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What about abolishing shelters and...

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
We all know that there are tragic failings in the way animal control in the U.S. is managed. Shelters are packed to the gills, animals live in cages or are euthanized.....

What if we turned shelters into subsidized care clinics - and instead of managing shelters, what gets managed is a fostering network?

If the money that gets put into shelters by townships, counties and States were put into creating fostering networks instead - and shelters were either closed or turned into care clinics - or instead of creating new vet practices owned by towns, counties or States, the money was used for the care of foster animals at private vet practices - and the focus was on fostering and adoption, not sheltering -

why wouldn't this work?

Laurie

post #2 of 25
You'd have to have a LOT of people willing to foster. The shelter I volunteer and foster for is always looking for more people to do that. And are you saying you should pay the foster families?? Cause I think that would lead to people just doing it for the money instead of love of the animals. And how would the people who want to adopt see the animals?
I do hate seeing the animals in little cages, but at least we have some colony rooms, so cats can roam around if they get along with other cats.
post #3 of 25
I have this belief that until those people who constantly contribute to animal overpopulation are made to actually suffer consequences, the situation will never improve. Every time we make an outlet to dispose of unwanted animals, they will utilize it.

I've been on shelter committees to raise funds for low cost spay/neuter, volunteered at TNR, taken in animals.... I've seen so many people, like you and I, who care for animals, want to make their lives better...but I honestly believe that no matter what we do, there are going to be people out there who wouldn't do the right thing no matter what.

I guess the part of your idea that concerns me is that we would end up warehousing animals in foster programs when they weren't adopted. If you give people a way to dispose of unwanted pets where there's a better chance they won't be euthanized, they're going to take it. In fact, they'll think they're doing a great thing, being responsible.

Of the 12 cats I have now, 4 of them are what you'd call clinic surrenders that no one else would ever adopt. Clinic employees can only absorb so many animals the public doesn't want, I imagine pretty much the same as shelter people. You haven't lived until you've had some idiot come in with a cat in a box and ask if you'd take it, if not he'd take it home and shoot it.
post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snuzy View Post
You'd have to have a LOT of people willing to foster. The shelter I volunteer and foster for is always looking for more people to do that. And are you saying you should pay the foster families?? Cause I think that would lead to people just doing it for the money instead of love of the animals. And how would the people who want to adopt see the animals?
I do hate seeing the animals in little cages, but at least we have some colony rooms, so cats can roam around if they get along with other cats.
Actually, the idea isn't to pay people to foster - it's to deploy the money used for shelters differently. If you had enough money to send leaflets to everyone in your city, town or community - sent to "Resident"... or putting ads in the local papers, or ..... I don't know. Just brainstorming here. But if the money were used to develop the foster network instead of rent for the shelter, staff for the shelter, all the care of the cats in the shelter.... the idea is that it would be a HUGE foster network.

Of course, it was just an idea, and nothing's been fleshed out. In fact, that's why I posted here. Pros and cons and all....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinder
I have this belief that until those people who constantly contribute to animal overpopulation are made to actually suffer consequences, the situation will never improve. Every time we make an outlet to dispose of unwanted animals, they will utilize it.
I totally agree. I think animal-related laws need to change.

But right now, when shelters are full, people just dump their animals somewhere. So having a larger or better outlet for animals people don't want would help improve the situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinder
I guess the part of your idea that concerns me is that we would end up warehousing animals in foster programs when they weren't adopted. If you give people a way to dispose of unwanted pets where there's a better chance they won't be euthanized, they're going to take it. In fact, they'll think they're doing a great thing, being responsible.
But right now, unwanted animals are warehoused in cages. I'm thinking I'd much rather see them warehoused in homes. And people find ways to dispose of unwanted pets. I think releasing an unwanted dog or cat into a foster network is a hell of a lot better than releasing him out in some rural area - they would be being responsible - especially if their animals weren't already fixed.

