Gone Walkabout

On September 19, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Mike Bailey

Where Did the Time Go?

Early 2009 was when I first learned that the majority of killing in Australian pounds and shelters was unnecessary. It started with a book which set me off on a quest to learn more and work out how we can change things. I needed to find out why some of those we trust to care for our companion animals are killing so many of them.

The Importance of Being Independent

Along the way I’ve met many wonderful people who have helped in various ways. Many of them feel that any public criticism could put their jobs in jeopardy. I realised early on that in order to get their messages out I could not draw an income from the ‘animal welfare industry’. So I continued my IT consulting and resolved to spend 1 day a week working on Good For Dogs. It ended up being more like 3 days a week!

Love Doesn’t Pay The Rent

Unpaid advocacy work has a number of drawbacks:

  • It eats into your rest and recreation time
  • As a consultant/freelancer it can reduce your billable hours
  • Urgent matters (media, meetings) can interrupt paid work
  • It can compete with ‘having a life’
This is probably why you find so few independent animal welfare advocates.

Mind if I Take A Break?

For the past couple of years I’ve allocated a large percentage of my time to helping our community improve outcomes for animals in pounds and shelters. We’ve had some great wins. I feel it’s time for me to take a break, take stock and clear my head for a while. Good for Dogs will be on hold till I get back.






You’ld have to be a bit miffed if the name you chose for your shelter reform model got picked up by the U.N. for it’s anti AIDs campaign. That’s what’s happened to AWL Queensland and their Getting to Zero model. It’s hard to compete with a U.N. funded campaign but there are plenty of other good reasons to get behind the No Kill movement instead of trying to rebadge it.

No Kill is an Established Brand

Despite Nathan Winograd’s books not being sold in Australian bookstores and less than half of shelter leadership having read them, we’re living in a global village where information travels freely across borders. The following table shows Australians search for ‘No Kill’ twenty times more than they search for ‘getting to zero’.

No Kill is Simple To Explain and Understand

Just like ‘No Kill’, G2Z calls for a live release rate of above 90% for animals admitted to pounds and shelters. One place it falls down is in communicating exactly how to achieve that. The No Kill Equation spells it out plain and simple.

The mandatory No Kill programs and services include:

  1. TNR Program
  2. High-Volume, Low-Cost Spay/Neuter
  3. Rescue Groups
  4. Foster Care
  5. Comprehensive Adoption Programs
  6. Pet Retention
  7. Medical and Behavior Prevention & Rehabilitation
  8. Public Relations/Community Involvement
  9. Volunteers
  10. Proactive Redemptions
  11. A Compassionate Director

Getting to Zero or Starting from Scratch?

If you google for ‘No Kill’ you will find oodles of information including wikipediablogs, news reports, books and more. No Kill has been successfully achieved in many U.S. cities and has withstood attacks that include misinformation campaigns by the likes of PETA and the ASPCA.

The G2Z site suggests that No Kill shelters are not open admission. As the president of Victoria’s 3rd largest open admission animal shelter I can tell you this is not true. It goes on to state that “No Kill implies no animal should be killed” but that “Getting to Zero” somehow doesn’t. Huh? Either term could be read to mean “don’t kill pets”. Surely it would be easier to help educate people about what No Kill really means than start a new movement.

The No Kill movement is a Tribe. A global tribe with leaders who get written about in Forbes and spoken about in a TED talk by Seth Godin. We can do more by growing the No Kill movement than trying to start a new Tribe. To do so without good reason would mean lost opportunities and wasted resources.

I’d like to leave you with the talk that introduced me to No Kill in 2009 and led to me realising that we can and must do more for these animals.


Vic Puppy Farm Survey Flawed

On April 22, 2012, in code of practice, dogs, puppyfarms, Victoria, by Mike Bailey

The Victorian Government promised to crack down on puppy farms. As part of a review of the Code of Practice for Breeders there is a public survey asking for opinions on what minimum standards for cats and dogs used for breeding should be.

Where is “None of the Above”?

While we applaud the public being invited to contribute, we’re forced to choose between values we may not agree with. Anyone who believes dogs in a puppy farm should get more than 30 minutes of human interaction per day is unable to indicate that. The results of the survey are going to be misleading when it only captures a narrow band of values.

Victorian Government is seeking public input on what minimum standards should be imposed on dog breeders. We believe the options provided will seriously the results of the survey.

It will not be obvious to all participants that they can continue without selection an answer. At a bare minimum each question should include ‘none of the above’ or “i don’t know” so users do not feel forced to indicate an option they don’t agree with.

What Should Be Done?

A new valid survey should be created that will capture data more accurately. The question above should at least have a “more than 30 min” option.

  • Existing data should be discarded for the current survey
  • Invitations should be sent out for people to participate in the new valid survey







After seven months of campaigning by Geelong residents, a change of leadership at GAWS, one of Victoria’s largest animal shelter is producing some very encouraging results. It’s been a group effort with many individuals contributing enormously to the improved outcomes for the animals.

It’s interesting to contrast the comments of the different shelters. I liked what Maria Mercurio had to say.

As an office bearer for a major welfare organisation it’s no longer appropriate for me to be write critically about other shelters. I hope that by leading from example we can show that change is possible.

I encourage you to visit GAWS and adopt a dog or cat from us soon!

Adopt me now from GAWS, Victoria



What does No Kill really mean?

On October 13, 2011, in No Kill, by Mike Bailey

Few Australians, even in animal welfare circles, could tell you what No Kill is really about or we can achieve it. This may be in part because the book that explains it all isn’t available in this country.
Get up to speed on No Kill in 10 Minutes!

The following primer gives a good overview of No Kill. To learn more, order a copy of Redemption and  visit the No Kill Advocacy Center.

Help Spread The Message on Facebook

Australian No Kill advocates are spreading the message down under. Your help is needed in spreading the word!