CHANGE THE LAWS get in YOUR LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES FACE!
This petition had 12,181 supporters
WHAT I WILL DO WITH THIS PETITION
I will use this petition to get in as many representatives faces as I can with your signatures and the help of the media and caring animal organizations to change the laws for shelter animals. To get the attention of the media I need zillions of signatures. I want to change laws. STOP back yard breeding. STOP breeding, PERIOD! there are too many shelter animals being killed for more breeding to continue. Breeding should be regulated and only allowed by licensed breeders and only if there is a shortage of a certain breed of cats or dogs. I want the law changed to STOP! the sales of dogs and cats in pet stores. This will help to reduce the puppy mills. I want the law changed to STOP! puppy mills PERIOD! and for anyone found to operate one punishment to be 20 years in jail. I want a law to enforce that all family pets be spay and neutered. I want this law to be specific and to say that not only shall pets be neutered but they shall all be chipped and registered with local town halls so if a pet gets loose from the yard and picked up by a dog officer they can scan the chip and call it in to the town hall to see who the owner is. This will eliminate an animal being brought to a shelter and left for dead. After all, if your like me your pets are your FAMILY. I want this law to say that if your pet is picked up by a dog officer that you will pay a fine for not properly containing your animal and keeping it secure and safe. I want to change the law for neglected animals, starved, abused, and NO back yard leashes - only kennel or a run. I want all states to enforce a walking leash law. I want serious jail time and steeper punishments for all who hurt these precious helpless lives. I want to enforce an animal watch/alert so if you loose your pet it can be featured just like amber alert so there is hope for you to get your pet back. I want the law changed to enforce that ALL shelters pracitice the NO KILL ADVOCACY 10 step program to eliminate shelter deaths. (Read about this below). I want schools to enforce with young children speakers/programs to educate the young about domestic animals for care, love, and general proper treatment of your pets and other domestic animals. So hopefully less children will grow up with such ignorance that presently exists in the world. I want this program to specifically educate the young about pittbulls and educate them to make them aware of how they are loving animals and that they only react from the treatment they receive like any dog would. I want the schools to encourage the young to volunteer at shelters to help these animals and recieve credit for it. I want ALL of you to get in your representative faces, write to them, call them, for law change
__HELP ME TO ACCOMPLISH LAW CHANGES AND SIGN THIS PETITON__
People need to CARE MORE. STOP! just talking about it do something about it.
BELOW A LETTER FROM A SHELTER MANAGER--------and powerful words and information. Read the NO KILL ADVOCACY 10 step program at the end.
"Euthanasia" is defined as a quiet and painless death. The very word itself sounds restful and relaxing. But in the context of the killing of our companion animals, it is absolutely not applicable. Their deaths are exceedingly stressful and often excruciatingly painful. So let's all agree, that what is committed in these "Death Camps" called "shelters", is nothing less than brutal Murder.
Law enforcement and animal control do not operate in the best interest of the animals.
RECENTLY I read a letter written by a Shelter manager here is what he said.
Letter from a Dog Shelter Manager Who Has To Euthanize Dropped Off Pets
I run a small rescue in upstate NY, Mutt and Lab Rescue, and everything in this letter is 100% true in the southern United States. Please pass it on, and maybe your neighbor will think twice about dumping their dogs off in a shelter. PLEASE - don't buy, adopt! I have gorgeous purebred labs and lab puppies for adoption, they were all pulled from high kill shelters.
Education people, EDUCATION!! Let's pray that 2012 spares more lives than the 11
million killed this year...
"A Letter from a Shelter Manager:
I think our society needs a huge " Wake-up" call.
As a shelter manager, I am going to share a little insight with you all. .a view
from the inside if you will.
First off, all of you breeders/sellers should be made to work in the "back" of
an animal shelter for just one day.
Maybe if you saw the life drain from a few sad, lost, confused eyes, you would
change your mind about breeding and selling to people you don't even know. That
puppy you just sold will most likely end up in my shelter when it's not a cute
little puppy anymore.
So how would you feel if you knew that there's about a 90% chance that dog will
never walk out of the shelter it is going to be dumped at? Purebred or not!
About 50% of all of the dogs that are "owner surrenders" or "strays" that come
into my shelter are purebred dogs.
