No Kill Advocate’s Goal: Create an Army of Compassion

April 15, 2008 | By Victoria Lim | Category: Care & Safety | 143 comments
Tags: care & safety, dogs

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. -- The term No Kill is common to animal shelter workers and animal advocates nationwide. A No kill shelter is one in which euthanasia is reserved only for the untreatable and untamable animals. Few shelters can claim the title, but author and animal advocate Nathan Winograd believes the country will embrace this methodology within the next decade.

Winograd’s goal: to essentially “create an army of compassion” to change sheltering as Americans know it.

He is the general of this army and his strategy is clearly detailed in his wildly popular new book “Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America.”

The first-time author published the book in September 2007 and already “Redemption” is in its third printing.

It chronicles Winograd’s career as a No Kill advocate and shows how anyone can transform their shelter, their community into a No Kill facility.

“It’s really a grassroots movement of pet-loving citizens around the country demanding cities to embrace new models of sheltering,” said Winograd, a pet owner who rescued his own companions from shelters.

He has blamed the shelter system for unnecessarily killing healthy, adoptable animals for reasons such as space restrictions.

The notion of “pet overpopulation” in Winograd’s mind is a “myth.” He refers to his research which shows more people are looking to bring dogs and cats into their homes than the number of those put into shelters.

“Right now, in our country, shelters are failing 50 percent of times for dogs in some communities as high as 80 percent for cats,” said Winograd. “The reason is they’re blaming the community for having to kill, but not changing their own behavior that would impact killing.”

Winograd advocates that mobile adoption sites, low cost or free spay and neuter programs and encouraging volunteerism are steps that will combat what he calls “institutional defeatism.”

He helps shelters break through that defeatism by studying their policies and procedures, and recommending changes that will save more animals.

“Not enough shelters are saying ‘what’s wrong?’ Anything we can do to overcome what you see is behavior problem in animals, or inability to afford medical care for animals, or environmental problems like, ‘my landlord doesn’t allow pets,’ ” said Winograd. “If shelters did those things, and did those things comprehensively, and did those things rigorously, we’d be a no kill nation today.”

Through his consultant work, the creation of the No Kill Advocacy Center in Oakland, Calif., and now his book, Winograd continues to preach what he sees as the inevitable reality of a No Kill nation.

“I think we’ll be a no kill nation in five to 10 years, and killing will be seen by the next generation as a cruel aberration of the past,” said Winograd.

Pet Pulse’s coverage of the No Kill Advocate Center and author Nathan Winograd will continue with our series highlighting the No Kill movement.

Tell us what you think about “No Kill Advocate’s Goal: Create an Army of Compassion” below, and be sure to watch the video of this story at the top of your page. Share your favorite videos by clicking on the ZootooTV tab. Send us your story ideas by e-mailing us at or by calling us at 877-777-4204.

Comments (110)

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Rhonda T.

Rhonda T.
6 years ago

This was an interesting article. It raises a few thoughts on what exactly is a no kill shelter.

Good Point | Reply ›

Geoff L.

Geoff L.
6 years ago

And what's medically treatable and behaviorally acceptable differs from organization to organization, depending on resources. Everything is very complicated.

Good Point | Reply ›

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