Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

Familiar Lyrics…

25 Nov

I do an albums of the year post, and was listening to the new album Lady Gaga put out with Tony Bennett (which is pretty good if you like ’30s-’40s swing, P.S.) and some lyrics stopped me in my tracks. On the 3rd track Bennett sings, “…smile looks like a smirk…” What?! And the track is called, “Love for Sale” so that’s pretty pointed, am I right? Just thought I’d share my excitement at another “konnection” kidding, not kidding.

 

**edited to spell out what I’m getting out more clearly**

 

 

#1) Jesus, why do I always get such rude responses to my excited and earnest posts?! Unnecessary. Can we tone it down, everybody? Nobody needs to attack. You guys seriously hurt my feelings when you undermine my posts. I’d rather you either tell FACTS/logic of why you disagree, or just scroll along…

#2) Ever heard of a little song called ‘Happiness’ where the lyrics include:

[Verse 2]

Tell me, when did your winning SMILE

Begin to LOOK LIKE A SMIRK?

When did all our lessons start to look like weapons

Pointed at my deepest hurt?

I hope she’ll be a beautiful fool

Who takes my spot next to you

No, I didn’t mean that

Sorry, I can’t see facts through all of my fury

You haven’t met the new me yet

#3) According to Wiki:

“Love for Sale” is a song by Cole Porter introduced by Kathryn Crawford in the musical The New Yorkers, which opened on Broadway on December 8, 1930 and closed in May 1931 after 168 performances.[1] The song is written from the viewpoint of a prostitute advertising “love for sale”.

#4) There is much speculation who Happiness is about. But New York! Selling out?! Like a marriage to a rich person or something??? Two guesses who that might be about–and it’s not Abigale.

 

I have no idea why my post was removed?!  It has everything to do with Gaylor?  Like, sorry if you don’t know Taylor and Karlie (probably) dated.  And Karlie married a rich, rich politically involved family, which Taylor might see as selling out or ‘Love for Sale’???  Cause it might not be the true love Kaylor shared, but a love of a lifestyle that a straight marriage can provide.

Love for Sale

Cole Porter

When the only sound in the empty street
Is the heavy tread of the heavy feet
That belongs to a lonesome cop
I open shop
When the moon so long has been gazing down
On the wayward ways of this wayward town
That her smile becomes a smirk,
I go to work.

Love for sale, appetizing young love for sale
Love that’s fresh and still unspoiled
Love that’s only slightly spoiled
Love for sale
Who will buy?
Who would like to sample my supply?
Who’s prepared to pay the price
For a trip to paradise?

Love for sale.

Let the poets pipe of love
In their childish way
I know every type of love
Better far than they.
If you want the trill of love,
I’ve been through the mill of love,
Old love, new love,
Every love but true love.
Love for sale.

Source: LyricFindSongwriters: Cole PorterLove for Sale lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

Also: Why are they so mean to me???

Radiation Background [see what I did, there?]

9 Nov

**Disclaimer**

This is NOT a super-detailed, comprehensive tutorial on radiation.  The subject has a lot of spiderwebbing topics, and I’m conveying just the very basics so we can get to the topic I actually want to talk about-The Dyatlov Pass Incident/Mystery.  Also, I have included sources for the information at the bottom.  Puh-leeze do not get after me about plagiarism.  The following info is not my own, the citations are not school-appropriate, but I am not trying to be sketchy and steal.  Please see the websites of the original works for so much, and better info.  I am just giving you the gist so we all have the same basic foundation for the topic I am actually trying to address:  Dyatlov Pass

Radiation is the energy released from atoms as either a wave or a tiny particle of matter. Radiation sickness occurs when high-energy radiation damages or destroys certain cells in your body. Regions of the body most vulnerable to high-energy radiation are cells in the lining of your intestinal tract, including your stomach, and the blood cell-producing cells of bone marrow(1).

Possible sources of high-dose radiation include the following (1):

  • An accident at a nuclear industrial facility [or prior to regulations, ie radium girls]
    • Chernobyl
  • An attack on a nuclear industrial facility
  • Detonation of a small radioactive device
  • Detonation of a conventional explosive device that disperses radioactive material (dirty bomb)
  • Detonation of a standard nuclear weapon
    • Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

OK, the next is for you to reference when you’re reading along and don’t understand the what the unit of measure means.  Radiation is measured in many ways so it can get confusing.  Don’t worry, there won’t be a test!

The units of measurement commonly used in determining radiation exposure or dose (2):

  • The roentgen (R) is a measure of quantity of x or gamma ionizing radiation in air.
  • The radiation absorbed dose (rad) is the amount of energy absorbed in any substance from exposure, and applies to all types of radiation.
    • The R and the rad are nearly equivalent in energy for practical purposes.
  • The rem is used to correct for the observation that some types of radiation, such as neutrons, may produce more biological effect for an equivalent amount of absorbed energy.
    • For x and gamma radiation the rem is equal to the rad.
      • Thus the rem is equal to the rad multiplied by a constant called the “quality factor”.
  • The rad and the rem are currently being replaced in the scientific nomenclature by two units that are compatible with the International System of Units, namely the gray (Gy), equal to 100 rads and the Sievert (Sv), equal to 100 rem.

Bottom line:  Amount of radiation determines severity of symptoms (more = worse).  The time elapsed also determines severity of outcome (faster = worse).

Type of Exposure

The severity of radiation sickness depends on how sensitive the affected tissue is. For instance, the gastrointestinal system and bone marrow are highly sensitive to radiation.  Sickness also depends on how much of the body is exposed (1).  Many thousands of rads delivered over a long period of time (e.g. for cancer treatment), can be tolerated by the body when small volumes of tissue are irradiated. The entire human body can probably absorb up to 200 rads acutely without fatality. However, as the whole-body dose approaches 450 rads the death rate will approximate 50%, and a total whole-body dose of greater than 600 rads received in a very short time will almost certainly be fatal (2).

The severity of signs and symptoms of radiation sickness depends on how much radiation you’ve absorbed. How much you absorb depends on the strength of the radiated energy, the time of your exposures, and the distance between you and the source of radiation (1).

Stages of radiation sickness/poisoning

It can’t be emphasized enough that a lot of variables influence how radiation might make a person sick.  The type of severe acute radiation syndrome (ARS) depends on dose, dose rate, affected area of the body, and the period of time elapsing after exposure. The severe ARS is due to penetrating radiation to most or all of the body in a short period of time, usually a few minutes (2).

A patient with any type of severe ARS usually goes through three stages (2):

  • In the prodromal stage, the classic symptoms are nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.
    • a. This stage can last for a few minutes up to a few days.
  • In the next stage, called the latent stage, a patient seems to improve to the point where they are generally healthy
    • a. for a few hours or even a few weeks.
  • The last stage, called the overt or manifest illness stage is specific to each type (which will be discussed in more detail further ahead):
    • a. cardiovascular
    • b. central nervous system sickness
    • c. gastrointestinal sickness
    • d. and hematopoietic sickness.

Symptoms of Radiation

The initial signs and symptoms of treatable radiation sickness are usually nausea and vomiting. The amount of time between exposure and when these symptoms develop is a clue to how much radiation a person has absorbed.  After the first round of signs and symptoms, a person with radiation sickness may have a brief period with no apparent illness, followed by the onset of new, more-serious symptoms.  With mild exposure, it may take hours to weeks before any signs and symptoms begin. But with severe exposure, signs and symptoms can begin minutes to days after exposure (1).

Possible symptoms include (1):

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Dizziness and disorientation
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Burns
  • Sores or ulcers
  • Hair loss
  • Bloody vomit and stools from internal bleeding
  • (bacterial) Infections
  • Low blood pressure
Oral complications caused by radiation therapy to the head and neck include the following (3):

  • Pain.
  • Changes in dental growth and development in children.
  • Taste changes.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Inflamed mucous membranes in the mouth.
  • Tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Fibrosis (growth of fibrous tissue) in the mucous membrane in the mouth.
  • Fibrosis of muscle in the area that receives radiation.
  • Malnutrition (not getting enough of the nutrients the body needs to be healthy) caused by being unable to eat.
  • Dehydration (not getting the amount of water the body needs to be healthy) caused by being unable to drink.
  • Breakdown of tissue in the area that receives radiation.
  • Breakdown of bone in the area that receives radiation.
  • Problems in the mouth and jaw caused by loss of tissue and bone.
  • Infections in the mouth or that travel through the bloodstream. These can reach and affect cells all over the body.
  • Problems in the mouth and jaw caused by the growth of benign tumors in the skin and muscle.
When radiation therapy is used to treat cancer, a very large dose of radiation, about 5,000,000 millirem (or 5,000 rem) is delivered to the tumor site (4).  For reference, researchers measured the radiation in a jawbone collected from the Hiroshima atomic bombing:  It had absorbed 9.46 grays of radiation . To place this in context: A cancer patient receiving radiotherapy treatment is exposed to about 2 to 3 grays on a very localized part of the body where a tumor is located.  It takes whole-body radiation of about 5 grays (nearly half of the amount calculated from the jawbone) to kill a person, Oswaldo Baffa, one of the researchers and a professor at the University of São Paulo, told The Washington Post (5).

I realize the following is a large block of text :-/ I have bolded all the symptoms for those that just wish to scan. Though I do suggest reading the whole thing at some point, as it’s pretty interesting how radiation on the various body parts show differing symptoms and complications over time, depending on tissue, dose, exposure time, distance of radiation–everything discussed above, repeatedly.

Radiation therapy can directly damage oral tissue, salivary glands, and bone. Areas treated may scar or waste awayTotal-body radiation can cause permanent damage to the salivary glands. In addition, slow healing and infection are indirect complications of cancer treatment. Both chemotherapy and radiation therapy can stop cells from dividing and slow the healing process in the mouth. Chronic complications are ones that continue or appear months to years after treatment ends. Radiation can cause acute complications but may also cause permanent tissue damage that puts you at a lifelong risk of oral complications (3). 

