Visit to Omaha Shelter

By Diane Robertson

August 2014

On a recent business trip, I was lucky enough to have the time to visit the local shelter.  This post is about what I saw, experienced and have since learned about this facility.

SPOILER ALERT!  This is the nicest shelter I have visited yet.  Read on to find out about this shelter.

First, Omaha is a pretty big city with all the usual types of neighborhoods.  Wealthy, low-income, white, black…they seem to be fairly diverse but obviously more white than other races . The population of the city is around  421,000.  I found the following graphic if you are interested in a visual of the race breakdown.  I include this information for every city I visit these days because I have found that knowing a bit more about the city residents can be helpful to understanding cultural differences in their approach and attitude toward pets as well as potentially a language barrier to getting the message out effectively.  In California, some cities are overwhelmingly Spanish-speaking and it is my opinion that some of the animal population problems are the result of people not speaking to the residents directly, in their first language and keeping their cultural differences in mind when designing education campaigns and/or media campaigns.  We have to do whatever we possibly can to reach out to our community members effectively to reduce the suffering and death occurring in our municipal animal shelters.

OmahaNebraskaRaces1

 

Back to Omaha.  In Omaha, someone or group of people did a truly awesome job first by having the non-profit Nebraska Humane Society in charge of the city animal shelter/services as well as acting for the entire county.  Second, the design and layout of these facilities is just fabulous.  Let me describe the layout of the buildings.  First and foremost, there is a giant purple sign (the color of animal causes) by the road that one simply cannot miss.  This is a sign that probably once belonged to a bank or similar business – you know the kind you expect from banks and fast food restaurants.  Here is a picture now that I have put it in context of how large this sign truly is.

roadsign

On the left is the animal services building with their fleet of vehicles for transporting animals.  Next to that on the right is the animal shelter.  The intake area is on the left side, closest to animal services.   Imagine that, someone thought about placement of facilities for effective and smooth flow of animals and people!  Believe it or not, many facilities are or seem to be just thrown together with little or no thought for best flow.

Next to the intake area, in the center of this building, is the beautiful entrance for the public.   More about this later on.  Next to the shelter building is the “Humane Education” building.  This is a very large building that is probably bigger than the shelter itself.  It looks like it was once a strip mall.  This building is devoted to education for people and dogs! On reading their website a few minutes ago, apparently they also offer training at the owner’s house!  So cool.   I did not capture of a picture of the entire education building, only a small corner of it with the big education sign.  In addition to the animal services building, the very large shelter building and even larger education building, there is the low-cost spay and neuter clinic where residents can do the right thing and have their animals “fixed”.

educationcenter1educationcenter2

 

Every facility should be so blessed to have a devoted education area.  How many more animals could be saved if this was standard of practice everywhere?  Oh, I think that number surely would be in the millions every year!  Just my opinion, but I would love to be proven wrong by having this become a reality.

Now back to the public entrance to the shelter.  My first view as I am approaching from the right is shown below.  So colorful and landscaped, I am impressed before I have seen much of anything.

approaching entrance from side

 

In the center of the walkway, by the sidewalk closest to the parking lot, is a water fountain/bird bath with a dedication placard.  Let’s not overlook the stone walkway and yes, this appears to be a gigantic granite fountain that is much taller than my 5 foot tall frame.  Impressed yet?  Wait, there’s more.

omahaentrance1

 

To the right and left of the beautiful fountain is the memorial garden.  Here are a couple of pictures:

 

memorialgarden2

memorialgarden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And yes, there is more…

They didn’t forget a truly important message for the summer time (it was raining the day I was there but summer none-the-less).  At the entrance doors here is a 3-4 foot tall sign reminding folks about how deadly the heat can be for pets left in the vehicle:

4 foottallsignatdoor

 

When you walk in the door there is a foyer of sorts.  Kind of the space between the outside and inside of the shelter.  (Probably for helping to keep heating and cooling costs down-remember this is Nebraska).  In this space, one entire wall is covered with a photograph of a woman and her dog with a placard with some details.  Off in the corner of this area is the cutest bench ever.  Check out the picture below.  Yes this photo really touches ceiling and floor, it is that big!   Sorry for the quality of these photos, I am not a professional photographer obviously.

