Thursday, October 9, 2014

Ask and You Shall Receive

There was a big step forward for Milwaukee County animals last weekend. MADACC held a fee-waived adoption event, made possible by an ASPCA grant. In total, over 130 animals were adopted - a great testament to the citizens of Milwaukee who came out in record numbers to support the event and take home their new best friend.

One of the concepts behind progressive animal sheltering is that the public must be entrusted and encouraged to participate in helping a community's animals.  Shelters that identify their problems, reach out and communicate them, and then foster an atmosphere of trust and participation; save more lives.  In the results of a 2011 poll, seventy percent of Americans believe that animal shelters should be allowed to euthanize shelter animals only when they are too sick to be treated or too aggressive to be adopted. Cities around America are finding that when they reach out to the public for help, whether asking for donations, adoptions, fostering or volunteering, the public will readily comply IF they feel like they are being told the truth and are being empowered to save lives.

In contrast,  the opposite approach occurs in many Wisconsin shelters.  The public and volunteers  are treated with distrust and disrespect. Transparency is poor or non-existent.  Shelter directors tend to micro-manage their staff and volunteers instead of empowering them to save lives.   How can you help with a problem when you aren't aware that there is one and you aren't encouraged to help?

Providing statistical data of intake, transfers, adoptions and shelter deaths is a good start.  Then asking for help and tapping into the wealth of talent in your community is next.

So hats off to MADACC  for asking the public to "Empty the Shelter".  It opened a lot of eyes and doors to new possibilities. IF you still believe that fee-waived adoption events result in poor quality adoptions and high return rates please read the  infographic at the bottom of this page. This has not proven to be the case and perpetuating that myth kills animals.

“We’ll never solve the problems we don’t talk about.” 

- Justin Young

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