The most common excuses I hear are;
"We are moving and we can't take our dog (or cat)." Really? Where are you moving
to that doesn't allow pets and why did you choose that place instead of a pet
Or they say "The dog got bigger than we thought it would". How big did you think
a German Shepherd would get?
"We don't have time for her". Really? I work a 10- 12 hour day and still have
time for my 6 dogs!
"She' s tearing up our yard". How about making her a part of your family?
They always tell me: "We just don't want to have to stress about finding a place
for her we know she'll get adopted, she's a good dog."
Odds are your pet won't get adopted & how stressful do you think being in a
shelter is? Well, let me tell you, your pet has 72 hours to find a new family
from the moment you drop it off. Sometimes a little longer if the shelter isn't
full and your dog manages to stay completely healthy. If it sniffles, it dies. And a sniffle is just a common cold completely curable.
Your pet will be confined to a small run/kennel in a room with about 25 other
barking or crying animals. It will have to relieve itself where it eats and
It will be depressed and it will cry constantly for the family that abandoned
If your pet is lucky, I will have enough volunteers in that day to take him/her
for a walk. If I don't, your pet won't get any attention besides having a bowl
of food slid under the kennel door and the waste sprayed out of its pen with a
If your dog is big, black or any of the "Bully" breeds (pit bull, rottie,
mastiff, etc) it was pretty much dead when you walked it through the front door.
Those dogs just don't get adopted as people tend to be ignorant and uneducated when it comes to these breeds. The truth is they are great dogs!
It doesn't matter how 'sweet' or 'well behaved' they are. If your dog doesn't
get adopted within its 72 hours and the shelter is full, it will be destroyed.
If the shelter isn't full and your dog is good enough, and of a desirable enough
breed it may get a stay of execution, but not for long.
Most dogs get very kennel protective after about a week and are destroyed for
showing aggression. Even the sweetest dogs will turn in this environment.
If your pet makes it over all of those hurdles chances are it will get kennel
cough or an upper respiratory infection and will be destroyed because shelters
just don't have the funds to pay for even a $100 treatment.
Here's a little euthanasia 101 for those of you that have never witnessed a
perfectly healthy, scared animal being "put-down"....
First, your pet will be taken from its kennel on a leash. They always look like
they think they are going for a walk - happy, wagging their tails.
Until, they get to "The Room", every one of them freak out and put the brakes on
when we get to the door. It must smell like death or they can feel the sad souls
that are left in there, it's strange, but it happens with every one of them.
Your dog or cat will be restrained, held down by 1 or 2 vet techs depending on
the size and how freaked out they are.
Then a euthanasia tech or a vet will start the process. They will find a vein in
the front leg and inject a lethal dose of the "pink stuff".
Hopefully your pet doesn't panic from being restrained and jerk. I've seen the
needles tear out of a leg and been covered with the resulting blood and been
deafened by the yelps and screams.
They all don't just "go to sleep", sometimes they spasm for a while, gasp for
air and defecate on themselves.
When it all ends, your pet's corpse will be stacked like firewood in a large
freezer in the back with all of the other animals that were killed waiting to be
picked up like garbage.
What happens next? Cremated? Taken to the dump? Rendered into pet food? You'll
never know and it probably won't even cross your mind. It was just an animal and
you can always buy another one, right?
I hope that those of you that have read this are bawling your eyes out and can't
get the pictures out of your head I deal with everyday on the way home from
I hate my job, I hate that it exists & I hate that it will always be there
unless you people make some changes and realize that the lives you are affecting
go much further than the pets you dump at a shelter.
Between 9 and 11 MILLION animals die every year in shelters and only you can
stop it. I do my best to save every life I can but rescues are always full, and
there are more animals coming in everyday than there are homes.
My point to all of this: DON'T BREED OR BUY WHILE SHELTER PETS DIE!
Hate me if you want to. The truth hurts and reality is what it is.
I just hope I maybe changed one person's mind about breeding their dog, taking
their loving pet to a shelter, or buying a dog.
I hope that someone will walk into my shelter and say "I saw this and it made me
want to adopt." THAT WOULD MAKE IT WORTH IT!"
