Practical Issues > Pets - Index > Your Shelter
15 No-brainers for No-kill shelters

Here are just fifteen suggestions out of dozens ADL-LA has read and heard about. All of the below however, MUST be implemented in a written protocol, policy or program format by the leaders of LADAS, so that there is consistency throughout all the shelters. Nathan Winograd teaches in his seminars that there MUST be written protocols for everything, including written protocols for triage when animals come in with certain injuries or medical problems. Just like nurses perform triage in busy city hospitals when patients come in needing care, these protocols need to be written and implemented in every area of every shelter as per protocol. Even written protocols for how the volunteers will implement exercise time for the animals is needed, so that each animal can be walked and not overlooked and miss their turn! Written protocols are needed not only for consistency, but to make sure they are being followed appropriately by staff and volunteers throughout the shelter system.

1.) Volunteers must stage mobile pet adoptions in large malls and other locations every weekend. This is being done all over the Nation. Volunteers should be embraced and treated like gold because they are doing what the employees SHOULD be doing but can't or don't want to. Recruit on line, via newspapers and on university and high school campus's, as well as senior citizens from the AARP newsletters who not only would LOVE to walk the dogs in the nearby parks or around the block, and have proven to be some of the best volunteers in a shelter system. Of course this can ONLY be done with a volunteer coordinator who knows what they are doing- (which therefore would eliminate the current volunteer coordinator, Heidi Hubner, along with the past three that LAAS hired!)

2.) List all LAAS numbers (with as large an ad as possible including a slogan like "Adopt and Save a Life" or, "Don't Breed or Buy While Shelter Animals Die") in every local phone book under the category "Pet Shops." In cities throughout the Nation there are shelters getting FREE or very low cost placement ads in phone books because the companies want to help homeless and lost animals. (Many shelters around the Nation and in Europe have put their phone numbers, web site and one of the compelling slogan's above on the sides of all their animal control trucks!)

3.) Place compelling, dramatic and even humorous weekly LAAS "Pet-of-the-Week" ads in all local papers throughout LA County (most papers would do this for free if the volunteer/public relations staff would meet them personally and convince them that by putting the Pet of the Week ads in their paper, it would be a "win-win" situation for both the shelter AND the newspaper! These ad's should picture some and mention the thousands of wonderful animals who desperately need adoption at LAAS and list the shelter locations, phone numbers, and hours. (Nathan Winograd has written the most compelling Pet of the Week ad's while General Manager of the Ithica, New York shelter. Please contact Mr. Winograd (we do not have his contact info at this time) on how to train the volunteer and public relation's department in writing these crucial ad's.

4.) Must have articulate, passionate and enthusiastic individuals representing LAAS and appearing on local news shows, radio, etc. advertising the incredible animals for adoption and supplying the addresses of the six city shelters. Rescue groups routinely access the media--but NOT the largest killing machine in LA!

5.) Replace the sterile, mechanical recording currently on the main LAAS number to one with a happy and enthusiastic voice in both Spanish and English encouraging the public to adopt from LAAS and to spay/neuter their pets already at home, etc. The message should include a statement and invitation saying something like "Come visit ALL our six city shelters; it's worth the drive to see the HUNDREDS of precious cats, dogs, puppies, kittens, rabbits and farm animals who desperately need safe and loving homes. . . . they will offer enduring, devoted companionship in return. Remember, don't breed or buy a pet, when you can come down and save the life of an animal who is desperate to find a safe and loving home."

(The recording should offer something upbeat like "And remember, You're animals are CUTERED when they're NUETERED!" and then make a dramatic statement about the overpopulation, health and safety reasons for spaying and neutering--must provide contact info for free and low cost spay/neuter.)

6.) Since the public is currently on phone hold for an average of 37 minutes 11 seconds, just waiting to get through to a live person at LAAS, there should be recorded information given in an interesting way, regarding for training tips and offering important facts to help them care for animals, i.e. not leaving them in the car when it's hot, etc.

7.) Callers from zip codes outside the LA city designated borders, like those in the Santa Monica zip code, must also be told about the six LA city shelters. As it is now, when someone from Santa Monica calls the main LAAS recording to locate a nearby shelter, and punches in their zip code, they are informed by the recording that there are NO shelters in their zip code that match any of LAAS's shelters--even though the West LA and South Central shelters are only fifteen minutes away from Santa Monica!!! Thousands of potential homes are being missed by this MIS-information.

8.) There MUST be a "meet and greet" table set up in every shelter lobby or even outside in nice weather. The employees who are being paid, yet spend their work time reading comics or eating donuts, ought to be trained to staff these tables; but in the mean time, volunteers can be assigned this task. Many shelters now have volunteer "counselors" that operate these "meet-and-greet" tables (assisting adopters and educating dumpers). They use a simple questionnaire form and verbally go over with the owners an assessment as to why they are turning over their animals, and giving them options besides turning them in, i.e. free literature regarding potty training, a list of compassionate animal trainers, as well as lists of rescues and contact info for local newspapers where they can place an ad for their animal. These owners must be fully informed before making the life and death decision of turning in their animals. Some shelter volunteers are using simple algorithmic charts which can easily help a member of the public decide what they ought to look for in a companion animal for their particular family and living situation.

