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  • Writer's pictureSusan Houser

News of the Week 06-14-15

First, a housekeeping note – if your organization does not already have my blog on your press release distribution list, please feel free to add it. My e-mail is And now to the news.

Brother Wolf, the innovative non-profit that has worked with the county shelter in Asheville, North Carolina, to go No Kill, has announced a 5-year plan to build a large sanctuary that will eventually house 600 dogs and 600 cats on 82.5 acres. The purpose of the sanctuary is to rehabilitate animals who need more time and care than the existing shelters can easily provide. The $4.9 million sanctuary will have a veterinary clinic on site. The plans include a learning center and guest cabins for visitors. Brother Wolf’s founder and president, Denise Bitz, decided to leave her career as a nurse and open Brother Wolf after a visit to Best Friends in 2010, so she is familiar with the life-changing experiences that a sanctuary can provide. Paul Berry, a former CEO of Best Friends, is now the executive director of Brother Wolf.

There are several upcoming conferences. The SPARCS International Conference on Dog Behavior is being held in Phoenix on June 19-21. The presenters include Michael Hennessy, who will speak on reducing stress in shelter dogs. Best Friends National Conference is being held July 16-19 in Atlanta. The 12th annual ASPCA Cornell Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Conference is being held on July 31-August 2 in Ithaca.

Pets who are overdue on their rabies vaccines and come in contact with a rabid animal can safely receive booster vaccination rather than quarantine or euthanasia, according to a study published in JAVMA. This finding will be included in the upcoming edition of the definitive rabies public health guide later this year, which should result in it becoming standard practice.

A government office in New Mexico teamed up with a rescue to set up a cat library. The way it works is that an employee who needs a break during the day can “check out” a cat for a short period of fun and relaxation. The program has resulted in 100 adoptions in three years.

Speaking of libraries, reading to shy shelter animals helps them come out of their shells.

Big news from Houston this week. The city shelter, BARC, had a ribbon-cutting celebration for the opening of Phase I of its $6.1 million adoption center. The city has also brought Emancipet, an Austin based spay-neuter organization, to Houston. Emancipet has a 48′ mobile clinic that can provide 35 reduced-cost or free spay-neuter surgeries per day. Emancipet has started a fundraising effort to build three permanent clinics in Houston by 2017. The ASPCA has pledged $1 million to the effort.

A proposed bill in New York State would provide $200,000 in annual funding for TNR programs. The bill is being opposed by a coalition that includes conservation groups.

The Just One Day adoption event was held this past Thursday, and several shelters reported good results. The Muncie shelter held a very successful 24-hour event.

Here is an interesting blog from a veterinarian who thinks that veterinarians should refuse to participate in shelter killing of healthy or treatable animals. She makes an analogy to the moral stand that doctors have taken against participating in the execution of human prisoners. The discussion in the comments is also interesting, and remarkably civilized on this contentious topic.

If you are not keeping an eye on the Maddie’s Institute blog, you are missing out on some great free guidance for using social media. The most recent article discusses frequency of posting to Facebook.

Miami-Dade County Animal Services has a 28′ by 8′ van called the Hope Express dedicated to mobile adoptions. It is self-contained, requiring no electrical or water hookups, and is “easy” to set up and break down. it has 24 animal compartments that can be increased to 56 with dividers to accommodate various sizes of pets. Since its launch last summer it has been the centerpiece of events at many types of venues including parks, malls, and downtown Miami. The sides of the van lift up to provide shade and to allow people to view the animals in their compartments.

May 17-23 was Dog Bite Prevention Week. Julie Hecht has an interesting post on current thinking about dog aggression – that it is more often situational and learned rather than generalized and innate.

HSUS has a webinar on July 1 on how to change adoption policies to remove barriers to adoption and attract potential adopters.


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