And local pet stores or PetSmarts or whatever could, instead of having cages of animals there for adoption, could have books of pics with descriptions. Anyone interested in meeting an animal would contact someone from the foster network who would make arrangements for the interested adopter to meet the foster kitty. That's part of what I was thinking when I meant putting the money to use in managing the foster network and adoptions rather than the shelters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinder
Of the 12 cats I have now, 4 of them are what you'd call clinic surrenders that no one else would ever adopt. Clinic employees can only absorb so many animals the public doesn't want, I imagine pretty much the same as shelter people. You haven't lived until you've had some idiot come in with a cat in a box and ask if you'd take it, if not he'd take it home and shoot it.
Exactly. And when the shelter is full - what does he do? I still see this as a positive in terms of using a foster network system instead of a shelter system.

Laurie
post #5 of 25
IMO as ideal as that would be think of foster children. There have been a lot of cases, at least here in Michigan, regarding foster children being abused by their foster parents. Sometimes children leave one abusive home for another.

I'm sure in many cases too, pet fosters are not all loving happy hippies. They may like cats but feel the cat belongs outside. If the cat knocks over the trash can, how do you know that the cat doesn't get knocked too?
post #6 of 25
I get your point, and I think it would of course be better for the animals to be housed in foster homes vs a shelter, but the foster situations becoming long term are what concerns me. But let me be the first to admit, my experiences with adopting out animals have not been positive, which is why when I take in an animal now, it's mine...for good.

The Petsmart in Salem OR is now an adoption cention for Salem Friends of Felines, a group with aspirations of building a nokill shelter. They have animals onsite for adoption, plus others listed on Petfinders. Prior to that, the local humane society had cats for adoption housed there. Books with pictures are great, but they are no substitute for seeing the real thing. I always check the adoption room when I'm there, even though I have no intention of adopting another cat. But someone may just catch my eye, and I may change my mind.

Here's a link for them. Ask them how many pets are adopted at Petsmart vs those whose pictures are shown online. They also have an adoption center at their thrift store. It would surprise me to learn that the cats who people can actually see at an adoption center don't have a better adoption rate.

http://salemfriendsoffelines.org/

And I'm not trying to be argumentative, I'm trying to give you ideas to pursue.
post #7 of 25
I can sort of see this happening, as I prefer cats to be in a home environment, but I can also see some negatives - you would have to have a lot more volunteers, and you might end up with more health issues amongst the cats. IT is a lot easier to separate cats with issues in a shelter situation than a home environment. And you would have a problem with adopting, I do think it would lower the rate - there is a rescue near me who wont foster out any long termers as they feel it would reduce their homing chances - I know I have to push my fosters more than the ones in our rescue, for two reasons really, partly cos when we are really hectic, the rescue lady forgets who we have, so doesn't always push them for us, and partly cos people turn up unexpectedly, so can only pick what they can see, and that sometimes works the other way, if I only have one foster in, and it isn't quite what they want, they dont always go to the rescue as we are a 20-30 min drive from each other
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinder View Post
...And I'm not trying to be argumentative, I'm trying to give you ideas to pursue.
No, no - this is great. Maybe the discussion winds up with something that isn't so far fetched!

I agree - the adoptions are an issue. But it wouldn't be fosters competing for adoptions vs. shelter cats because there wouldn't be shelter cats.

...And actually, I think all PetSmarts work with rescue organizations. They certainly have a fixed "display" of animals at ours - and have adoptions days every weekend, with a different rescue org.

Maybe the what-would-now-be vet clinics (for free medical care to the foster animals) would do the same thing - have those same display cages with adoption days every weekend, and the foster moms or dads have their schedule and have to bring the animals - just like a shelter has to bring to PetSmart adoption days. ?? It would be part of the management of the foster/adoption process. And the book of animals available for adoption at the vet/adoption clinic and the website could also be kept. This way all the foster animals get exposure to the public.

