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What is Proactive Animal Sheltering?
Proactive Animal Sheltering IS
Ethical Animal Sheltering.
This is a common sense approach to animal sheltering that is data-driven and aims to help every animal - not just chosen ones. It focuses on:
1. Spay/neuter to humanely reduce dog and cat overpopulation, homelessness and shelter/rescue intake. And the focus must be all three: owned pets, community cats and shelter/rescue animals. Without focusing our efforts on all three groups, we can never humanely and effectively address these issues.
2. Implementing community sheltering in the fairest and most effective way.
3. Transparency of data, financials and intake policies.
To Be True No-Kill,
You Must Be Open Admission!
Have you heard this before? Probably not! But it is TRUE! Here is why: We all know that cats far outnumber dogs everywhere. We are in a cat crisis. (Now dogs are filling out animal shelters as well.)
Since there are so many more cats than dogs that need help, we would expect more cats than dogs to be entering our shelters. That is not the case. So what does it mean when a shelter takes in more dogs than cats? It is limiting cat intake in some way - through managed intake or selective intake.
BEWARE: It is important to remember that with so many cats needing help, options for live outcomes (non euthanasia) are limited. Many shelters are forced to use killing as a way to address this issue. This leads to a lower overall live release rate for the shelter. By intaking fewer cats, a shelter can artificially increase it's live release rate quickly because it has fewer cats and does not need to kill as many.
Limiting or managing intake also means that we then have no way to accurately determine how many cats would have been taken in and euthanized if admission had been open. When this happens, is the shelter really "no-kill"? There is no way to know. Open admission shelters intake all dogs or cats that are presented, which provides us with a "truer" picture!
This is why euthanasia rate alone is NOT an accurate reflection of a shelter’s effectiveness or success.
Now for the really concerning part. There are few open admission shelters left in the US. Almost all have gone to Managed Intake (selective intake).
That leaves us with a few questions we cannot answer: How many animal shelters in the US are truly no-kill? What happens to the Unchosen Ones - those animals that don't make it into shelters?
Focuses on Spay/Neuter to Humanely Reduce Overpopulation and
It Must Be All Three!
Why call this Proactive Animal Sheltering?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "proactive" as acting in anticipation of future problems, needs or changes. This is what needs to happen in today's world of ever-increasing numbers of dogs and cats.
Shelters and rescues, with their limited resources including funding, are quickly entering crisis modes, if they aren't there already. They do all they can to help these homeless animals but find themselves turning to limited intake and transfers to deal with this. Covid has only worsened the issue.
That's where being Proactive comes in. Humanely reversing upward trends in intake, overpopulation and homeless dogs and cats will take all of us, not just a shelter or rescue. We need to act in advance of these increasing intake numbers and focus on doing something to reduce the number of animals that are being presented at our shelters and abandoneded on our streets. That will require a focus on spay and neuter. And that is what Proactive Animal Sheltering is about.
High-volume spay/neuter of owned pets, shelter and rescue animals and community cats will not change these trends immediately yet we want immediate results. We need to stay focused and dedicated to what we know is the end goal: reduce shelter/rescue intake and homeless companion animals humanely!
Focus on Spay & Neuter!
The mission of
Proactive Animal Sheltering
1. Focuses on
2. Understand and
3. Raise the status of cats
to be treated coequal
What Does This Mean?
- Focuses on spay/neuter to humanely reduce overpopulation of dogs and cats
-Expect transparency in shelter/rescue data (including financial information) because it is the only way to see how each community is doing in terms humanely controlling dog and cat populations. This is not an issue of shelters or rescues alone - it is a community issue and takes all of us working together to solve this.
-Many places have laws in place that cover dogs but too often cats are not part of the discussion. After decades of this focus, cats have been allowed to reproduce where dogs have been the focus of spay/neuter efforts. This has made cats the real issue in overpopulation. It's time we focus on spay/neuter of cats. We are here today because cats were not the focus of spay/neuter efforts despite the fact that they reproduce more often than dogs.
No-Kill includes BOTH dogs AND cats!