9.) A bi-lingual, fifteen-minute video must be shown to everyone who comes in to adopt an animal, This summarizes how to be loving and responsible pet guardians. A few shelter systems we spoke to have spent little to no money on this by making these video's using their volunteers and employees to play the roles of pet owners, and having a humane trainer in the video pro-bono. All this takes is a cheap VCR or DVD player. The television/VHS player that was donated to the South Central shelter, is either turned off, or playing cartoons!

10.) Hire a "secret shopper" service to come in routinely and evaluate the employees. Again, these companies will do this for free or at very low prices if they are educated on the fact that animals are being killed every day inside these shelters, because employees are nasty to the public and are not offering the information needed by the public to understand how the kennels are set up and who is available for adoption. (ADL-LA NOTES: This was actually offered to LADAS and turned down by Boks and the "director of shelter operations" Nancy Moriarty.)

11.) Recruit a customer service executive to come in and train the staff on customer service. Again, there must be written protocols set up for the employees in order to evaluate their abilities to follow these protocols. (ADL-LA NOTES: This was actually offered to LADAS and turned down by Boks and the "director of shelter operations" Nancy Moriarty.)

12.) Paid volunteer staff must go into elementary and high schools offering an interesting and compelling one hour power point presentation (allowing for Q and A at the end,) on the need to adopt instead of buy and to spay/neuter, etc. This is being done in other cities and one of the them got their four power point computers donated to the shelter! (Consult with Nathan Winograd on what the power point presentation should consist of.)

13.) The volunteer coordinator and the public relations director need to report directly to the commission and General Manager to not only elucidate, but also to prove what they are doing to fulfill their job descriptions, i.e. how many pet fairs and mobile pet adoptions are being done, and what they are doing to recruit volunteers. Jackie David was caught red-handed by rescuers in multiple lies to the commission concerning work supposedly done (but which she subsequently was completely unable to back up.) (ADL-LA Notes: Is Hubner and Knipsheer doing anything differently?)

14.) Must have a list of foster volunteers and employees established, and make sure the clerks call them in order when litters come in needing to be bottle-fed. If a litter is given to a foster volunteer or employee (as is policy with other progressive humane shelters), many thousands of lives can be saved. Some humane shelters offer orphaned infants or mothers with their unweaned infants for free to rescues and allow the latter to adopt them out on their own. It is incumbent upon the rescues only to prove that they have spayed and neutered the animals.

Nathan Winograd, in one of his basic seminars, talks of recruiting the public to be trained as fosters for unweaned babies, and how many lives this saved in Ithica, NY. He tells the story of a young man who came into the shelter with his hair in a big colorful Mohawk! He came in with his girlfriend wanting to adopt, and after the staff interviewed him, found out that he and his girlfriend would really enjoy being foster parents to unweaned babies. The young man with the Mohawk and piercing's, turned out to be the best foster for babies needing to be bottle fed!! He was so talented at this, that he was recruited to teach others how to do it! Have an opened mind! Don't be turned off by the way people look who come into the shelters. Some of the strangest looking people to some of you -- (we LOVE Mohawks and piercing's!) -- can turn out to be the best and most compassionate animal guardians; and those who look like conservative and have money can turn out to be the type to leave their animals in the back-yard not wanting them to get their furniture dirty!

15.) Last on the list for the "15 NO BRAINERS", is the need to broadcast 30 second TV commercials on popular channels. Animals Anonymous, a local animal rescue organization here in LA, produced very dramatic and compelling commercials in both in Spanish and English on the need to adopt and spay/neuter. Teresa Macellaro, president of Animal Anonymous, was able to raise the money and air these commercials at discounted prices. With a annual budget of more than 22 MILLION DOLLARS, LAAS ought to be doing this!

Animals Anonymous aired these commercials repeatedly (as much as they could afford) on some of the most popular Spanish stations in L.A. Macellaro took the time out of her busy law practice to recruit volunteers to meet with station executives at several of the Hispanic stations. These executives were so shocked about the killing going on inside the shelters, they wanted to do more to help!! They contacted Animals Anonymous and through more networking, Macellaro found Spanish speaking volunteers and coordinated them so they could be interviewed on several popular Spanish talk shows on issues such as adoption, spay/neuter, etc.

These commercials were a GREAT SUCCESS! Of course, the volunteers were very frustrated when they couldn't even tell the callers to look in their local phone books under "PET SHOPS" to find out LAAS contact information about ADOPTING animals instead of buying them -- and why was this pray tell?


So there you have them, the 15 NO BRAINERS!



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