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With the increase of animals in foster care, they extended care beyond the shelter and into the community. Fulton County Animal Services clinic team brought vet care directly to Pets for Life clients’ homes. In December they visited 32 pets in their homes to receive simple veterinary care such as vaccinations, ear and skin treatments, and exams. They are gearing up to start their Safety Net Foster Program, and they are doing so by being part of a research project being led by Virginia Tech and Arizona State University. They Expect to launch and be up and running by 1/31. Their euthanasia numbers are significantly down and their number of animals IN SHELTER has remained low, thanks to incorporating behavior programs, focusing on fostering, and great community outreach efforts by animal control officers, the Pets for Life team, and Community Caseworkers.
We are really excited about the work our community programs teams have underway. They recently launched a new database so that we can more accurately track the needs of our community and our programmatic impact. We’ve also created a stronger referral pipeline for community services starting at our front lines, whether that’s our front desk or our animal service officers in the field.
We have also increased our efforts in pushing for Friendly Finders to temporarily foster a stray pet they bring in and when that is not an option, we have asked them to become an Animal Advocate and help find the owner or a new adopter through social media efforts.
We’ve connected with county fire stations and are formulating a plan for testing out having microchip scanners at stations in high intake zip codes.
We’ve got a strong Animal Advocate program. This is when we provide an adoption link, FOUND pet fliers, and social media tips to anyone who brings in a stray pet but is unable to foster that stray. The goal is to encourage them to help us find the owner or a future adopter. Recently, one of our Animal Advocates located the owner of the stray pet they had found! The owner came to the shelter to reclaim her missing dog.
We are continuing to work on gaining new veterinary clinic partners, who will be willing to work with our community members who need help outside of the shelter. We just signed one up, and have meetings already set for two more!
At LifeLine Animal Project, we have developed our Community Programs teams at both locations, in order to support our current programs like Friendly Finders, while creating others like our Animal Advocate and Lost and Found initiatives to increase our RTOs. We’ve also started building partnerships with local boarding facilities, and have assisted with a few temporary housing situations so people would not have to give up their pet. Thankfully since we’ve been able to keep our shelter population low since COVID started (with the help of our growing foster program, we’ve been able to maintain at least 50% of the animals in our care living in foster homes), we’ve also been able to focus on behavior programs to improve the lives of in-shelter dogs with behavioral challenges, as well as take our shelter clinic team out into our local underserved communities to provide access to vet care for people and pets who would otherwise not be able to see a vet.
Over the last few months, LifeLine Animal Project has supported a number of HASS initiatives at our three shelters. We have greatly expanded our foster program (staff, support, training, marketing tools, events, online foster pet adoption application).
We built a Community Programs department to help people keep their pets. We adopted a case management approach to assist our community, created a Pet Help request form, expanded our self-rehoming support services and built a new rehoming page: LifeLineAnimal.org/family-to-family. We launched a new texting service with tips for lost or found pets, increased the support and promotion of community-based fostering of found pets and increased community involvement in returns to owners.
Other notable efforts include door-to-door visits by shelter veterinary teams and our Pets for Life staff for wellness visits and minor veterinary care; changing “surrender” language to “rehoming support” on our website and in our language; and developing temporary boarding/placement assistance to assist with the evictions crisis.