Guiding shelters to no-kill
EMBED PROJECT REACHES MILESTONES IN TEXAS AND FLORIDA
You probably know that at Best Friends, we believe no-kill is possible at every shelter in the country. We believe this because, at the end of the day, nobody wants dogs and cats to be killed in shelters. That’s something everyone can agree on, even when it seems we agree on little else.
More than ever, people who work in shelters are committed to changing the reality for the animals who end up there. They embrace the goal of reaching no-kill. They go to conferences and attend webinars and are open to trying new things. But when you’re working to change something that has been done one way for decades, well, it’s not always easy. shelter staff to help implement solid, lifesaving practices, such as putting healthy stray cats back where they were found (after spay or neuter surgery), engaging the community and making it easy to adopt. Michelle Logan, Best Friends director of national shelter embed programming, says, “These are more than best practices — they are proven strategies to get a shelter to no-kill.” Having a Best Friends person there fulltime simply helps shelters incorporate these strategies.
Michelle says, “I think of reaching no-kill like a maze. At some point, they’re going to find their way, but by putting one of our staff members there, the shelter doesn’t have to go down all those dead ends. They can just plow straight through from start to finish.” When Best Friends’ Terran Tull arrived at Humane Society of Harlingen last year, the shelter’s save rate was just 42%. After a year of shelter staff working incredibly hard and Terran accessing guidance from Best Friends experts in everything from community cat programs to marketing and fundraising, the shelter’s save rate reached an impressive 94%.
“By putting one of our staff members there, the shelter doesn’t have to go down all those dead ends. They can just plow straight through from start to finish.”
~ Michelle Logan, Best Friends director of national shelter embed programming
In July this year, Santa Rosa County Animal Services had the first month in its history with a save rate of more than 90%. That’s after less than a year of the embed program. After Best Friends’ Jessica Gutmann arrived to work alongside shelter staff, Michelle says, “They pulled out all the stops. They had already made some amazing changes and wanted help getting to the next level.”
With those proven strategies, they’re getting there. The shelter staff asked the community for help and received a pile of donated items that they needed. They got the team fully trained on returning healthy stray cats to the places where they were found. They’re finally able to help more pets with medical or behavioral challenges, because they’re not struggling with an overwhelming daily influx of animals.
This is how we know that no-kill is possible everywhere. It’s possible for shelters large and small, and in communities with a long way to go to get there. All they need is a guide.