The terrible stories, the incredible need, the considerable anguish, the non-relenting pain, simply never ends. Not even for a single solitary moment. Can it really be the case, that "human" and "humanity" are truly related words? (shaking my head)
YOU THOUGHT IT WAS A CRIME WHEN HITLER KILLED THE JEWS and NOW HUMANS ARE KILLING ALL THE DOGS. STOP!!!!! now just STOP!!!!! DOGS HAVE THE RIGHT TO LIVE. Go to my dog page on face book and see what thousands of people in the United States do to try to save our K-9 friends. On face book Dogs Have The Right to Live.
You Can't Defend Your Rights
Unless You Know What Rights Are
The foundation for freedom is grasping that just to live, let alone flourish, you need to be free.
What threatens a Shelter Animals freedom? They have NO VOICE and YOU must be their loud speaker. Protect them! Help them! Save them!
The notion that your life does not belong to you – that it belongs to the state-government and you need permission to live. The authorities – State - Government decide if you will live or die, what you stand for. They regulate shelter animals and decide by their permission if a shelter animal can live or die. They take a chunk through "taxes", YOUR TAXES to KILL shelter animals costing YOU 10,000.00 a day across the U.S. adding to 12 billion a year. Certainly that kind of money can be put to better use GOOD USE to save Shelter Animals by educating, mandatory micro chipping, mandatory spay and neuter programs and building more NO KILL animal shelters.You and how you feel doesn't matter. They just want YOUR tax dollars to kill shelter animals and do not want to put more effective programs in place to save these animal shelter lives. They do not care at all that through using YOUR tax dollars to Kill shelter animals they are making you all part of their murdering scheme. KILL Shelters make more money if they KILL an animal and it has become a murderous business NOT a shelter! They say they KILL for space, well stop taking dogs in if you have no space till you find homes for the one's you have. If someone should come into a KILL shelter or a NO KILL shelter and there is no room it should be a law that they have to fill out an application for next space available and this would provide all necessary information if they should do something reckless with their pet and then they would face charges.
When you don't own/direct your own life in a society, to the extent that a society offers no LEGAL protection for you as an individual life, you are living, not by right but by permission, which means, to that extent, as a slave. You are property partially owned and controlled by the state bureaucrats, the authorities. They claim the fraudulent "right"!!
The United States is the first country in history that is based on the idea that you are not just one cog in the wheel of some amorphous collective controlled by some insecure, self-loathing, envious tyrant, but rather, you have an inalienable right to your own life, liberty and the pursuit of your private, personal happiness. This is individualism.
Shelter animals need you to help them regain their individualism.
If you do not help Shelter Animals to live then the truth is you don't think everybody's life matters and regardless if you can tap into your life's purpose surely you can open your heart and be led to help a life in such need.
Life is a great gift. God the creator and the owner of all life, he starts life from conception and only he should end it through natural death. Do not KILL, do not take shelter animals lives. The lives of all are to be respected and weather you are conscious of it or not you are all made murderers by our government who uses your tax dollars to KILL shelter animals every single day. Shelter animals are saying every day with their sorrowful faces, Don't take my life away! Respect my life and let me live.
I believe every body has a calling and there is a reason why you are here. Make yourself fulfill your life and living it on purpose and help a shelter animal to live. If you do not help shelter animals to live then the truth is you don't think everybody's life matters and regardless if you can tap into your life's purpose surely you can open your heart and be led to help a life in such need.
You need to clearly know what individual rights are, how they relate to your happiness, what the enemies of individual rights are saying to muck up the thinking around individual rights, YOU have the right to defend and protect and Animals in Shelter's the right to let them live because they count they are a LIFE! You can be a loud speaker and do more get in YOUR representatives FACES! Let them know you are MAD!!! you want change for shelter animals. Be specific implement by phone and in a letter how you feel and plans for change.
Individual rights are inalienable, moral principles guiding and protecting freedom to pursue personal happiness at no one’s expense. And they apply equally to all within that society.
The concept of individual rights is a positive moral concept, saying that every living thing in a society in which individual rights are protected by law, that you have a right to your own life, the freedom to pursue your dreams. In this case a Shelter Animals dreams are to LIVE. Individual rights preserve everyone's rights. They tell the government: "This is my sphere of freedom into which you cannot meddle; you are there to protect my individual rights, not to violate them."
