“It takes a village.” It’s a saying used to stimulate urban social change, raise a child, and fight viruses. It’s also the mindset that helped a Charlotte, North Carolina urban animal shelter earn its first no-kill community award.
“No animal shelter can do this without the help of the community,” says Melissa Knicely, public relations specialist at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care & Control (AC&C).
To earn the award, AC&C had to achieve a 90% savings rate for animals that it ingested during the year. This could be anything from a case of dog hoarding, a pet lost from its home, or a dangerous free-range animal. If it sounds like a great achievement – finding a home for 90% of the animals that come to the shelter – you’re right. According to the Best Friends Animal Society, only 37% of all communities with shelters have achieved a no-kill rating.
AC&C, a division of the police force, has been working towards this goal for years, says Melissa, and ends 2020 with a “900 countdown” campaign that included support from the local media, partnerships with local rescue groups and working with an international social -Media influencer to adopt as many animals as close as possible.
Community help is a huge part of AC & C’s success.
© Images courtesy of AC&C
These city-wide efforts can be seen across the country as nearly 40 shelters have implemented community-sponsored programs to keep pets out of shelters and reduce euthanasia rates.
The initiative is being driven by Human Animal Support Services (HASS), a coalition founded last year by the Texas-based nonprofit American Pets Alive! in an effort to foster the bond between animals and humans and to transform the way communities interact with their protective systems.
This is where the AC&C team, which has now set itself a 92% savings goal for 2021, guides us through the programs they have put in place to meet their savings goal and how other communities can do the same
The team started this temporary grooming program two years ago to give dogs a break from the hustle and bustle of the shelter. Families look after a dog for up to five days and report on a postcard about trips and activities the dog has participated in and how it has handled them.
Not only does the shelter gain insight into how a dog behaves in different environments, which contributes to a successful adoption, but about 50% of the dogs have been adopted by the foster parents.
“That was very helpful to our success,” says Melissa.
There is a 72 hour window after an animal is found before the shelter can spay or neuter the animal or put it up for adoption. This can lead to a bottleneck situation at the shelter, explains Melissa, and can also increase the likelihood that kennel diseases will spread among the animals.
To speed up the adoption process, AC&C has given people the option to pay the adoption fee before the 72 hours are up so the dog can be neutered or neutered and adopted on the same day it becomes legal.
© Images courtesy of AC&C
Microchip control points
AC&C is working with local pet stores to install microchip scanners so lost animals can be scanned first without calling AC&C or a vet.
The team goes to the community and provides dogs with free vaccines, heartworm tests, and preventive drugs, as well as a microchip.
Other discounted and free medical services the shelter plans to implement this year include an in-house spay and neuter program, waived adoption fees for seniors, discounted prescription cards, and flea and tick medication.
Melissa says, “If an owner delivers an animal because they can’t afford to see a vet, we can offer alternatives.
#PawsForThisCause. What you can do
- Share adoptable dogs on social media: one click of a button can save lives.
- Get to Know Your Urban Animal Shelter: Urban Animal Control can get a bad rap. Help spread the word that, like other animal shelters, the goal is to reunite animals with their owners.
- Stand up for your community: Spread the word about the HASS mission and encourage your community to get involved.
For more informations: Visit charlottenc.gov and click the Adopt a Pet link.