And... re: medical issues. I think that with 1 - 4 fosters, medical problems would be a lot easier to contain. At our shelter there was an outbreak of - ? (sorry, don't remember). In fact, it was in the entire county, and all shelters were quarantined and prevented from adopting out animals for like 30 days. Without cats gathered in one place, the danger of similar outbreaks occurring is actually much lower, isn't it? We have six cats, and when one gets sick, not all of them get sick. And FIV or FeLV cats would be fostered by different people - separating the populations.

...And the foster families would have the incentive to get the care, because now the money isn't going into shelters, it's being spent on the foster network and the vet clinic(s). And the vet services are provided free to the foster animals. In fact, the vet clinics could be a source of revenue for the foster/adoption program - they could charge for services provided to animals that aren't part of the foster/adoption network.

As to the issue of abuses in the foster network - we, of all people, know the problems with the foster system for children. We adopted one that was a homeless heroin addict - she came out of the foster system. 60% of the homeless in New York City are children that fell out of the foster system. But there would be no incentive to abuse this foster system, because the foster families are not being paid to take animals. I think that a large part of the abuse of the foster system for kids is families that take in kids to get the monthly payments for them. ??????????

??????????????

Laurie
post #9 of 25
I see what you say about the competing between fosters, but it would still be an issue, especially if all the cats for a certain rescue were more spread out, people might not be as willing to travel, and not everyone who sees a pic of a cat in a certain place will then travel to see it etc - we get quite a few e-mails and phone calls showing an interest, when you answer their questions, you never hear from them again, it is sooo irritating!! WE do get a lot of interest via our website though, it is one of the best things we ever did, just makes it hard if say they ring me for a cat, and it is with one of the other two carers, they either have to wait for a phone call or ring someone else.

ACtually, yeah, you make a good point with the illnesses, I just wonder if they would be easier to contain in a shelter environment than if they were all living in a home, I know the surfaces in our rescue are a lot easier to clean than what I have in my house.

I dont think vets can give free vet care though, while it would certainly help out a lot, I have seen some of our vet bills, and they are rather high for someone to cover completely.

It would be a wonderful thing to do though, much better for the cats - although one of hte rescues near me has hundreds of cats and dogs, plus rabbits and farm animals so god knows how they would do it!!
post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by booktigger View Post
I see what you say about the competing between fosters, but it would still be an issue, especially if all the cats for a certain rescue were more spread out, people might not be as willing to travel, and not everyone who sees a pic of a cat in a certain place will then travel to see it etc - we get quite a few e-mails and phone calls showing an interest, when you answer their questions, you never hear from them again, it is sooo irritating!! WE do get a lot of interest via our website though, it is one of the best things we ever did, just makes it hard if say they ring me for a cat, and it is with one of the other two carers, they either have to wait for a phone call or ring someone else.

ACtually, yeah, you make a good point with the illnesses, I just wonder if they would be easier to contain in a shelter environment than if they were all living in a home, I know the surfaces in our rescue are a lot easier to clean than what I have in my house.

I dont think vets can give free vet care though, while it would certainly help out a lot, I have seen some of our vet bills, and they are rather high for someone to cover completely.

It would be a wonderful thing to do though, much better for the cats - although one of hte rescues near me has hundreds of cats and dogs, plus rabbits and farm animals so god knows how they would do it!!
The idea, as it seems to be developing, is that the cities, towns or counties would be putting money into a vet clinic, or providing money to existing vet clinics and the fostering/adoption network rather than paying for shelters. The shelters have to pay for vet services and spays/neuters as it is - this would simply pay for the medical care they already pay for without the cost of the rest of the shelter.

And animals that are rescued are first brought to the vet clinic before they go to the foster home. So the spreading-disease issue isn't an issue - because they're going to the foster home with meds, rather than sitting in a shelter being sick until they get the vet visit - so they can spread their virus or disease in the shelter environment in a way they can't in a vet clinic/foster environment.