Dogs Have The Right To Live
LIFT ME UP FROM THE DEPTHS OF THESE BARS
Your power is not in what you are it's in what you do. Sometimes in life you get exactly what you want exactly when you need it. Unfortunately, for us shelter animals we need YOU for that to happen for us. Be mega huge, and get on board to save our lives to make change and change the laws for us. The miracle is not what you have consumed or lost recently it is in what you have left if you discard it, don't use it, ignore it, or value it and learn from it and understand it. You will lose the battle before you start if you don't learn from the battle behind you. Best days are not yesterdays, your miracle is in what you have left to accomplish.
When God gets ready to get to you, he will have to hire a boat to join you in the process and move at the same speed you are moving to resolve the conflict. This is the day, remember how you got here and make change now.
If you have been abused and abused, SOMEBODY knows what I am talking about. Be honored to fight for me, for my life. Feel me talking JUST TO YOU! You know a lot about now but you forgot about then, you have never seen anything like this, a Holocaust of shelter animals. Be able to use your purpose and fight for us. People here me all around the world.
God never intended anyone to go through something and get nothing out of it. He intended you to every time come out of it with something you never had before and that applies to us shelter animals too. Until you can be thankful for something that is not good enough than what you have it can not be multiplied into what is more than good enough.
It is the breaking of life that is the blessing of life.
The greater picture is life and life for all is what God intended.
Flock together, Fight for us, be our voice, our loud speaker. Have the vision, be bigger, be better, be effective for success for us. Be more than enough.
Allow your cup to run over.
Change our lives forever Make the USA a NO KILL NATION! Sign this petition http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-euthanizing-animals-in-shelters-dogs-have-the-right-to-live-change-the-laws-get-in-your-local-representatives-face
Change our lives. Live in a world you can brag about a NO KILL NATION.
GERMANY Is a NO KILL SHELTER NATION
Many KILL shelters have gone NO KILL. There is a huge movement to save shelter lives in every state but it is happening too slowly. YOU must help NOW!
Be thankful for our gift of life,. Don't take it away as we provide you with true love endlessly we are a true companion to you.
Every storm comes into our lives to teach us something. That's why we need each other, why we have to draw from each other. Let us be in a place that is warm and inviting.
I WISH YOU WOULD JUST COME HERE, WHERE I AM AND TRY IT ON FOR SIZE. Soon you would realize and open your eyes, help us, knowingly.
This is way beyond the black and white or the Holocaust issues. This is pure hell, pure fright, pure fear, pure enslavement, pure murder!
Embrace us, we need each other. You have to embrace everybody not just who look like you.
Be known for what you are for, all you can be, be better than yourself.
This History of enslaving, abusing, killing, murdering, helpless shelter animals is the wrongest unrighteous, cruelest, inhumane thing any human could ever do.
STOP PUTTING US IN THE SHADOWS.
Take a moment make a difference, discover your real strength, fight for us.
Sign this petition http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-euthanizing-animals-in-shelters-dogs-have-the-right-to-live-change-the-laws-get-in-your-local-representatives-face
Be tremendously moving, walk the walk for us. Go over the line, over the top, consider living in a country that allows us to live, make Congress open their eyes, make them open the door. If you don't do anything else do this and you must do this right. Be educated talk to ASPCA for advice about change talk to local shelters for answers and key points to put in your letters to your local representatives and your letter to Congress.
Be the master of change, let us exist and reveal how you feel to your local representatives and to Congress.
Let us be a real being whether material or spiritual. Let us be part of the largest galaxy known to exist. Let us have being in a specified place or with respect to understood limitations or conditions. Let us
exist in society and to have life or the functions of vitality, to live at an inferior level an not under adverse circumstances.
You are over worked and over stressed but we are in our own little corner fighting for life our life.
Rise to make a difference. It is so important for you to realize your power and that you are the underbelly of this country.
Look at what we died for human stupidity, human ignorance.
Be a motivator.
When you share what worked for you with others, People change can happen and your power becomes endless.
At the Core we are friends.
If you are not aware of who your local representatives are you can contact your local town hall and give them your address and they will tell you which representatives are in charge of your district. Write to them and also write to congress and you can send a copy of your letter to any representative you want but be sure to send it to those in your district. Send your letter to any kill shelter, let them know we want change and look up on the internet and see other kill shelters who have started change and have gone no kill. Put the link in your letter so they can look it up and contact them for advice. Make copies of your letter OR this letter at office max which is cheap for 100 copies and put it on windshields in busy parking lots, like the super market or wall mart parking lots. Raise awareness. Have a sign made for your car MAKE USA A NO KILK SHELTER NATION. Do what ever you can to make change and raise awareness.