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Off to the side is this full size sitting bench made of colored stones.  How cute is that!20140827_154139

 

 

I didn’t get a lot of pictures inside the building but the awesomeness continues.  There is a large welcome desk to the left, seating area to the right and individual cat “cages” directly ahead.  There is a center room where they keep the cat litter and other supplies, with sinks and other areas for cleaning and prep.  I know this because the cat cages are glass and I could look through the cages to the center and see all this.  Guess what, no smell.  No kitty litter odor.  Why…because it is all contained within the center room that is not open to the public.  From this center room, workers can reach into each cage and clean as needed without ever exposing the cats to  other cats or people to the horrible smells that catteries can generate.  I LOVED IT.

Besides this center room that houses say 50 kitties or so, each in their own cage, there are a number of glass visiting rooms with closing doors that people use to get to know a particular kitty they may be interested in adopting.  Going down the hallway (on left or right) that the center room lined with cat cages creates you eventually come to several cattery rooms.  In what I would call the main cattery (only maybe 6-7 cats in there), there is a gigantic water feature, beds for each cat, small food and water bowls placed like for each cat.  Again, so clean I did not notice any smells, despite  at least a couple of cat boxes in the cattery.  Here is a picture of one of the residents and the water feature:

acatteryresident                                                                                                               oneofthrwayetbowlsyepawaterfeatureinyhecattery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A single cattery would not do for such an awesome facility so there was a kitten cattery and at least one other small cattery along the back wall and another visiting room.  Check out the super cute holes they punched in the glass so the kitties and people could touch but not hurt each other.  So you could see better, I stuck my fingers the “pad” part of the kitty foot print hole.  There were a number of these cute access points in these small catteries along the back wall.

the cute holes to the csttery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just for fun I took a pic of one cat lounging in a bed mounted about 4 feet off the floor.  There were a number of these wall-mounted beds as well as beds on the floor, etc.

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The Dogs

The dog area is accessed via a closed glass door off the hallway by one of the visiting rooms.  So, it is not directly in sight of the cats or next to cat cages, etc.  Nice placement!  So thoughtful!  There are two large dog rooms that are separated again by glass doors.  I think the first room is for the female dogs and the back room is for the male dogs.  The kennels were clean, did not smell and had a bed and bedding.  Every kennel is sponsored by someone or a group and that sponsorship is noted on a blue placard on each kennel.  So awesome.


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Besides the nice placards that help illustrate that it takes a lot of money and dedication to have such wonderful facilities, I noticed that just about every kind of dog imaginable was here.  I saw a couple of grey hounds, beagles, Chihuahuas, black lab, golden lab, Irish Setter, Newfoundland giant dog, a few pit bulls, an awesome chinese crested, etc.  I was amazed at the quality of the animals and variety.  Like any kennel, it could get loud with dogs barking, which was scary to some dogs and it was every bit as sad a place for dogs as  any other shelter I have ever visited.  It only helped a little to know that there were awesome staff and volunteers doing their best to take care of so, so many homeless dogs.  I guess by the time I got to the dogs I was expecting something different because the rest of the facility was so awesome.  Nope.  That are well cared for, air-conditioned, great descriptions posted for each dog, etc but it was so sad it broke my heart, as usual.

