Friday, September 26, 2008

Animal Propaganda 2.0

Looks like real money is behind the effort to discredit the King County animal shelters. The effort to dismantle the shelter is becoming all the more desperate now that changes instituted (changes which, frankly, needed to occur!) are beginning to bear fruit. You'd think folks concerned with conditions at the shelter would be excited their effort has been rewarded with action.

But it's exactly the opposite. It seems like they really won't be happy until the KCACC shelter is a smoking crater. I'm not exactly sure what the forces behind shutting down KCACC think will happen if they succeed--but I suspect they believe they or or their friends will get to swoop in and grab the financing currently supporting the shelter. If so, then this is nothing more than a cynical money grab, and really has nothing at all to do with animal welfare.

I say that real money is behind this ongoing effort to discredit the shelter for many reasons, not least of which is the launch of a new web page titled KCACC "Exposed." This is no simple free Google Blogger blog like mine or KCAS Creatures (run by someone who volunteers at the shelter)--someone spent some money putting together a site whose sole goal is to tear down the county shelter. I mean, come on, the site actually has a logo! They've branded their effort!

The site includes several pages, and is interactive... well, interactive so far as you are prompted to send in your own stories of "KCACC failures." Comments are NOT enabled on any of the pages, which indicates the page owners don't want people like me showing up there and calling them on their spin.

Why do I know the effort to shut down the shelters consists of spin and in some cases outright lies? Because I am intimately familiar with conditions in the shelter; my wife is the Volunteer Program Manager (or, as the KCACC "Exposed" propaganda blog identifies her, the volunteer coordinator) recently recruited to sift from the shambles an actual volunteer program. Several other people, including former CEO of the Humane Society and a newly installed head of the shelter with a reputation in the country for getting things done, are also newly installed. They are committed to fixing the shelter, and are making great progress to that end.

Of course, when you start from shambles, it takes a while to build actual programs and institute new policies and procedures. Maybe even several months. Apparently, KCACC "Exposed" regards the money spent on bringing in new management as a waste, and that the money should have gone to the animals. Ok... like, what, should that money have been just shoveled into the kitten cubbys? Knitted into $10 Bill blankets? What?

Oh, wait, I have a guess... given to managers of a DIFFERENT shelter that the KCACC "Exposed" blog is working with.

One final question--how much money did the KCACC "Exposed" site spend on its spiffy logo and web page design? Perhaps they'd consider donating an equal amount to some animal shelter just to show that, you know, they actually do care more about animals than winning.


KCACC Exposed said...

Once again, another guess at the motivations behind KCACC Exposed versus fact. No one is financially benefitting from this effort and it is in fact coming out of the pockets of the volunteers supporting the effort on a shoestring budget. I'd think given that you seem tech savvy enough to have a blog that you'd know it's simple to create a logo and a website. All done by volunteers, all at no charge. Our motivation is simply better care for the animals of King County.

Bruce Cordell said...

You say you want what's best for the animals, but actions of your organization (the Coalition for a No-Kill King County) seem to indicate otherwise. You promote "no-kill" shelters exclusively despite the fact that such policies have proved to lead to worse outcomes for a majority of animals. And now you've lent your support to a group of disaffected volunteers who've moved from being part of the solution to part of the problem.

I recognize there have been real problems with the KC shelters, and that a previous shake-up in shelter management didn't actually improve matters. We have that foundation on which we can both agree.

And I apparently stand corrected--someone created your logo without charging your effort. Would you provide the designer's name for verification?

But let me ask you a few questions, given the other points I made in my post you didn't address:

1) Did you know that in the last 6 months, there has been a more recent revolution in management, this time with people put in charge who have either a track record in getting things done, or track record of understanding animal welfare? (as I indicated in my blog post?)

2) Why are you attacking these NEW people who were brought in to help solve the problems without giving them the chance to do their jobs? Have you looked to see the improvements that have been made in just 4 months down at the Kent shelter? (Improvements that, now that they have been shown to work, can be exported up north?)

3) Truly, what do you think is going to happen to the 13,000 animals the KC animal shelters take in each year if these shelters are shut down (instead of upgraded with more space and expanded competent vet staff, finally)?

4) Does KCACC exposed have association whatsoever with Brenda Barnette, the new head of the Humane Society?

5) Does Brenda Barnette stand to gain any of the county's money should the shelter be closed?

KCACC Exposed said...

First, KCACC Exposed is not the Coalition for a No-Kill King County. There are people involved with one that are involved with the other, but the two aren’t the same organization.