And as to the adoptions - people have to travel to a shelter to adopt a cat now. They'd travel to the adoption center - which is now a vet clinic that has a display like PetSmart does in the reception area, and the animals in it rotate on a schedule with the fosters - like PetSmart does - and there would be adoption days on the weekends - like PetSmart does.

So if someone wants to adopt a cat or dog - they can either adopt from the adoption center (vet clinic) - or find out the date the animal in the book (or website) they're interested in is going to be at the adoption center if they don't want to make arrangements to meet the animal at it's foster place. Or perhaps fosters and potential adopters could make appointments to meet at the adoption center/vet clinics.
post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 
And there's no reason birds, rabbits and ferrets couldn't be part of the process.



Keep the problems comin'

Laurie
post #12 of 25
hmm - we dont have these adoption days in pet shops in the UK, although most in my area are willing to put my posters up - i did a mail shot last year, and have heard of 2 this week that put them up for me!! Dont think we have had any calls from them though, but worth doing (didnt cost me a penny!!).

Another thing that is different in the UK is I dont know of any rescue who gets money from a council etc, we have to raise every penny we spend ourselves, so we wouldnt have money going towards vets rather than us, as we dont get anythign in the first place.

I do really like the idea of them seeing a vet before anything else though. Sounds like it might work better in the US than the UK though.
post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
I really don't know the information in the U.S. about what percent of shelters are private, what percent are State, County, City or Township animal control-related, or how much State/County/City - Township budgets fund local shelters. I've been conducting some searches, and haven't found the information yet. I have a feeling it's not going to be easy to find.

I just know that many Cities and townships have publicly funded shelters associated with their animal control.

The Humane Society and SPCA are private charities - certainly the largest national animal "protection" charities here - but both receive funding from at least some municipalities. At least in two counties in NJ and in New York City the SPCA is responsible for acting like the police for responding to and pursuing animal abuse/cruelty related matters. I believe the Humane Society manages quite a few shelters.

I'm thinking the adoption center/foster network idea for management of unwanted animals would have to start at the municipal level.

It could well be that the shelter model for managing homeless animals is just too large to change. But I don't like thinking that way!

I don't see any reason why privately funded animal shelters couldn't work to change the business model they use if there is a more efficient method for managing the process.

Laurie
post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
Maybe the what-would-now-be vet clinics (for free medical care to the foster animals) would do the same thing - have those same display cages with adoption days every weekend, and the foster moms or dads have their schedule and have to bring the animals - just like a shelter has to bring to PetSmart adoption days. ?? It would be part of the management of the foster/adoption process. And the book of animals available for adoption at the vet/adoption clinic and the website could also be kept. This way all the foster animals get exposure to the public.
One thing I want to point out is there might be resistance to the idea of *free* medical care by veterinary clinics. Yes, many veterinarians are very giving when it comes to animal welfare organizations. But...some are not. One vet I worked for used to volunteer his time to TNR, took in hardluck cases, etc. When it got to the point where it was *expected* from him he just stopped doing it. Period. It was hard to deal with.

Anway, let's say that your foster network puts adoption cages in the lobbys of veterinary clinics. I could see veterinary staff being very willing to be a part of the adoption process. I could see them being willing to provide basic care. (feeding, box cleaning) It could be a two way street...clinics always end up trying to place animals. If the foster system was willing to take the ultimate responsibility for such animals, it might be a good match.

If you have the money that shelters are now using to operate, what do you fund? Veterinary care? (hopefully at a discounted rate) Food? (for foster caretakers) Discount coupons? (to encourage adoptors to spay/neuter) Or...do you end up paying employees to guarantee care and services if volunteer resources aren't sufficient?

