Episode 61 – Davyd Smith

Davyd joins us today to talk about how he got started in animal rescue 15 years ago and where he focuses his time today. He is one of the founders of No-Kill Colorado (NKC) where he served on the board and helped develop relationships with National leaders of the no-kill movement. He talks to us about the annual “Just One Day” and the “100 Dog” campaign and what they mean to the local communities and to the state of Colorado.

 

2017: Colorado Organization Save Rates

2017 Organization Save Rates

2017: Save Rates in Major Colorado Cities

2017 Save Rates major Cities

Episode 61 - Davyd Smith

Welcome to the Professionals and Animal Rescue Podcast, where a goal is to introduce you two amazing people helping animals and share how you can get involved with animal rescue. This podcast is probably sponsored by do bert dot com. Do Bert is a free website designed to connect volunteers with rescues and shelters and the only site that automates rescue relay transport. Now on with our show, David became a no kill advocate in 2010. After reading the book Redemption, he helped found no kill Colorado, known as N. K. C. During his 10 years a board member and Casey, he helped develop relationships with national no kill leaders in organizations like the no kill advocacy center. No kill learning, no kill movement and others. During his time on a campaign called 100 Dogs Campaign, he was able to show how any community can change the outcome of homeless pets. Hey, David, welcome to the program. Hey, thanks for having me. So tell us a little bit about you. I mean, I know you’re kind of a tech guy like me. You and I were talking about that. So how did you come about getting into into animal welfare. Well, I guess it’s been kind of a long path, but I’ll take it right up until I became an actual no kill advocate. You know, I always had pets from when I was a child. I think my first cat, it’s six years old. My first. I’ll get nine, and there’s been one or more animals in my life since then. But, um, it was, Ah, I guess it was close to 10 years ago. I had a small pet food company that I was trying to make the best food in the world. Many was a great company, was a lot of fun. I got rid of it since since then, but I was trying to figure out if we had wild success. Um, how I was gonna help animals as part of the company. It was intent from the beginning, and I was looking at I was just reading a lot lot of Internet research on things from, you know, dog fighting the spay neuter clinics. And I grabbed the book Cold redemption by me, the Winograd, right, And I read that book and it genuinely changed my life That changed my life after I read it. At first I was a little depressed because I didn’t realize how bad the situation was in sheltering in the United States. At that time, I thought it was much better. But once I realized what itwas like, redemption also tells you that that this good part of that story, which is we can change that. And so I literally just said, I’ve got to do something And I started pursuing how I could actually change shelters in Colorado, my home of my current home state, in order to, uh, actually save more lives and make sure that no healthy or treatable pet was killed in the shelter ships in the state that I lived nice. Now, when you So this was about 10 years ago. You said when you kind of got into this what Tell us what was the state of animal welfare like in Colorado about 10 years ago? Um, you know, Colorado has always been better than most states for the past 10 years, but that’s of little consequence. Quinn’s of the to the tens of thousands of healthy treated by animals that are killed in shelters. So I think we have gone from probably in the low eighties since I began this journey and we’re just scratching 90 statewide. We can’t seem to break that barrier, and there’s no good reason for that. Um, and that’s what we’re working for now is to break that barrier and get all the way to, uh, um to saving every healthier, treatable pet. This year was 89 point 56%. I want to say I do a lot of stats. Sure, sure. Even release rate you’re talking about. Yeah, and Colorado actually demands that every licensed you have to be licensed in Colorado is a rescuer shelter. And those licensees must, um, submit statistics every year. And the state releases its statistics. Nation wanted. Um, and we really look at those as a, um kind of Ah, uh, well, it’s It’s a tool for us to actually see who’s performing, who’s not, and then try to drill down from there. Why? It doesn’t give us the why it gives us the what’s happened. Yeah, and you know what’s interesting is I mean, you mention that Colorado requires that statistics for both rescues and shelters, and I believe that was part of the pack for law that they passed a number of years ago. Is that correct? That is correct. Packed fun does oversight for all the shelters and rescues in this state. It’s good to have an organization like that. They do. You know, that is the thing that is the most value. I think I personally get out of them as I, uh, a pet advocate. But you know they all. So I have to investigate when there’s a shelter or rescue that may not be abiding by the law on stuff. That’s just that the laws of pretty loose