The Myths and Facts of Human Animal Support Services

August 18th, 2020

Human Animal Support Services (HASS) is the new model of animal sheltering, the community based model of animal sheltering. Its goal is to transform the sheltering system in order to serve pets and people, better. But, there are quite a few misconceptions around the HASS model of animal sheltering. Let’s walk through the myths and facts!

Myth: Sick and injured dogs and cats will be turned out on the streets.

Fact: All incoming pets or calls about pets will be given a needs assessment to determine the pathway that they need: shelter, foster or remain in the home and receive care.

Myth: People in underserved communities within Austin will be discriminated against and unfairly left behind with this model.

Fact: The animal welfare industry (both publicly and privately funded) has long been known to discriminate against marginalized people. The current system unfairly leaves people without the same means as the richest parts of Austin out of the reclaim, foster and adoption process as it stands. The new model of sheltering is meant to take that apart and rebuild to be inclusive and welcoming of every person who lives in Austin.

Myth: Stray, healthy pets will be turned away from the shelter.

Fact: We know pets are many times more likely to find their owners if they stay in the neighborhood. People who find a lost pet will be given support to find the owner if they’re willing. If they can’t find the owner or aren’t able to hold the pet, the shelter will take in the lost pet and triage them based on their needs.

Myth: Finders are required to hold an animal they find and are responsible for finding the owner themselves.

Fact: The local shelter will take the animal if the finder isn’t willing or able to find the owner on their own. The new model will build infrastructure to help individuals and facilities such as fire stations help people and pets in their own neighborhoods.

Myth: Lost pets won't be at the shelter so the owner can’t find them.

Fact: 21st century technology allows us to work more efficiently and not solely rely on in-person interactions. The system has to be reimagined and rebuilt to make it virtually impossible for an owner not to find their pet, regardless of where it is temporarily housed.

Myth: Austin Pets Alive! and a few other executives are working in a silo and changing the whole animal sheltering system by themselves.

Fact: Leadership from over 30 municipal shelters nationally, as well as industry leaders in Petfinder, Michelson Found Animals, Maddie’s Fund, Pedigree Foundation and many more, are working in groups to reimagine animal sheltering. Pilot shelters are working in collaboration with their community stakeholders to build more options for people to care for pets in the best ways possible.

Have more questions about Human Animal Support Services? Take a look at the following resources:

Guiding Principles of the Animal Social Services Model: Tell Us What You Think

The Elements of the Animal Social Services Coalition Model: We Need Your Feedback!

The Future of Animal Sheltering: Elements of the Animal Social Services Coalition Model

Live Q&A Follow Up: The Future of Animal Sheltering

Foster Centric Sheltering: Seven Guiding Principles

The Future of Helping Lost Dogs

HASS: The New Model of Animal Sheltering

The Twelve Elements of Human Animal Support…

Austin Animal Intake Response & HASS Updates

HASS (in Austin) Frequently Asked Questions

Letter From Dr. Jefferson: HASS and AAC's Intake Policy

APA! Human Animal Support Services Virtual Town Hall

HASS Questions and Answers


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