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PJ the Chinese Crested…he’s an odd-looking little dude!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And here are two super-cute pug/beagle mixes I had the pleasure to meet:

OmahaTwins

 

 

Finally, I just had to know…what are the statistics for this facility? Do the operations match the shiny presentation?  They publish their numbers on their website.  Kudos to them for this!  Nicely transparent as all publicly funded/contracted facilities should be.  Anyway, I would say that they mostly operate to the level of their pretty, shiny exterior but I think their numbers can be a lot better.  They are apparently working on improving these numbers, which I applaud.  Never stop trying to do better and finding new ways to save more lives.  Below is a link to their numbers and a summary count of ” EUTHANASIAS” , which I call what it actually is…number of cats and dogs that were killed:

December 2013:  http://www.nehumanesociety.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Asilomar_statistic

Total Intake:  17,854

Total Dogs killed:  1379  Total Cats killed: 3759

Adjusted to account for owner requested kills:  Dogs: 977  Cats: 3560

Thank you for sharing my enthusiasm for saving as many as we can and for reading this post.

San Bernardino City Animal Shelter – Update 3

San Bernardino City Animal Control/Shelter

by Diane Robertson Updated 11/26/2013

San Bernardino City Animal Services has been in the news and lighting-up Facebook with charges of abuse and corruption.  Plenty of accusations and people trying to figure out how to improve operations at the shelter.

In this update, I ran across some interesting information comparative positions and salaries in San Bernardino.  I will let you derive what you will from the information presented.   Check it out.  This is from indeed.com.

SanBernardino_SalaryInfo1_Indeed.com

SanBernardino_SalaryInfo2_Indeed.com

Press Coverage

Following is news media coverage about the San Bernardino City Animal Shelter #SBC

SBSun.com | October 11, 2013 | Fundraiser for SB City Shelter

Examiner.com | October 3, 2013 | Article Titled:  More Allegations of Abuse at the San Bernardino City Animal Shelter

The Sun.com | 09/17/2013 | Article Titled:  San Bernardino City Animal Shelter Target of Complaints

Examiner.com | September 6, 2013 | Article Titled:  San Bernardino City Shelter retaliate against potential whistleblower http://www.examiner.com/article/san-bernardino-city-shelter-retaliates-against-potential-whistleblower

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bsudiane.wordpress.com | August 23, 2013 | Blog Post Stop the Killing https://bsudiane.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/stop-the-killing/

bsudiane.wordpress.com | August 21, 2013 | Blog Post Animal Advocates Plan Lawsuit Against San Bernardino City Animal Shelter for Abuse and Corruption https://bsudiane.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/animal-advocates-plan-lawsuit-against-san-bernardino-city-animal-shelter-for-abuse-and-corruption/

Examiner.com | August 18, 2013 | Article Titled:  New horrific allegations surrounding the San Bernardino City animal shelter
Examiner.com | August 18, 2013 | Article Titled:  Demand injured Yorkie is seen by vet at the San Bernardino City animal shelter
SanBernardinoCityShelterInjuredYorkie

The Sun News | July 28, 2013 | Article Titled:  San Bernardino City Animal Shelter quarantine sparks criticism |http://www.sbsun.com/general-news/20130729/san-bernardino-city-animal-shelter-quarantine-sparks-criticism

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San Bernardino City Animal Shelter – Update 2

San Bernardino City Animal Control/Shelter

by Diane Robertson Updated 10/15/2013

San Bernardino City Animal Services has been in the news and lighting-up Facebook with charges of abuse and corruption.  Plenty of accusations and people trying to figure out how to improve operations at the shelter.  In this update, I finally found what appears to be some real news reporting on the situation, with sources cited from City Council and Sheriff’s department as well as others.

Press Coverage

Following is news media coverage about the San Bernardino City Animal Shelter #SBC

SBSun.com | October 11, 2013 | Fundraiser for SB City Shelter

Examiner.com | October 3, 2013 | Article Titled:  More Allegations of Abuse at the San Bernardino City Animal Shelter

The Sun.com | 09/17/2013 | Article Titled:  San Bernardino City Animal Shelter Target of Complaints

Examiner.com | September 6, 2013 | Article Titled:  San Bernardino City Shelter retaliate against potential whistleblower http://www.examiner.com/article/san-bernardino-city-shelter-retaliates-against-potential-whistleblower