AND SIGN THIS PETITION http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-euthanizing-animals-in-shelters-dogs-have-the-right-to-live-change-the-laws-get-in-your-local-representatives-face
Ten Steps to
Adopting Your Way Out of Killing
You can’t adopt your way out of killing. It is one of the most enduring dogmas in the animal shelter field. But it could not be more wrong. You actually can adopt your way out of killing. The data proves it. Experience proves it. And that is good news for animals and animal lovers.
Roughly 8 million animals enter shelters every year. Can we find homes for that many shelter animals? The good news is that we don’t have to. Some animals need adoption, but others do not. Some animals, like unsocialized cats, need neuter and release. Others will be reclaimed by their families. Some animals will go to rescue groups. Others are irremediably suffering or hopelessly ill. And many more can be kept out of the shelter through a comprehensive pet retention effort. While about four million dogs and cats will be killed in pounds and shelters this year, roughly three million will be killed for lack of a new home. Can we find homes for those animals? Yes we can.
Using the most successful adoption communities as a benchmark and adjusting for population, U.S. shelters combined should be adopting almost nine million animals a year. That is almost three times the number being killed for lack of a home. In fact, it is more than total impounds, and of those, almost half do not need a new home. But the news gets even better. There are almost two times that many potential adopters each year.
There are over 23 million people who are going to get an animal next year. Some are already committed to adopting from a shelter. Some are already committed to getting one from a breeder or other commercial source. But 17 million have not decided where that animal will come from and research shows they can be influenced to adopt from a shelter. That’s 17 million people vying for roughly 3 million animals. So even if 80% of those people got their animal from somewhere other than a shelter, we could still zero out the killing. And many communities are proving it.
There are communities with extremely high per capita intake rates who have done it. There are now No Kill communities across the U.S. and abroad: in New York and in California, in Colorado and Virginia, in Utah, Indiana, Kansas, and Kentucky, in Nevada, and across the globe. Washoe County, Nevada, for example, has been very hard hit by the economic downturn. Loss of jobs and loss of homes are at all‐ time highs. In fact, the state of Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the nation. As a result, the two major shelters (Washoe County Regional Animal Services and the Nevada Humane Society) together take in four times the per capita rate of Los Angeles, five times the rate of San Francisco, seven times the rate of New York City, and over two times the national average. If there was ever a community which could not adopt its way out of killing, it is Washoe County. But they are doing just that.
And it didn’t take them five years to do it. All these communities did it virtually overnight, by adopting their way out of killing. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the other programs and services of the No Kill Equation aren’t crucial. They are. Some, like foster care, keep animals alive long enough to be adopted because, quite simply, some animals are not ready for adoption when they first arrive at the shelter. But, in the end, all these animals found loving homes.
High‐kill, low‐adoption shelters like to peddle the fiction that increasing the quantity of adoptions results in the lowering of the quality of adoptions. They do this to deflect criticism by painting the alternative as darker. But increasing adoptions means public access adoption hours when working people and families with children (two important adopter demographics) can visit the shelter. It means greater visibility in the
community, working with rescue groups, competing with pet stores and puppy mills, marketing, offsite adoptions, special events, adoption incentives, foster care, alternative placements, a fun and friendly shelter environment, setting and meeting goals, and a good public image. It has nothing to do with reducing quality.
Some shelters, for example, are open for adoption Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, when many people cannot visit the shelter. To adopt more, shelters need to be open when the kids are home, families are together, and working people can get to the shelter. That doesn’t always have to
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mean more hours, just different ones. Moreover, holidays are when families and working people can come to the shelter and when promotions and media outreach can have great impact. When shelters are closed on holidays, they are still staffed, they still take in stray animals, and they are still required to care, feed, and medicate animals. Days closed are just days of lost adoptions. Last year, an animal control shelter in Indiana stayed open for the first time on the 4th of July and did a big promotion, finding homes for 153 animals in a single day—animals who would have been killed in years past. It was, and remains, the single best adoption day for any shelter in Indiana ever. So how does a shelter adopt its way out of killing? There are ten steps to success.
