Caras says gays are key to no-kill city

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1997:

NEW YORK CITY–– ”Spay
/neuter and responsible pet ownership are
the ways to reduce the numbers” of animals
killed in shelters due to pet overpopulation,
American SPCA president Roger
Caras wrote on August 21, declining an
invitation to attend the 1997 No Kill
Conference as a guest of the Humane
Coalition of Massachusetts.
“Running on about no-kill as the
answer is maybe okay in San Francisco,
with a population of 70,000, one third
who are gay,” Caras continued, as “the
gay community is traditionally the most
animal-friendly,” but in New York City,
he went on, where the ASPCA is the primary
humane agency, “The numbers do
not work.”


The human population of San
Francisco is actually 733,000 according to
the U.S. Census––just about 10% of that
of New York City. Both cities have very
low rates of animal shelter killing, when
the data from all shelters in each city are
pooled: 5.9 per thousand humans last year
in San Francisco, 6.1 in New York City.
However, the San Francisco
SPCA, with an annual budget of $6.2 million,
fixed 7,885 animals in 1996. The
ASPCA, with an annual budget of $18
million, fixed 6,700. The ASPCA claims
a national advocacy mandate as well as a
direct animal care mission, but the
SF/SPCA actually employs as many people
in. education, lobbying, and litigation.
The Caras theory that the high
percentage of gay residents in San
Francisco accounts for the noteworthy success
of the SF/SPCA, while novel, does
not explain why one does not find comparable
success in other cities with large gay
enclaves, including North Chicago, New
Orleans, and San Antonio, where the
shelter killing rates are 28.8, 27.8, and a
U.S. city-high 55.6 animals per thousand
residents, respectively.
“When you relinquished New
York City animal control duties in 1994,”
ANIMAL PEOPLE reminded Caras,
“we estimated that New York City needed
to prevent about 85,000 more cat births
and 25,000 more dog births per year to
become effectively a no-kill city, as San
Francisco had already done. This meant
spaying or neutering about 22,000 more
cats and 5,000 more dogs per year. The
numbers are still in the same ballpark. A
no-kill New York is attainable. It simply
requires that the ASPCA be as ambitious
in pursuit of the solution that you yourself
have identified as is the SF/SPCA.”

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