in, you know, in my opinion, on protecting animals. But But at least we do have oversight, and I think it’s a very good thing. Then Colorado put back together and, ah, the team that they have there. Yeah. No, I’m kind of curious because I’m curious what you know, if that’s really going to help. It sounds like as you said, you’re kind of a date a geek, a statistician, right? Without those statistics, which are sometimes harder to come by in some of these other states, it may be harder to show the impact is Was that something you’d agree with right? So So they You know, if we didn’t have these, I can reign the entire state. I can look at every single shelter and rescue. I think this 200 60 plus, um, and I shelters and rescues. Um, so I can look how rescues before me General Howe’s shelters, performing general. Then I can break down and actually compare one shelter to another one rescue to another multiples. And look at the top 10. The bottom 10. That doesn’t tell you the whole story. But it tells you enough to say Well, these are the 10 shelters that of performing the words in the state by a simple Metis tickle method. But as you know, you’re a 90 as well. You know, the first number doesn’t tell you everything, but from there you say, OK, let’s look at these three shelters and see what we can find. One of the young one of the shelters. We’ve really been working in the Colorado and quite frankly, the level of shelters performing at the bottom of that to 6260 organizations. They’re in the bottom three the last two years in a row. Um, and we knew, you know, they can prove, but we would have never known at the whole thing. And finding out shelters are at the bottom. And once we saw that, they there, we decided to actually look good. He talked to local advocates. We found that they were very frustrated with shelter, and we started working with them to improve their community quite often. When we do that and go in, you know, we have had shelters, but most shelters get a little nervous when we come in. Uh, it’s funny that the get no problem with no kill, but regressive shelters have a use problem with no calculate. They don’t like any of the exposure that we bring, But will you really want is not the exposure. What we want them to do is to adopt the program’s service Is that actually make their shelter save every healthier, treatable pet? And if we’re gonna do that, uh, then everything’s great. If they fight us on it, then we have to take up their tactics. Yeah, I know. And I know you mentioned that Pueblo is one that was in kind of the bottom performing. Um, So what are you guys doing about that in particular? Well, Pueblo we’ve had Ah, it’s taken on. I think it’s about a year and 1/2 again. Which is about how long it took us in Canyon City beforehand. Um, in Pueblo, Uh, we we talked to the shelter. We introduced the no kill equation to them. They were actually familiar with it. Um uh, they just did, Really? I want to work with us very well. So we talked to the city Council at that point. And this is, you know, no Colorado kind of consults with local advocates. This doesn’t work if the the local community is not interested. But we find that every local communities interested this when they find out the shelter is not performing there quite often. Shocked and like, Wow, I didn’t know that. So, you know, we helped them to express to their city Council on their elected representatives that the shelter is not performing two stanzas that should we taught them about how the programs and service is of the no kill equation have helped shelters across the nation. So we went up with the city Council member whose name is Chris. Nicole. Great guy who really, really embraced it, and he was like, I know our shelter should be doing better. We pay a lot of tax money for it they’re paying. This year, they paid about $1.7 million for the care of animals in their city, and the shelter is killing about one of four animals that walk in the door. They’re not getting out alive. So it seemed like a reasonable, uh, thing to bring forward to the city Council. Um, they asked us to talk to the shelter again. We did. The shelter really wasn’t trying to work without some things that we thought that needed to d’oh. And we wound up putting forth a law through Chris Nicole in the City Council. It’s actually an ordinance called the Pueblo Animal Protection Act. It’s based on model legislation called the Companion Animal Protection Act from the local advocacy center, and basically what it says. The spirit of it is very simple. A shelter should not be allowed to kill a healthy or treatable animal into actually make that clear. We separate in no kill. We generally separate two words. The word kill in the word euthanasia. Um, there’s a lot of misconceptions about who killed. Sometimes it doesn’t mean that no animal whatever dining shelter, it means that euthanasia is reserved for animals that you are. You’re immediately suffering. So if they’re not ever meeting, really suffering a week cannot help them. Um, then euthanasia becomes an option. That is incredibly small percentage of animals that come into the shelter when we look at the best performing shelters in Colorado, with 97 98 99% save rate. We know this, and it’s not