By Sean Pendergast
By Sean Pendergast
By Jeff Balke
By Richard Connelly
By Jeff Balke
By Casey Michel
By Craig Hlavaty
By Jeff Balke
That right there was probably enough to make BARC shudder.
But if the city wanted to decline Winograd again, it could have made a reasonable argument about Winograd's real track record, rather than trying to get him to sign a contract requiring prior restraint.
Winograd has carved out a sort of legend regarding his ascent to the top of the no-kill movement, which is perhaps best reflected in a 2006 Reader's Digest story, which begins: "When Nathan Winograd announced that he was leaving his posh job as a corporate lawyer in Marin County, California, to run an animal shelter in Tompkins County, New York, his father looked at him for a long minute. Then he said, 'What the heck do dogs and cats need a lawyer for?'" The story includes a picture of the noble Winograd walking along a beach with his dogs, Mr. Picklechips and Sir Topham Hat.
And in the bio for Redemption, Winograd is described as "both a former criminal prosecutor and corporate attorney." He has also described himself as "Director of Operations" for the San Francisco SPCA, perhaps the first major shelter to successfully implement the no-kill philosophy.
In truth, Winograd's law career was brief, according to the California State Bar, which shows that he held an active license for six years. He had stints as a prosecutor in Riverside and Marin counties (California) and was then a contract associate for a corporate firm between February 15, 2001, and May 15, 2001.
And in October 2008, a reporter for the Austin Chronicle was the first to shed light on his true capacity at the San Francisco SPCA. Reporter Patty Ruland checked with Winograd's former boss, Ed Sayres (now the head of the ASPCA), who explained that Winograd held the position of Director of Operations for a week and a half before resigning.
Ruland quickly learned what happens to those who dare ask questions about Winograd's claims: They are summarily scorned. Before Ruland's story ran, Winograd blasted her on his blog, accusing her of asking "inflammatory and defamatory" questions.
Winograd regularly criticizes anyone who does not swallow his no-kill philosophy — no matter how much experience they have in the world of animal control and welfare. For example, Kate Hurley, a veterinarian who teaches shelter medicine at the University of California-Davis Veterinary School, has a "pro-killing agenda" because she has suggested that some no-kill shelters have simply warehoused animals.
And just a few days after Winograd spoke with the Press, he blogged about how this paper's line of questioning was based solely on the claims of one of his most vocal critics, a private citizen with the audacity to disagree with Winograd.
Under the heading "A Smear Campaign," Winograd wrote: "The line of questioning was based on the rumor and innuendo of No Kill detractors like Pat Dunaway in order to undermine my efforts and maintain a policy of killing in our shelters. No lie is too grand and no contradiction too obvious for them."
Winograd apparently believes a reporter can't ask tough questions of him based on simple Google searches or interviews with other sources. No, it is the work of the ubiquitous Pat Dunaway, a California woman who has criticized Winograd on various shelter-related blogs. Winograd has also accused Dunaway of being behind the Austin Chronicle's critical story.
In Winograd's mind, Dunaway's trespasses are so severe that he devoted an entire blog post to attacking her personally, accusing her of using false names when feeding lies to gullible reporters. Morally, Winograd has placed Dunaway on the same level as the heads of the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States, who are alternately described as defeatists shackled by institutional complacency and malevolent demagogues who get off on killing perfectly healthy, squeaky-clean puppies.
Winograd's brand of no-kill is based on the belief that animal overpopulation is a myth. Theoretically, he writes, we could be "a no-kill nation tomorrow." It's because of this certainty that Winograd was actually able to include in his book a list of the types of people who will disagree with his arguments, why they will mistakenly disagree with those arguments and why they are therefore dumb people.
One of his favorite arguments is that the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States — the big, evil moneymaking machines — put the onus of animal welfare on the public. In Winograd's world, there is virtually no irresponsible public; it's all a smokescreen for incompetent shelter directors who are perpetually set to "kill." One wonders what Winograd might make of a trip down what local animal advocates call the "Corridor of Cruelty" along Little York, where backyard breeders sit in un-air-conditioned, bombed-out former convenience stores, peddling crates of unaltered puppies struggling to catch a breeze from a floor fan.
Perhaps it's because Winograd has had the good fortune not to have actually worked at an animal shelter for longer than three years. Which is not to say he's incapable of greatness.
Winograd truly loves animals — perhaps a little too much. (One of his accomplishments as director of the Tompkins County SPCA was to create a space for owners and their dogs to get side-by-side massages, an event he once described in an interview as "romantic." Winograd is also in favor of trapping, neutering and releasing feral cats with feline HIV.) But it's this intense love of animals that has made him able to energize those around him. In Tompkins County, he built an impressive army of volunteers and spearheaded a series of public awareness campaigns that increased spay/neuter rates and foster homes while drastically reducing euthanasia rates.
BARC stole my puppy, I called numerous times and left several messages to which none of my calls were returned, the Owner/Manager told me I had to pay $500.00 -which I did not--my puppy was stolen off my property and BARC left a note stating that the dog was taken from its home address, and then I found out re-sold my puppy to some one earlier today.
Has this happened to anyone else before?
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