Would you encourage a no kill organization?
post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinder View Post
One thing I want to point out is there might be resistance to the idea of *free* medical care by veterinary clinics. Yes, many veterinarians are very giving when it comes to animal welfare organizations. But...some are not. One vet I worked for used to volunteer his time to TNR, took in hardluck cases, etc. When it got to the point where it was *expected* from him he just stopped doing it. Period. It was hard to deal with.
The idea is that instead of funding a shelter, the money the town or county uses to fund the shelter now funds a vet clinic, so the services are not being provided for free by the vet(s) or vet techs, but the services of the clinic are free to the animals in foster care. However, further revenue could be generated by charging normal rates for any animals that aren't in the foster system.

The vet clinic is also an adoption center, fashioned after the style used by PetSmart - so from the very beginning care of the foster cats that are there in the adoption area is part of the running of the clinic. The vet clinic/adoption center and foster network is what is being run and managed instead of a shelter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinder
If you have the money that shelters are now using to operate, what do you fund? Veterinary care? (hopefully at a discounted rate) Food? (for foster caretakers) Discount coupons? (to encourage adoptors to spay/neuter) Or...do you end up paying employees to guarantee care and services if volunteer resources aren't sufficient?

Would you encourage a no kill organization?
I do think no-kill should be the goal and the standard. I'm not sure.... but I think fosters should be responsible for the food, however the food for sick animals in the hospital is paid for by the clinic. Maybe there's some way to subsidize food for animals that are required to be on a prescription diet.

At shelters around here, the spaying and neutering is done prior to the animals being adopted out - however, NJ does help subsidize the spay/neuter. Again - I think that should be part of the model.

Laurie
post #16 of 25
Realistically, there just aren't going to be enough foster homes. We have to scramble to find homes for pregnant cats. We have two. We had to beg & plead(I actually got down on my knees) to get the second foster home to take the momma about to pop. The only foster homes here are regular volunteers who take home cats/dogs who desperately need out of the cage.
post #17 of 25


Okay, I finally understand what you mean by the free veterinary services.

I think certain programs of an animal shelter would still be necessary though, like animal control, cruelty investigation and education programs. And while it would be a better atmosphere for the animals, I don't see what it does to address the root of the problem...enabling people to be irresponsible. (before anyone decides to me, yes, I know that some people have perfectly valid reasons for turning in their animals and have no alternative)

I'll have to let this rattle around in my head for a while.
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinder View Post
I think certain programs of an animal shelter would still be necessary though, like animal control, cruelty investigation and education programs. And while it would be a better atmosphere for the animals, I don't see what it does to address the root of the problem...enabling people to be irresponsible. (before anyone decides to me, yes, I know that some people have perfectly valid reasons for turning in their animals and have no alternative)
I absolutely agree.

According to their website, our local shelter out here gets in on average of 25 animals a day. Even if foster homes agreed to take in multiple animals you would never realistically have enough room- or resources- to support them all. The sad thing is that even if you could pull together the funds and did make space… there still wouldn’t be enough homes to adopt them all. They are already competing for the few homes there are with the non-stop litters of freecycle puppies- which of course end up at the shelter anyway if they start to big and the owner still couldn't place them. I think one would have to focus much more on spay/neuter education to reduce the numbers and change peoples’ attitudes about letting their pets have another litter (“but we always find homes for our puppies!â€) before something like this could ever become a reality.
post #19 of 25
Hmm, you have spent a lot of time thinking this through, and it might work over there, but the system that you described is so much different than what I deal with - we dont have any shelters funded by towns or cities, and i can see what you are saying about the private ones doing it, but that happens with the charity I foster for, and for part of one of our largest ones, they are all fostered in home environments, but there are strict rules on how many you can have, and not letting them have access to your own cats etc, which would make a truly 'home' system very tricky, as you simply can't help as many then. And if I had had to be responsible for all the food for my fosters over the past nearly 3 years, I would have had to give up already, as I have had a few periods due to health issues with my own where paying for 2 was a struggle, never mind the 4 fosters I had on top.
post #20 of 25
Thread Starter 
Fundamentally, the root problem is the animal overpopulation problem, which can only be addressed by making spay/neuter mandatory and affordable, and implementing laws that support TNR. Thus the website some of us from TCS got together and created: http://www.StrayPetAdvocacy.org.