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bsudiane.wordpress.com | August 23, 2013 | Blog Post Stop the Killing https://bsudiane.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/stop-the-killing/

bsudiane.wordpress.com | August 21, 2013 | Blog Post Animal Advocates Plan Lawsuit Against San Bernardino City Animal Shelter for Abuse and Corruption https://bsudiane.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/animal-advocates-plan-lawsuit-against-san-bernardino-city-animal-shelter-for-abuse-and-corruption/

Examiner.com | August 18, 2013 | Article Titled:  New horrific allegations surrounding the San Bernardino City animal shelter
Examiner.com | August 18, 2013 | Article Titled:  Demand injured Yorkie is seen by vet at the San Bernardino City animal shelter
SanBernardinoCityShelterInjuredYorkie

The Sun News | July 28, 2013 | Article Titled:  San Bernardino City Animal Shelter quarantine sparks criticism |http://www.sbsun.com/general-news/20130729/san-bernardino-city-animal-shelter-quarantine-sparks-criticism

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San Bernardino City Animal Shelter – Update 1

San Bernardino City Animal Control/Shelter

by Diane Robertson Updated 09/18/2013

San Bernardino City Animal Services has been in the news and lighting-up Facebook with charges of abuse and corruption.  Plenty of accusations and people trying to figure out how to improve operations at the shelter.  In this update, I finally found what appears to be some real news reporting on the situation, with sources cited from City Council and Sheriff’s department as well as others.

Press Coverage

Following is news media coverage about the San Bernardino City Animal Shelter #SBC

The Sun.com | 09/17/2013 | Article Titled:  San Bernardino City Animal Shelter Target of Complaints

Examiner.com | September 6, 2013 | Article Titled:  San Bernardino City Shelter retaliate against potential whistleblower http://www.examiner.com/article/san-bernardino-city-shelter-retaliates-against-potential-whistleblower

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bsudiane.wordpress.com | August 23, 2013 | Blog Post Stop the Killing https://bsudiane.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/stop-the-killing/

bsudiane.wordpress.com | August 21, 2013 | Blog Post Animal Advocates Plan Lawsuit Against San Bernardino City Animal Shelter for Abuse and Corruption https://bsudiane.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/animal-advocates-plan-lawsuit-against-san-bernardino-city-animal-shelter-for-abuse-and-corruption/

Examiner.com | August 18, 2013 | Article Titled:  New horrific allegations surrounding the San Bernardino City animal shelter
Examiner.com | August 18, 2013 | Article Titled:  Demand injured Yorkie is seen by vet at the San Bernardino City animal shelter
SanBernardinoCityShelterInjuredYorkie

The Sun News | July 28, 2013 | Article Titled:  San Bernardino City Animal Shelter quarantine sparks criticism |http://www.sbsun.com/general-news/20130729/san-bernardino-city-animal-shelter-quarantine-sparks-criticism

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Animal Advocates Plan Lawsuit Against San Bernardino City Animal Shelter for Abuse and Corruption

Printed From http://www.youcaring.com/other/san-bernardino-animal-shelters-malpractice-legal-campaign-/82930

Press Release

The San Bernardino City Slaughterhouse

August 21 2013

sbclawSuit

Many of the unsuspecting citizens of San Bernardino are unaware of the horrors that have unfolded at San Bernardino City Animal shelter, Southern California, which is run with their hard earned dollars, as tax payers. The citizens of San Bernardino would shudder to learn of the animal abuse, neglect, and corruption which persists, in addition to the 74.6% euthanization rate and 37 animals euthanized on a typical day*.

On August 19, a small group of dedicated animal advocates attended the San Bernardino City Council meeting to raise some of these issues in person with the Council.  This is because fervent efforts to raise these issues in writing had been fruitless, as Maria Sanchez, explained; “I’m sure you have all received my emails over the last few months.  I haven’t gotten any responses, there hasn’t been any improvements and I really don’t know what else to do.”

