December 2020/January 2021 HASS Report

HASS Pilot Shelter, BARCS, Featured in National News Because of New Temporary Boarding Program

After a massive natural gas explosion of several homes in Baltimore, Maryland last October, one of the injured homeowners and his dog were finally reunited this week. BARCS Animal Shelter was able to offer their support by giving temporary housing to the dog, Barak, while his dad recovered in the hospital from his injuries caused by the explosion.

Foster families stepping up during the pandemic to take in healthy pets that do not need to be in the shelter has had a ripple effect on people and pets in crisis situations, like Barak’s. With more empty kennels in shelters, animals in need of temporary boarding have a place to go. Kudos to the BARCS team for offering this new temporary boarding program that kept Barak and his dad together. What a powerful illustration of the power of the HASS model of animal sheltering.

Barak and His Dad

Read the coverage!


New EC members: Dr. Jyothi Robertson and Dr. Michael Blackwell  have joined  the Executive Committee. 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Glossary: The Human Animal Support Services Glossary, created by the HASS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee, is now publicly available on the HASS website.

New Staff: Katie Jarl began in her role as the Director of Government Affairs and Policy. Jamie Case started in the role of Data Coordinator. 

Technology Catalogue: The Tools and Technology Working Group created a  HASS Technology Catalog, allowing animal shelters quick access to the technology solutions that exist for each operational area and program in their organization. 

The Keeping Families Together Eviction Response Toolkit is publicly available. This resource is a comprehensive toolkit for shelter professionals to help prevent family separation of human-animal families facing housing insecurity or eviction. This toolkit was a collaborative effort among HASS, HSUS and AAWA, and written with the help of the Keeping Families Together HASS working group.

The HASS Elements Toolkits, jam-packed with references and sample documents, are being completed by the HASS team and working groups. The toolkits are scheduled to be publicly available on the HASS website in February with the launch of our new Learning Center. Thanks to all the working group members and pilot shelters who reviewed these documents and provided valuable feedback. 

More than 260 new organizations signed up to receive implementation support for elements toolkits that will be released in February.

The HASS project now touches 50 US states!

HASS Working Groups

In December and January, 50 new industry professionals joined HASS working groups, bringing the total number of project participants to over 700. HASS now has 41 states represented within our 36 working groups.

Firefighter and Dog

Data at a Glance

From the data we received from the Tier 1 shelters, we learned most have excellent resources for in-shelter behavior support and enrichment for shelter dogs. Most of the shelters have less developed resources when it comes to  community behavior resources and peer-to-peer  support for both foster caregivers and adopters. Save rates and average lengths of stay are similar for cats and dogs. 

For the calendar year of 2020 our pilot shelters saw a 37% decrease in intake for dogs and 40% decrease in intake for cats as compared to 2019.

Media and Engagement

2,656 people are now following HASS on social media and 19,628 people are subscribed to receive HASS and AmPA! updates. People viewed HASS blogs 2,970 times.

HASS and HASS Pilot Shelters were featured in the media several times, including stories about COVID relief initiatives at LifeLine Animal Project (twice!) and Pima Animal Care Center. Our funders were featured at, and Kristen Hassen was featured for receiving the 2020 Maddie’s Hero Award. 

HASS published one blog in January: Shelter pets still need you! Volunteer positions that every shelter could use right now.

Educational Opportunities

HASS hosted three webinars in December including an interview with Katja M. Guenther, author of The Lives and Deaths of Shelter Animals a cat intake webinar sponsored by Best Friends, and a presentation on Building Programs Based on Intake Data.

In January HASS hosted the Let’s Talk About Cats webinar with Monica Frenden and Peter Wolf, and a second webinar with Dr. Katja M. Guenther to continue unpacking The Lives and Deaths of Shelter Animals.

HASS hosted three Wednesday Summits that covered the following topics: 


Maddie’s Monday calls hosted by HASS broke a record with over 175 attendees joining our first call of 2021. These calls included a community engagement discussion with Shakela Brown (HRA) and Danitra Campbell (Cincy CARE), an interview about removing barriers to adoption with One Tail at a Time, an overview of the KFT Eviction Response Toolkit, and a celebration with the Million Cat Challenge for reaching their three million cats saved benchmark. 

Friday Leadership Round Up calls included an interview with Katja Guenther, updates from national organizations, and a discussion with Red Rover and Presspoint CRM. 

To view the recorded Monday and Friday calls and to see the schedule of upcoming events, visit the HASS Calendar of Events.  

The Maddie’s Learning Academy Instructors offer support to HASS partner shelters. They are now scheduling support services, remote visits, and learning opportunities.

HASS Pilot Shelter Updates

Denver Animal Protection (Director, Alice Nightengale) After 30+ years, Denver voters voted to allow pit bull-type dogs in the City with a permit. Denver Animal Protection started public breed assessments and issuing restricted-breed permits on January 2. Additionally, DAP can now directly adopt pit bulls (previously, they had to be transferred to other organizations for adoption). The very first pit bull, Gumdrop, was adopted the first weekend. 

El Paso Animal Services (Interim Director, Ramon Herrera) celebrated the highest-ever live-release rate of 92.54% (December.) EPAS also won the 2020 Diane & Bob Hoover Innovation Award for the Pet Finder Map, an interactive tool available to the community that offers a centralized location to view lost and found pets as pinpoints on the city’s map as well as free microchip scanning locations.

See updates from the rest of our pilot shelters.

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