Animal shelters, control officers aim to be more community-centric

Kristen Hassen, like many people who work in animal shelters, knows pet owners don’t relinquish their animals because they want to. Finding solutions to this issue while dealing with overpopulated shelters has been difficult. However, the increase in fostering associated with the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed shelter leaders to do something different.

“We are trying to turn the whole community into an animal shelter,” said Hassen, director of American Pets Alive, a national organization whose goal is to save animals in shelters. “We see the role of animal services evolving. The shelter becomes a last line of defense, but really, the shelter becomes one solution and not the solution.”

JAVMA News spoke with several animal services and shelter leaders about the layered challenges ahead related to the eviction crisis, as well as how the industry is changing the way it interacts with communities and having essential conversations related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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