by Valerie Hayes
Next year, the No Kill Advocacy Center, No Kill Nation and Sagacity Productions will release a feature-length documentary about animal sheltering and the No Kill movement. At last year’s No Kill Conference, I was interviewed for this documentary. We saw this trailer as part of the closing remarks of this year’s Conference. The trailer begins with Henry Bergh, founder of the once-great ASPCA and then moves to the contemporary No Kill movement, telling the story through interviews with various players in this unfolding movement. You’ll see some familiar faces–Nathan Winograd, Ryan Clinton, Mitch Schneider, Ellen Jefferson, Bonney Brown–and some you’ve never seen before, but who made all the difference in the world.
Nathan Winograd literally wrote the book on the No Kill movement, created the first No Kill community in the country, has called out more liars and killing apologists than anyone else and is the acknowledged leader of the movement. Ryan Clinton led the fight for No Kill in Austin, one which had to defeat the ASPCA, which supported continued killing. Mitch Schneider’s approach to animal control is a key component to Washoe County, Nevada’s success. Dr. Ellen Jefferson’s organization Austin Pets Alive! has used a systematic and ever-improving approach to saving as many pets as possible, crucial to Austin’s success, and Bonney Brown turned the Nevada Humane Society around with turbocharged adoptions, volunteers and innovative programs. All of these individuals have shared their considerable knowledge and skill with others and inspired them to work towards No Kill communities of their own, creating a ripple effect that keeps on expanding exponentially.
All of their stories are compelling, but the one closest to my heart is one told by some people you’ve never seen before, one whose names you don’t know, the core group of volunteers who never gave up no matter what the shelter staff and board dished out. I owe a personal debt of gratitude to all of them that I could never repay if I had 10 lifetimes in which to try. It is because of them that a shelter so shamelessly steeped in the killing mentality that it had sunk to the depths of killing a volunteer’s foster kittens rather than picking up the phone was transformed into something beyond our wildest dreams. It is because of them that my personal despair at the killing of two nameless kittens I’d cared for for a month became part of a much larger story, and an inspiring one.
For the rest of the blog and to view the No Kill Revolution in America trailer, click here