Cardiovascular/central nervous system sickness is the type of ARS produced by extremely high total body doses of radiation (greater than 3000 rads). This type is the most severe and is always fatal. In addition to nausea and vomiting in the prodromal stage, patients with cerebral syndrome will also experience anxiety, confusion, and loss of consciousness within a few hours, the latent period will occur. 5 or 6 hours after the initial radiation exposure, tremors, and convulsions will begin, and eventually coma and death are inevitable within 3 days (2).

Gastrointestinal sickness is the type of ARS that can occur when the total dose of radiation is lower but still high (400 or more rads). It is characterized by intractable nausea, vomiting, imbalance of electrolytes, and diarrhea that lead to severe dehydration, diminished plasma volume, vascular collapse, infection and life-threatening complications (2).

Hematopoietic sickness (bone marrow sickness) is the type of ARS occurs at exposure of between 200 to 1000 rads. Initially it is characterized by lack of appetite (anorexia), fever, malaise, nausea and vomiting, which may be maximal within 6 to 12 hours after exposure. Symptoms then subside so that within 24 to 36 hours after exposure. During the latent period for this type, the lymph nodes, spleen and bone marrow begin to atrophy, leading to underproduction of all types of blood cells (pancytopenia). In the peripheral blood, lack of lymph cells (lymphopenia) commences immediately, reaching a peak within 24 to 36 hours. Lack of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell, develops more slowly. Lack of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia) may become prominent within 3 or 4 weeks. Increased susceptibility to infection develops due to a decrease in granulocytes and lymphocytes, impairment of antibody production and granulocyte migration, decreased ability to attack and kill bacteria, diminished resistance to diffusion in subcutaneous tissues, and bleeding (hemorrhagic) areas of the skin and bowel that encourage entrance and growth of bacteria. Hemorrhage occurs mainly due to the lack of blood platelets (2).

Delayed effects of radiation can lead to intermediate effects and late somatic and genetic effects.

Intermediate effects from prolonged or repeated exposure to low radiation doses from a variety of sources may produce absence of menstruation (amenorrhea), decreased fertility in both sexes, decreased libido in the female, anemia, decreased white blood cells (leukopenia), decreased blood platelets (thrombocytopenia), skin redness (erythema), and cataracts (2).

More severe or highly localized exposure causes loss of hair, skin atrophy and ulceration, thickening of the skin (keratosis), and vascular changes in the skin (telangiectasia). Ultimately it may cause a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma (2).

Kidney function changes include a decrease in renal plasma flow, glomerular filtration rate (GFR), and tubular function. Following a latent period of six months to one year after extremely high does of radiation, protein in the urine, kidney insufficiency, anemia and high blood pressure may develop. When cumulative kidney exposure is greater than 2000 rads in less than 5 weeks, kidney failure with diminished urine output may occur in about 37% of cases (2).

Large accumulated doses of radiation to muscles may result in painful myopathy with atrophy and calcification (2).

Inflammation of the sac around the heart (pericarditis) and of the heart muscle (myocarditis) have been produced by extensive radiotherapy of the middle region between the lungs (mediastinum) (2).

Myelopathy may develop after a segment of the spinal cord has received cumulative doses of greater than 4000 rads. Following vigorous therapy of abdominal lymph nodes for seminoma, lymphoma, ovarian carcinoma, or chronic ulceration, fibrosis and perforation of the bowel may develop (2).

Late somatic and genetic effects of radiation can alter the genes in proliferating cells of the body and germ cells. With body cells this may be manifested ultimately as somatic disease such as cancer (leukemia, thyroid, skin, bone), or cataracts. Another type of cancer, osteosarcoma, may appear years after swallowing radioactive bone-seeking nuclides such as radium salts. Injury to exposed organs may occur occasionally after extensive radiation therapy for treatment of cancer (2).

When cells are exposed to radiation, the number of mutations is increased. If mutations are passed down to children, this can cause genetic defects in the offspring (2).

A person who has absorbed very large doses of radiation has little chance of recovery. Depending on the severity of illness, death can occur within two days or two weeks (1).

Information important for determining an absorbed dose of radiation includes (1):

  • Known exposure. Details about distance from the source of radiation and duration of exposure can help provide a rough estimate of the severity of radiation sickness.
  • Vomiting and other symptoms. The time between radiation exposure and the onset of vomiting is a fairly accurate screening tool to estimate absorbed radiation dose. The shorter the time before the onset of this sign, the higher the dose. The severity and timing of other signs and symptoms also may help medical personnel determine the absorbed dose.
  • Blood tests. Frequent blood tests over several days enable medical personnel to look for drops in disease-fighting white blood cells and abnormal changes in the DNA of blood cells. These factors indicate the degree of bone marrow damage, which is determined by the level of an absorbed dose.
  • Dosimeter. A device called a dosimeter can measure the absorbed dose of radiation but only if it was exposed to the same radiation event as the affected person.
  • Survey meter. A device such as a Geiger counter can be used to survey people to determine the body location of radioactive particles.
  • Type of radiation. A part of the larger emergency response to a radioactive accident or attack would include identifying the type of radiation exposure. This information would guide some decisions for treating people with radiation sickness.

Very low doses of radiation such as unavoidable background radiation (about 0.1 rad/yr), produce no measurable effect. Mild symptoms have been observed with doses as low as 30 rad. The probability of measurable effects increases as the dose rate and/or total dose increases(2).

Next time, we’ll talk about my theory!

Sources:

(1) https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/radiation-sickness/symptoms-causes/syc-20377058

(2) https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/radiation-sickness/

(3) https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/side-effects/mouth-throat/oral-complications-pdq#_5

(4) https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/4402/

(5) https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2018/05/02/a-single-jawbone-has-revealed-just-how-much-radiation-hiroshima-bomb-victims-absorbed/

Travelin’ Man: A Trilogy of Related Brandi Carlile Songs

2 Nov

The song, “This Time Tomorrow” on the new album, ‘In These Silent Days’ is quiet and a bit inconspicuous. But I noticed a theme running through Brandi’s catalogue: This song compares well with “Closer to You” and also to “Wherever is Your Heart” off Firewatcher’s Daughter. It’s (all 3, really are) a song from the perspective of a person that travels a lot, and is very busy. But in all three songs, the narrator says their heart is always with their love back at home (GF? wife? the subject may change over time). And that narrator looks forward to physically being with their partner again. I’m going to awkwardly refer to whoever the primary perspective in the song as “narrator” because I’m not certain who this story belongs to. All 3 seem to write a lot of the music, and maybe it’s the combined experience of Brandi, Phil, and Tim. I haven’t seen interviews or other info that tells which one might be talking for sure.

Closer to You (the first written of these 3 similar sentiments):

I’m staring out at endless rows of green
There are miles of hay like I have never seen
Just when you think you’ve had enough and
your dreams come true
I just want to be closer to you

My mind wanders through all that I’ve been hiding from
I tried not to let you down
Now I wonder if I’ve been doin’ something wrong
Help me get my feet back on the ground

Tomorrow I’ll be lying under you
With a heart of gold and arms to fall into
I know that there might come a day
where my life is through
But I just want to be closer to you

My mind wanders through all that I’ve been hiding from
I tried not to let you down
Now I wonder if I’ve been doin’ something wrong
Help me get my feet back on the ground

Someday we might learn to tell the truth
We might even find the fountains of our youth
We all needed something real we all need proof
I just want to be closer to you
I only want to be closer to you

The tone of this song is excited, almost wonderous at these novel sights. And when the narrator gets fatigued of all the travel–all their dreams (of adventure? money? fame? musical growth?) come true. They will press on with the travel over the long term. The writer of this song thinks maybe they’re going about the relationship, career, and/or life wrong, The final verse conveys a searching for something higher-and alludes to a spiritual crises. Even so, the narrator has the tangible in their mate. And knows their loved one will be there to ground them when they get back home. It is indicated that the narrator KNOWS this person with golden heart will be there. There’s no doubt.



In Wherever is Your Heart, written early on in relationships, it’s decidedly upbeat and hopeful:

I think it’s time we found a way back home
You lose so many things you love as you grow
I missed the days when I was just a kid
My fear became my shadow, I swear it did

Wherever is your heart I call home
Wherever is your heart I call home
Though your feet may take you far from me, I know
Wherever is your heart I call home

You made me feel like I was always falling
Always falling down without a place to land
Somewhere in the distance I heard you calling
Oh it hurts so bad to let go of your hand

Wherever is your heart I call home
Wherever is your heart I call home
Though your feet may take you far from me, I know
Wherever is your heart I call home

Even when you’re high, you can get low
Even with your friends you love, you’re still alone
We always find the darkest place to go
God forgive our minds, we were born to roam

Wherever is your heart I call home
Wherever is your heart I call home
Though your feet may take you far from me, I know
Wherever is your heart I call home

Oh God forgive my mind, oh God forgive my mind
When I come home, when I come home
Oh God forgive my mind
There’s a road that’s long and winding, it hollers home
I’m calling home

Oh God forgive my mind, oh God forgive my mind
When I come home, when I come home
Oh God forgive my mind, oh God forgive my mind
When I come home, when I come home

Wherever is your heart I call home
Wherever is your heart I call home
Though your feet may take you far from me, I know
Wherever is your heart I call home

Wherever is your heart I call home
Wherever is your heart I call home
Though your feet may take you far from me, I know
Wherever is your heart I call home



Or, might I say, the song of the song is upbeat and gives an optimistic vibe, and the chorus is true to that sentiment. This 2nd song says no matter how far apart geographically the two partners are, they both take solace in the fact that their hearts are together. They don’t need to be physically together to feel and know the love they share. BUT the verses betray a darkness in the narrator. They lost things/people as they aged, and reminisce about a simpler time of when they were a child. Now, they feel fear nearly always. The falling verse that’s next directly ties back to the plane metaphor in “You and Me on the Rock” and tells of that broken foundation that comprises this person. The narrator tells that even with this beautiful sentiment of loving and spiritually being with your lover, even when separate, their mind still fights. The mind is still lonesome amongst friends, sad during happy times, aberrant from the happy chorus.

