Make Des Moines a No-Kill City

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Dear Des Moines residents, city council, city manager, and animal welfare activists:

(Edited to add: I know many of you outside Des Moines have a lot to add to this conversation - however, at this time I would like to try to keep this particular petition to Des Moines residents only. Thanks for understanding.)

The City of Des Moines is currently creating a contract for FIFTEEN YEARS for its animal control. Previously the contract was awarded to Animal Rescue League of Iowa, and likely will be again. If you care about companion animals, then this contract should be an issue for you.

Let me preface: I'm not anti-ARL. ARL has the volunteer power, funds, space, and staff to be the catalyst for the no-kill change that is long overdue in this city! They have the capability to rescue animals that most other rescues in the area cannot accommodate, like horses and pigs. They have the experts on hand to offer educational opportunities. They have full time marketing staff to really get their name out in the public. 

But, aside from all this - ARL is a kill shelter.  They've contended that they are "essentially a no-kill shelter", but this is inaccurate - either you are or you aren't, and they aren't. Historically they do not present accurate data so it's difficult to know exactly how many animals they have euthanized. Every other animal welfare organization is required to keep accurate data - why isn't ARL being held to this same standard? Why is the city of Des Moines still behind the times and allowing a kill shelter to run animal control when we have resources to make our animal control no kill? I keep getting sassy feedback from folks with comments like, "Euthanasia is the most humane option in some cases!" Yes. It is. This is not an issue or argument against euthanasia. Every reputable rescue has animals that they need to put down because it is the kindest and most humane option. Everyone in the animal welfare community would agree that isn't what this debate is or should be about. Another comment: "Other rescues dump their animals at ARL, that's how they are no-kill!" Really? Then why aren't you mad? Why isn't ARL mad? Why isn't anyone speaking up about these shady practices? I put this back on all of you who supposedly know about this, but have yet to report it. Nobody agrees with this practice and if it's true, nobody would support rescues doing this type of shady work. You cannot be passionate about giving animals a voice if you allow this to continue.

ARL is known for holding animals captured by animal control for years and taking a hands-off approach in all animal control cases. It doesn't make sense, if they are holding the animals they should be the ones approaching city council letting them know the temperament/situation regarding the animal.

ARL has put a gag order on the city, so if you ask your city representative questions they are legally unable to respond. That is highly unprofessional and dangerous to our companion animals, not to mention completely opaque in a situation that should rely on transparency.

To be clear, this petition is not about changing the ARL. However, they are likely going to win this contract, and this petition is about changing the animal control policies that are being put in place and administered by ARL. 

At the city council meeting on 4/23/18, Joe Gatto made it clear he supports status quo. Clearly he has never had an animal he cared about captured by animal control. Before anyone throws stones and claims only irresponsible pet owners would allow this, think a minute. Has your pet really never once escaped from your home when you're opening the door for delivery pizza or to get the mail? It happens. Accidents happen. I'd hate to think of what may happen if this animal could look like a pit bull in any way, shape, or form. You may never see your pet again unless you have years to fight it in court and endless funds. This happens in Des Moines. It's currently happening right now, today.

Josh Mandelbaum is a (maybe the?) voice of reason on the city council. He sees the need for us, the tax paying resident of Des Moines, to give feedback on the proposed contract. 

Things I ask we all demand of our animal control contract: make animal control no kill. Allow licensed rescues to pull animals on death row. Allow transparency clauses. Hold the rescue awarded the contract accountable for providing data. Allow the public to view the contract. Better yet, form an advisory panel of animal control experts in Des Moines to oversee the formation, implementation, and regulation of this contract!

End and send date for this petition is 5/5/18. 

Thank you!



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