The dire situation at San Bernardino City Animal Shelter was summarized by Mike Levitt in a compelling speech to the Council:

“We are not animal extremists, we are professionals.  We are not the kind of people that throw red paint on people that wear fur.  I’m really disappointed in each and every one of you for the non response to the emails.  We have sat here for 4 hours listening to things like ice cream socials and chamber of commerce, but I’m here to ask you, what about the soul of San Bernardino, where is your moral and ethical compass?  How can you read these emails and just be nonresponsive?

I want to explain something to you.  In the world of rescue, it’s no longer a local community effort, because of social media, it’s a nationwide effort.  Your shelter, your slaughterhouse, is an example to thousands of people across the country of how horrible shelters are.   We all wish shelters were non kill and we understand the fact that there is an overpopulation of pets, but the fact remains that there are shelters that are held to a higher standard that work with rescues to do everything possible to get these dogs adopted, and that’s simply not the case at your shelter, and you should be embarrassed.

The shelter is run by lazy, complacent, and I’d even go so far as to say some of the individuals who are sociopathic.   You have a crisis on your hands and I’m here to tell you that the rescue community is mobilizing, with very well established producers from LA, animal rights attorneys, investigative reporters, and people from other counties coming together to focus on your shelter; all eyes are on the shelter of San Bernardino City.

We want you willingly to take a look and say its time for reform at your shelter.  We’re here to ask you to put these issues on the agenda so we can have more detailed discussions and please give us the opportunity to give suggestions.”

Miss Sanchez, who often frequents the shelter daily, provided a dossier of evidence of instances of malpractice at the shelter.

Animals are killed despite rescues notifying the shelter that they are committed to taking them.

An adoptable German Shepherd / Labrador mix puppy (ID# 449816), at just 3 months old, was euthanized on July 20, despite START rescue speaking directly with shelter supervisor Ryan Long multiple times to express their commitment to rescuing this pup prior to the time of euthanization (including the previous day).

Dogs are euthanized before their legal hold period has expired, for example, two pitbulls named Combat (ID#A446861) and Shakira (ID#A446862), labeled as aggressive, were euthanized on 29 May, 2 days prior to their legal hold period ending.   This is despite a seemingly friendly disposition to both people and dogs captured on film by Miss Sanchez.

Another example is Bronx, (ID#A450802), a 1 year old Doberman / Pinscher who was euthanized within 10 minutes of owner surrender.  The owner claimed that the dog was aggressive, however, this is in contrast to this video which shows a healthy, friendly, adoptable young dog.  This is believed to be an illegal act as per California Food and Agricultural code section 31754 (a); this dog was legally entitled to the full holding period.

Andrea Neyses, who photographs the San Bernardino City Shelter animals 3-4 times a week, also spoke up at the meeting about her concerns regarding the cleanliness and level of disease at the shelter.  She stated; “The shelter is filthy.  We have offered to clean the kennels, but the staff think they are clean.  I don’t think it’s the staffs problem, I think it’s the supervision, the people that are running it, they’re not making them do it.”

Miss Neyses witnessed 4 terrier puppies thrust into a kennel which, just 3 hours prior, housed a puppy with deadly and contagious Parvovirus.  The kennel had been hosed down only, when a thorough scrubbing with bleach was warranted in order to curtail the disease.

Miss Neyses also told that dogs needing veterinary attention and treatment are often neglected, for example, dogs with open wounds and flies and maggots infested, and dogs left covered in ticks.

In addition, in June, puppies with Demodex Mange, an uncomfortable skin condition, were left untreated for 5 days (when application of an inexpensive cream would have helped the symptoms), despite persistent encouragement from Andrea.

Lisa Michelle Corona also gave an emotional account of how the six month old puppy she adopted from San Bernardino City shelter on June 22 2013, who mysteriously went missing for 2 days whilst at the shelter, was diagnosed by a vet immediately upon leaving the shelter as having being sodomized by something “the size of a cucumber”.  However the shelter records described the dog as “normal”. This case is now being investigated by Detective Luna of San Bernardino Police Department.