In 1984 in New Jersey, the State implemented a program to subsidize the cost of spay/neuter. It was called the Animal Populatin Control Program. At first it was available to just public shelters, and vets that wanted to participate were reimbursed 80% of the spay/neuter (and all related care, pre-aneasthesia testing, etc.), and people wanting to spay/neuter their dog or cat were only charged $10.00. In 1990 they opened it up to private, non-profit shelters, and in 1991 they opened it up to non-profit rescue organizations that had no facilities but were just fostering/adoption referral rescues.

For the past number of years, the budget for this, paid quarterly, is used up within the first 4 weeks of each quarter.

BUT - despite the obvious great need for the program as it is being used - since 1984, a survey of all 564 municipalities in NJ show that there have been over 145,000 surgeries conducted on dogs and cats since the inception of the program. There has been a 27% decrease in the number of dogs and cats impounded, a reduction of 45% in the number of animals euthanized, and the adoption rate has increased from 20% to 39%.

**************

The main stumbling block that keeps coming up in this thread is the idea that the number of foster homes would have to be HUGE - and anyone that works at a shelter or rescues thinks to how really difficult it is to find foster homes.

But the idea is that much of the money currently being deployed on maintaining a shelter would be put into developing a foster network instead of a shelter. With actual funds to develop a network as opposed to posters or word-of-mouth currently used, I'm still thinking it would be possible to create a large network.

The basic question to ask is not how do you get foster families. Shelters right now basically do it word-of-mouth, right? The question is, if you had money to inform people of a foster network, if you had money to prospect for a foster network - are there enough people out there that would want to foster?

I think Gary and I are perfect examples. Until the stray kittens turned up in our yard, I never thought about the fact that there are animals out there that need to be rescued. I didn't even know fostering programs existed. Of course I knew there were animals shelters - but that was something that didn't affect me and just went on somewhere. If, however, I'd received some sort of mailer about foster families being needed - you know, informative but salesy - we probably would have become fosters long before we actually started rescuing. It's a great way for someone who wants a pet but wants to try it out temporarily first. I'm sure there would be a pretty large turnover in the foster network. But all anyone so far has pointed out is how difficult it is NOW to find fosters. But if your shelter had the money to develop a foster network, wouldn't that change things?

However - I do agree that without TNR and spay/neuter programs in place, changing the way the shelter system works doesn't address the fundamental problem of animal overpopulation. It doesn't now - I don't see why just changing the nature of the shelter system business model would help with that.

And I totally agree that animal control, cruelty investigation, and education programs are all still needed. The basic question I'm asking is - is there a way to get the animals out of cages and into homes?

Hubby and I were just thinking that the current shelter-rescue model is such a sad situation for so many cats and dogs, and what we were wondering is if money were put into developing a foster network instead of maintaining animals in a shelter - is it possible?

I assume that there would be too many animals for any system - just like there are now. Again - TNR and spay/neuter programs are ESSENTIAL for any long term reduction in the homeless animal population. Changing the "shelter model" won't change the rate at which animals are in need of rescue and therefore wouldn't (in all likelihood) change the rate at which they are euthanized. But by its very nature it also functions as an educational program as well! Further it seems like it would be a far more humane system for the animals that are rescued. And it may increase adoptions, because the animals that are in the system are so much better socialized.

Report after report after report show that when there is low-cost spay/neutering programs available, people use them, and shelter admissions go down, and euthanization rates go down. So it's not the shelter system that affects these aspects of animal overpopulation - it's programs that educate and support spay/neuter that affect animal overpopulation rates.

