No Kill Imposters

Imposters are an unfortunate reality in our movement. They often rear their ugly heads, attempting to draw the spotlight towards their false assertions, and away from the work of real No Kill advocates. We’ve seen it time and time again, and Nathan Winograd even discusses it in detail in the pages of “Redemption”.

As he says: “Most directors, however, found another way. They began to say one thing, while they did something else. In short, they learned the art of political double-speak. The supposed effort to save animals deemed ‘adoptable’ began, even by those who were No Kill’s fiercest detractors. These old guard institutions began to use ‘new’ language and promote ‘new’programs. Leaders who once pledged to stop what happened in San Francisco from spreading to their own hometowns were now seeking to save all ‘adoptable’ animals. In reality, they did nothing of the kind. Instead, they narrowed the definition of ‘adoptable’ to the point of meaninglessness.”

It’s easy to pay lip service to a concept like No Kill. Claim you want to save lives, halfheartedly implement a few new policies, then, when you fail, state that No Kill is an impossible dream. It’s happened time and time again.

The most recent pseudo-No Kill voices come from the Dallas Companion Animal Alliance. Just hours after No Kill Dallas announced its launch, this group popped up, calling themselves a “task force” designed to advise the city on achieving a No Kill goal.

While No Kill Dallas is backed by Nathan Winograd, Ryan Clinton and other experienced No Kill leaders, the Dallas Companion Animal Alliance is run by Rebecca Poling, a woman who successfully fought to kill shelter reform legislation in Texas just last year. She’s also a member of the Dallas Animal Services Commission, an organization which has been working with the shelter through years of abuse, neglect and rampant killing. Hardly someone with a track record of success.

The Commission seems to be intentionally drawing the attention away from No Kill Dallas and onto their organization. For instance, they created a No Kill Dallas Facebook page, in addition to their own, which serves only to redirect people to their main page. This will certainly confuse people looking for the real No Kill Dallas.

Additionally, they’re using a quote from Nathan Winograd on their website, which seems like an obvious attempt to lead people to believe he’s affiliated with their work. In fact, he most certainly is not. You can read Nathan Winograd’s full letter to the Dallas City Council expressing his opposition to this organization here.

Given Poling’s opposition to shelter reform legislation, and to No Kill in general, it’s hard to believe she’s genuine in her interest to see Dallas improve their lifesaving efforts.  If she were, wouldn’t they have already done it?

The Dallas Observer blog is even weighing in on the situation, although their bias seems pretty palpable.

Dallas citizens who are truly interested in a No Kill goal for their tragically under-performing shelter should direct their attention to No Kill Dallas.

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10 Responses to No Kill Imposters

  1. Becky says:

    I just returned from the NMHP conference in Las Vegas that was put on by Best Friends and I was surprised and pleasantly so, at the number of shelters moving towards No-Kill and the vastly improved numbers achieved by these shelters. For those truly interested in No-Kill, there are many wonderful people willing to speak on the subject from Gregory Castle, Chief Administrator of Best Friends on down. Mike Arms was particularly inspirational to me as he get emotional when discussing volunteers and the countless unpaid hours they put in to ending animal suffering. The message I took away this year was uniting shelters with rescues and combining our passion, power and resources toward the goal of No More Homeless Pets.

    The business of business is hard enough without impostors leaching off the already over burdened philanthropy that is necessary for No-Kill success. That we must waste our precious energy battling these people, when energy is needed just moving towards our goal is despicable.

    • S. Little says:

      Unfortunately, I wouldn’t cite Best Friends as having done anything as of late, other than betray the animals by working behind the scenes to defeat Oreo’s Law. The animals in New York City are dying in droves in large part because of them, and all because they had to back Ed Sayres and the Mayor’s Alliance in order to open an office there so they could fill their coffers. I lost all respect for Best Friends. You can chalk them right up there with the likes of Rebecca Poling, ASPCA, and HSUS.

  2. Your post is completely full of inaccuracies and incorrect information, not to mention libelous and downright mean comments. It’s so sad when people resort to name-calling and mud-slinging to make a point. I’m proud to be a member of the Dallas Companion Animal Project, the official task force working in the best interests of animals in Dallas to end the killing of healthy, treatable, rehabilitable dogs and cats. I encourage those who share this goal to join us at And I hope the owner of this blog will have the courage to post my comments.

