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Rescuing Dogs and Cats at Risk of Unnecessary Euthanasia
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Rescuing Dogs and Cats at Risk of Unnecessary Euthanasia

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Presented at the American Pets Alive No-Kill Conference 2014.

Presented at the American Pets Alive No-Kill Conference 2014.

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  • Limited informationLimited number of people to review “the list”Not enough foster homesNo overnight location
  • Transcript

    • 1. Rescuing Dogs & Cats at Risk of Unnecessary Euthanasia • Only focus on those with no other options for a live outcome • We always defer • Saved by another option = we are able to save someone else
    • 2. Identifying Who is “At Risk”  Deemed “unadoptable” by the shelter and “At Risk” of being euthanized  Other Rescue Groups have declined saving  Owner reclaim options have been exhausted
    • 3. Following these guidelines allowed us to … Be sure the lives we saved were ones that would have been lost Easy to track our direct impact on the shelter’s euthanasia rate Ultimately more lives saved, through no duplication of efforts
    • 4. First Steps
    • 5. Identifying your Rescue Capabilities & Opportunities • Rescues: Taking into your program • Alternative Rescues: Seeking adoption directly from the shelter
    • 6. • Capacity • Resources • Adoption Capabilities • Golden Rule: Intake numbers need to match adoption numbers closely so you don’t get ahead of yourself. As your adoption program grows, so will your ability to save more animals Taking Rescues into our Program
    • 7. Alternative Rescues • Shelter Reconsideration • Owner or “Source” Reclaim • Other Rescue Groups – Breed/activity related • “In Shelter” Marketing – Facebook , Craigslist • Talking to the public • Reviewing shelter notes for interested parties These save on average 30 animals per month
    • 8. Working with the shelter you will be saving lives from Schedule a meeting to discuss what your group will be doing and how you can work together
    • 9. Meeting Topics: • How can you identify the dogs and cats "at risk" daily • Do they have a report? What information will it contain? • Will they allow you access to the “at risk” animals? • What medical work will be done? • How do you know they will be safe from euthanasia? • How long will you have to decide or act? • How do you obtain copies of records for the animals you are pulling?
    • 10. Forming the Rescue Team(s) Manager Evaluators Additional Support
    • 11. • Oversees the program • Decides who will enter the program • Follows the “Golden Rule” guidelines • Clear understanding of “Adoptability” • Trains, creates and enforces Protocols T Manager • Conscious of Team’s emotions
    • 12. Evaluators • Evaluates the “At Risk” animals • Difficult Job: Stay focused on lives we can save • Dependable and compassionate
    • 13. Who can join? Everyone! Anyone! Additional duties • Photographers/Videographers • Marketing - Posting at risk animals on social media i.e. Craig’s List, Facebook • Administrative - Assisting with paperwork/data entry
    • 14. Communication between Rescue Team and the Shelter • Who is authorized to “place an animal on hold for your group”? • Who is authorized to “confirm” that your group will take an animal? • Who is authorized to pick up an animal for you? • Who do they contact and how if they have questions?
    • 15. Key Lines of Communication Rescue Team Public Your group’s volunteers Shelter Staff Shelter Volunteers
    • 16. Obstacles we encountered in the beginning • Obtaining the true “euthanasia list” • Figuring out how to work with the support available at the shelter • Negativity • Dealing with emotions • Learning to cope with our limitations
    • 17. Typical Day for Our Rescue Team Reviewing Notes
    • 18. Evaluating Animals Dogs: • Approach, how do they do being approached in the kennel • Can they be easily leashed and walked to a play yard • Did they react to other dogs while walking to the play yard? • Can they be easily handled, can they be comfortably restrained? • Do they know any commands • Any health concerns seen or noted by shelter or previous owner? • Any behavioral concerns seen or noted by shelter or previous owner? Cats: • Do they welcome petting? • Can all four of their paws be lifted slightly off the kennel floor? • Any health concerns seen or noted by shelter or previous owner? • Any behavioral concerns seen or noted by shelter or previous owner?
    • 19. Evaluator Shares Results with Rescue Manager
    • 20. Manager Decisions • Space limitations • Capabilities • Adoptability • Alternative Options
    • 21. Adoptability • What resources do you have for medical and behavioral issues? • Identify types you can most easily adopt out – Puppies and young dogs – Kittens and young cats – Small breed dogs – Large Breeds without major behavior concerns – Unique breeds, colors – Good with other animals • Temperaments most easily adopted – Can the average person handle them? – Are they safe for a child to handle? – Are they good with other dogs and cats? – Are they doing well in the stressful shelter environment? Who will get adopted the quickest so another life can be saved?
    • 22. Notification Complete “Hold Sheet” Turn in one copy to shelter and keep a copy for yourself Once shelter has updated their records ask them to print updated “at risk” list Check updated report to make sure the animals you are working on saving have been removed from the euthanasia
    • 23. Daily Summaries & Updates Evaluator summarizes the results of evaluations and shares with entire team as to who is being pulled, worked on for Alternative Placement or “Released” from your hold Transport Team for those leaving the shelter the next day Manager Updates Medical Team for those who’s medical records need review Foster Team for those who will be needing a foster
    • 24. Lessons Learned • Small Dog Protocol • Recognize your Evaluators Strengths & Weaknesses • Things are not always what they appear – Think it through – Read the notes – Pay attention • Trainers & behaviorist often willing to help • Independent Medical Reviews • Engage shelter staff
    • 25. Small Dog Protocol
    • 26. Strengths & Weaknesses
    • 27. Things are not always what they appear “Happy Girl”
    • 28. Trainers & Behaviorists
    • 29. Independent medical reviews “Chance”
    • 30. Engage Shelter Staff
    • 31. Ongoing Obstacles of the Rescue Team • Attention to “Golden Rule” • Growth and adapting to change • Emotions • Working with the shelter
    • 32. Priorities of a Successful Rescue Team? • Following the “Golden Rule” • Staying positive and focused on the lives you can save • Dedication and creativity of the volunteers • Professionalism, respectful representation of your group and No Kill • Supporting one another
    • 33. Sustainability We were not going to let ourselves get ahead of our capabilities and threaten our sustainability.
    • 34. When we started rescuing in 2008 the euthanasia rate was over 50% at the city shelter. • Within about 6 months we began to place all puppies under 4 months • Over the next year, were able to do the same for adult dogs under 25 lbs, bottle baby puppies and most large adult dogs without serious behavioral/training issues • Less than a year after that, we have been able to save all “At Risk” kittens , bottle baby kittens, and adult cats without serious behavioral concerns. • Two and a half years after we started, our shelter reached a 90% save rate, and we were saving many of the animals “at risk” and we are continuing to work toward saving the rest
    • 35. Our Numbers For a more complete explanation of our numbers please visit our website at www.austinpetsalive.org Period Pets Killed at TLAC TLAC Euth Rate Pets Pulled by APA from TLAC'S Euth List % Reduction in TLAC's Euth Rate due to APA! FY '08 9,946 50% n/a n/a FY '09 6,161 31% 1,783 22% FY '10 5,931 27% 2,974 33% FY '11 YTD 1,898 11% 2,592 58%
    • 36. Expansion Since 2011, we have been able to expand our rescue program to assist communities outside of Austin when space allows.
    • 37. Support Many samples of the protocols, documents, and communications are included in the manual as well as on the CD
    • 38. Questions