just limited mission shelters. This could be a municipal shelter. Canyon City, for instance, is 35 miles away from Pueblo. There, there, an open admissions shelter they handle the animal control strays owner surrenders et cetera. On dhe. They are saving 96 7% for less three years. That’s so weak, we put yet is someone you should talk to his dug grave from that shelter. He’s a wonderful director. I believe he runs the best shelter in Colorado, and he does it on less money than most other shelters. But anyway, so we put forth the Pueblo Animal Protection Act. It was passed in not believing it was March of this year, but it doesn’t get enacted until January 1st 2019 18. And you know what we’ve been watching in the shelter with the current contractor that runs a shelter? Is there actually not improving to any great degree, which is a shame, because they could have just They had six months to actually prepare for this. So next year, we don’t know if they’ll be the contractor if we’ll get somebody else in there to actually run that shelter, stir and make Pueblo no kill. Interesting. So it’s more of a local law that’s focused on the Is that the City of Pueblo? And so that’s what the jurisdiction is. And what is it? What does it require? What are the what kind of teeth doesn’t have in law? Eso It’s the city and county of Pueblo, and basically it has conditions on when you can, uh, euthanize, Um, and because it’s actually the conditions actually put us in that youth lionization category. You couldn’t kill a pet by the definition I gave you, but you could use the night’s So first of all, they can’t be an empty cage. Um, if there’s an empty cage and there’s a healthy, a treatable pet. You have absolutely no reason to even consider that. I don’t think you have a reason if that wasn’t true, but that’s actually one of the conditions. Um, they have Thio, uh, put the animal out for a certain amount of time. If you’re going to kill the pet anyway, you should have to give that animal tow any pack for licensed organization in the state. As I said, there’s 200 over 260 rescues and shelters in Colorado. So if you have a healthy, treatable pet that you’re saying, I can’t we can’t keep this pet. We’re gonna We’re gonna kill his pat. Just there’s an email list. I have the email list. Everybody has email. Let’s put it out and say This dog is scheduled for euthanasia and threw in 72 hours, and then any rescue or shelter could step up and say, I’ll take that. Um so there are things like that is actually 10 of them, But it’s those kind of restrictions that allow us to make sure that every healthier, treatable pet is giving the chance for a loving home. Nice. That’s that’s really interesting. And like you said One of the great things is that you guys do have packed for um, which now you’ve got that list of 260 organizations, right? So it’s one of the things that I talk a lot about is you’re not at this alone, right? There’s a whole community nearby or even a short distance away. But even within the state of Colorado, 260 options a CZ places for that animal, not even including the general public. That’s a That’s a lot of options, right? And when you look at the general public of Colorado, we’re doing a great job. I mean, we have surpassed 100,000 adoptions two years in around, Um, you know, that’s of no consequence to about the 18,000 animals that killed in our shelters. But that is a remarkable number. Uh, we actually probably have room for another 10 20% 1 of the big challenges we have. And this is why Colorado could be no kill literally today. Um, it’s not. It’s not even a question, and I’ll tell you why. And I’ll get a little geeky here on the I P. If that’s okay, way actually import from other states more than 35,000 cats and dogs. So there are rescues and shelters that go to Texas and Kansas. Never ask it wherever, and they pull a animals from other shell there said. You know, we should always help our neighbors. You know we transfer is a great tool, but there is no reason for us to go out of state first when we’re killing. As I said, about 18,000 cats and dogs were killed in Colorado in 2017 the last time PAC gave results. They just came out, actually, and and even if you say well, about half of those were probably used a nice maybe eight thousands. So about 10,000 animals were killed in our shelters. If we’re importing 35,000 we could easily save those 10,000. That’s really less than 1/3 of the animals where it courting into the state. So we could be no kill overnight if we just organized together and make sure that shelters where you know the number one cause of death for healthier, treatable pat in Colorado, any she wanted is shelter killing. So if we just get them to organize and As I said, we have 260 organizations now. Some of them be hard, right? If I have a Chihuahua rescue, the shelter is trying to get rid of a great Dane. Well, we’re not gonna go there to our house, right? But there are clinical rescued that can. With 260 organizations, we can always find somebody who can help us out. If we just give them a little time, we do it every day, is advocates. We call. We try to move animals here there, but the shelter is not open to that. Doesn’t work very hard on that. Then obviously, animals