The Steps to Success
1. Get the Right People on Board
People are the heart and soul of any organization, so staff members who are committed to the organization’s mission and goals, share lifesaving values, and have a strong work ethic are crucial. Just because someone works at a shelter, humane society, or SPCA does not mean they care about animals and it does not mean they will leave no stone unturned to save a life. For many staff members, working at a shelter is a job, not a mission. And given the built in excuse of pet overpopulation and public
Don’t touch the animals!
irresponsibility, they’ve never been held accountable to their performance or results. Consequently, there is an epidemic of uncaring and underperformance in our nation’s pounds and shelters.
To save lives, a shelter must be staffed by people who not only like animals, but like other people as well. That may mean termination of employment for some. Admittedly, this is no fun for anyone involved, but it may prove a necessary step to move forward effectively in many communities. It is always better to fire a bad staff member than kill a good animal. On the plus side, it means the shelter gets to reward the hard workers. It means new people with a passion for saving lives get hired. It means the job just got a whole lot easier because when a shelter has the right people on the team with a good attitude and a strong worth ethic, a lot of things fall into place right away.
Tompkins County, New York had 50% turnover in the first six months of its No Kill initiative. The result: a 93% save rate (75% decline in killing). In Reno, only three of the original pre‐No Kill 60 staff members remain. The result? A 91% communitywide save rate. Two communities in Delaware saw a 70% decline in killing following an 80% turnover in staff at the shelter. In fact, we are not aware of any shelter/pound going from a culture of killing to a culture of lifesaving without turnover in management and staff.
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The more caring shelter staff are; the more educated they are; the more patient they are; the more helpful they are; the more creative they are; the more people will see the shelter as a resource—a resource to find lost pets, a resource to solve problems, a place to donate to, and more importantly, a place to adopt out animals.
2. Keep Them Out of the Shelter
of the process to surrender is had, they need to discuss why the person wants to do so and offer advice to help them keep their companion, if the person inquiring is inclined to do so. A study in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association found that targeted helpful advice that actually solves the problem results in a better than 90% decline in chances of relinquishment. At the Nevada Humane Society, their animal help desk, a central part of their pet retention program, fields over 20,000 calls a year. Of those who agreed to try and resolve their issues after calling to surrender their pet, 59% ended up not doing so.
One of the most overlooked areas for saving lives is getting more lost animals back to their families. Unfortunately, shelters kill unclaimed strays blaming the “irresponsible” or “uncaring” public. In reality, the reasons why reclaim rates are low are more complex and all of them contribute to the number of lost dogs and cats
who are never claimed by their families. These include poor ‘lost and found’ matching techniques, filing lost pet reports but not matching them with animals in the shelters, lack of diligence, killing animals too quickly before a match can be made, providing erroneous information about animal behavior, and giving the public a false assurance that once the report of a lost pet is made, the “owner” will be called when the animal is recovered. Beyond scanning animals for microchips, however, most shelters do very little to help people recover their lost pets. Worse yet, most shelter workers and pet owners have absolutely no idea how lost pets behave, the typical distances that they travel, and the best techniques that should be used to recover them, even though shelter staff should know this information and provide it to the public.
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The job is easier if there are less animals coming in, especially animals with “behavior” issues and other impediments to immediate adoption. It is also easier if recently adopted animals are checked up on to make sure adjustment issues or little problems do not skyrocket into intractable ones and result in failed adoptions. And, finally, the job is easier if more lost animals are reclaimed by their families.
When someone calls to surrender their animal, many shelters fail to give them any more information than how they do so. But more successful shelters know that before a discussion
The result is that people get discouraged. People who are discouraged lose hope. People without hope give up searching. And lost pets are not recovered. It is this broken system that dominates sheltering in the United States today and it is time for a new approach. Washoe County Regional Animal Services has increased their redemption rate for lost dogs to 65% by being proactive, working hard, utilizing technology, and working diligently to get animals home in the field.
Imagine this: If a shelter takes in 10,000 stray dogs, on average 2,000 will be reclaimed. Another 500‐700 will be killed (at this time in history) because they are hopelessly ill, irremediably suffering, or truly vicious dogs with a poor prognosis for rehabilitation. That leaves roughly 7,500 dogs competing with “owner‐surrendered” dogs for homes.