Which brings us back to this current song, You and Me on the Rock:

When the fire inside that burns
So bright begins to grow faded
It can be hard to see the ground on which you stand
Though you may not be afraid of walkin’ in the darkness
You will feel like a stranger in this land

You can try to carve a faith out of your own
But a broken spirit may dry out the bone
And the edges of the night may cause you sorrow
You know I may not be around this time tomorrow
But I’ll always be with you
Yeah, I’ll always be with you

When the hope that you hold tightly to has all but vanished
And there are no words of comfort to be found
You will know what it means to be lost and without love
May you fight to kill that deafening sound

But our holy dreams of yesterday aren’t gone
They still haunt us like the ghosts of Babylon
And the breakin’ of the day might bring you sorrow
You know I may not be around this time tomorrow
But I’ll always be with you
I’ll always be with you

Ooh
Ooh
Ooh

repeats

Now the person at home doesn’t have a golden heart, but that bright fire faded. They can’t even find the ground, and aren’t the stable force they were in “Closer to You” anymore. Instead of coming home to comfort, the narrator feels like a stranger. Carving faith is more laborious than how easily it came in the first 2 songs… What is the exact same in all the songs, is the narrator will always be with this other person in spirit when they travel, just as before. The next verse gets at the heart of this entire album again. The lyrics reiterate that love has all but vanished, yet the narrator grasps tightly to whatever is left of it. The person left at home, no longer has words of comfort as mentioned in the prior songs, which makes the narrator feel even more lost than they already felt.

I like the new album, but it’s a bleak story. And this trilogy of songs shows the trajectory of a traveling person with a broken foundation who found, and then lost, love and now lives in a codependent state. ‘In These Silent Days’ tells the same story of the catalogue, just in a more condensed form.

PS- I think I’m going to do a few of these similar song postings, as I heard a lot of pairs and triplet songs while going through the album.

My TNR Series Got Interrupted… Because I Adopted a Kitten!

30 Sep

I took a pause on writing my series (don’t worry, more is on the way!) to spend time with my cats. 

We have Goose, a 15 year old Maine coon.  He is on a lot of medications, and likes to snooze and drink water and go outside in the fenced yard for brief spans of time.  His arthritis bothers him, but he still jumps from the toilet, to the tank, to the bathroom counter about a 100 times a day. He is the sweetest man, his Jelicle name is Gustopher P. Soft (the P is for purrrr).  He is ALWAYS up for snuggles and kisses, and has the best purr.  I like to call him Magnetic Goose of a Man sometimes, because it’s better than the actual lyric, and also we always kinda had the nickname, Goose-man, for him.  He is my best friend on the entire planet!

Then, there is Choco-Luv (alternately called C.L., Stein, or ISB for ick-scum-buddy).  She is 14 years old, but you’d think she’s 3 or 4 based on her activity and health status.  Her favorite thing is “ups” where she just stands on her hind legs and rubs her face on your elevated hand.  She also adores herp-fish.  Sidenote:  As I’m typing this I see our family has a language all our own.  Herp fish are just the fish-shaped lysine treats that may help resolve herpes flair-ups.  And C.L. is a high-strung thing, so the flair ups happen a lot.  Anyway, to earn herp-fish, Stein has to do 10 ups in a row.  And she begs to do that all morning until we tell her to stop asking. 

My mate and I always talked about getting a kitten some day.  And at the beginning of the pandemic, we thought it would be the perfect time to get a kitten accustomed to everything since we were working from home, so we got Bison.  He is also black (I forgot to say C.L. is a black domestic short hair) but he’s a medium hair.  Bison is the best guy when it comes to grooming!  He’s excellent for his lion cut, and we have even had to give him 2 full baths, and he was great.  Bison used to play fetch, and it was adorable!  He would do it a lot when we first got him, but then we started having to retrieve the ball ourselves, though he would run after it.  And soon, he barely even wanted to chase, and we would try to get him to play, but he just wasn’t into it.  We have tunnel-toys, wands, stuffed-toys, catnip stuff, self-playing toys, lasers, the one where the ball spins on 3 levels, on and on.  Bison likes to play with a toy once or twice, but he quickly gets bored of it.  And we do already rotate the toys, putting some away for awhile and getting out packed ones to seem new again.  Bison just gets bored quickly.  But he’s hyper!  And because he won’t play with us that much, he can act out.  He thinks it’s funny to bully Stein, or jump on the kitchen counter, which we are NOT impressed with.  We didn’t want Bison to be sad a lonely, living with 2 senior cats, so we got him his own kitten.  Which 4 is too many, but it’s important the Bison can have a friend and playmate too.

We got Angus last month, as a 4 month old tiny-kitten.  He’s an orange short hair, which I’ve never owned before.  His temperament is amazing!  I picked up out because in his picture, he was actually smiling!  Which he does all the time, even now.  Angus gets along with everyone in the family, and fit right into our household.  He and Bison will chase, and even wrestle sometimes.  He snuggles with Goose where he likes to nap, in the shower-and has never jumped on Goose, thank goodness.  And he co-exists with Choco-Luv.  She came into the vet hospital is a teeny baby, because someone found her in a Missoura barn all alone.  So she wasn’t really socialized to any cat (other than Goose).  She doesn’t really know how to interact, and gets easily stressed and perturbed with any cat besides Goose, so it’s not really Angus’ fault.  But he doesn’t make her upset, so that’s actually great.

So for the last month, we just had to get everyone adjusted, test boundaries, establish hierarchy, snuggle, play, form routines–all the new cat things.  I will be back on the TNR series pretty soon.  In the mean time, here’s a pic of each that really showcases their personality.

Animal Rights vs. Animal Welfare [TNR = Trap, Neuter, Re-Abandon]

11 Aug

Last time, we talked about semantics.  The Humane Society (HSUS), is not associated with your local shelter, and a very small amount of their money is granted to any shelter.  The vast majority of HSUS funds are kept for its own agenda (27).  I told you we would discuss what the primary agenda of HSUS is if it’s not the rescue of dogs and cats. 

Before we get into that, lets review animal rights vs. animal welfare, because the difference will become pertinent to this discussion, and the following posts as well.  Important note:  These terms are politically and emotionally charged so I tried to get (extra!)-valid sources, and I also tried to find a source aligned with each respective side for their own definition.  Because both sides of the ethical divide believe their philosophy is the most sensical and humane, there was a decided slant when they defined the opposing view.  I also tried to do very minimal editing, just changing slight things so the sentences flow, but never the meaning.

An animal is in a good state of welfare if (as indicated by scientific evidence) it is healthy, comfortable, well-nourished, safe, able to express innate behavior, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress. Good animal welfare requires disease prevention and veterinary treatment, appropriate shelter, management, nutrition, humane handling, and humane slaughter. Animal welfare refers to the state of the animal; the treatment that an animal receives is covered by other terms such as animal care, animal husbandry, and humane treatment.1 Protecting an animal’s welfare means providing for its physical and mental needs.

  1. https://www.avma.org/resources/animal-health-welfare/animal-welfare-what-it

I think it’s fair to say that many people believe that animal welfare and animal rights are one and the same. And while there is definitely some overlap, from a technical perspective, as I alluded to above, they are actually opposing viewpoints.

Believe it or not, the definition of animal rights is actually very difficult to nail down, depending on if you ask a lawyer, an animal rights advocate, or a philosopher.

But we can stick to defining it at one core principle any person would agree with- animal rights concerns itself, in large part, with the notion of the legal entitlements of [non-human] animals that pertain to giving that animal:

  • An independent life and thus the freedom to pursue its activities as it chooses to do so within a set legal framework.
  • At the very least, basic considerations and rights (on par with similar human ones) that would allow them to avoid needless suffering.

Affording rights to animals is not about letting them do whatever they want or allowing them every single right a person has, but it is about allowing them to have the possession of their own life and the avoidance of suffering that may be imposed upon them by humans.

With respect to this and current law, an animal is not a legal person. Your dog is technically a piece of property and not its own legal entity, as a human would be. In other words, your pet dog is closer to having the legal status of the chair you sit on than it does a person.  [Animal rights activists] are for the right of an animal to choose its own destiny much like a person can. Animal rights is about ensuring humans cannot use animals in many of the same ways they once did (and still do) use slaves. It’s about giving animals the right to their own destiny, a destiny that’s not chosen, by and large, by someone or something else.

                       28). https://study.com/academy/lesson/animal-rights-ethics-arguments.html

My takeaway points:

Animal welfare is observable, measurable, and evidence-based.  It is (supposed to be) practiced by all entities that work with animals in any capacity.

Animal rights is a philosophy, and it is difficult to implement or measure because historically that is not how our system has been built.  Animal rights is more of an ideal and future goal.

In my opinion, the largest difference between animal welfare and rights is the use of animals.  The animal rights side does not believe humans should be engaging with animals for research, work, entertainment, food–nothing. Animal welfare proponents acknowledges that society already uses animals for a multitude of things.

It’s a judgement call where you stand, and your decision has implications for the rest of our discussion.  So next time (promise!) we will talk about what HSUS wants to accomplish as an organization.

Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) & Shelter [TNR = Trap, Neuter, Re-Abandon]

10 Aug

How much does the HSUS contribute to your local animal shelter?  

Before that question can be answered, we need to define what the HSUS is, what its goals are, and how much money HSUS has.  On the HSUS website, they give the following mission statement:

The mission of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is to create a humane and sustainable world for all animals—a world that will also benefit people. We seek to forge a lasting and comprehensive change in human consciousness of and behavior toward all animals in order to prevent animal cruelty, exploitation and neglect and to protect wild habitats and the entire community of life.

