Shelter Me: Building Better Animal Shelters (And Some Healthy Competition)
Posted Mar 21 2010 6:08pm
If you happen to know your municipal animal shelter well, it’s most likely because, a) you’re a kind-hearted volunteer, b) you work with a rescue group, c) you’re a serial adopter, or d) you really need to keep your pets more securely contained.
In my area, people also have cause to get to know their shelter when they have a beef with the dog licensing powers that be, or when they need low-cost vaccines or sterilization. In yours, perhaps proof of low income (Medicaid, for example) will buy you low-cost, full service veterinary care, too. Some shelters are great at drumming up adoptions with guerrilla PR tactics, organizing volunteers with military precision, miraculously offering low income pets humane alternatives, or raising funds for improvements by forging alliances and hosting big to-do events. Whatever it is, most top-notch shelters are not born, they’re made ... by people who know how to get things done, and by a community that cares enough to do its part to help out. Where I live (Miami-Dade County), our municipal shelter had been in free-fall. After more than a decade of mismanagement and underfunding it was finally granted a reprieve with some fresh managerial blood, and though it suffers from even more frightening funding issues than ever before, it’s somehow still managed to eke out some serious improvements. Don’t get me wrong — it’s still a dump. But it’s a dump I support with my occasional volunteer efforts, along with any help my writing might offer (I write for The Miami Herald, so that often helps). Knowing that every bit of support the community offers means more homes for more animals, and less suffering overall. To that end, consider the following program: The makers of the flea and tick product Frontline Plus have agreed to allow FullyVetted to help it disburse a significant quantity of its product — free of charge — to its favorite shelters. In other words, shelters of MY choice would receive much-needed (and hard to get and super-expensive) flea and tick preventative products. But I can’t choose them without your help. Consider this post, then, your invitation to a competition. Between us, we’ll agree on the most worthy shelters ... and give these deserving animals a load of stuff. Write me an email or comment below. Either way, we need some candidates to explore — ten or so, at least — so give ‘em up. Dr. Patty Khuly