LAS VEGAS, NEV. — June 4, 2015 — At a press conference today, The Animal Foundation announced its five-year plan to save 90 percent of the animals that enter their care. Joined by City and County leaders and national animal welfare experts, Animal Foundation Executive Director Christine Robinson explained that strong partnerships with the community and its municipal leaders, as well as the introduction of new lifesaving programs over the next five years will enable the organization to reach its goal by 2020.
“We have spent the past eight years diligently researching and implementing best practices from around the country, under the mentorship of highly respected national animal welfare organizations, like the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program, the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Network.” Robinson said. “We have made great strides, but we can and will do better. We will work tirelessly to achieve this goal, while working within the law and continuing to implement only the best animal welfare practices.”
Last year The Animal Foundation took in 33,982 animals. Although both the intake and euthanasia rates have declined steadily over the past five years, The Animal Foundation would like to see it move more quickly. To that end, the organization will be implementing programs designed to save lives, prevent unwanted animal procreation and overpopulation, work preventatively to reduce the number of animals coming into their care. Included in these programs are a community cat spay and neutering program, a pet surrender intervention counseling program, more adoption promotions, expansion of the foster program and others.
“We want the community to think of The Animal Foundation as the last resort for surrendering a pet,” Robinson said. “Ideally, with the introduction of these programs, we can help problem-solve so a family does not have to surrender their pet.”
To help reach its goal of a 90 percent save rate, The Foundation is partnering with Best Friends Animal Society, a non-profit whose mission is to eliminate unnecessary shelter deaths. Best Friends will work with The Animal Foundation on developing some of its programming and community outreach, all of which will be based on best practices from other markets.
“Best Friends Animal Society is thrilled to see The Animal Foundation and the larger Las Vegas community committed to saving at least 90% of the animals entering their shelter,” remarked Holly Sizemore, Director, Community Programs and Services, Best Friends Animal Society. “I hope to come here again in 2020 and celebrate the achievement of this goal Las Vegas, you CAN Save Them All!”
In addition to Best Friends, The Animal Foundation has worked with the renowned UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program on ways to provide the best care for shelter animals. With the help of UC Davis and Best Friends, The Animal Foundation will convene a community stakeholder group what will collaborate on the design and implementation of a community-wide strategic plan and will include the roles, responsibilities, and commitments of all of the valley’s animal welfare organizations necessary to achieve success.
As new programs bring new costs, The Animal Foundation is illustrating its commitment to this goal by allocating half a million dollars from its endowment fund to avoid fundraising delays and jump start these new, lifesaving programs. The money the organization is allocating from its endowment is in addition to more than $4 million dollars it raises each year through private donations and services to provide animal care and lifesaving programs, and are in addition to the money provided by local governments for shelter contract services.
“I thank the Animal Foundation Board for setting a 90 percent survival rate for shelter animals over the next five years,” said Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, “As a community, we must work collaboratively, therefore creating a stakeholder’s committee is a great first step. Additionally, they can address other critical issues, such as helping us stop puppy mills, backyard breeders and Craig’s list sales.”
New Lifesaving Programs:
Community Cat Program – Most community cats (those who inhabit residential/commercial areas) are euthanized when they are taken to an animal shelter. Now, they will be altered, vaccinated, ear-tipped and returned to the area from where they came. It costs taxpayers less to fix and return thousands of cats, rather than euthanize them. Negative behaviors like yowling, fighting and marking territory will stop or decrease after sterilization. The cats are vaccinated against disease, and most importantly, the population will be controlled with no new litters of kittens.
Impact: 4,000 cats served and saved
Keeping Families and Pets Together – A proactive surrender program will be developed to reach people before they arrive at the shelter to surrender a pet.
Impact: 3,000 pets who will not enter The Animal Foundation’s care
Medical Fund – A fund used to provide treatment care, and procedures, above and beyond The Animal Foundation’s current capabilities and resources.
Impact: Hundreds of lives saved
Foster Program Growth – Growing The Animal Foundation’s existing Foster Program to allow the foundation to place additional animals and formalize additional sub-programs such as Foster Ambassadors and Foster-to-Adopt.
Impact: 1,000 lives saved
Adoption Promotions – The Animal Foundation will continue to offer adoption discount programs to entice the pet-seeking community to choose to adopt.
Impact: 3,000 lives impacted
Spay/Neuter, Vaccine & Microchip Promotions – The Animal Foundation will continue to offer promotional opportunities for spay/neuter surgeries, vaccines and microchips to encourage pet owners to take part in responsible pet ownership practices.
Impact: 2,400 lives impacted
Lost Pet Reunion – The Animal Foundation will increase English and Spanish outreach and advertising to reach and educate community pet owners on what to do when their pet gets lost.
Impact: Hundreds of lives saved
Transfer Program Growth – The Animal Foundation will increase its transfer partner base and send/bring animals to parts of the country that does not face the same challenges as Las Vegas.
Impact: 3,000 lives saved