The HSUS seeks to achieve our goals through education, advocacy, public policy reform and the empowerment of our supporters and partners. We do not engage in or support actions that are illegal or violent or that run counter to the basic principles of compassion and respect for others.

The HSUS strives for integrity, fairness and professionalism in pursuit of our mission. We will seek to be inclusive and to develop partnerships with a broad array of society’s institutions to further our goals.

                  26). https://www.humanesociety.org/our-policies

So what exactly does that mean?  Who is the HSUS and what are they trying to do?

There is a misconception of who The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is and what their function is nationally.  According to a national poll conducted by Opinion Research Corporation (CNN’s pollster) on November 23rd to the 25th, 2011, 71 percent of Americans think the Humane Society of the United States is a pet shelter “umbrella group” (27) that filters its donations to state branches, helping support local animal shelters (24).  

Despite the words “humane society” in its name, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is not formally affiliated with any humane societies that operate at a city, county or regional level. HSUS does not run a single pet shelter (27).  The words “humane society” may appear on its letterhead and omnipresent dogs and cats are in its fundraising materials and television commercials, but the HSUS is not an organization that runs spay/neuter programs or takes in stray, neglected, and abused pets (25).  According to HumaneWatch.org, “HSUS doesn’t run a single pet shelter, nor does it serve as a national headquarters for humane societies that serve cities, towns, counties or states” (24).

A Feb. 2010 poll by Opinion Research Corporation determined that 63 percent of Americans believe their local humane society is affiliated with HSUS and 48 percent believe their local shelter receives financial support from HSUS (27). Furthermore, according to that November 2011 national poll conducted by Opinion Research Corporation, 68 percent [of Americans] believe HSUS contributes most of its money to local hands-on pet-shelter groups (27). Probably due to the commercials that show sad dogs and cats and strongly imply that giving $19 per month will alleviate their suffering (24).  

All of these statements are false (27).

Very little money given to HSUS will ever reach a pet shelter (24).  And quite unlike the common image of animal protection agencies as cash-strapped organizations dedicated to animal welfare, HSUS has become the wealthiest animal rights organization on earth (25).  HSUS has an annual budget of more than $100 million, and its affiliated groups have more than $191 million in assets, $160 million of which HSUS itself holds 24).

The HSUS disseminates merely one percent of its budget to pet shelters in the form of grants (27). More specifically, according to HSUS’s 2008 tax return, less than half of one percent (0.5%) of HSUS budget consisted of grants to hands-on pet shelters. And in 2009, again according to HSUS’s tax returns, less than one percent of HSUS’s budget (0.8%, to be exact) consisted of grants to shelters (24).

Most Americans aren’t aware of these facts, because the organization perpetuates the misconception the HSUS is directly affiliated with your local animal shelter, and the donations sent to HSUS will help shelter animals.

Even animal shelters believe that HSUS has helped perpetuate Americans’ misperception of what they do. In fact, 71 percent of animal shelters think HSUS “misleads people into thinking it is associated with local animal shelters.” The animals featured in HSUS’s TV ads are almost always cats and dogs. Additionally, their fundraising letters often give the misleading impression about what HSUS does.

One recent letter claimed that “the only way we can make these critical life-saving programs work and help save the lives of puppies and kittens in peril is with the continued support of our very best members such as you.” Another letter asked, “How can we save these innocent puppies and kittens and find them good, loving homes?”

The most likely explanation for this is that donors respond with open checkbooks to dogs and cats more than, say, pigs and chickens. But while HSUS’s advertising plays on people’s love for pets, it uses much of the money in completely different ways.

               27). https://humaneforpets.com/the-problem/

The vast majority of HSUS funds are kept for its own agenda, and next time we’ll discuss what that agenda entails.

Sources:

24). https://humanewatch.org/the_humane_society_of_the_united_states

_and_pet_shelter_giving/

25). https://www.activistfacts.com/organizations/hsus

-humane-society-of-the-united-states/ 

26). https://www.humanesociety.org/our-policies

27). https://humaneforpets.com/the-problem/

Funding Sources of Animal Shelters [TNR = Trap, Neuter, Re-Abandon]

9 Aug

In the last few posts we talked about how TNR is not all it’s cracked up to be, there are many downsides.  We went into how TNR started in the United States, and how Alley Cat Allies (ACA), which was integral to that process, seems biased, and according to employee reviews, is sketchy.  Last time we went over some horrible statistics about the number of animals that are abandoned and require shelter services, and the astronomical costs associated with running a shelter.  It’s not a pretty picture, and it’s not a simple problem to resolve. This time I’m going to share how animal shelters get the money to operate.

In trying to convey how animal shelters are funded, I found that two words are apt:  Inconsistent and incompletely.  Before I try to explain how animal shelters are funded, we have to look at semantics.  The term “animal shelter” is a generic term usually used to refer to an animal rescue organization that has a physical facility where you can go and adopt an animal.  To confused things further, some organizations even use the moniker “animal shelter” in their title.  Referring to an organization as an “animal shelter” or “animal rescue” has become common in the industry as a simple way to understand whether the organization has a physical facility where they house the animals.  So they’re catch-all terms, and may or may not be accurate to that particular animal shelter’s business model.

 

Despite the similar names, there are different types of animal shelters, and those classifications can help us decipher funding source–not always.  The majority of animal shelters are operated as rescues. They’re classified as charities and have 501c3 (non-profit) status.  Most animal rescue organizations are foster based and rely on volunteers to take care of the animals in their homes since they cannot afford a building, staff and all of the costs associated with running it.  

 

The second classification is animal shelter organization.  Neither animal rescue organizations or animal shelter organizations are funded by the federal government directly.  Though in some larger municipalities, local government does often provide funding to provide a public service of animal control.  Some cities even have organizations that are designated as animal control like in Milwaukee where MADACC (Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Care and Control) receives public funding for their operations.  

 

The third type are animal control organizationsWhile there are variations and exceptions, generally when you see the term “animal control,” the organization is funded by the local government to provide animal control services.  What this generally means is that the animal control organization is therefore required to take in strays or owner surrenders and they often have a “dog catcher” that is dispatched for animal complaints. Though the USDA does play a part in enforcing animal welfare laws, congress is not pouring money directly into your local shelter (though the USDA does offer some grants to shelters).  The shelters that do get some tax money, do not get nearly enough to sustain operations.

                  23). https://www.animalrescueprofessionals.org/myth-vs-fact

                   /animal-shelters-funded-by-the-government/

 

As you can see the funding is different depending on type of shelter, but also depends on the state, county, city, municipality, etc… There is not a consistent standard I can tell you about.  Everyone would have to look into their specific area to know the answer to that.  And the only way to truly understand the funding model of an organization is to dig a little deeper into their 990 form (if they are an IRS public charity) or hunt around on the internet to find more local or state information if they are not.

 

Bottom line:   

Recognize that your local animal rescue and animal shelter does not receive a big, fat check every month from the government to run their operations.  Most shelters get most of their funding from any grants (they can qualify for), fundraisers and events, and primarily:  Donations.  The vast majority of them rely on your donations and volunteerism to support their great work.

                 23). https://www.animalrescueprofessionals.org/myth-vs-fact

                 /animal-shelters-funded-by-the-government/

 

 This brings me to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).  Next time I will share my research on the mission of the HSUS, and how it helps your local animal shelter.  

Taylor Swift is Peter Pan

7 Aug

First a very quick lesson in (internalized) misogyny:

We live in a patriarchy, a sociopolitical and cultural system that values masculinity over femininity (Ferguson).  Misogyny is perpetuated by our surroundings even in subconscious ways, so we are saturated by the confines of gender. Since we are indoctrinated by underrepresentation & sexist representation, misogyny becomes an ingrained cultural norm.  Double standards are so embedded in our culture we often don’t recognize when we’re reinforcing them. A “boys will be boys” attitude and judging a women’s appearance more harshly than a man’s are two examples. “Even when we may be aware of the gender roles and stereotypes at play, we still can internalize some deeply-rooted misogyny from what we’ve been taught. We must make a conscious effort to reconsider these thought processes and undo the damage, ” (Gudenau).

In 2014, Taylor Swift made a conscious choice to become a feminist:

Swift told the magazine over her avoidance of the issue [of feminism] earlier in her career. “I think that when I used to say, ‘Oh, feminism’s not really on my radar,’ it was because when I was just seen as a kid, I wasn’t as threatening. I didn’t see myself being held back until I was a woman.”  She continued, “Misogyny is ingrained in people from the time they are born. So to me, feminism is probably the most important movement that you could embrace, because it’s just basically another word for equality” (https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/taylor-swift-talks-feminism-misogyny-in-maxim-38970/)

Let’s Talk “Infantilization” in the context of sociology & women, in particular:

Infantilization starts, really at the beginning of history.  We won’t go into that here, or the Greeks and their “boy love” but I suggest reading up on it, as it’s very compelling history.  For the purpose of this post, we will start at World War II (1941-1945 for U.S. involvement).  When large numbers of men were sent to fight, it became common for women to take over what were considered to be male jobs so that the economy would remain stable and production would continue. Although this was framed as a patriotic duty, many women enjoyed the autonomy and independence that employment afforded them and were disappointed when they had to give them up after the war ended. 

Having proven that they were fully capable of independence during the war years, women presented a threat to male authority and were potential competition for employment. Treating women like children strengthened and perpetuated the notion that women could not care for themselves without a man.  It was a way of reigning in independent women and infantilization was in large part a means by which men could regain control of women.  

