Ellen Jefferson (American Pets Alive!), Lisa LaFontaine (Humane Rescue Alliance), Gina Knepp (Michelson Found Animals Foundation), Kristen Hassen-Auerbach (Pima Animal Care Center)
Over the past several months, animal welfare leaders across the nation have been envisioning a new world of animal services, where most pets are housed in homes and communities, not in the shelter. In this new world, the role of animal services is to keep pets with their families, get pets home quickly, and help pet owners who are struggling to meet their pets’ needs. Housing pets in kennels will be short term, reserved for only those pets who truly need to be there.
Two weeks ago, we shared our ideas for the guiding principles of the animal social services model and asked you to give us your honest feedback. So many of you called us or sent e-mails, sharing your thoughts and ideas for what the future of animal welfare should look like. Taking all of your input into consideration, we’ve come up with a list of 10 elements that describe the animal social services we hope organizations will soon be able to offer in their communities.
Once again, we’re asking for your feedback, this time in the form of a short survey. Read the list of 10 below and let us know what you think! A brighter future for pets in our nation means working together and we’re so grateful for your insight!
The 10 Elements of the Animal Social Services Model
- The shelter provides emergency medical care and short term housing for animals with urgent needs.
- The public can reach the organization quickly and easily using remote technologies like text, phone, and web chats.
- Volunteers are engaged in every area of the organization, including field and outreach services.
- Telehealth services are available for animal caregivers considering surrender, and foster caregivers, and finders of animals who may be sick or injured.
- Animals that physically enter the shelter have outcome pathways identified before or at the time of intake, so the in-shelter length of stay is reduced drastically.
- The vast majority of pets are housed in foster homes, rather than shelter kennels, and most foster pets are adopted directly from foster homes.
- Animal caregivers can access pet support services, including housing, medical and behavioral support, as well as food and supplies, to help keep the human-animal family together.
- Animal services personnel operate as trained case managers, helping people keep their pets, providing resources and support to struggling pet owners, and assisting owners who need to re-home their animals.
- The organization operates a comprehensive loose pet reunification service to successfully send most roaming pets home without them having to enter the shelter system.
- Human social services agencies, rescue groups, and other community partners work closely with the animal services organization, recognizing people and their pets as a family unit.
Share your interest, your excitement, the challenges you foresee, and what we might have missed. This vision will only be possible with ongoing collaboration and feedback, and your thoughts and opinions are vital to the success of creating a new model for pets and the people who love them.
Fill out this brief survey