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KC working towards no-kill animal shelters

Posted at 4:43 PM, Mar 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-02 21:13:59-05

Every year, millions of animals are killed inside animal shelters across the country and the County Director of Kern County Animal Services in Bakersfield wants to end the euthanasia.

There is a movement going on; a movement happening across the country to save as many animals as possible from dying inside shelters and giving them a second chance at finding a home – and Bakersfield is jumping on board.  

Nick Cullen, Kern County Animal Services director said, “Our department has been working towards getting animals out alive for a long time now.”

It’s something Cullen said can happen in Bakersfield – making the county shelter a no kill shelter by ending unnecessary euthanasia and increasing the number of animals who get out of these shelters alive.

Cullen said, “I think the county learned very quickly.  It’s not a matter of animals coming into your facility and trying to find them a placement, as much as it is trying to find a solution to turn the tide of animals that are coming into your facility in the first place.”

Cullen says it all comes down to responsible pet ownership and various programs like low cost spay and neutering services, promoting adoptions, public outreach, and foster programs; and others to change what has been the norm for many years in Kern County – the killing of innocent animals.

Cullen said, “We always hoped and prayed that the animals that we care for could be treated a little bit more humanly.”

Gary Blackburn, KCAS Commissioner said, “We’re grateful that Nick has stepped up and said, ‘Hey I want to do this.’”

Blackburn said that the commission has been trying to go no kill for over a year.   

What was happening to animals in Kern County was captured for the world to see – in a single picture that created debate and heartache in Kern County. 

Blackburn said, “In 2004, James Burger from the Californian wrote an article on the Sunday paper, front page entitled “The sad truth about cats and dogs.”  And it was a color photo of dead cats and dogs in barrels.  I mean like 15 barrels of them and I thought there’s no way this can be happening in my town and I found out this is what reality was.  So I made it my mission to try and do something about it.”

And he did – inviting founder and director of the no kill advocacy center, Nathan Winograd  to speak about becoming no kill.  Winograd has successfully implemented his no kill programs in more than 300 shelters nationwide and is sharing his program with Kern County.