Transition to No-Kill in Brevard County

Overview Of The Homeless Pet Situation 

In Brevard County

Table Of Contents

Click on the links to the left for more information about each topic.
Up one level to next higher topic.
The scale of the local homeless pet problem - a brief summary.
What lead up to this situation.
Promising alternatives to the current situation.
Brief overview of what needs doing.
How to proceed from here.

The scale of the local homeless pet problem - a brief summary

Brevard County Animal Services & Enforcement (BASE) kills about 8,000 homeless cats, dogs, and other pet species each year. These are not all hopelessly sick, injured, or crazy animals. Most of the animals killed would make good pets if there were enough homes for them.  Here is a link to tables of data representing one recent year's statistics: [BASE_stats.htm].

In addition, there are an estimated 100,000 feral cats in Brevard County.  About 10% of them have been spayed or neutered, but the remaining 90% are reproducing at a staggering rate.   

What lead up to this situation

To deliberately generalize, government run animal control has a long sad history of not trying very hard to find alternatives to killing unwanted pets.  The reasons for this are more complex than I intend to go into here.  For a good historical overview I recommend "Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America" by Nathan J. Winograd.

In Brevard County, there has been a history of poor cooperation and lack of mutual trust between animal control authorities and the local animal wefare community.  These problems appear to be improving lately.

Promising alternatives to the current situation

Significantly reducing the number of homeless pets killed will require a multi-faceted approach.  Some of the key elements are:
  • Increased public awareness of the problem, its causes, and the available alternatives.
  • High volume, low/no cost spay/neuter of all cats and dogs.
  • TNR (Trap - Neuter - Return) program for feral cats, combined with managed colonies..
  • Higher emphasis on adopting homeless pets, rather than purchasing from breeders.
  • Inovative pet foster and adoption program making maximum use of volunteer support.

Brief overview of what needs doing

  • Planning
    • Determine priorities, goals.
    • Identify main challenges and obstacles.
  • Organization
    • Start with a core group of leaders willing and able to attend and contribute to meetings.
    • Begin translating priorities and goals into short and long term actions.
  • Public Outreach
    • Get a web site started.   Start small, plan on expanding as needs become apparent.  
    • Start small by recruiting the most dedicated from known supporters.
    • Build public image over time as organization grows.
  • Cooperation
    • Identify and contact other organizations with similar priorities and goals.
    • Try to minimize duplicate effort and 'reinventing the wheel'.
    • Explore ways to combine efforts for greater effect.
  • Monitor Progress
    • Determine quantitative ways to measure progress towards goals.
    • Gather data.  
    • Think ahead.
  • Adjust methods as circumstances change
    • Pay attention to what works and what doesn't.  
    • Continuously reassess goals and priorities, challenges and obstacles.
  • Built long term sustainability
  • Document successful methods (as well as unsuccessful ones)

How to proceed from here

  • Get political leadership support through grass roots lobbying efforts.
  • Begin public education with advertising highlighting potential tax savings of No-Kill transition.
  • Incorporate No-Kill concepts into public school curiculum.
  • Increase spay/neuter compliance through increased awareness, lower cost, increased availability.
  • Create central database of volunteer resources and needs administered by a volunteer resource coordinator office.
  • Increase foster capacity by publicizing needs, training volunteers, providing support (particularly vet care costs).
  • Increase adoptions by showing adoptable animals where people can interact with them.  (Not just at kill facilities during inconvenient hours.)
    • Adoption centers on wheels.
    • Portable adoption facilities which can quickly occupy, then vacate, temporarily available space in shopping centers, schools, other vacant facilities in high traffic locations.
    • Well advertised adoption events integrated with other social events (flea markets, fairs, festivals, community block parties, anywhere local citizens have occassion to gather).
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