Now imagine this: If the shelter worked more diligently as they do in Washoe County, they could reclaim 6,500 dogs, leaving only 3,500 dogs. If they then partnered with rescue groups and, on the “owned” animal side, employed a pet retention program, the total number of dogs needing homes would fall to below 1,000, a world of difference.
3. Get By with a Little Help from Your Friends
At the Tompkins County SPCA a few years ago, adopters received a free health examination at any local veterinarian of their choice, free grooming at a local pet salon, a 15% discount at a pet supply store, free behavior advice for life, a free month of someone picking up dog waste in their yard, a free engraved identification tag, a free bag of pet food, a 10% discount at a puppy obedience class, a 10% discount for a pet massage, the “Pet Lover’s Guide to Your New Pet,” a discount at the local coffee shop, and more. These were all donated by local businesses to encourage adoptions and gain customers—a classic “win‐win.”
But a shelter’s biggest friends are rescue groups. Shelters are in the business of
saving lives and like any business, successful shelters are rewarding their best customers by offering them special deals in return for their loyalty. That means giving something back to rescue groups, who typically save many animals every year. The deal: “any animal, any time.”
4. Set Specific Goals and Celebrate Success
Goals have a way of uniting and inspiring people, so setting a specific adoption goal for each month allows shelters to measure success, plan accordingly, and modify as needed. And every success should be celebrated. According to the Nevada Humane Society, “We ring a bell and everyone pauses to applaud when each adoption is completed. It reminds us all of what we are doing here and it makes the pet adopter feel special.”
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5. Make the Shelter Fun and Inviting
Nothing makes a person feel welcome like a smile and hello, but getting people to stay and adopt can only be done by interaction with the animals. In other words, once you get them in the room, the animals do the rest. First, that means the shelter must remain clean. The smell of waste and filthy kennels undermines a smile and “hello” at the door. Shelters should set up play areas for cats, have lots of cat toys, and let people take them out of cages and interact with them. They should set up a doggy pool, have tennis balls and Frisbees, and invite the public to walk dogs and play with them, too. People will stay longer, interact more, and adopt more.
Old‐school animal sheltering dogma advises minimizing public contact with animals, but it is human nature to want to make personal contact. Shelters should encourage the public to interact with the animals—to touch, spend time, and fall in love with them. Even if they do not adopt, the animals enjoy the attention. Studies show that the benefit of socialization and contact not only increases adoptions, but also decreases the animals’ stress which makes them more resistant to disease.
6. Go on the Road
Most shelters are located in remote, out of the way parts of the community. In other words, they aren’t located where people work, live, and play. In addition, many people think of shelters as sad and tragic places and may be reluctant to visit. So rather than wait for people to come to the shelter, successful shelters are taking the animals to the people. Over 20 years ago, the San Francisco SPCA created the nation’s first offsite adoption program, setting up adoption locations throughout the city: at shopping malls, in the financial districts, at neighborhood gathering places. During its heyday, roughly one out of four animals were adopted offsite, and over the years, that has meant over 10,000 animals have found a home while being showcased outside of the shelter.
7. Marketing and Promotion
Out of sight is out of mind when it comes to where people get their next companion. In a shelter survey of adopters, 83% said they were influenced to adopt from the shelter by hearing about the organization: reading about them in the newspaper, seeing them at a local community event, finding them online, hearing about them on the radio, or word of mouth. Only 17% said adopting from them was their first choice or something they always knew they would do. To get more adoptions, the shelter must be in the public eye.
A shelter gets the message out on radio and television, in the newspaper, with posters and flyers, by speaking to community groups, and doing offsite adoptions. In one year, the shelter in Tompkins County was mentioned either on the radio, television, or a newspaper 409 times, averaging 37 stories per month, with a public relations budget close to zero.
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Have fun, be creative, and the community will do the rest. And just as importantly in this day and age, go viral. Today, having a website is an indispensable part of any organization. But in sheltering, it isn’t enough to save all the lives at risk. Seven out of ten internet users on social marketing websites
like Facebook and Twitter. And if a shelter is not
utilizing those social networks, it is missing out on an important market share for promoting their animals.
According to Animal Ark shelter in Minnesota, a pioneer in this field, “The sharing of adoptable animals via social networking sites is viral marketing in its truest, purest and best form. It costs virtually nothing to get started, and the payoffs are tremendous: more and quicker adoptions, donations, and other support.” But all the animals should have names and photographs to get the benefits of increased adoptions.