The KCACC Exposed logo was designed at no charge but I’m not going to post the donor’s name because we’ve all seen what happens to anyone publicly named with this campaign on the KCAS Creatures website. That is until public record disclosures named the blog owner and revealed she was being fed confidential information from the King County Executive and his staff. I see that blog is now restricted to invited users only. As you can imagine, questions about attacks seem pretty ironic at this point. But for what it’s worth, this is not an attack on the staff at the shelters. It is the overall system that is failing.

On to your questions:

1) Yes, I know some new people have been brought in but there are still many documented incidents that aren’t positive. Some of those stories will be posted on KCACC Exposed soon in fact. King County Executive Ron Sims has made it pretty clear he’s fine with where the shelter is at in terms of funding and how the programs are being run.

2) No one is attacking the staff, it’s the system. Most of the staff does seem to care and work hard but they are in a system that will never support their being successful. They were so defensive of what’s been going on (and I can understand that to a certain extent) but they now want to dig their heels in and say it’s all good when it really isn’t. Working on a solution with that kind of front is impossible.

3) If the shelters are shut down, contracts can be set up with private non-profit shelters that can provide better care for less money. Non-profits are much tighter on their budgets because they have their donors to answer to and those donors want the lion’s share of the money going to the animals.

Below is a list of 2007 KCACC salaries (excluding management) with the names removed (although they are public record). The former shelter manager, who was promoted despite the findings made by Nathan Winograd AND UC Davis, made $85,500 in 2007. Most non-profits pay that or less for their CEO/Executive Director. With the staffing budget alone a non-profit could put in place so many more people taking care of the animals and managing programs than what is currently being provided. Non-profits are also very adept at organizing very strong volunteer teams and are able to appeal to the public for donations and grants as well. Any criminal issues involving animals can and should be handled by the Sheriff’s Office. With the money saved contracting with non-profits, additional officers could be put on the street and ideally, a team formed that specializes in animal issues just like other specialty teams such as narcotics.

Job Title Hire Date Total Gross Total Overtime
Animal Control Sergeant 01/02/84 $69,577.77 $8,915.84
Animal Control Sergeant Lead 07/06/76 $69,489.36 $5,717.72
Animal Control Sergeant 05/21/90 $64,214.05 $6,443.19
Animal Control Sergeant 04/28/04 $62,917.42 $6,052.75
Animal Control Officer 09/01/89 $61,284.45 $9,050.79
Animal Control Officer 01/04/82 $59,070.13 $7,741.74
Animal Control Officer 06/12/72 $58,664.02 $6,771.44
Animal Control Officer 05/17/94 $56,937.24 $5,453.53
Animal Control Officer 09/15/83 $55,466.00 $2,322.89
Animal Control Officer 08/04/98 $53,874.96 $2,049.16
Animal Control Officer 01/03/77 $53,590.75 $2,408.10
Animal Control Officer 02/18/82 $53,420.13 $2,178.22
Animal Control Officer 07/06/88 $53,178.33 $1,523.66
Animal Control Officer 06/05/76 $53,028.58 $1,752.07
Animal Control Officer 09/28/98 $52,158.77 $2,774.70
Animal Control Officer 09/17/91 $51,876.16 $1,241.52
Animal Control Officer 06/23/98 $51,394.81 $2,856.11
Animal Control Officer 05/02/05 $50,656.64 $5,368.76
Animal Control Officer 03/28/06 $46,784.62 $1,562.53
Animal Control Officer 08/29/05 $46,513.59 $3,256.63
Animal Control Officer 05/23/05 $46,244.98 $3,774.10
Animal Control Officer 09/29/05 $46,219.58 $2,662.88
Animal Control Officer 10/24/06 $46,206.97 $3,438.49
Animal Control Officer 03/01/84 $46,054.04 $1,980.23
Animal Control Officer 04/04/01 $44,303.59 $1,561.73
Animal Control Officer 09/15/05 $35,079.89 $620.41
Animal Control Officer 01/02/75 $17,251.82
Animal Control Officer 10/01/07 $8,701.92 $186.39
Animal Services Prgrm Mngr 07/07/99 $7,536.33
Animal Control Officer 10/15/07 $7,331.63 $304.15
Animal Control Officer 08/14/07 $2,553.89 $148.95
Animal Control Officer 05/02/05 $2,014.71

4) The co-founders of KCACC Exposed are listed on the website and neither one of them is Brenda Barnette. As I don’t personally know Brenda or her thoughts on this organization, I am not going to speak for her.