But in this thread I wasn't trying to address the total problem so much as figure out if an alternative to the existing shelter model could be implemented in an effective way.

to all for helping me think it through! Opinions, problems, and ideas still appreciated.

Laurie
post #21 of 25
Can I just say I love how well thought out your posts are, you really have put so much thought into this. There are still a few issues with this foster home network - I will use teh charity I foster for as an example. WE have 4 people who can care for the cats, but one is only used for kittens that need handrearing, as her two dogs tend to put off adults, and it is easier to contain kittens in a separate room, so the majority of the year we have 3 fosterers. The main rescue place is set up for mums and kittens as she had another helper initially that had the adults, she can hold about 20 mums and kittens, but significantly less adults. My comfortable limit is 5, but can stretch to 6, including my 2 permanents, and I dont tend to take kittens, so another 4 adults. Our third fosterer( found through a cat forum) can take 1 or 2 adults - so you will have significantly less capacity unless you have a lot of fosterers. But, the main issue is that we are all technically in different towns, although each of us only has a 20-30 min drive to reach another member - but that has occasionally been a downfall in homing cats, as people dont get to see all the cats we have in one go, and not everyone wants to travel to go and view other cats, so they sometimes go away empty handed - although our website has been a big help in that, we have had a lot fall in love with a cat and we have been able to get them to go to the right person immediately - the point being that to have a large network might mean a lot of travelling for people, and not just for the potential adopters, but also if you were doing homechecks and for collecting cats (I have taken cats from both the rescue and our other fosterer this year, and the one today was collected by the main rescue lady and brought over, so a lot of travelling), and also for collecting food, litter. And then the issue of vets - we have a really good deal with our main vets, and my personal vet (who is less than a 10 min walk away) can only match them on spaying and neutering, so anything major, I have to take them on a 15-20 min journey for. We dont have costs as such, as all 3 of us run it from our houses, I think there is some costs towards electricity and petrol paid, but other than that, we wouldnt have the spare cash to promote anything, as it wouldnt change the way we work. I do accept that the rescues over there are different - we would love to have a budget for spaying though, we have to raise all our money ourselves!! And you do get so many people who say they would love to foster but can't, so I think if we could get across to some of those, we would instantly have a lot more hands on, and then it wouldnt matter that some of our fosterers can only help 4 cats, compared to a shelter. Now we just have to work out how!!
post #22 of 25
Thread Starter 
I don't really know how to respond to your post! First of all - thank you.

And while the traveling is an issue - it is now. If someone wants to adopt a pet from a shelter, they have to get to the shelter.

In the new "animal rescue" model I'm trying to work out, the Shelter would now be a vet clinic/adoption center. I hadn't originally anticipated the vet-end or the adoption-center end of it when Gary and I were just chatting about how to get cats out of shelters and into foster homes - but a vet clinic could be a source of revenue by providing services to non-foster kitties. So the only aspect that's really changing in the way this seems to be developing is that cats and dogs (and rabbits and ferrets or whatever) are rescued, caught by animal control or whatever, and brought to the vet center. The budget provided by State, municipality or fund-raising, as the case may be, now goes to pay a vet (or vets) and a vet tech or (or techs) to be on staff, rather than to visit the shelter to see the animals, and someone (or people) managing the adoption center part of the clinic and the foster network.

As it is now, when there are animals to be fostered, someone has to pick them up from the shelter and get them to the foster home - or the foster family needs to pick the fosters up from somewhere. So that doesn't really change - there's just more of it, because the idea is to get the animals fostered, not leave them in cages.

But this way all fosters would get a vet check before they go anywhere, and they'd be brought into a foster home with any meds they need if applicable.

And as to adoptions - it would be more traveling for the foster mom/dad, but the fosters would have a schedule as to when their animals are to be at the adoption center for a week or whatever. This way all the fosters get equal "public viewing" time, and they're not competing against shelter animals for permanent home placement.

