HASS Launches First Ever Shelter Budget Calculator to Combat Underfunding

Supported by PetSmart Charities, the HASS Budget Calculator aims to arm animal welfare organizations with the data necessary to advocate for increased operational budgets

(AUSTIN, TX) April 9, 2024Human Animal Support Services (HASS), an international project revolutionizing the animal welfare industry by uniting human and animal welfare, announced today the launch of the HASS Budget Calculator. An initiative supported by PetSmart Charities®, the free-to-use tool is a new way for animal welfare organizations to more accurately estimate operating costs that are aligned with the quality of services that communities expect from local animal services. 

In a society where over 90% of people consider pets family members, economic hardship has persistently been at the root of animal shelters’ struggle to provide pet support services communities need most. Chronically underfunded, the average animal welfare organization’s budgets are still founded on the expectations of a now defunct system which includes an enforcement-based, catch-and-kill animal control model. Similar to how traditional business or healthcare models approach their budgetary planning, HASS seeks to present a new approach for shelters that uses data from other industries with similar staffing and resource needs to calculate the true costs of doing business.  

“The budget calculator has been three years in the making and is a direct result of the incredible work accomplished by one of our HASS collaborative working groups,” said Dr. Ellen Jefferson, CEO and President of Austin Pets Alive!, the HASS project facilitator. “It’s the knowledge and expertise of the people who contributed to this project that made it possible and we hope animal welfare organizations will begin using this tool to better advocate not only for themselves, but especially for the people and pets they support.” 

In its current iteration, agencies will be able to calculate appropriate costs for humane daily care, treatment of medical or behavioral issues, and adopting out animals in their custody. It should be noted that many of these costs can be applied alternatively to support the same number of animals kept out of the shelter and with their families, through support for veterinary and rehoming costs, etc., without impounding the pet. Users of the HASS budget calculator will have the ability to input their organization’s critical budgetary data and receive tailored results based upon an organization’s specs including the size of their community’s human population, levels of animal intake, local base pay, and typical annual number of calls from the public for animal-related issues. 

The HASS budget calculator results provide individual animal welfare agencies with the most influential information necessary to show government decision-makers and the larger community the true financial needs of animal welfare. With animal services severely understaffed and lacking resources, shelter workers are also left suffering high turnover, excessive stress, compassion fatigue and more. Just as critically, the persistent underfunding of shelters has been a root cause in high levels of needless euthanasia. This tool aims to paint a realistic picture of the budget necessary to combat these issues. 

“We are thrilled to partner with HASS on the launch of the Budget Calculator, a critical step towards bringing transparency to animal welfare,” said Heidi Marston, director of pet placement initiatives at PetSmart Charities. As pet parents continue to feel to squeeze from countless factors including the growing wage gap, the cost of veterinary care and lack of pet inclusive housing and others, the role of safety net systems like animal shelters become even more critical in our work to keep pets and their people together This calculator equips animal welfare organizations with the analytical tools they need to advocate for operational budgets aligned with the needs and expectations of their communities, local governments and the animals in their care.”

Try the HASS Budget Calculator for FREE or visit www.humananimalsupportservices.org for more information.


About Human Animal Support Services (HASS): 

The Human Animal Support Services (HASS) project is a movement seeking to revolutionize the animal welfare industry by leading with and embracing a community support model. By providing both private and municipal animal shelters with equitable access to data-driven resources, education, and implementation tools, HASS aims to create pathways toward unified support systems for pets and their people in every community. Separated into three main pillars education, data, and policy, HASS encompasses a network of more than 1,500 animal and human welfare professionals. A project facilitated by Austin Pets Alive! (APA!) and under the direction of industry veteran Vincent Medley, HASS’ 41 pilot shelters and 165 partner organizations have joined the movement by committing to implement the HASS model. To learn more, visit www.humananimalsupportservices.org.

About PetSmart Charities®
PetSmart Charities is committed to making the world a better place for pets and all who love them. Through its in-store adoption program in all PetSmart® stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, PetSmart Charities helps up to 600,000 pets connect with loving families each year. PetSmart Charities also provides grant funding to support organizations that advocate and care for the well-being of all pets and their families. Our grants and efforts connect pets with loving homes through adoption, improve access to affordable veterinary care and support families in times of crisis with access to food, shelter and emergency relief. Each year, millions of generous supporters help pets in need by donating to PetSmart Charities directly at PetSmartCharities.org, while shopping at PetSmart.com, and by using the PIN pads at checkout registers inside PetSmart® stores. In turn, PetSmart Charities efficiently uses more than 90 cents of every dollar donated to fulfill its role as the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, granting more than $500 million since its inception in 1994. Independent from PetSmart LLC, PetSmart Charities is a 501(c)(3) organization that has received the Four-Star Rating from Charity Navigator for the past 18 years in a row – placing it among the top one percent of rated charities. To learn more visit www.petsmartcharities.org.

HASS Media Contact

Nichole Hazard
Associate Director of Marketing & Communications 
Human Animal Support Services