5) At this point there is no one specifically that stands to gain any of the county money should the shelter be closed. I believe a couple of organizations have said that in the case of the shelters closing they would be willing to contract with the county, which in turn would mean funding, but if you’ve ever been affiliated with a non-profit shelter you’d know that even with funding, rarely do you even break even on a sheltered animal. In local private shelters, animals are immediately vaccinated on arrival (unless health concerns dictate otherwise), health issues are addressed, and by that I mean if they are sick, they get treated and not just deemed “unadoptable” and euthanized, even if it requires long term care. Behavioral issues are addressed with qualified trainers, again even if it’s something that’s going to take time. All animals are spayed/neutered, teeth cleaned when needed, micro-chipped, etc. King County doesn’t provide extensive medical care or training to all animals that come in because they don’t have the time or money. That goes back to a failing system. Do you know what the current backlog of calls for KCACC service is?

Despite what you think, this effort is truly being carried out by people who love animals and have just grown tired of seeing things decline at the shelters. What happens next remains to be seen, but I’m hoping the best decision for the animals is made.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen the Nathan Winograd blog attack on Ron Sims?

The one where he essentially calls Ron Sims Nixon and says this is like Watergate.

Did you know that this guy was issuing press releases and doing interviews with Nathan Winograd promoting Nathan's book.

No bones about it, right on Berman's web sites and from from his organization.

You can find links to Rick Berman's propaganda sites on places like dog fighting websites. And Rick Berman's websites were sending people to go buy Nathan Winograd's book and endorsing it.

The animal breeders all herald Rick Berman as their lobbyist and fearless leader, watching out for their earnings and going against laws.

Berman attacks the animal welfare groups that support legislation that the animal profit businesses don't like.

It doesn't take too much research to see that this Berman is shady beyond all hope.

Berman runs smear campaigns and calls organizations and people names. And sets up tricky websites that hide his involvement, but which he owns that run smear campaigns and spread misinformation & just untrue things. Like all that Consumer Freedom, activist cash, he owns them all. They all claim to just be informing and educate the public and a whole lot of caring.

They all say they are just unbiased information sites.

Happy Camper said...

Hi Bruce, may I suggest the comments from kcacc exposed are rejected until the correctly idenify themselves. the login would suggest they are the legitimate king county animal care and control people. I won't waste the readers time with suppositions and " what if" statements. I will suggest the reader look for any signs of success in Winograds camp. Every shelter he has been contracted with has failed. He speaks of Reno as a sucess but you would be hard pressed to find anyone except the people living off the backs of poor animals in agreement with him.
I would also suggest the anon posters refrain from using any names without the data to back up what they say. That type of posting has already cost the sane people one very good blog. Of course Winograds toadies had to shut that down, it was like daylight to a vampire.

HonestyHelps said...

This is a heavy loss. We can't stop the damage of Whinograd if everyone runs scared whenever lawsuit is mentioned. That's how he has gotten so far, is threatening those who oppose with a lawsuit. King County has made the biggest mistake ever. I do hope their elected officials realize that they will not get elected again once the truth comes out. And the truth is that they have selected a program that is proven to fail, a program that is now being rejected because it has proven to not be sustainable. If they think animals are suffering now, just wait until you can't walk down the hallway at the shelter because of crates of animals, overcrowded. Just wait until disease breaks out because of the overcrowding. Did this Council not look at the evidence? Did they put their heads in the sand and refuse to see? How can anyone at this point, with all the Whinograd failures, select his program? What a hugh mistake they have made.

Anonymous said...

Did you take a look at the Stakeholder Feedback attachment from the Community Stakeholder Group?

Some pretty chilling things in there from Ms. Claire Loebs Davis, who is one half of this kcexposed thing.

Some quotes from Davis

1) Davis: "I don’t believe a reasonable assessment of these costs is provided in the current operational plan. Although King County must be responsible with taxpayer money, it must also ensure that it provides sufficient funds for the contracting entity or entities to be successful. Transferring services must not be seen by the county as an easy and inexpensive way out of problems with animal services that it has allowed to fester for many years"

Davis has been declaring that privatizing animal services will be less expensive and save money for the county. This kcexposed person that posts here says that. So why is Claire Davis in her feedback stating that costs to the county will be the same or more?

Here's what is happening with Nathan Winograd's Tompkins County NY SPCA that got the contract for cities and towns to provide animal control and sheltering.