Television at the time (which often reinforces the social norms) portrayed the acceptable station of women by telling simple stories that portray idealized families in a safe and comfortable world. These shows produce a sense of nostalgia and a certain level of enjoyment, but look deeper and feel stunned by the ways in which the female characters are treated like children by the men around them.  The Adventures of Ozzie and HarrietLeave it to Beaver, and Father Knows Best all capture this sentiment well. . .  In the case of I Love Lucy, the series’ main character was often treated like a child by her husband, which included demeaning language and, in some cases, spanking.  For Lucy, and many other women during this era, infantalization was a means of controlling women and perpetuating the myth that without men (a father figure), they were incapable of caring for themselves or exercising autonomy.

(https://study.com/academy/lesson/infantilization-of-women-definition-significance.html)

Let’s move on to the song at hand:

We discussed how we’re overwhelmed with misogyny, even subconsciously, by living in a world that values the masculine over feminine.  We have internalized those ideas, and perpetuate them, even unknowingly.  We discussed how infantilization was used in the 1950s to convince women to leave the workplace because they needed a man to survive.  And we went over how, in 2014, around the 1989 era, Taylor Swift said she had previously unaware feminism impacted her, but she felt the pressures of it more and more as she aged [and achieved more power].

My assessment is that infantilization, which still acts upon girls and women in current times, was deep-seated in Taylor’s psyche.  Just as that social tool has been internalized by most all of us, women, and men.  She wrote a song about her life at the time.  It’s a nice little story, with a sentimental bent:

Your little hand’s wrapped around my finger
And it’s so quiet in the world tonight
Your little eyelids flutter ’cause you’re dreamin’
So I tuck you in, turn on your favorite night light  

Taylor emphasizes how comfortable and loved this child is.  They are tucked in and made to feel safe and peaceful.  This is a very idealized version of kids, and what it’s like to be one, with no tantrums or messes, no imperfect family life.  Only the good parts are mentioned here.  It relates to the 1950s television shows conveying a secure, comfortable home where men go to work, women keep house, and children are well-mannered.  Perfect.  

To you, everything’s funny
You got nothing to regret  

Taylor gives us examples of how children are carefree and innocent, with an obvious wistfulness.  Taylor wishes she could rewind time for herself.  These lines tell the listener that she has experienced the more serious side of life as she’s aged.  She has made mistakes she may regret.  It would be a lot more cozy and happy if she could go back to that comfy bed in the first verse.  The lines also convey that life gets more difficult as we gain awareness and make more social connections. 

I’d give all I have honey
If you could stay like that

Oh, darlin’, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh, darlin’, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up
It could stay this simple
I won’t let nobody hurt you
Won’t let no one break your heart
And no one will desert you
Just try to never grow up
Never grow up  

This chorus.  It’s the most obvious example of what I’m trying to say, infantilization is at play here.  The ‘never grow ups’ relate to the Peter Pan references later written in cardigan.  In the music video, Taylor follows magical golden glitter from scene to scene. It looks just like the pixie dust Peter uses to help Wendy fly off to Neverland, and conveys how beautiful remaining a child is is both Peter’s story and Taylor’s mind. And in Miss Americana, Taylor tells the audience that there is a saying that people get frozen in the age they got famous and she felt that applied to her, confirming her choice/circumstance.  

You’re in the car on the way to the movies
And you’re mortified your mom’s droppin’ you off
At fourteen, there’s just so much you can’t do
And you can’t wait to move out someday and call your own shots
But don’t make her drop you off around the block
Remember that she’s gettin’ older too  

In this verse, Taylor addresses an older child, maybe even herself as a teen.  She indicates adolescents want independence and freedom.  They begin to push away from caring parents.  But she reminds the teen that parents have feelings too, so have empathy.  She finishes the verse:


And don’t lose the way that you dance
Around in your PJs getting ready for school  

Taylor continues, to show the difference between youthful innocence and the shame that comes with being an adult.  She uses the dancing example after the ’embarrassed to get dropped off’ lines, to show that teenagers are beginning to be influenced by society’s perception of them.  They become aware of social norms and may repress their natural behavior to abide by the rules set for them.  Taylor is glorifying the freedom of childhood here just as she did in seven, “Before I learned civility/I used to scream ferociously/Any time I wanted.”  In both instances, Taylor misses the times when she was free to be herself and not have to abide by a patriarchal society’s conditioning.  

Oh, darlin’, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh, darlin’, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up
It could stay this simple  

Taylor is insistent in the chorus, growing up is worse.  And the lyrics, “when you are young they assume you know nothing,” could also tie back into the Peter Pan cardigan references.  It might refer to how, although Peter Pan and the Lost Boys could never grow up or fall in love, they still knew the magic of Neverland and its fairies, talking crocodiles, pirates, and all sorts of things that adults never could.   

And no one’s ever burned you
Nothing’s ever left you scarred And even though you want to
Just try to never grow up  

These lines are drawing on personal experience.  Taylor, herself, has been burned and scarred, now that she’s older.  As a child, she was protected from the outside world, kind of like the wives and children in the 1950s shows.  Father was the one who braved the mean, outside world and the family lived in a protective (if not restrictive) cocoon.  Taylor says as she gained the freedom of adulthood, she had to pay the price of being exposed to pain.  

Take pictures in your mind of your childhood room
Memorize what it sounded like when your dad gets home
Remember the footsteps, remember the words said
And all your little brother’s favorite songs
I just realized everything I have is someday gonna be gone  

This part is very sentimental.  It shows how young adults feel when they are leaving the comfort and familiarity of their childhood home and family.  It’s a very common feeling of fear of the unknown and reluctance to take the leap to independence.  This bridge is a reason many people gravitate to this song.  It’s their same experience as Seniors in high school, and Taylor captures the hesitancy perfectly.  It’s exactly these uncertainties exploited by infantilization.    

So here I am in my new apartment
In a big city, they just dropped me off
It’s so much colder than I thought it would be
So I tuck myself in and turn my nightlight on  

Now, Taylor brings the song to the first person and talks about her own situation directly.  She has finally gained the independence she had been longing for as a teen, but it’s lonely, and she has to soothe and comfort herself.  Nobody is there to tuck her in.  It’s not the freedom she had imagined as a teen, and she wants to reverse her aging process to feel that comfort again. She has fully embraced patriarchy’s teachings that women need someone to care for them.    

Wish I’d never grown up
I wish I’d never grown up Oh, I don’t wanna grow up
Wish I’d never grown up
Could still be little
Oh, I don’t wanna grow up
Wish I’d never grown up
It could still be simple
Oh, darlin’, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh, darlin’, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up
It could stay this simple
I won’t let nobody hurt you
Won’t let no one break your heart
And even though you want to
Please try to never grow up
Oh, oh
Don’t you ever grow up
Oh (never grow up)
Just never grow up

This song is a cautionary tale about being careful what you wish for.  Taylor took for granted how comfortable and free she was as a child when she pushed for more independence as a teen.  As she got more freedoms, Taylor was concurrently hurt like never before.  And when independence was realized it felt like a letdown, cold and empty.  The beginning of the song is warm and lovely, the end is cold and regretful.  Never grow up, she cautions, or you might feel this bad also.

Misogyny is internalized when women or men subconsciously absorb sexist beliefs through socialization.  Women, in this case, Taylor Swift, can also hold an unconscious bias toward their own gender.  Just as the 1950s television shows contributed to the belief (by both men and women themselves) that women were a generally inferior gender, this song shows aging and becoming independent is a perilous, unhappy event.  Internalized misogyny is projected onto oneself and others by all of us (Gudenau).  And I believe an overemphasis on the happiness and comfort of childhood combined with the doubt that Taylor Swift can be happy tucking herself in, is an example of another women succumbing to infantilization.  Society tells women they need a man to be comfortable and happy, thus we believe that. And knowing Taylor’s lyrical story, we know there were consequences for her getting stuck at the age that she got famous.  The line, “Peter losing Wendy,” in cardigan, evokes the song’s theme of losing someone because you can’t grow up.   Just as Peter had to lose Wendy since he couldn’t really love her, and she went to grow up without him, Taylor lost someone because she didn’t want to grow up, either.  Internalized infantilization had her stuck.

Luckily, as I have already alluded, Taylor saw the truth.  Society tries to convince women they’re more happy being taken care of as a way to reign in female power.  And now she sings The Man, a song about how her life would be different if she was treated like a man.

Animal Shelters [TNR = Trap, Neuter, Re-Abandon]

4 Aug

Ok, I think we’ve established that Alley Cat Allies (ACA) are integral in promoting TNR, and also a bit sketchy as an organization. We’ve talked at length about the disputed history of TNR, the ACA’s domination of Google Search, their manipulation of language, their exaggerated timeline of “success” and we’ve covered the employee reviews of that non-profit organization. There is more to discuss regarding them, but let’s take a pause with the ACA, because this paper is not about them-directly. Yes, ACA is linked very closely with TNR, but it’s TNR that I want to focus on in my research. So we’ll take a pause on ACA and discuss some other issues with TNR before going back the the ACA’s many problems.

Animal Shelters:

Bottom line is animal shelters are chronically overwhelmed, under-funded, and under-supported by both politicians and the community at large.

 

There are too many animals and not enough shelters, people, or money to support them:

The following grim stats were gathered by dosomething.org, and are an example of the scope of the problem:

According to The Humane Society, there are about 3,500 brick-and-mortar animal shelters in the US and 10,000 rescue groups and animal sanctuaries in North America.

It’s impossible to determine how many stray dogs and cats live in the United States. Estimates for cats alone range up to 70 million.

Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats.

The main reasons animals are in shelters: owners give them up, or animal control finds them on the street.

Many strays are lost pets that were not kept properly indoors or provided with identification.

About twice as many animals enter shelters as strays compared to the number that are relinquished by their owners.

According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP), less than 2% of cats and only 15 to 20% of dogs are returned to their owners.

Only 10% of the animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered. Overpopulation, due to owners letting their pets accidentally or intentionally reproduce, sees millions of these “excess” animals killed annually.

25% of dogs that enter local shelters are purebred.

