BOOKS: Save Our Strays
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1999:
Save Our Strays
How We Can End Pet
Overpopulation And Stop Killing
Healthy Cats & Dogs
by Bob Christiansen
Canine Learning Center Publishing
(POB 10515, Napa, CA 94581), 1998.
$15.00 includes postage.
Since 1989 “The Book” in the animal
care-and-control field has been the
National Animal Control Association Training
Guide. Now there is another: Save Our
Strays, by Bob Christiansen. You need
both––and they don’t overlap.
The NACA Training Guide e x p l a i n s
just about everything that an effective animal
care-and-control officer or department chief
needs to know about how-to. Surprisingly little
of the advice is outdated. We keep our
copy close by the telephone, and have rarely
visited a shelter of any kind where a wellthumbed
copy wasn’t near the director’s desk.
Save Our Strays is an equally useful
and thorough compendium of information
about why animals enter shelters and what to
do about it, based on the most extensive presentation
of verified data that anyone has ever
assembled. Author Bob Christiansen doesn’t
settle for single sources, common suppositions,
or anyone’s sloganeering. Instead,
Christiansen collates and abstracts the findings
of hundreds of separate studies, to present a
comprehensive portrait of the evolution of cat
and dog demographics in the U.S., with
emphasis on how shelters influence the numbers.
To understand what he offers is to take
the guesswork out of designing a cat and dog
population control program.
Christiansen covers the principles,
for instance, that one should consider in drafting
an application for some of the $200 million
that the Duffield Family Foundation has committed
to joint programs for achieving no-kill
communities. Save Our Strays is not a handbook
for getting the money, and Christansen
has no connection whatever to Duffield, but
you can bet that Duffield chief executive officer
Richard Avanzino will expect of successful
applicants that they have considered all the
aspects that Christiansen reviews.
Strategic planning is only one aspect
of the utility of Save Our Strays. It can also be
handy in responding to media requests for statistics,
especially of a comparative nature,
and in preparing humane education programs.
As a dog trainer, shelter board
member, former shelter director, and consultant
to many animal control agencies and
humane societies, some in notoriously difficult
regions, Christiansen knows the field.
His analysis is based on experience as well as