And if someone is fostering - if an animal now gets sick, they have to bring it to a vet. Yes - the trip could be longer if they have to take the animal to the foster network vet as opposed to their own vet - but the choice is there. Free service for the travel - pay for service if you bring doggie or kitty to your own vet.

Since part of the shelter cost is food and litter, it seems to me those could be offered to the foster families. I guess they'd have to travel if they want the free food and litter. And average use per cat would have to be determined so that the new rescue model doesn't end up paying for animals that are at foster homes but not part of the foster program - meaning food and litter use per foster family would have to be monitored. But foster families would have to travel to pick it up. On the other hand, if they can afford it themselves, that's something that now saves the network money, and that can be put back into the budget for informing people about the existence of the foster network and the need for foster homes.

I definitely see issues that need to be worked out - but I still don't see anything that means the idea is impossible.

?????????????????

Laurie
post #23 of 25
Your welcome.

While people have to travel to a shelter now, they get to see all, or some, of the animals in one go, so if they meet one they liked the look off and they dont like it, they have other cats (dependent on how busy the shelter is of course) to look at, where if they are all scattered in foster homes, that option is taken away to an extent, as the majority of foster homes simply can't hold as many as a rescue can. And the distance to a foster home may be more prohibitive than the local shelter - e.g. one of my first fosters went to a home a 5 min walk away, they didn't have a car - they couldn't have got to the main rescue, as it is 2 buses and then a 10 min walk (and we dont normally allow our cats to go on buses to travel to their new home due to the stress on the cat).

I do really like the idea of them all being vet checked first, it would be a lot better, and I suppose any cats that are dumped on doorsteps would then be dumped on the vets doorstep, so that wouldnt be a prob.

STill not 100% sure on the schedule for taking cats to the adoption centre, it wouldn't really stop them competing cos of the nature of the public adopting - some might just be goign past on the off chance and want a certain colour - that one might have either been teh week before or the week after!! The biggest thing that has helped our adoption rate has been the website, we struggled placing mum cats before it, and now they tend to go quite quickly, as are adult cats in general - we homed 4 last week, it is a rarity for adults with us - only 1 wasn't through the website, and that was purely cos she lives minutes from the rescue and had collared her on the street!! So maybe that is a better way than transporting cats?

The thinking behind the vets is slightly flawed - from experience, it simply isn't that cut and dry. I dont like the rescues vet, but i sometimes do not have a choice about using them because they are so much cheaper than my personal vet and as much as I like to pay for as much as I can, I can't always. Same with the food, if I chose to pay for all their food and litter myself, I could only foster one cat - or, by getting it through the rescue, I can foster 4 cats, so I can help more cats by getting my food and litter through the rescue (as much as I dislike to at times, it seems daft spending all day fundraising and then picking up food and litter, but our treasurer told me I was daft for doing it, that is what the money is for, and us paying for things does affect the accounts in that it doesn't show a true account of what the branch costs to run).

I too dont see anythign that makes it impossible, and I do think cats are better off in home environments, especially some of the ones I have had - Molly was depressed and lost all interest in life when I got her, she would have prob had weeks left if i couldnt take her - 15 months later, she is still healthy and happy.
post #24 of 25
Okay, thinking about the food and litter issue.

Whether these items were provided free or at cost to foster families, you would have the benefit of doing so at cost. This is presuming that the clinic/adoption centers would be purchasing foods at cost through wholesalers. Granted, the markup on premium foods at a veterinary clinic is not as great as you would think, but it would still be an opportunity to provide good quality food at a better than straight retail price. Of course, in situations where these companies are dealing with animal welfare organizations, they may discount their prices.
post #25 of 25
Hmm, that would actually be a good thing for dry food - vets in the UK only offer prescription wet foods though - at the moment, we have to go to the supermarket, as none of the pet shops can offer it at a good price, but we do get discounted litter though (and the rescue allow fosterers to buy it at their discounted price for our own cats)
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