needlessly are killed in our shoulder system. Yeah, no. And it’s It’s as you know, I mean, there’s 260 within your state, and there’s even neighboring states and other places, and you can get into that whole debate of save with local or transfer. But when you look at things in aggregate, there’s a lot of organizations that can work together across state lines within counties across counties. And there’s a lot of options now for animals. Yeah, and I believe that, you know, we believe in transfer. Transfer is a huge life saving opportunity and the the only reason you know, I always say, Well, you know, certainly. If you have room for an animal, you should call the shelter that smile away. If they don’t have anything, you go further out. If you can’t find one that’s inside your mission. Like I said, how much of our rescue arm? ST Bernard rescue? I can’t find one locally. I think I should absolutely go help my neighboring state. There’s no reason we can easily pull in 30,000 animals in the Colorado from neighboring states after saving every healthier, treatable system. So the I don’t ever want to see that transfer. We should save every one of those animals that we can from another state. That’s, you know, we want to do this nationwide. But, um, you know, I represented Colorado. We concentrate locally first. Sure, no. And I always say transfers, not the option is an option, and it cz one tool in your toolbox, and and obviously there’s lots of other things that people need to focus on, but it’s certainly an option. So, um, I want to talk a little bit about this just one day. Um, tell us a little bit about this day that you guys organized in Colorado and kind of what your plans are suggest. One day was actually something that we’ve done for five years. We’ve experimented several times and, uh uh, just like in in Ah, I t or even business, you know, you try new things, you look at the success that you had, and then you go back and say, OK, this is what we can improve. So we think we have it dialed in. We started five years ago. It was actually created by Mike Fry from no killed learning. It was based on the June 11th which was the day that neither Winograd had actually started working at Tompkins County Humane Society back in 2001. I think, um, he walked in on June 11th and he was the first person. I mean, there were still shelters even back then that was saving a large number animals, But he had walked in and said it to a shelter that was killing half the animals that came in the front door. And that day, he said, We don’t do that anymore. And a little, you know, one day he made a no kill shelter. And then he proved the model over several years, And then you wrote redemption after them. And so we were celebrating that day. And what we do is we make a statewide adoption of them, and we’ve done in several different ways where we actually made a huge adoption event in like, a city park and brought, like, 40 rescues and shelters to the park for people to comment, see pets of all kinds. And then we tried doing it all over the state individually, like each rescue would have their own. And, you know, we got better reach across the state with that. But in the end, actually, we found that that concentrated one is actually much more attractive, and we had a lot more success. So this year coming up, we’re gonna do one in Colorado Springs. Uh, first time we did one down south, we’re gonna put together dozens of rescues and shelters. We’re gonna get a beautiful park space with tents and activities, and we market it. And then people come from all over to meet all the various different animals that have come there. Cats, dogs, different breeds. You know, seeking dog rescues and breed dog rescues. And and you, it’s the, uh, general A general Great day to get people to understand everything that’s going on in this state and to hopefully find all these pets loving home on that day. And just one day’s basic premise was for just one day. If we can do this for just one day and not kill a single animal in in the shelter, then we can do with a second day and we do it 1/3 day. It is very similar to clear the shelters you may have heard of, that it actually has become a bigger, bigger reaches exactly the same. If we can do that one day, we we can do that more than one day. So let’s do it just one day and let’s just make it perpetual. Yeah, I think that’s one of things I really enjoy about the model that you guys have taken as you, you know, just one day. And then you started with just one shelter in just one city in just one county, and you’re really trying to make your mark and show that it can be done to build build that momentum. And I think it’s a really good testament to your success is that you have been successful in this one and this this one and this one, and they’re hopefully is gonna be a tipping point where you guys will just you’ll have more people coming to you wanting to do this. Then you can keep up with Yeah, well, it’s nice because, you know, it’s this is this happened because that gets called us and and and and we have actually increased. Uh uh. We started in a little tiny town called Antonito in World Colorado, and even the person who called me who was wonderful animal advocate have the misperception