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Tools and Resources > Shelter + Rescue Essentials

  • Magazine Article

    Climbing the mountain

    A successful capital campaign can fund a new shelter and elevate your organization to new heights

    Whether your lease was suddenly canceled or your ancient facility is a few cinderblocks away from collapse, a capital campaign can help you finance your new shelter. However, if your organization gets excited about a $1,000 donation, raising millions can understandably seem like a daunting task. Capital campaigns can be an uphill climb, but if you map out the journey carefully and follow some standard practices, you can fund a new facility and navigate your way to a new peak for your organization, with more donors and community support.

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  • Magazine Article

    Hope in the valley

    Fresno Humane Animal Services (FHAS) doesn’t yet have a modern facility, but the nonprofit takes a modern approach to sheltering and community engagement.

    Fresno group works to improve animal outcomes amid difficult circumstances

    In California, Fresno Humane Animal Services is facing all sorts of challenges, from a huge service area to kennels located in the parking lot of an abandoned morgue. But the group is improving animal care and saving more lives by pursuing partnerships in the community and embracing a can-do attitude.

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  • Magazine Article

    Making the shelter a happier place for animals

    Appealing to animals’ five senses and giving them outlets to express their natural behaviors can make them happier and healthier.

    Practical tips on how to help the animals in your care feel good

    We all want the animals in our care to be as healthy and happy as possible. To accomplish this, we must attend to both their physical and emotional needs. We protect the animals’ physical health through routine vaccination, parasite control, proper nutrition, spay/neuter and other basic medical care. We create a healthy environment for them—one that is clean and well-maintained, not crowded, kept at a comfortable temperature and with good air quality.

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  • Guide

    Determining and exceeding capacity

    Use data to improve the care of animals with your rescue group

    Determining Capacity

    According to humane care standards, it takes approximately 15 minutes per day to provide basic care for each animal in a shelter environment (to clean the living environment and provide daily nutrition). So, for example, if you have one hour per day to care for the animals, that means you have the capacity to care for four animals, including your own pets. You can use the UC Davis Virtual Consultant to assess whether your housing for animals is adequate to ensure humane care.

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  • Guide

    Rescue Group Best Practices: standards for primary enclosures

    cat napping in her enclosure

    The physical space that will serve as an animal’s primary enclosure, the place where he will eat, sleep and spend the majority of his time, must be safe, sanitary, and of sufficient size to provide a humane quality of life. IMPORTANT: Cages, crates, and carriers that are intended for travel or short-term, temporary confinement are unacceptable as primary enclosures; it is also unacceptable to keep animals on wire or slatted flooring.

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  • Magazine Article

    Design for living

    Does your new shelter need to be the Taj Mahal?

    Today’s animal shelters must meet a variety of needs: They’re expected to look like a shopping center and perform like a hospital, all while remaining a secure facility. They need to be functional, but also welcoming. They need to be welcoming, but not seem so extravagant they’ll make donors or taxpayers wonder where their money is going. They need to showcase adoptable pets in a friendly and appealing way, but also provide safe, secure space for animals who may be quarantined for health or behavior reasons.

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  • Magazine Article

    What's your magic number?

    At the Animal Humane Society in Minnesota, portals between adjacent cages give resident felines double the space, making for healthier, happier, more adoptable animals.

    Analyzing shelter capacity can increase live releases

    Just a handful of years ago, if an owner stopped by to surrender a cat, the staff at the SPCA Serving Erie County would find a way to accommodate them.

    But a tragedy left the New York shelter exploring a new way of thinking.

    “It was in August of 2009, and we were taking in every cat that we could fit,” recalls executive director Barbara Carr. “We [even] had 75 cats in our multipurpose room, a 40-by-40-foot room intended for overflow.”

    After the highly contagious feline panleukopenia virus (FPV) swept through, 39 of those cats died.

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  • Magazine Article

    The road to regional animal protection services

    The move to a regional program enabled Spokane County to create a facility that serves not only as a shelter, but as a community hub offering resources and information for pet owners.

    How one agency shifted to an animal control model that works better for its community

    Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS), an open-admission animal control agency in Washington state, has been around since 1922, when dog licenses were $1 and—according to old record books—the most common breed of dog was a “cur.” In those days, everyone knew the animal shelter as a “dog pound,” and “dogcatchers” patrolled the streets.

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  • Magazine Article

    Closed for safety

    Sometimes the best way to manage a disease outbreak is to temporarily shut down your facility.

    Shutting down your shelter during an infectious disease outbreak

    In my role as senior director of shelter medicine at the ASPCA, I consult with shelters from across the country during widespread or severe infectious disease outbreaks. Most are facilities housing dogs and cats, although equine and farm animal shelters in the United States are increasingly seeking medical advice.

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  • Magazine Article

    The purrpose of life

    Steve heads to the solarium from his suite via an easy-access transport tube.

    Catty Corner: In honor of one cat, Tabby's Place saves many

    Stray cat Tabby showed up at Jonathan Rosenberg’s door in 1984, and decided to stay. He lived a long life, despite being FIV-positive—but of course, his life wasn’t long enough for Rosenberg and his wife Sharon. They were heartbroken when 16-year-old Tabby was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in April 1999 and had to be euthanized.

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  • Magazine Article

    Getting bigger all the time

    Making space for Colorado kitties

    More spacious and thoughtfully designed cat kennels lead to a happier and more relaxed feline population at the Dumb Friends League in Denver.

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  • Magazine Article

    The ASV Guidelines in real life part 6: safe and sound

    From slippery floors to rambunctious dogs and hazardous chemicals, animal shelters contain many potential dangers to the public. You can mitigate these with smart safety practices and tips from the Association of Shelter Veterinarians.

    Creating a healthy shelter environment for animals and people

    From slippery floors to rambunctious dogs and hazardous chemicals, animal shelters contain many potential dangers to the public. You can mitigate these with smart safety practices and tips from the Association of Shelter Veterinarians.

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