|MF: Mike Fry|
BN: Beth Nelson
CB: Carl Bailey
MF: We’re in the middle of a special edition of Animal Wise Radio, celebrating the recipients of this year’s Henry Bergh Leadership Awards, which are given out each year by the No Kill Advocacy Center. We’re having the recipients on the air to celebrate, and next up we’ve got Sergeant Carl Bailey from Seagoville, Texas. He’s been on the show before, and I am just so inspired by his story and where he is and what he did. Welcome back to Animal Wise Radio Sergeant Bailey, and congratulations.
CB: Thank you very much.
BN: I have to say this – we met Sergeant Bailey at the No Kill Conference last August, and hearing a little bit of the story, Carl, about what you did and how you stepped into your role as the head of animal control in your community and head of the shelter – a job you didn’t really want to take because you were worried about what you might have to do – one of the things that I could see coming off your person was just this amazing heart-centeredness – you just had a way about you that was really inspiring.
You did not even know anything about Nathan Winograd or the No Kill Nation or all of these other people who have been for a number of years now out trying to bring change to their communities in animal sheltering, and yet you somehow found your way to achieving some amazing results.
MF: Tell our listeners, in case they didn’t hear the last show, how did it come to be that you became in charge of animal control in Seagoville, Texas?
CB: Our Chief, Pat Stalling, decided that he wanted to bring animal services back under the police department. At the time it was under code enforcement. I cautioned him against that because of the problems we’ve had in the past. It’s a big public nightmare. They call in and complain about it, and I didn’t know if he wanted to take that on. Anyway, he said, “Yes, we’re going to take that on, and I want you to run it.” I said, “Really? I don’t have any experience running an animal shelter.”
He said, “You’re the dog lover.” That’s how I ended up with it.
MF: What did you say to him the first time he told you?
BN: And the second time? And the third time?
CB: I told him no three times, and finally he said, “No, you’re going to do it.”
BN: Once you realized you couldn’t say no, you decided to figure out, “What do I need to know that I don’t know?”
MF: And you did say you would take the job under one condition. What was that condition?
CB: I told him it had to be no kill, because there was no way I could put down healthy animals just because we couldn’t find them homes. We were going to have to do that. They said, “If you can do it, do it.”
I said, “Prepare yourself, because that’s where we’re going.”
MF: To me, when you say things like that, it just puts a smile on my face. As we were talking with Holly in the segment before, it was clear in her interview that their shelter had been killing 90%, then she said, “It’s not going to be that way anymore,” and then it wasn’t. Then in your community, a new sergeant comes into town and he just says, “I’ll do it, but we’re not going to kill animals,” and then you didn’t.
Every one of these stories seems to be the same. I would argue that is what true leadership looks like. You walk into a situation that is not good, and you say, “It’s not going to be like this anymore,” and then you make it that way. I would say what Beth was calling this heart-centeredness, I would say it’s pure congruency. What you think, what you feel, and what you say and do are all in alignment, and there’s nothing more powerful than that.
CB: It takes a commitment. You have to put your foot down and stand behind what you feel and what’s in your heart, and that’s what we’ve done.
MF: So the first year after you took the job, what was your save rate?
CB: It was 97.5%, almost 98%.
BN: We know that you worked hard to get there. You had pets for adoption out in front of the hardware store in town. I’m sure you’ve come up with multiple ways of trying to market and move animals out of your care and back into the community. We’re running out of time so quickly – one thing I’d like to really ask you – this is your second full year of being in leadership at your shelter, at this open admission animal control center, and again, amazing results. Is there something you can share for other communities trying to make change? Being the leader that you are, what would you say to them?
CB: Like I said, it takes a commitment from the staff at the shelter and a commitment from your community and your city administration. Get everybody on board, and then just make it happen. It’s not always easy. Certainly we get crowded quite often, but you just have to take that stand and make it happen. There are several other communities in Dallas/Fort Worth now that are starting to move towards that. Maybe it’s contagious.
BN: That’s the kind of contagion we could use more of in this country. We just can't thank you enough for being just a bright spot in the Texas landscape. It’s much needed.
MF: We just have a minute left, but I’m just curious – what did you learn differently in year two versus year one? You said it’s not always easy – I’m guessing maybe year two was a little easier?
CB: Well, I don’t know if easier would be the word, but we learned some lessons from the first year about doing adoption events and getting the word out, so it’s happening a little bit easier. We’ve got about 30 volunteers that are really committed to making this work, and they’re really the ones that should take credit for most of this, because they’re the ones that get out there every weekend and get these animals out and get them adopted. It takes a lot of work on their part. I really appreciate the job that they do.
MF: Thank you for your work. Congratulations on your Henry Bergh leadership award.
When we come back, we’ll be talking with Denise Jones – fascinating conversation out of Kentucky.