After going nearly bankrupt with kennels that were exposed locally for overcrowding, even needing to shut down, illness issues, refusing to take animals - they jacked the cost up to the cities and towns 100 percent!

So now the towns and cities have to go elsewhere, as they can't afford the no kill spca contract. They sais no, we are not going to pay.

Plus, the No Kill spca is stopping law enforcement, and Tompkins County will have ZERO enforcement soon. So those cities and towns have the added expense of that soon.

This is the No Kill shelter that Winograd personally brought his No Kill equation to and privatized animal services. He worked there! This was his baby.

So when you then read in Claire Davis's review B "Toward this end, the county must make clear to the municipalities its apparent intention to begin to charge them their fair share for animal services"

So the cities and towns are going to get hit up for MORE MONEY over and above what the county provides to these privatized entitities.

See the costs piling up? Getting deeper and deeper?

2) Claire Davis "Similarly, King County must take a responsible approach to the transfer of the responsibility of animal cruelty investigations. Ideally, it would establish an Animal Cruelty Task Force within the King County Sheriff’s Office, and encourage municipalities to contract for these services."

So cities and towns now have to pay extra to the sheriff's department, and if municipalities don't come up with the extra money, there are no animal cruelty investigations there.

And how is the Sheriff's department go to pay for this?

For a dose of reality, look at the comments by Denise McVickers, an actual expert who actually does run a humane society.

Her responses to this shifting responsibility for cruelty investigations to KCSO – "have you asked for input from them? Sheriff departments do not normally consider animal complaints as a priority when considering all the other calls types they have" and "insufficient capacity to respond to the majority of service calls – decide on priorities. With insufficient funding by municipalities for level of expected services, plan on a dropped level of response."

Keep reading.

Anonymous said...

More frightening statement from Claire Davis

3) "As part of the work that King County will need to do to implement Option 3-B, the county should open up the county code and reevaluate the regulations related to licensing, pet limits, and special permits. This examination should be done with the input of community stakeholders and contracting entities, so that the county can ensure that none of its existing regulations are inhibiting the development of a model, No Kill program."

So the self-declared experts like Davis and the private groups will go into county code and just rip out animal control laws and codes that they don't like like breeder licensing, pet limit laws, permitting.

So how will animal control have any ability to do its job with NO LAWS or CODES?

The puppy mills and dogfighter people will cheer. They can operate freely without those pesky codes. And the hoarders will be untouchable with lack of pet limit laws.

This brings us back to one of the big complaints that comes up with Nathan Winograd and his No Kill plan. The fact that dubious dog breeder groups have publicly stated that the Winograd No Kill Plan helps them out because the Winograd plan opposes laws they don't like and helps them operate and maintain their finances.

This has been a big issue, and yet here we have Claire Davis writing about throwing out the laws and codes. A small cabal of private groups and individuals that are altering county code at their whim. With NO INPUT from citizens.

It is a very scary thing.

Happy Camper said...

Good work anon, shoot them with the truth. Of course they want to gut regulations and shift the field work to the county. that is where the cost lies. Winograd doesn't run fleets, or teach officers how to behave responsibly. got any " volunteers" that can take a shotgun to tranquilze a bear at the mall. Which volunteer will get the snow shovel and clean the highway? they want the easy money, and let me tell you,according to a post on the local newspaper blog; our local no kill raised a whole $23,000 at their annual fund raiser. What will that buy ? If the county didn't maintain the new building for them they couldn't function. They're like teenagers who want Mom and Dad to shell out the bucks, but not tell them when to come home. Inane little trolls trying to decide who gets to cross the bridge. I read all about the great job these folks did with Katrina, they actually made the hurricane look pretty tame. Dead pitbulls still in the shipping crates with the transfer tape on. Google Pasado and pitbulls for that one. I can't define evil, but it carries a scent.

Happy Camper said...

If you go to the nokilllcoalition website and scroll to the bottom you will see; that site was designed by a Mr. Davis, maybe such skills run in the family. And lest the celebrants overwhelm themselves with joy at poor catmom, know that the other blogs are running at capacity with a waiting list to get on.

Anonymous said...

I found this elsewhere. This is PACCA which was a Nathan Winograd and Best Friends setup (I found Best Friends promoting it, and this director that Winograd hired. Do a search for Tara Derby. Best Friends connection sound familiar?)

Looks like Nathan did the consultation bit, put in his workers, and then the whole thing had the same problems his other setups do

Of course, he turned on his own director and blamed her.

Think these Exposed people are going to Expose that? I think not.