which is very common. And, you know, I mean, that’s okay. I mean, we all have misconceptions until we get deeper into this. And she called and said, Oh, you know, I live in this town. Nobody cares about the animals. They don’t speak and neuter they, you know, it’s the farming community, and it’s low in common and that, you know, they just we have animals. We have 100 stray dogs in a little town of 108 100 people. They have 100 stray dogs. I think if she was exaggerating, but I said, You know, it’s not true that they don’t care. They do care. They just don’t They have not given the opportunity to take care. So we went down there and checked it out and believe it or not, they had 100 stray dogs. Shocked the heck out of me. But I said no. Okay, we could figure this out. So we created something called 100 Dogs campaign for Antonito Cholera. We said we’re going to spay and neuter 100 dogs and we are going to pull every stray animal from the streets which we it was about 100. And we’re gonna find them a no kill shelter or rescue to go to so they could find a loving home. And we in six months we did 328 Spain neuters, I believe. And we pulled 100 and 38 cats and dogs and got them tow loving homes from that whole thing. We actually lost one animal to parvo when one puppy, which was said the name was Shilo, actually still remembered because we was so wildly successful that single failure was heartbreaking. But when you think about what we did, then we rewrote their law, um, to be less of an animal control lawn ama and changed it to an animal. Well, for a law. And this little town has been essentially toe kills since then. That was six years ago, and the partners of ours have done down there and done the spay neuter clinic savor every year. But what we found was that first weekend that we did it, we thought, Okay, well, do 60 spay neuter is something like that and then they will come back. We had over 100 people saying, Yeah, we’ll come in, we’ll give him $20 spray neuters. And it was It was exactly what I said. If you give people the opportunity, people love pets, even people who don’t have pets generally love pets. The general public is our friend, Um, and if we always look at it that way, we could know it succeed. So from there, Canyon City advocates had called us. They had a problem with their shelter, which was killing 40% of the animals that walked in the front door. So we went there and talked to the board. The board didn’t want to work with us, so we did a public campaign to the community again. We were told Ken City, you know, the demographics there that people don’t really care about their pads, you know, um, UN appointments, tie that blah, blah, blah all these things. As soon as we started, people came to us. They join the group, they started pressuring the shelter. It took us over a year because the board did not believe that they could be no kill. They ultimately hired another shelter director named, uh, great. Doug walked into the shelter. As I said, they would come 40% of the animals before he walked in. He saved over 90% his first month. He’s been saving over 97 98% for four years running nonstop, and his budget hasn’t changed. Nothing’s changed. The community hasn’t changed. The community is the same community that was there before, which was everyone was one in community. But what changes the shelter and leadership at a shelter is the single greatest promise to, uh, saving every healthier, treatable pet. And Doug is a great leader, and that’s what we need in shelters across the country. Yeah, definitely. Well, thank you, David, for coming on today and sharing your story and what you guys were doing. Is there anything else you wanted to mention before we wrap things up? Um, yeah, well, since I had mentioned it to need, I’ll say the one thing because I always think of this. This is a great movie from years ago called The Power of One, which I found very inspirational. But I always remembered that line because in Antonito in Canyon City and in Pueblo, it was one person who came to us of nice for help. Um and and and we’ve made dramatic change, which is just increasing across the state. So I think people out there that really do care about pets, um and they think while it’s just me, what can I D’oh, It’s not true. It only takes you. It takes one person to stand up and start finding a group. You multiple. You need a group. But it takes one person to make that change. To really initiated. Be the catalyst. So when he went out there in your podcast, that’s listening. Do you never feel helpless. It’s hard. Sometimes it takes a long time, but it’s you. You’re the one who’s gonna do it, so do it in your community. And let’s save every healthy a tree suitable pet that we can’t. Yeah, very well, stated David. Well, thank you very much for coming on the program today. It was great to talk to you. Hey, this was great. Thank you so much in hope talked against him. Thanks for tuning into today’s podcast. If you’re not already a member, joined the Air P A. To take advantage of all the resources we have to offer. And don’t forget to sign up with do bert dot com. It’s free and helps automate the most difficult tasks in animal rescue.

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