Malpractice at the shelter dates back to over three years ago.  An ex shelter worker, who wishes to remain anonymous publicly, has shared how she witnessed:

  • Small dogs hung from leashes
  • Animals hit kicked and punched
  • Animals killed under the guise of being sick, when they were actually healthy and adoptable (a practice which is believed to persist)
  • Animals given a third of the required euthanization drugs, suffering a slow death
  • Euthanization drugs being administered by a Vet Tech without a license for several years.

The ex shelter worker stated; ”Dogs with parvo and distemper were left in kennels to die for a lack of euth and tranq.  Dogs were/are hidden in the back rooms on intake with no pics so they can PTS them on intake. When there are too many cats they lie and say they have a communicable disease and PTS them all before the 4 day hold.”

In her words, “One of my friends was a staff member that PTS animals. I was there many times 7 days a week some times 10 hour days.  She told me and I verified and proved it that the RVT had no license and had not had a license for over 10 years!  What that meant is that Euth. and Tranq. could not be ordered onsite or administered without a licensed RVT. So the vet that does the spay and neutering was ordering them but of course he couldn’t account for all that extra and he was not onsite.  So if a pit bull needed 3cc of Euth. The staff where told to give the animal only 1 cc and let the dog die a slow death on the floor.”

The ex shelter worker who has now spoken out about what she witnessed was fired three years ago when the state licensing board was eventually contacted.  At least one member of staff who allegedly actively participated in this abuse and wrongdoing, Leslie Walker, is thought to be still working at the shelter today.  The shelter manager at the time, Sue Hoak, who is alleged to be aware of the aforementioned practices, retired gracefully.  Our understanding is that no action was taken against the alleged offenders. This is testament to the corruption that appears to allow endless atrocities to go without consequence at San Bernardino City Animal Shelter.

The Council has yet to make a commitment to add the issues raised to the agenda of a future meeting, however, during the meeting, James Penman, the City of San Bernardino Attorney, compared the shelter to “Auschwitz”.  In addition, the City Manager agreed to “take a look at” the option of use of a contractor, possibly a not for profit, in overseeing the shelter, rather than the Police force which is the current arrangement.

The abuse, neglect, and corruption which persists at San Bernardino City Animal Shelter must stop.  The City has turned a blind eye to these inhumane, illegal and immoral practices for too long.

council@sbcity.org

morris_pat@sbcity.org (Mayor’s Office)

*Source: California Local Rabies Control Activities Annual Report 2011.

 

Media enquiries to: allabouttheanimalsnetwork@gmail.com

– See more at: http://www.youcaring.com/other/san-bernardino-animal-shelters-malpractice-legal-campaign-/82930#sthash.8tEOlW5n.dpuf

Hunterdon Humane Animal Shelter Faces Animal Cruelty Charges

STOP ANIMAL ABUSE

Distressing news on Thursday when the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal’s Law Enforcement Division joined with the Hunterdon CountyProsecutor’s Office and issued two search warrants for the Hunterdon Humane Animal Shelter on Stamets Road in Alexandria Road and a nearby veterinarian hospital.

According to N.J.com, Captain Rick Yocum, the president of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animalsstated an investigation has been ongoing because of complaints about inhumane conditions at the facility.

Seventeen cats were removed and were transported to the Flemington Animal Hospital. Four of the cats were humanely euthanized. All of the animals have been receiving medical attention. The facility failed to quarantine sick cats with respiratory infections thus spreading illness to healthy cats.

There are also two pigs living in terrible condition at the facility. A decision from the Department of Agriculture will…

View original post 19 more words

Stop the Killing

By Diane Robertson
08/23/2013
 In 2012 alone, at one shelter in California (San Bernadino City Animal Shelter), 10,000 animals were killed or died at the shelter.
  • Please adopt from local rescue groups so we can continue to save animals from this and many, many, many other animal shelters across the state.
  • Please spay or neuter your pets to reduce the unwanted and homeless pets in our shelters being murdered everyday.
  • Please vaccinate the pets you do have to keep them healthy.

