'An issue of simple math' 

From comments on arktimes.com

In response to David Koon's June 15 story, "To spay or to shelter?" on the debate on whether to use money earmarked for animal welfare to spay and neuter or to build an animal shelter:

It's an issue of simple math. According to the University of Cornell, the national average for sheltering an animal through tax-funded programs is $200 (it is a higher for humane societies that spend more, hold animals longer and will invest money in vet care for sick and injured animals). This includes the overhead costs of maintaining a shelter, a vehicle, food, vet care (very limited), euthanasia drugs and your payroll for shelter personnel. So for an $80,000 annual budget, we are talking about sheltering 400 dogs and cats total a year (in a shelter that will cost 800K?!?!?!).

The average euthanasia rate is over 50%, so at least 200 of those animals will be killed. Since nothing is being done to actually deal with the unwanted pet births, the need for sheltering will not diminish — it will be simply an issue of warehousing a (very) small percentage of the homeless dog and cat population, year after painful year. Alternatively, the cost of speutering (spay/neuter) averages $60 (or less) per animal through low-cost, non-profit programs. So just $60,000 spent annually would provide 1,000 free sterilizations of pets owned by people who cannot afford it (and who contribute the greatest percentage of unwanted puppies and kittens to the homeless population in the first place). So what does that mean in actual numbers? The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is a primary sponsor of the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy. According to their studies, each unaltered female cat and dog produces almost 16 babies each year (3 litters of 5.4 kittens on average for cats and 2 litters of 7.6 on average for dogs, annually). Obviously, only half are female. Even if you predict a 60% death rate of these offspring (and the survivor's subsequent offspring) before they reach sexual maturity, the number of unwanted births that 1,000 spays would prevent over a 2-year period is over 100,000! Talk about bang for your buck (pun only partially intended). The problem is backward thinking in deciding that sheltering is the most effective way to deal with homeless pets because shelters have been around for a lot longer than birth control. It is far sexier to show pictures of pretty puppies and kittens with sad eyes begging for the public's adoration than to talk about preventing the births of those babies in the first place. This is why there is still a lot more humane society dollars spent on sheltering than on speuter programs in our state and across most of the nation. The Faulkner County Quorum Court is refusing to listen and obviously doesn't have a clue how a shelter works or the laws which govern how to operate a shelter (their proposed numbers say it all), let alone the humane alternative of population control. I know of two local organizations (one a tax funded group, the other an animal welfare organization) who, when approached by the FCQC to provide sheltering, offered to administer a voucher program for speutering to county residents as a better alternative — actively refusing the shelter idea as being an inefficient solution to the problem. I know that both of these organizations are well-informed on the issue, can site examples of these programs all over the nation, and are quite capable of explaining exactly how these programs work.


In response to the news that the Arkansas Department of Education has taken over the Pulaski County School District:

Can we now readdress the question of consolidation? It could even be two districts under one administration. No one has to cross the bridge to go to school. Having three districts in Pulaski County is only slightly less silly than having the four the folks in Jacksonville propose.


Referencing our "State cell phone usage data" app:

I am blown away! Some of these agencies are spending around $1,000 per month on each cell phone (average). I am certain they are smart enough to have free mobile to mobile, the most minutes of any package and data packages. Who the heck are they talking to and about what? WOW!


In response to an item on the Arkansas Blog noting the expansion of our online data section:

What about concealed carry permits? If I meet with a government official I would like to know in advance if they are packing a pistol. Because if they are, and I am not, then I have wasted my freedom and placed my life in danger.

Empire of Dirt

In response to "Talking points on tax development slush fund," a post on the Arkansas Blog about the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce's talking points for proposed uses of $40 million city capital funds that would come from the Little Rock sales tax increase proposal:

I attended one of the early "info" meetings. Nothing was said about ports, or industry, rather parks, police/fire departments, and street repairs. As for Chamber projects — the Chamber doesn't support verbally or otherwise improvements in public education, only alternatives. Industries interested will pay their own way if the quality of life and public education are acceptable to those executives who transfer in. The City should go to the legislature and get groceries and medicines removed from local option taxes before asking voters to endorse another money grab.

Verla Sweere


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