Each year, approximately 2.7 million dogs and cats are killed every year because shelters are too full and there aren’t enough adoptive homes.

21). https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-animal-homelessness

 

Costs incurred by the Shelter:

Running an animal shelter is expensive, and many shelters have to turn away animals due to lack of funds.  Shelters often have to resort to euthanasia if they cannot afford to keep an animal for the remainder of that creature’s life.

An approximate average cost of owning a feline is anywhere from $491.00 to $3125.00 for the first year and
subsequent yearly cost of $310.00 to $1169.00. (Foster & Smith). When it comes to canines the average cost of owning a dog for a first year $374.00 to $658.00 (www.icanimalcenter.org) and following years anywhere from $287.00 to 2485.00. (Foster and Smith).

Costs of owning a pet may include:  supplies such as food, bowls, litter, leashes, etc , vaccines, deworming, spay/neutering, preventative care like dentals, monthly medications such as flea medicine & heartworm, grooming. As an example, The total cost of simply animal supplies such as bowls, food, leashes, toys, collars, etc. for the Camden County Animal Shelter (CCAS) was $35,000, not including any form of Veterinary care. And the above list of potential costs of caring for a dog or cat was by no means, exhaustive.  And you have to think–that’s per cat or dog. See the above section for estimates of how many dogs and cats animal shelters house and multiply these costs.  The amount quickly becomes astronomical! 

The animals themselves cost money, but the physical shelter also costs money to maintain.  Since they are housing multiple animals they need to make sure that living conditions are suitable. This means that working heating and air condition units are an absolute necessity, along with utilities, feed storage, pest control, dog runs and shelters are just a few of the many things that need to be updated.  One example of routine shelter costs comes from Pearl River Township animal shelter.  In 2003 they had to update some of their equipment and published the costs. Pest control ran them $576, new dog runs and shelters $1,200, feed storage $1000, and A/C units $700 (Cashion).

There are still more costs of running an animal shelter: It is required by state law for animal shelters to carry liability insurance and workers compensation insurance in case a visitor and/or employee gets injured or bitten by an animal.  For the Camden County Animal Shelter, insurance ran $43,313 in 2006.  In addition, different kinds of licenses are required to run a shelter such as a kennel licenses, and those different licenses and fees can cost $298 and are required to be renewed every few years. (Egan, B).

Perhaps the most important cost a shelter has are its employees.  Without much money to support the needs of the animals, the salary of the shelter employees also suffers. Many shelters have their own on-site veterinarians along with executive directors, veterinary technicians, director of developments, general and operation managers, and animal control workers. All of them garner relatively meager salaries compared to those working in other areas of their field. From a national standpoint the average salary of the Executive Director (non-profit) is $51,146 and the Director of Development (Non-profit) is about $43,502. Veterinarian’s salaries are around $67,220 and their technicians receive earnings of approximately $25,018. General operations manager’s salary is $36,856, operations managers make $37,871, and animal control officers receive an income of approximately $30,723 (payscale). Animal shelter staff must be passionate about their jobs and their passion is what must drive them, not their salary (Germann, J). 

Animal Shelters are severely understaffed all due to lack of funds. It had been found that some larger shelters have a staff to animal ration of 1 employee to 600-1,000 animals, with an average ratio of 691 animals to one employee (Cashion, 2003). It is difficult to imagine that animals are getting the proper care, no matter how efficiently a staff member is working, with the sheer mass of animals one person is responsible for. 

Which is why volunteers are integral to a well functioning shelter. With regulations based on safety and (insurance liabilities) the type and quantity of volunteers may be limited.  Many volunteers are at the core of shelters and without them a shelter may crumble and unfortunately the animals are the main recipients of the repercussions of this occurrence. Without the care and attention these animals deserve, they are not getting an equal opportunity to find a home.  

Even if a shelter receives funding from local government based on taxes, it is not nearly enough to run a well-functioning kennel with all the proper necessities, resources, employees and supplies. Fundraising and donations are the main source of funds for those shelters as well as those (which are many) that do not receive money from the government. Depending on how well a shelter is at raising funds, has a direct impact on how well they are able care for and adopt out these homeless animals.

 

For many shelters the amount of debt they are faced with increases each and every year and piles on the debt they already encompass from past years.

Here’s an example of what sounds like a lot of revenue being exceeded by operating costs:  Total revenue and support for CCAS in 2010 was $101,232 in donations and $48,903 in grants ($150,135). The shelters total operating costs for 2010 was $1.2 million (1,049,865 in the red).

In a second example, compare to 2010 revenue and total costs for the Camden County Animal Shelter to their 2006 costs and revenue. In 2006 their total revenue reached $564,380 while their total operating costs were $548,099. This leaves a deficit of $16, 281 (Egan, B).

Because of all these overhead expenses, many shelters are in some sort of deficit year after year that never disappears. Monmouth County SPCA stated, “It costs approximately $250,000 per month to fund all the important programs of the MCSPCA. We need to receive donations of over $250,000 per month just to maintain normal operations throughout the year. Unfortunately, because the amount we receive usually falls well short of the minimum required amount, we operate at a deficit each and every month” (Germann, J).

                   22). https://rucore.libraries.rutgers.edu/rutgers-lib/38418/PDF/1/play

                  /#:~:text=Most%20shelters%20receive%20donations%20to,many%

                 20they%20can%20adopt%20out.

 

So you see the problem.  Next time we’ll talk about how animal shelters are funded

 

 

Alley Cat Allies (ACA) [TNR = Trap, Neuter, Re-Abandon]

3 Aug

There are 38 reviews (it’s a small organization) and the company score was 1.6 out of 5 stars.  Only 13% of people that have been employed with ACA would recommend the job.

I have copied and pasted excerpts, and sometimes all of, the employee reviews for ACA as is.  If you have a Glassdoor login, you can see for yourself the way this information is conveyed by me is truthful and accurate to what is posted on this public job board.

https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Alley-Cat-Allies-Reviews-E848138.htm

From most helpful votes to least: 

a).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, more than 3 years

Feb 27, 2016 –  in Bethesda, MD

Pros

– Office cats live on the 6th floor and you can bring your dog in if you work on the 5th floor

– Good insurance benefits

– Free bagels every Friday

Cons

– Constant turnover and low morale. Less than a handful of employees have been here longer than 2 years

– Lack of upper management. Just a slew of temps, entry level, and mid-level employees with several vacant Director positions and no real HR

– Almost every employee reports directly to the President and/or COO creating huge delays on urgent work

– There is no strategic vision, just constant day-to-day micromanaging

– President and COO. . .are frequently emotionally abusive to employees. 

Advice to Management

My advice to management would be to actually read and truly absorb what all of the 1 star reviews are saying. This many people can’t be wrong. ACA has lost dozens of amazing employees because the President and COO refuse to listen and change. It’s a toxic environment that is bound to self destruct. There is no hope.

39 people found this review helpful

b).

1.0★★★★★

Nov 8, 2017 – Anonymous Employee 

Pros

Salaries and benefits are good, but job security is non-existent.

Cons

Alley Cat Allies is an unethical, unprofessional and deeply unkind organization. Contributions are misused and employees are mistreated, disrespected and emotionally abused. Direct Mail expenses, Development team and donor management costs mean that very little money raised goes to help cats.

The office is located in the most expensive zip code in the country.

But the unethical and possible illegal behavior is not as bad the way that staff are treated. Humiliation is the #1 management tool.

Advice to Management

Fire Charelene Pedrolie. Dismiss Becky Robinson. Board members should should be ashamed of how they have abandoned their fiduciary responsibility.

39 people found this review helpful

c).

1.0★★★★★

Current Employee, more than 3 years

Horrible place to work.

Feb 22, 2016 – Anonymous Employee in Bethesda, MD

Cons

The leadership doesn’t lead. They reign through cruelty and spite. . . It is a dysfunctional and toxic workplace. The founder has serious mental health issues demonstrated by major ups and downs, erratic behaviour, insecurity and micromanagement. She is quick to put down others and fails to accept responsibility for her mistakes. Employees are scared of retribution and thus can’t make a move without approval from Becky. Thus they can’t truly do their jobs.

Advice to Management

The founder and president, Becky Robinson, needs to step down. She is a detriment to the organization, incapable of leading or inspiring, with dismal people skills. If she really cared about cats and the organization she created, she would do what’s best for both and hand over the reign to a competent leader. Her ego is unfortunately bigger than her abilities. Also Charlene Pedrolie should be removed. 

38 people found this review helpful

d).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee

Perhaps the worst animal welfare organization to work for in the country

Nov 26, 2015 – Anonymous Employee 

Pros

The original mission (protecting the welfare of cats) is noble.

Cons

There are two issues – (1) the ineffectiveness of the organization as a whole and its failure to achieve even the smallest of goals in recent years and (2) the cruelty with which the president and founder (Becky Robinson) and her second in command (Charlene Pedrolie) treat employees.

To the first point, Alley Cat Allies has tremendous wealth (upwards of $7 million) yet made no positive impact for cats. Look at the claims made in fundraising emails and try to match it to actual victories. You simply can’t. The successes don’t exist, instead the organization helps a few individual cats (through relocation, adoption, covering spay/neuter costs) every week. 

most money is spent on fundraising. 

The board has been notified of these issues yet chooses to do nothing. Potential donors should carefully consider whether Alley Cat Allies merits their donations.

Management (Robinson and Pedrolie) have created an environment so hostile and demeaning that it borders on the Kafkaesque. Management . . .screams at employees for inconsequential issues (like using a black pen instead of blue). One particularly distressing habit that the president has is to speak to employees as though they are mentally disabled (very slowly, enunciating each syllable). Clearly, this is an insensitive and offensive way to speak to anyone (regardless of their mental acuity) but it’s particularly humiliating when done to you in front of large groups of people.

38 people found this review helpful

e).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, more than 1 year

Apr 29, 2016 – Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

Pros

Alley Cat Allies pays (most of) their staff more than the majority of animal welfare organizations.

