More than 30,000 animals in need passed through our care in 2015 – enough cats, dogs, pigs, turtles, birds, bunnies – you name it – to fill MGM Grand Garden Arena twice.
The eight-acre campus of The Animal Foundation serves – and saves – more animals than all other animal rescue organizations in the state of Nevada, combined. Our volume is on par with animal shelters in major U.S. cities like Chicago, Atlanta, and Cleveland.
In just the past five years, the number of animals coming into the shelter has decreased by 31.8%. The number of animals adopted, returned to their owners, or transferred to partner organizations has increased by 21.8%, and euthanasia has decreased by 63.5%. Working with the support of the Las Vegas community, The Animal Foundation is on track to create one of the nation’s most successful nonprofit organizations engaged in saving animal lives. But this momentum will not continue if we simply stay the course. New thinking and additional resources are required to reach the ultimate goal.
In 2015, we announced a bold five-year strategic plan and initiative, Mission: Possible 2020: “to save the lives of all healthy and treatable animals who enter our care by the end of the year 2020.” This is a lofty but achievable goal that has compelled our organization to create new lifesaving programs and continue to make improvements in almost every area of our work because the most effective way to save lives is to treat the root causes that create animals in need.
The full implementation of the Mission: Possible 2020 programs will result in achieving the goal of saving all healthy and treatable animals in our care, but we cannot accomplish these objectives with our current facilities.
With The Animal Foundation’s current physical resources, we have maximized our capacity to save lives. Our main shelter building, the Lied Animal Shelter, has not seen a significant capital improvement in at least 15 years. Additionally, many of our services have operated out of temporary structures for more than eight years, including a tent for cat adoptions and a portable trailer for administration.
In order to increase our capacity to save lives in a humane and healthy way, significant renovations to our existing shelter facility are paramount, and a new structure to house adoption areas for cats and other small animals, a community education center, and administrative offices is necessary.
As our intakes continue to decrease with the full implementation of many of our Mission: Possible 2020 programs, the animals entering our care will likely require more resources and a longer period of time to find their new family. This creates even more of a need for housing that allows us to consistently provide the care they need and deserve. Providing humane, long-term housing as well as more robust veterinary surgery facilities will allow us to continue our dramatic gains in saving lives.
The upgrades to the Lied Animal Shelter will enable us to provide hospital-grade, longer-term housing, isolation areas for the sick, and more thorough veterinary care with an expanded and upgraded veterinary clinic. It will also enable us to double our capacity to offer spay and neuter services.
The new Engelstad Adoption Center will promote, encourage, and boost adoptions. Through planned housing structures, designed in concert with best practices in animal shelter care, and meet-and-greet areas, our animals will be provided with safe and comfortable housing, and visitors will get to know their potential companions in a more intimate, interactive, and natural environment.
A new Community Education Center will enable us to offer both animal and human training and education programs designed to create a community of pet owners who have been afforded every opportunity to ensure a long, happy, and mutually beneficial relationship between themselves and their four-legged friends.
A “Mission Central” area within the new Engelstad Adoption Center will provide permanent and professional office space for the administrative and management staff. Staff are currently working out of temporary structures and in multiple locations. Centralizing leadership efforts and bringing the team together in a permanent structure will increase the ability to serve all of our customers, both animals and the humans who love them, with greater efficiency.
We envision an organization capable of saving all healthy and treatable animals in The Animal Foundation’s care. But we can’t do it without you.
The overall investment for the enhancements, new facilities, and program support is $35 million. Many within the community have already stepped forward to support this effort. But it will take all of us to take care of all of them.