Please stop the killing.  It’s up to each of us to do our part to stop the killing.

You can also foster animals from your local shelter or rescue group.

You can also volunteer at your local shelter or rescue group.

You can also donate to your local shelter or rescue group.

http://www.strutyourmutt.org/team/ao

Become an Animal Shelter Volunteer

A fairly thorough listing of what you can do to help not only animal shelters but at your local rescue groups:  Become an Animal Shelter Volunteer.

Snoop Dogg puts money forward to end shelter euthanasia

I love this guy!  Snoop Dogg puts money forward to end shelter euthanasia.

Vision, Value, Facts and Figures for the love of Animals

Blog Post Dated 08/02/2013

 By Diane Robertson

Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode (AO) must share information with the public that shows the facts about the organization so they can acquire more donors and donations

One of the things that I have not been sharing with you, my blog post readers, is what your donation to Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode means.  You know what AO does because you can see their Facebook posts and Web Pages.  You can see images of available dogs and cats and the stories of adopted pets on Facebook.  You also have a good idea of what AO needs because they do try to let you know.  Animal Outreach always needs more volunteers, foster parents and monetary donations.  Sometimes, AO asks for specific items such as copy paper or laundry soap.

Did you know that Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode has a “Wish List” on Amazon?  Well, it looks out of date right now.  Yep, one more thing AO “should do” better.

What you do NOT know now are the numbers.  You do not know how many animals were helped last month or last quarter or what form that help took.  You do not know how much money it would take to foster five more dogs or spay one more community cat.  I would like to share this information with you so that you know more about how your donation is used and inspire you to give even more.  I do not have this information therefore I have outlined some questions for Animal Outreach below.

Without answers to at least some of the following questions, Animal Outreach fundraising and volunteer recruitment campaigns are limited in their effectiveness.  People want to know how the money is used and what a donation can accomplish for the organization.  People want to know the impact their  donations are having on the organization.  They know that Animal Outreach save lives.  But, they also want to know more precisely what their donations and/or volunteer work will accomplish.

Here are some questions looking for answers:

  • How many dogs and cats were adopted last week, last month, last quarter, last year?
  • How many surgeries were performed overall (last month, last quarter, last year and then break-down the types of surgeries performed)?
  • How many vaccinations were provided overall?  Then break these down by type of pet (dog or cat), the owner (Animal Outreach or someone else) and perhaps by vaccination type.  For example, knowing that AO provided X number of Rabies vaccinations to clinic dogs and X number to their foster dogs might be interesting to know.
  • How many exams were performed (visits to the clinic aside from surgeries)?
  • What was the intake for dogs, cats and dogs/cats combined last month, last quarter and last year?  Compare this to the same time-period a year earlier.
  • How many dogs does AO have in foster care today/this week/this month?  Compare that to the same time-period last year.  Repeat for cats.
  • What is the average length of stay/AO ownership for dogs?  Cats?
  • How much money did AO receive in monetary donations last month, last quarter, last year?  Compare that to the same period last year.  Perhaps  break down donations into categories that can be readily tracked such as Razoo, Strut Your Mutt, Change Jars and receipted monetary donations made via check or credit card.
  • How much money was raised by each fundraising event?  How many tickets were sold?  Share some pictures of the event or venue.  Compare that to that same event last year, if applicable.
  • How many registered volunteers does Animal Outreach have?  How many active volunteers does Animal Outreach have?  How many volunteers does Animal Outreach need?
  • How many members does Animal Outreach have on the Board of Directors?  How many do they want or need?
  • Does Animal Outreach have or want to have any advisory committees?  For what purposes and how many people do they want or need?
  • What public reports are produced annually?  When are they produced?  Are they available online?

What good are numbers anyway?

