• Susan Houser

News of the Week 05-17-15

A wonderful story that gets little attention is what happened in 1998 in Otsego County, Michigan. That year, a group of citizens got together and decided that they wanted to stop the killing at their county shelter. They did so in a big way, achieving a live release rate of over 90% in 1999 and every year since then for which we have statistics. The Otsego County shelter was one of the first No Kill shelters in the United States. This article is a nice reminiscence by the current Otsego County shelter director about the people who made the community No Kill.


The Salina Animal Shelter in Salina, Kansas, has announced that it has achieved a 90% live release rate. The Petco Foundation has provided a grant to help the shelter upgrade its facilities and sustain its live release rate.


The Stockton, California shelter, which is under new management, announced a free adoption event for pits and pit mixes to try to reduce the numbers at the shelter. Twenty-four hours later, 13 of the dogs had been adopted or rescued.


Hillsborough County, Florida (where Tampa is located) has had a mystery drop of up to 20% in cat intake at the city/county shelter. Both stray impounds and owner surrenders have dropped. The shelter has a community cat program, but director Scott Trebatoski does not think that program has been in effect long enough to account for the change. He speculates that maybe there has been a change in attitude as to how people deal with cats in their neighborhoods. Perhaps people who hear about the community cat program are deciding to do-it-themselves by getting neighborhood cats spayed and neutered. It will be interesting to see if the drop persists through kitten season.


A great story about the power of one. Lisa McCormick of Belleville, Illinois, adopted a couple of cats from an Illinois pound 15 years ago. The pound did not adopt out many animals, and it had buckets of collars sitting on top of its gas chamber. McCormick was inspired to start a rescue, and since 2002 her rescue, Partners for Pets, has re-homed over 12,000 dogs and cats. The rescue has acquired a site for a new shelter and will be moving soon.


And a great story about what a No Kill group can do to create the change they want to see. Operation Pets Alive of Montgomery County, Texas, just north of the Houston metro area, is partnering with the county shelter to help it move toward No Kill. Operation Pets Alive programs include transports, offsite adoption events, fostering, and targeted spay-neuter.


One of the No Kill flagship shelters, the Nevada Humane Society, is increasing its efforts to serve its area. There are neighborhoods in every city that have few resources for pets, just as there are neighborhoods that have few resources for people to buy healthy food. In such neighborhoods it can be hard for the providers of free and low-cost spay-neutering and pet health services to reach the people who need that help. Recently some shelters have started programs to reach out to these neighborhoods on a person-to-person basis, and NHS is one of them. The shelter’s director, Kevin Ryan, has announced that this work will be furthered by the shelter’s selection as a Pets For Life mentor in the HSUS program.


Lost Dogs of America has a very helpful blog on how to trace an animal’s owner from its microchip even when the contact information is out of date or the chip was never registered.


A former shelter dog is doing search and rescue in Nepal.


Dubuque County, Iowa, is discussing a deal with a private non-profit No Kill, Whispurring Hope Rescue, to take over most animal control duties in the county and adopt out animals.


A new documentary, Dog by Dog, follows the money trail in the puppy mill business.


Sometimes transporters have to refuse to work with a shelter. It doesn’t happen very often, and it is hard for rescuers to walk away from a shelter, but it keeps transports safe.


One of Best Friends’ week-long workshops on how to start and run a sanctuary is coming up June 7-13. Best Friends has been putting on these workshops since 1999.


Peter Wolf has a cautionary tale about what can happen when you try to fool Mother Nature.

Here is a helpful blog post about getting access to journal articles about canine science.

Dogs Playing for Life hosted a very successful event for shelter staff and volunteers from six shelters in Phoenix, Oregon, last week. The director of one of the shelters said play time had a “fully transformational” effect on one German Shepherd who had previously leaped at her gate and barked when approached. One of the host shelters, the Jackson County Animal Shelter, is currently at an 85% live release rate and is aiming for 95%.

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