We are truly living in a remarkable age, when new studies and data on sheltering are shaping and confirming best practices seemingly every day. For the first time ever, we can truly set policies based on what we actually know, not what we think we know.
But no matter how much science and evidence is produced to dispel a myth (like “black dogs are overlooked for adoption”) or support a new best practice (such as eliminating adoption barriers), our field is often slow to embrace new information and make change.
Ten years ago, in a small, tidy shelter in one of the poorest areas of Mississippi, that was one of the first questions I heard. I was in Mississippi working on a project to assess the severity of the overpopulation issue, helping develop effective spay/neuter messaging and provide hands-up help in training, networking and some funds working on a project launched in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.