCA and executive director for the Tompkins County SPCA in Upstate New York.
Winograd has his many admirers who believe he is absolutely correct when he insists there is no such thing as "pet overpopulation," merely poorly run animal shelters that didn't do enough to protect and place would-be, could-be pets. "There are more than enough homes for every dog and cat being killed in shelters every year," wrote one born-again San Francisco Chronicle scribe after a chat with Winograd. He has his many detractors too, among them PETA, which writes that "Winograd's calculations ignore the hundreds of thousands of puppies and kittens produced by breeders and sold in pet stores every year." Winograd and PETA have been engaged in a pissing contest for years.
So, what does all this have to do with us? Well ...
Yesterday, you probably recall, the city sent word that it's forming a task force geared toward the creation of the Dallas Companion Animal Project, which is "charged with developing a blueprint for ending the killing of adoptable animals." Dallas CAP is being chaired by Animal Shelter Commission member Rebecca Poling. It also has a new website, which, so happens, features at the top a quote from Winograd, which reads: "No Kill may be defined by what happens to the animals within the halls of the shelter, but it can only be achieved by what happens outside of them."
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He's unhappy about that -- so much so he posted to his website yesterday an open letter to Mayor Mike Rawlings and the city council demanding they remove the quote from the website quite pronto. He says it's old, taken out of context -- something he wrote "while I still believed in a supply-demand imbalance between the number of available homes and number of available animal." Which is hardly his only problem with Dallas's task force.
His letter to the mayor and council is titled "The Inmates Are Trying to Run the Asylum," in part because of Poling's involvement, since she was on the commission when it was revealed what a house of horrors the city's shelter had become. (Poling's also been involved with numerous animal-rescue groups, and two years ago received Paws in the City's St. Francis of Assisi award.) Writes Winograd, who's been called "polarizing" more than once in his life:
Mr. Mayor and Members of the City Council, I could have simply written and asked you to remove my name, but I believe I would be doing a disservice to you, your administration, and the kind and generous people of Dallas if I did not also take this opportunity to explain in more detail why the Task Force, which claims to represent your administration and the good people of Dallas, is going down the path of failure. I urge you, on behalf of not only the animals, but the people who love them, to scrap the Task Force and put your faith in people who truly have the best interests of animals at heart and who would authentically represent the cause of ending their killing.
Read the whole thing here.