When numbers are available, information can be produced that helps people make decisions on donating and volunteering with an organization.  Numbers inform potential donors how much money it will take to care for the “average” cat in the shelter or provide the discounted veterinary services to the public next month.  Numbers can inspire and motivate staff, volunteers and donors.  Most importantly perhaps, goals can be set.  Goals must be measurable to be of any use.  So, setting and tracking progress on goals is critical to success and everyone wants Animal Outreach to be successful. Numbers can also let supporters know where the organization has been, where it is now and where it wants to go in the future.

There is a problem with these ideas though.  It takes time and staff or volunteer effort to produce.  It takes skilled labor that AO may not always have available.

This is where you, your friends and co-workers can help.  Volunteer, foster, donate and support Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode to ensure the organization has the resources it needs to provide the services for the community and yes, the public information you desire.  Write , visit or email Animal Outreach yourself.  AO’s contact information is provided at the end of this post.

Background

Many people are attracted to volunteering with animal welfare organizations.  There is a lot of work to do that takes only a little training and yet the sense of accomplishment can be staggering.  The animals are grateful and you know it!  You can see it and you can feel it!  Examples of some of these hands-on rescue operations include:

  • Pulling (rescuing) dogs and cats from high-kill shelters or over burdened shelters
  • Transporting animals from a shelter to Animal Outreach
  • Transporting animals to AO for treatment or to an adoption event when a foster parent cannot
  • Fostering a dog or cat and seeing them adopted by their forever families
  • Providing socialization for the cats at the AO shelter
  • Providing clean water, clean liter boxes and/or a clean living environment to the cats at the AO shelter
  • Caring for the sick and injured animals AO has rescued
  • Providing adoption assistance to people looking for their next dog or cat

There is another part of rescue that does not necessarily involve direct, hands-on, live-supporting activities.  Much less glamorous perhaps, but just as important as all the other work to save the lives of animals.  I call these behind-the-scenes activities the business activities.  It takes skilled and some semi-skilled labor to keep the organization functioning and moving forward.  Examples of some  business activities include:

  • Financial accounting including payroll, payroll taxes and income tax accounting
  • Fundraising
  • Computer and network maintenance (Information Technology)
  • Data entry
  • Customer service including opening the snail mail, answering emails, answering and returning telephone calls and text messages
  • Supply management
  • Volunteer recruitment, training and management
  • Staff training and supervision
  • Shelter management and monitoring
  • Accounts payable and receivable activities
  • Marketing activities including community outreach, producing Facebook posts, writing newsletters, writing blogs, producing brochures and information sheets, producing and maintaining program information sheets, etc.
  • Establishing, updating and monitoring programs
  • And the list goes on and on

Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode has been serving California for over 20 years.  They do a lot for the community.  They do a lot for animals.  And, yes, they need to improve communication and reporting for their volunteers, donors and supporters.  It is not that they lack ideas on what to do.  I am sure they have an endless stream of “you should do this” coming at them.  I think they need a lot more skilled volunteers in the areas of finance, accounting, marketing and management.  I don’t know much about the business side of AO so I am assuming all this based on what I do know and what is not available now.  I have ideas for a Director of Marketing position.  If you are a Director of Marketing or know someone who is, please contact me or AO to discuss volunteering some of your valuable time.

Do you want to save the life of a dog or cat that has done nothing to deserve death at the hands of an over-burdened animal shelter?  Great!  Volunteer, donate, foster and support Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode.  Ask your friends and family to join you.  Together, we can get and keep this organization staffed with the professional, skilled and semi-skilled volunteer work force needed to get ALL the jobs done right, all of the time.

Go to Animal Outreach at 6101 Enterprise Drive Diamond Springs, CA and fill-out a volunteer application or get a volunteer application online at their website, http://animaloutreach.net.  You can also telephone them at 530.642.2287.  I am always willing to answer any questions that I can.  Please contact me via email at aodiane@comcast.net or message me through Facebook.

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