June 11, 2014 is Just One Day in New York City and across the country – a day when animal shelters across the nation pledge to not kill any animals in their care and showcase their efforts to reach out to the public and involve them in saving shelter animals – a trial run of No Kill, if you will, an exploration of what is possible. It is also, by extension, a day of cooperation between shelter systems and rescue groups; a day to lay down one’s rhetorical and metaphorical swords and focus on saving as many animals as possible – together.
Historically there has been participation in this yearly event in the New York City area from rescue groups; their role has been an effort to clean out the kill lists on Just One Day. This year, they’ll have help.
The newest participant in this national day of No Kill is Animal Care and Control of New York City. On Jun 10 there will be no “at risk” list. On Jun 11, there will be no euthanasias performed, there will be extended adoption hours, there will be greatly reduced adoption fees, there will be outreach in the form of an adoptions vehicle going to a major urban center, and there will be a focus on reaching out to the public and inviting them in – especially through a social media presence that has been growing steadily more engaging.
This is important; to my mind representing an acknowledgement by NYCACC of a direction, a goal: this is where we’re going.
I know it’s very difficult to see this in the middle of kitten season, but NYCACC is actually improving. The April numbers imply a live release rate for the month somewhere on the upper end of the 80th percentile – it’s hard to say exactly where they are as NYCACC still will not provide numbers in the standard Asilomar reporting format – and neither will Maddie’s Fund, who requires NYCACC to produce those numbers but hasn’t made them publicly available since 2011. Both organizations have a lot to say about transparency and I would hope that one or both will soon publish the shelter’s recent numbers soon to fulfill that commitment to transparency. In the fall, when the ASPCA’s recently announced kitten nursery opens, we will hopefully see further improvement statistics even during upcoming kitten season(s).
There will be detractors who say that the commitment to Just One Day doesn’t matter, that animals will simply be moved to another day – but they miss the point. By coupling a suspension of the kill list with a focused effort to get more animals into homes, with adoptions promotions, with extended hours, with more opportunities for animals to leave the shelter – well, I can guarantee you that it won’t be a typical Wednesday.
I am not, historically, what one might call a huge fan of NYCACC. But I do see improvements, I do have hope, and I do believe, strongly, that when there is an opportunity to save animals that opportunity should be exploited and supported.
So participate. Pull on the evening of Monday, Jun 9. Adopt. Spread the word. Let’s get as many animals in homes as we can – together – and someday, in New York City as everywhere else, Just One Day will be every day.