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KC Pet Project has been focusing heavily on pet retention and intake diversion practices and programs. Over the last several months we have been strategizing and planning a Pet Helpline which will launch in the next coming weeks as a fully functioning call center and pet support center. Pet Support Operators will triage each call they receive and provide resources, information, or services (including supported re-homing) to obtain the best outcome for the individual pet and pet family in question. To best determine the true needs of the Kansas City community, our organization recently held our first Community Collaboration discussion with other animal welfare stakeholders in our community to determine what each organization’s mission and purpose is, how each organization is currently supporting the needs of the community, as well as how each organization can support one another to address unmet needs. This was the first of many discussions to come and we hope to have a transparent and clear understanding of what next steps should be taken in supportive programming for pet families. In direct response to a record-breaking influx in intake, KC Pet Project has began to implement several pet retention and community partnership programs including but not limited to, Emergency Boarding, a primarily foster-based initiative that will assist with temporary boarding for up to 30 days, a Pet Care Assistance Program that will use private donations and grants to subsidize care for animals in extraordinary return-to-owner situations driven by financial insecurity, and a Veteran-Animal Placement Program to provide access to animal adoption for veterans in transitional housing. Other initiatives being explored by KC Pet Project include pet-friendly housing and a prep-academy for animal care to create vocational opportunities for our community to join the animal welfare industry.
KC Pet Project has been actively re-assessing all processes and policies to identify and remove potential barriers for future adopters and fosters. In addition we have been analyzing historical data and trends surrounding animal intake to identify what programs and services are most needed to strategically focus our efforts on long-term effective change surrounding supported rehoming, and pet support and retention. Some of these changes include a triage approach to supported re-homing to help keep pets in their homes, partnering with local social service agencies to help address and build support for the ongoing eviction crisis through proposed policy changes and temporary boarding resources, integrating case management into daily operations, hosting community drive-thru vaccination and pet ID clinics, and providing our team with ongoing DEI resources and training so that we, as an organization, can continue to learn and do better to directly support our community.