Monthly healthcare premiums covered at 100% for staff.

Colleagues are great (exceptions exist).

Cons

Just read all of the other reviews (minus an obvious outlier…).

There is also a ENORMOUS amount of money wasted on things ranging from daily operational costs all the way to the refusal to give grant funds to worthy groups despite the amount spent on marketing.

Advice to Management

Get a Board of Directors that actually provides oversight to senior management instead of “yessing” everything and taking glossy slideshows as fact.

Find a President who can run an organization effectively.

And get an HR Department. The lack of this department is truly offensive.

37 people found this review helpful

f)

1.0★★★★★

Run

Nov 18, 2015 – Anonymous Employee 

Pros

If there was a strategic plan in place and if the organization actually followed its mission to save cat’s lives then this would be an amazing place to work.

Cons

Unfortunately, there is no strategic plan, campaigns and programs are never implemented yet the halfway achieved campaigns and programs are used for fundraising purposes. There is a lack of trust by senior leadership and no one stays long enough!

There is no HR department. No accountability for senior staff- the rules do not apply to them. 

37 people found this review helpful

g).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, more than 3 years

As BAD as They Say

Sep 3, 2018 – Anonymous Employee 

Pros

Excellent benefits. Mostly awesome employees/coworkers.

Cons

At the time of this writing, 18 out of 26 reviews of Alley Cat Allies are one-star (only 4 five-star reviews that are obviously written by management or someone else hired to polish the turd that is this organization’s reputation). Common threads that run through these reviews are:

  • Ineffective leadership
  • Board inaction to the above
  • No strategic vision
  • Donations are misused, and successes exaggerated
  • High turnover
  • Unethical, cruel, abusive, erratic behavior by the president and the COO
  • Dysfunctional, toxic environment
  • Micromanaging and demeaning leadership style

I’m here to tell you that this is all true and waiting for you when you accept employment at Alley Cat Allies. This organization could do great things but will NEVER live up to its potential because of its useless leadership that controls its employees through fear and humiliation instead of inspiring and empowering them.

The pervasiveness of the injury and indignity suffered by employees of this organization speak through these reviews.

Heed my warning and the warning of others! This place is a dumpster fire. Enter at your own risk… I did (believing it couldn’t be THAT BAD, ignoring reviews and verbal notice of the impending nightmare) and I certainly paid the price. My friends and family were relieved when I was free of this place and could “begin healing.”

Advice to Management

What can be said that hasn’t already? Leadership needs a complete overhaul.

36 people found this review helpful

h). 

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, less than 1 year

Negative reviews are ALL TRUE. Positive ones are FAKE. CEO has personality of Donald Trump

Feb 5, 2019 – Anonymous Employee 

Pros

Great benefits. That’s how they justify abusing you and creating a CLIMATE OF FEAR. I was afraid to leave because of the benefits but everyone eventually sees their mental health is more important. And it takes a long time to recover emotionally. Like years.

Cons

This sounds like a dystopian book. Or a better comparison is the Trump administration. BECKY ROBINSON acts like Donald Trump. She is angry, irrational, PSYCHOTIC and keeps the organization from accomplishing pretty much anything because she is focused on all the wrong things. Mostly LAWSUITS from other former employees and her EGO and ILLEGAL stuff she is doing with at least one other organization, using Alley Cat Allies donors money. And the COO Charlene Pedroile shuffles behind her quietly MANIPULATING. Whatever she has reported on the books or however she has managed to have a good audit is something she has manipulated. Which one is worse? Why do they do any of this? I honestly think they enjoy hurting people. Every inch of the negative reviews are true. Can’t get that across enough.

Advice to Management

Leave. Maybe the organization could be saved with competent leaders. But they will never leave unless they are forced out. No one has figured out how to do that yet. If you are a journalist help expose them and get them out.

35 people found this review helpful

i)

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, less than 1 year

Please Don’t Work Here

Jan 21, 2016 –  in Bethesda, MD

Cons

Horrible, horrible toxic work environment. The management is absolutely dreadful. 

Charlene pedrolie has absolutely NO idea how to deal with people in a respectful way…  She berates her staff for the most insignificant reasons, taking advantage of them, belittling them and demotivating them.. . Most people quit if they haven’t already been unreasonably threatened to leave by Charlene. She has also demonstrated a complete lack of knowledge about animal care and animal rights – she is clearly all about the business aspect but can’t even prove to be an effective businesswoman. People do not last long as there is a high turnover rate. 

35 people found this review helpful

j).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, less than 1 year

Sep 11, 2015 – Anonymous Employee in Bethesda, MD

Pros

There were a fair amount of catered lunches and meetings, that’s about it.

Cons

– Management is dysfunctional in almost all areas except they excel in fostering an extremely toxic work environment.

– Employees are bad-mouthed by management in-front of other employees.

– Management lacks the ability to make decisions and changes course on major projects on almost a weekly basis.

– The turn-over rate is extremely high and directly affects the organizations ability to accomplish their mission.

– Resources are spent more on development (raising money) than mission goals.

– Administrative costs are high for an organization of this size.

Advice to Management

If you truly care about the organization and the ability to “Save Cats Lives” then let the skilled employees you hire do their jobs.

35 people found this review helpful

k)

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee

Would not recommend working here

May 30, 2015 – Manager in Bethesda, MD

Pros

ACA has a very toxic work environment and I would not recommend working there. The major pro is that the mission is wonderful, and employees are dedicated to supporting that mission.

Cons

Toxic work environment– leadership does not trust employees and thinks that employees are not smart or capable. Leadership gossips about employees with other employees regularly. Programs and initiatives are launched then abandoned as leadership loses focus and decides to do other things.

Advice to Management

New management is simply the only way the culture will change for more cats will be helped. This is not likely to happen.

35 people found this review helpful

l).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, less than 1 year

Read about Alley Cat Allies in the Chronicle of Philanthropy to learn it all…

Mar 29, 2019 – Assistant in Bethesda, MD

Pros

Good health insurance. Good job if you want to gather research for a book about toxic workplaces.

Cons

Google reporter Marc Gunther’s article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy and then go to his website to read his blog posts about Alley Cat Allies and Becky Robinson. That sums up this organization. Dysfunctional and corrupt. Wasting donor dollars. Screaming at employees. Firing people who dare speak up. 

Advice to Management

Stop using donor dollars to fund lawsuits against former employees and consultants. Just shut the place down. Its not like we’re helping cats anyway.

34 people found this review helpful

m).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee

Unethical, High Turnover, Machiavellian Culture

Jan 15, 2017 – Anonymous Employee 

Pros

Benefits higher than other non profits.

Cons

Lack of professionalism in management. Management unethical, deceitful and plays employee and rescue group favoritism. Employs cruel, heartless actions against others. Although the salary and company benefits are much higher than other non profits I realized that those benefits and salaries are paid for by the donating public which means that money isn’t supporting the cause. Too much money spent on seeking donations and those donations aren’t funding the cause.

Advice to Management

Resign and replace.Read the other negative former employee reviews. 

34 people found this review helpful

n).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee

Very unhealthy work place!

Sep 30, 2015 – Anonymous Employee 

Pros

The Cause of helping and saving feral cats is wonderful, and the company is truly making a difference for them. Everyone there is an animal lover. Overall, the staff members are very nice and work well with each other.

Cons

Executive managers micromanage at the NANO level and change processes and procedures constantly; this creates delays, unnecessary extra work, and more stress for staff. They yell, bully, and degrade staff and vendors, alike, in front of others. The extremely low morale level is rated at a 1, in my opinion. There is a revolving door with incoming and outgoing of employees, as the turnover rate is so high. 

Advice to Management

Stop your condescension with staff and vendors. Paying their salaries and vendors’ businesses does not entitle you to treat people like you own them. Be more thoughtful and tactful, and please stop the micromanagement; allow staff to have some level of autonomy.

34 people found this review helpful

o).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, more than 1 year

If it looks like a duck & quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

Mar 1, 2019 – Anonymous Employee 

Pros

* Salary levels

* Constantly being around cats

* Bethesda is a nice neighborhood

Cons

Becky Robinson is truly a pioneer in the TNR field. But these days she’s an afterthought. All the big names in animal rescue leave her out of their planning & events. Why? She simply can’t play nice with others and is batguano crazy. Then, she sealed her fate by hiring Charlene Pedrolie to basically take over the entire operation. Charlene is controlling and heartless. She is intimidated by strong women & will take you down whatever way she’s able. Napoleon complex times a thousand.

Between Becky’s erratic behavior & Charlene’s over the top need to control everything, the work environment is extremely toxic. . .  I doubt the PTSD will ever dissipate. And I’m far from alone! The hiring cannot keep up with the firings & resignations.

Raising money is the #1 focus and with each $5 check from a cat-loving senior citizen is another lawsuit from aggrieved employees or vendors (See Putsche v. ACA). Or, another trip for Becky to far away lands like Hawaii or Australia. She often has a videographer accompany her to capture heart-tugging moments in order to raise more money.

For years, I watched other people berated, treated like trash, and then summarily tossed aside. I thought it would never happen to me, until it did. And my life will never be the same. That isn’t drama, it’s just the awful truth.

Advice to Management

Management = Becky & Charlene who will never take responsibility & forever point the finger at others. So, giving them advice is a waste of time.

For the current employees: the longer you stay, the more complicit you become.

34 people found this review helpful

l).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, less than 1 year

Read about Alley Cat Allies in the Chronicle of Philanthropy to learn it all…

Mar 29, 2019 – Assistant in Bethesda, MD

Pros

Good health insurance. Good job if you want to gather research for a book about toxic workplaces.

Cons

Google reporter Marc Gunther’s article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy and then go to his website to read his blog posts about Alley Cat Allies and Becky Robinson. That sums up this organization. Dysfunctional and corrupt. Wasting donor dollars. Screaming at employees. Firing people who dare speak up. 

