Think critically, give locally

This year, my giving is local, mostly to Pups Rescue of Stockton, CA. I recently heard that 85% of giving happens in December. I know that used to be true for us, and a few years ago, we made large (for us) donations to Best Friends and Bad Rap. Neither ever even said thank you, though Best Friends put us on their begging list and spends a hell of a lot of money on glossy promotional materials to get us to give them more.

More importantly, neither has ever responded to requests to help the animals of Stockton, even though I’ve personally been in touch with both organizations and asked, providing plenty of evidence of the need and of our local efforts. Well, you could say, they can’t help everyone. But, I would answer, they want my money. Best Friends especially already has millions and Bad Rap is local, pretty well-funded (from the looks of its IRS 990, which shows over $350,000 in net assets at the end of 2010), and supposedly rescues pit bulls in grave danger, and the animals in my community are in dire need. I even have BadRap t-shirts, mugs, and bumper stickers. But so far I have found, and other no-kill advocates, pit bull advocates, and rescues have said the same thing to me, that they won’t help the animals I see disappearing from the Stockton and other high-kill shelters’ Petharbor databases and kennels into the dead barrels every day. So why would I give them my money?

Plenty has been written, especially by the No Kill Advocacy Center, about the fundraising machines and betrayal of mission of the ASPCA and HSUS, so I won’t spend time on that. I do want to discuss one more popular recipient of end-of-year giving in our northern California region, and that is the San Francisco SPCA. I mention them because they call themselves a “shelter partner” with Stockton, their 2011 income as reported by Guidestar was over $25 million and their expenses for the same year $18 million, which means they had seven million dollars sitting around at the end of 2011. They, too, have ignored pleas to help animals in great need at their shelter partner in Stockton, while pulling the “cute and fluffies” to make money at their San Francisco adoption center. At the same time I was desperately seeking help for Sadie (pictured below), Dr. Jennifer Scarlett of the SF SPCA was asking to meet with me about their Stockton work because I’m such an important stakeholder, and assuring me that “We all have the same goals in mind – the welfare of animals.” But regarding Sadie, then A191411, she was silent, even as she was trying to set up a meeting with me. Yeah, an interest in animal welfare. Right. A $7 million surplus and you can’t help a sick pit bull, but we share an interest in animal welfare. Got a bridge to sell me, too?

Sadie with me the day she was saved by Pups Rescue.

It was Pups Rescue that saved Sadie and it is a local family that is fostering her. You know how much Pups Rescue had in the bank at the end of 2011, or 2012, or any month? Somewhere around $0, because it all goes to care for the animals in the rescue and to save more. Pups Rescue’s director, Marilyn, used to pull litters of puppies with their moms the minute they came into Stockton Animal Services, thereby preventing them from getting sick, freeing up kennel space, and saving lives. She’s not allowed to do that anymore. Puppies that SF SPCA and other partners want are boarded for free by Stockton till those organizations make it over to get them. If SF SPCA and other preferred rescues don’t want them, they’re killed, and Pups Rescue now saves puppies from shelters that want to save lives, like the Front Street Shelter in Sacramento. More and more, though, because director Marilyn Williams is committed to acting locally, Pups Rescue saves the highest need animals from the Stockton pound–adult pit bulls and dogs with untreated demodex and other ailments–and her balance at the end of the month is always $0 and probably always will be, because all the money goes into saving more animals. So that’s where my donations are going now, and I hope yours will, too. We need Pups Rescue in operation in Stockton, and the only way it can keep saving the highest need animals is for us to help.

Thanks, and Happy Holidays from some happy rescued dogs and cats!

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