    • Jonnie – I have no problem posting your comments. I’d love to hear what inaccuracies you’re referring to? I don’t consider revealing the truth about someone’s dismal track record “mean”. No Kill detractors love to say we’re mudslinging our opponents, but the reality is, we’re pointing out the FACTS. Why would we want to support an organization whose leader has presided over a shelter with terrible kill rates? Please explain how that makes sense. Instead, we should be following in the footsteps of organizations who actually HAVE achieved No Kill success. To simply say you support No Kill means very little. If your organization starts aggressively working to get the policies and programs of the No Kill Equation implemented, I’ll be the first one to blog about it, and offer my applause.

  3. Becky says:

    I know nothing of your organization Jonnie, but I must agree in concept. There is so much mud slinging between people whose hearts are in saving. I really don’t think blogs like this empower the movement towards no kill. It is so frustrating and hard to keep your eyes on the finish line when you must deal with such negativity. Sure there are imposters out there but what I learned at the conference is that if we spend time looking back in our march to the finish line, we only slow ourselves down. Focus on the true purpose. Let Karma do the rest.

    • Becky – The sad truth is, many of the organizations who operate under the guise of No Kill, but don’t actually work to implement it, are doing more harm than good to our movement. You say we should assume these people’s hearts are in saving, but why? If their records show horrible kill rates, I don’t see why we should believe that their hearts are in the right place. Unfortunately, we have seen MANY people try to discredit the No Kill movement, and claim to be for No Kill, but actually work against it, or don’t put forth the necessary effort to see it succeed. We cannot let these cases slide. We need to point out those who are unnecessarily killing animals, and doing damage to our movement by claiming that No Kill is an impossible dream. You call it mudslinging, but all we’re doing is pointing out the facts.

  4. Becky says:

    I have never been one for politics. It turns something worthy into something sad and frustrating. All I know, is that I do all I can for my organization which is No-Kill and concentrate my efforts there. If people in my community want to donate their money to the Kill Shelter here in town, who am I to tell them not too. They will never become a low or no kill if they don’t have funding. Instead we have tried to partner with them (the humane society) as much as we can and by keeping the lines of communication open and operating with good will, we can do more towards helping them achieve a lower kill rate, than by drawing their supporters attention to the factt they euthanize over 2000 animals a year. I live in a community where ethnic beliefs create an incredible number of strays. To the point that wild packs are formed. These dogs are euthanized immediately because they are very dangerous and often times are carrying, shedding or suffering from highly communicable and deadly disease. It is a dirty job that is unfortunately, necessary because until the entire human race comes to understand it is their responsibility to control, contain and limit production of their animals, there will be these issue.

    What frustrates me most, are the non profit rescues in this area who charge around bringing attention to this field rescue or that near death experience only to have their “rescues” die from parvo they contracted in the foster homes they were brought to. One rescue in particular has “saved” and then lost over three quarters of the puppies they picked up, because they keep placing them in parvo infected foster homes. Then they get on Facebook and beg for money to save these puppies, all the while posting cute pictures of the A litter playing with the B litter, AFTER pups in the A litter have been diagnosed with parvo. I find people like this far more frustrating because they are clueless and love the save but have no idea what to do once the glory of the save has faded. Dogs DIE in their care but they call themselves No-Kill. The irony is just too much.

  5. S. Little says:

    Sadly, the only thing this organization and others like them are interested in doing is trying to impede true no kill initiatives and prevent any real accountability on the part of Dallas Animal Services. DCAP established its project within days of “No Kill Dallas,” who adheres to the principles of Nathan Winograd, setting up their own page on FB. Gee, what a surprise! Thereafter, they started another FB page by the same name, “No Kill Dallas,” and stated they, DCAP, were the “official” No Kill Dallas. In addition, Poling grabbed all url’s on the internet for “No Kill Dallas.” Again, what a surprise! And of course, I cannot help but note your reference to saving all “healthy, treatable, rehabilitable” dogs and cats. What I know of so many of these organizations is they like to play “word games.” It all depends on how you define those terms as to what is healthy or treatable or adoptable or rehabilitable. It is usually anything but a common sense lay person’s definition of those terms as we see over, and over, and over again, ad naseum. This organization is no different from ASPCA’s Mission Orange which failed miserably in Austin. They too, tried to shut up all the opposition, by not allowing any criticism of the shelter and precluding anyone from pointing out the things it was failing to do, while relentlessly attacking “true” no kill advocates in Austin. This was nothing more than a “premeptive” strike by DCAP at “No Kill Dallas” with all of the attendant lip service and double speak, if not out right lies, that these organizations have become known for. We will just keep looking at the “raw numbers.” Unlike the killing apologists, they don’t lie.

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