Advice to Management

Stop using donor dollars to fund lawsuits against former employees and consultants. Just shut the place down. Its not like we’re helping cats anyway.

34 people found this review helpful

m).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee

Unethical, High Turnover, Machiavellian Culture

Jan 15, 2017 – Anonymous Employee 

Pros

Benefits higher than other non profits.

Cons

Lack of professionalism in management. Management unethical, deceitful and plays employee and rescue group favoritism. Employs cruel, heartless actions against others. Although the salary and company benefits are much higher than other non profits I realized that those benefits and salaries are paid for by the donating public which means that money isn’t supporting the cause. Too much money spent on seeking donations and those donations aren’t funding the cause.

Advice to Management

Resign and replace.Read the other negative former employee reviews. 

34 people found this review helpful

n).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee

Very unhealthy work place!

Sep 30, 2015 – Anonymous Employee 

Pros

The Cause of helping and saving feral cats is wonderful, and the company is truly making a difference for them. Everyone there is an animal lover. Overall, the staff members are very nice and work well with each other.

Cons

Executive managers micromanage at the NANO level and change processes and procedures constantly; this creates delays, unnecessary extra work, and more stress for staff. They yell, bully, and degrade staff and vendors, alike, in front of others. The extremely low morale level is rated at a 1, in my opinion. There is a revolving door with incoming and outgoing of employees, as the turnover rate is so high. 

Advice to Management

Stop your condescension with staff and vendors. Paying their salaries and vendors’ businesses does not entitle you to treat people like you own them. Be more thoughtful and tactful, and please stop the micromanagement; allow staff to have some level of autonomy.

34 people found this review helpful

o).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, more than 1 year

If it looks like a duck & quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

Mar 1, 2019 – Anonymous Employee 

Pros

* Salary levels

* Constantly being around cats

* Bethesda is a nice neighborhood

Cons

Becky Robinson is truly a pioneer in the TNR field. But these days she’s an afterthought. All the big names in animal rescue leave her out of their planning & events. Why? She simply can’t play nice with others and is batguano crazy. Then, she sealed her fate by hiring Charlene Pedrolie to basically take over the entire operation. Charlene is controlling and heartless. She is intimidated by strong women & will take you down whatever way she’s able. Napoleon complex times a thousand.

Between Becky’s erratic behavior & Charlene’s over the top need to control everything, the work environment is extremely toxic. . .  I doubt the PTSD will ever dissipate. And I’m far from alone! The hiring cannot keep up with the firings & resignations.

Raising money is the #1 focus and with each $5 check from a cat-loving senior citizen is another lawsuit from aggrieved employees or vendors (See Putsche v. ACA). Or, another trip for Becky to far away lands like Hawaii or Australia. She often has a videographer accompany her to capture heart-tugging moments in order to raise more money.

For years, I watched other people berated, treated like trash, and then summarily tossed aside. I thought it would never happen to me, until it did. And my life will never be the same. That isn’t drama, it’s just the awful truth.

Advice to Management

Management = Becky & Charlene who will never take responsibility & forever point the finger at others. So, giving them advice is a waste of time.

For the current employees: the longer you stay, the more complicit you become.

34 people found this review helpful

p)

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, less than 1 year

Worst job ever – I needed therapy

Oct 3, 2017 –  

Pros

Great mission, decent pay, cats in office, good health insurance, some colleagues were nice. Office was clean and modern.

Cons

Continual verbal and emotional abuse, harassment, gaslighting, and micromanagement from emotionally unstable boss caused serious mental distress and inability to do job properly.

Several employees sought therapy locally on our lunch breaks because of Becky. Nothing can ever be done to her liking; she has severe mood swings and sometimes violent outbursts; she micromanages everyone to the point where you cannot get your job done; she picks favorites and others are her “whipping boy”. 

Advice to Management

CEO needs psychiatric medication and therapy. She shouldn’t be in a position of managing others.

32 people found this review helpful

q).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, more than 1 year

Atrocious workplace culture, inept leadership

Feb 23, 2016 – Anonymous Employee 

Pros

Cats in the office.

Company pays 100% of health insurance premium.

Free donuts on Friday.

Intelligent, compassionate coworkers at middle-management levels and below.

Cons

Organizational leadership and workplace culture are actively harmful to productivity and morale, borderline abusive. Morale across the company is low, and the organization suffers from constant employee turnover. The president and the COO are ineffective leaders with poor people and leadership skills. Their condescension, verbal abuse and aggression toward employees creates a toxic work environment. Alley Cat Allies is a case study in micromanagement. The president oversees every project, mandating her personal approval on everything. This is an enormous drag on productivity, and projects pile up on each other and are approved long after their deadline. Most employees are extremely competent and effective in their field, and are successful in spite of upper management, not because of it.

Projects are often forgotten. Successes are exaggerated or minor, given the stated national scope of the organization. Upward mobility is almost nonexistent, and salaries only increase in an attempt to stop turnover.

Employees have to pay for parking in downtown Bethesda themselves, which is very expensive; you can shave about $7 per day off your daily take-home pay before you even walk through the door. Any food that is not vegan or vegetarian is prohibited in the office, which is not a problem if you’re vegetarian but is frustrating if you’re not.

Advice to Management

The CEO and COO are unfit to guide the organization and should both step down. Drastic changes in leadership are necessary but unlikely. Providing employees with occasional perks like free luncheons or guided meditation are not replacements for increasing salaries and transforming the workplace into a positive, supportive environment.

31 people found this review helpful

r).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, less than 1 year

Immature, Defective, Malignant Management

Dec 29, 2018 – Administrative in Baltimore, MD

Pros

They spend a lot of money on salaries and benefits (not to the cats).

Cons

Management is backbiting, immature, personality disordered and can not change. The only way this organization will survive is for people to 1) Boycott working here and 2) Stop donating to this abusive, self serving, cruel management. They do nothing for the cats, border on the illegal, certainly unethical practices. 

Advice to Management

Please remove yourselves and step down to allow competent, mature and ethical people to run the show.

28 people found this review helpful

u).

3.0★★★★★

Former Employee, more than 1 year

Reviews speak for themselves

May 14, 2020 – Development Assistant 

Cons

Management is just…rife with scandals, and CEO is pretty much a crazy person.

16 people found this review helpful

v).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, more than 3 years

Dishonesty and paranoia in abundance

Sep 5, 2020 – Manager in Bethesda, MD

Pros

None. You work hard to earn your vacation days then they wont let you to take then because of a million reasons!

Cons

Never got reimbursed for any of my sick or vacation days accumulated. Had to get a lawyer and ACA would rather pay thousands to legal fees then do whats right. 

Advice to Management

Learn how to operate a company the honest way. Stop acting like your busy working foe cats. . .

15 people found this review helpful

w).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, more than 1 year

I would call this place a joke, but that would be ignoring the real damage they do

Jan 19, 2021 – Anonymous Employee 

Pros

Benefits and pay, but that’s it

Cons

-Leadership: The founder is prime example of founder’s syndrome. She has too much control over the organization she founded, even though it has grown beyond her ability to manage. She micromanages everything, to the point of nothing getting done. That would be bad enough, but even worse is that she was horrible to employees. At best she’s rude, snapping at people and making them bend to her every whim, acting like we had nothing better to do than serve her, instead of doing our real jobs. At worst, she’s emotionally abusive and makes employees cry.

There’s no HR department, so there is nowhere for people to go with these problems. There’s also no board oversight for questionable management and financial practices.

-High employee turnover

Advice to Management

Leave and let competent people run the organization. Maybe it could actually do some good for cats.

8 people found this review helpful

x).

1.0★★★★★

Former Employee, more than 3 years

Checking in

Jun 21, 2021 – Anonymous Employee 

Pros

I left the organization before getting fired years ago – my first review is posted here already. (PS Most people at ACA get fired, and for no good reason). I sometimes check back in here at Glassdoor to see how things are going, if anything at ACA has changed. Sort of like checking an ex’s social media. I see that nothing has changed.

Cons

The same cruel leadership and ineffective management is reflected in these reviews. Just a note to job seekers…I have thought about this organization, and my negative, scary, sad, stressful experiences there, many times. Truly. Many times. I probably needed therapy.

2 people found this review helpful

y)

5.0★★★★★

Current Employee, more than 1 year

MANAGER

May 3, 2016 – Manager 

Pros

Great benefits, passionate about mission, flexibility, get to be involved in high level strategic discussions that at all of my other jobs I didn’t get to be part of, great staff and great leadership. Becky, Charlene and Rebekah provide good strategic decisions and they care about the employees. I have learned a lot from them and appreciate their dedication and genuine concern for animals. If you don’t work hard and don’t care about the mission, you wont do well here. They don’t put up with slackers.

Cons

I have a long commute so I wished I lived closer to the office.

2 people found this review helpful

z).

5.0★★★★★

Current Employee, more than 1 year

Mission focused, great team, huge impact in movement

Jan 20, 2017 – Program Manager in Bethesda, MD

Pros

Love working here, we are very focused on having huge impact to stop killing of cats. For such a small team, we have had tremendous across the country in saving cats and changing laws. I am so proud of our work and my team members. I now think of them as some of my best friends. I love the dedication and passion of the executive team. They work late nights and almost every weekend.

Cons

its hard when we cant save every cat, although we try. The metro commute has been bad because of the metro work. –

Advice to Management

please consider more remote work options

Be the first to find this review helpful

As you can see, the majority of the reviews are abysmal.  Common complaints were no long-term plans that support the mission, the president and COO foster a toxic workplace environment through micromanaging, verbal abuse, and sketchy practices, and a high turnover rate.  The last reviews, with the fewest “helpful’ votes have an entirely different tone.

That was a lot to get through so next time I’ll give more sources about how ACA is a poorly-run and corrupt organization.