8. Not All Photographs and Descriptions are Created Equal
According to shelter directors who have tops‐in‐the‐nation rates of lifesaving, there is no doubt that a good photograph that shows off the animal’s best qualities advertised in a newspaper, a pet of the week ad, a flyer, or online will get people to the shelter to meet him or her. But it is the story that will close the deal. Rather than focusing on the basics: name, breed, age, and gender, the most successful shelters tell something about each animal: what they like, their favorite activities and treats, and even a little about their ideal home. In fact, PetRescue, an online adoption gateway in Australia, doesn’t allow people to search by breed. Their philosophy is that people want to know what the dog is like, not what he is supposed to be like and they are trying to replicate the experience of going to a shelter and looking at all the dogs. And the payoff has been big: 65,000 animals have found a home through them.
Who is more likely to get adopted?
A dog described as a “Pit‐mix” in a TX shelter A dog described as a “Pit‐mix” in a NV shelter
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9. Be Reasonable
Some shelters think that by charging an arm and a leg, they guarantee good homes. But this is a mistake. A multi‐state survey found that even waiving adoption fees did not reduce either the quality of the home, the strength of the bond, or the longevity of the adoption. It did find, however, that it greatly increased the number of adoptions. Why? People have lots of choices on where they can get an animal and price will influence their decision. In addition to the adoption fee, adopters have lots of other expenses such as collars, leashes, toys, and even a trip to the veterinarian.
Moreover, adoption policies should be thoughtful, not based on outdated myths. Before a cat, dog, rabbit, guinea pig, hamster, or other animal is killed while a home is being turned down, shelter managers should honestly ask themselves what they would want if they were the one facing the needle. Some shelter animals already have enough going against them: false perceptions that shelter animals are “damaged goods,” poor shelter location, poor hours, poor customer service, a dirty and dilapidated facility. Shelters should not add unnecessary roadblocks like one rescue group in Pennsylvania which refuses to adopt to “unmarried cohabitating adults.”
Ensuring a good home doesn’t mean arbitrary rules, it doesn’t require that potential adopters be grilled for an hour or to fill out a 10‐page application. Americans have lots of choices when it comes to getting a new best friend, and when they make the decision to adopt from a shelter rather than going to more convenient places, like the local pet store, shelters shouldn’t start out with the presumption they can’t be trusted.
Screening may be an important part of the adoption process, but a rigid, bureaucratic undertaking is hardly necessary. By talking to and educating potential adopters rather than interrogating them, shelters can place animals in loving homes, without alienating people or making them feel like criminals.
10. Turn Challenges into Opportunities
At some point, every shelter experiences an extraordinary influx of large numbers of animals. The difference between those shelters who are successful and those who fail are the decisions made by those who run them. A shelter’s options are only limited by imagination.
Imagination allowed a shelter which has a “capacity” of 375 but found itself with 750 animals due to a hoarding bust to empty its shelter without killing.
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Imagination allowed an open admission shelter in New Zealand to triple its adoption rate overnight. And it allowed a Nevada shelter to more than double its number of adoptions on a weekend the Roads Department closed the street it was on for repairs. All by being creative, marketing animals, running promotions, and engaging the community.
Creating a Brighter Future
␣ Through your pet retention program, you reduce the number of people who surrender their animals after you help solve their problems by 59%.
␣ Through your proactive efforts to get strays home, you triple the percentage of dogs and increase seven‐fold the percentage of cats being reclaimed by their families.
␣ Through your TNR program, many feral cats don’t come into the shelter. Through your barn cat program, when they do, they go into barn homes.
␣ Through your low cost spay/neuter program, almost 70% of people with unsterilized animals get their animals altered.
␣ Through your partnerships with rescue organizations, your volunteer foster parents, and medical and behavior rehabilitation programs, animals are moving expeditiously through the system and into the care of the community.
And then, you turbocharge your adoption program. What would be the result? For the animals who remained in your shelter, you will have adopted your way out of killing.
You will have achieved a No Kill community.
October 2010 Visit www.nokilladvocacyenter.org/reforming‐animal‐control.html to help end the killing in your community No Kill Advocacy Center ♦ www.nokilladvocacycenter.org♦ Page 9 No Kill Advocacy Center | A No Kill nation is within our reach... www.nokilladvocacycenter.org
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