PACCA is getting thrown out, from what I can determine.

Anonymous said...

home page for that site

HonestyHelps said...

Philly has gone down. A surprise RFP was sent out and PACCA did not bid. The Philadelphia SPCA is getting the contract. And there are violations issued by the State against PACCA as well as charges by the PSPCA of neglect/abuse. PACCA is being audited. It is a real mess there and the animals have suffered. One volunteer who tried to speak out was threatened with a lawsuit by the Whino. Philly is not the best example because they were non profit. Look at Rancho Cucamonga, CA. It is so bad there that there have been two newspaper articles proclaiming they are not "NO KILL" because their surrenders went thru the roof. Surrenders went from 50-100 a year to over 4000. Within three months on installing the Whino's program, there were crates and carriers in the hallways, dogs and cats together, dead dogs in the kennels from fights. The inexperienced staff even put parvo puppies with healthly ones, lost them all. They had a disease outbreak and failed to notify the exposed public. The Whino's program has volunteers as the backbone of his program, Rancho only averages 10 volunteer hours per day. And Rancho citizens are now paying over $12 per person per year for service when the recommended amount is $5-7 per person per year. Plus this amount is climbing every year. This is what is in store for King County. Why did they do this when all the information says it is a program that can't be sustained? Look at Inland Valley Humane Society/SPCA in Southern CA. They are private and the public cannot get public records request to learn the truth. When you send a request for records, their attorney answers back they don't report to the public. Thus, now the animals will be subjected to anything and everything and the public will not be allowed to know. And the Seattle Humane Society is importing dogs, can't help their own local shelter, taking homes away from the local shelter dogs, and they want to use this group? What a bunch of foolish people who are now the problem and many animals will suffer.

Happy Camper said...

Do get a campaign of truth going Bruce, it will be difficult at best, but if you start quickly before they have time to slam the doors on the reality of this boondoggle; it can be done.

If Mr. Sims does partner with SHS it will be learning experience for all of you. This group is to inexperienced to know they don't know. Our partnership with NHS worked until they went no kill with not enough room or staff

K9RESQ said...

If you want to talk truth, then I’d consider stopping the slams on the people that volunteered their time to save animals after Hurricane Katrina. On multiple blogs now I’ve seen crazy allegations against people that have dared to stand up and demand a change at King County Shelters. Happy Camper, you are repeating rumors that people who support KCACCExposed are “dog killers” when discussing an incident where a group of rescued dogs were sent to what turned out to be a terrible hoarding situation. Here are some facts.

Were either of the people named as “dog killers” still down in the Gulf region when those dogs were sent to EDNAH? NO

Were multiple references checked that indicated this was a good rescue facility including local law enforcement and local veterinarians? YES

Did volunteers go to the site and see the facility? YES; however, what they were shown was a very small part of the facility and obviously they didn't see what was going on, on other parts of the property.

Should the entire grounds have been inspected? In hindsight, YES

Did other reputable rescue groups send dogs to this facility? YES

Of the 450+ dogs at EDNAH, how many were sent by the rescue group in question? 50

Were any of the dogs that died at EDNAH part of that group of 50? NO, they were relocated to other rescue facilities and many were reunited with their owners.

How many animals were rescued by this group in total? 1200

I understand there are strong feelings on this issue on both sides but taking a story from the internet without investigating the true details is irresponsible and if not outright slander, pushing the boundaries.

I'd be curious to know how many of you that continue to try to use this story to discredit the hard work that people did after Hurricane Katrina actually went there and rescued. Please tell everyone what it's like to work in absolute chaos with no official plan in place, lacking basic things we take for granted like electricity, running water, reliable communications, hot food and all in a region that you don't live in and know? Until you've walked in those shoes, you shouldn't judge.

Bruce Cordell said...

Ok folks,

I'm going to close comments on this thread. Everyone's getting a little hot under the collar, and the more the accusations fly on both sides, the more we'll lose sight of the facts and get off on tangents.

There is a real and serious problem in the offing, especially if politicians are convinced a county-wide No-Kill is somehow viable despite all the evidence to the contrary. What we have to do now is educate the public, the media, and council members on the reality of no-kill shelters. Perhaps we can even open the eyes of one, two, or all three of the council members who decided to throw the progress of the last few months into the toilet.

We have to reveal how animal welfare professionals who push region-wide no-kill shelters are either a) dangerously ill-informed about their own industry or B) deceitful.

Looks like the media is starting to look a little closer at the situation: