Spay/neuter donations reduce animal homelessness by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and the Big Fix
The YHS Spay/Neuter Clinic staff are ready to serve you and your pets!

The Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) Spay/Neuter & Wellness Clinic in Prescott, will celebrate its fourth anniversary on Sept. 17 – and this facility has given our entire community tremendous cause to celebrate.

During the decades before opening this clinic, our community rounded up nearly 6,000 lost and homeless animals annually – and then struggled to “re-home” them. We were often forced to euthanize nearly half just to make space for the constant flow of incoming animals.

In less than three years, the number of lost and homeless animals rescued annually in our community declined 45 percent (from 5,887 to 3,254), and the number of animals euthanized each year plummeted 92 percent, from 1,602 to 133.

The importance of the YHS Spay/Neuter Clinic may be better understood by drawing on the following analogy. Imagine a large broken water pipe flooding your basement. It would be silly to run down into the basement to start mopping up the mess without first turning off the water. However, that was precisely what our community did for decades prior to September 2009.

From the day the YHS Spay/Neuter Clinic opened its doors, it has been turning the water off and helping establish our community among the safest in the nation for pets.

The quality care provided by the YHS Spay/Neuter Clinic is second to none and was nationally recognized with the prestigious Humane Alliance Certification in February.

In celebration of its fourth anniversary, the YHS Spay/Neuter Clinic is making a commitment through its Big Fix program to deny no pet spay/neuter services just because the pet’s guardian can’t afford it.

The YHS Big Fix program provides free and low-cost spay/neuter services to pets belonging to owners who meet certain income criteria. In addition, pets belonging to active-duty military and all military veterans pre-qualify for free spay/neuter services.

This is an enormous commitment, and YHS will need your help to keep it. The good news is we are not alone. Petsmart Charities recently committed to help YHS by granting YHS enough funds to offset the cost of 1,200 spay/neuter surgeries. The grant is restricted to dogs residing in Prescott Valley, Dewey/Humboldt and Mayer, and dog owners must meet certain income eligibility criteria. Call the YHS Spay/Neuter & Wellness Clinic to see if you qualify.

If this program proves successful, Petsmart Charities may include cats in future grants.

What about all the pets residing in the many other regions of our community, including the City of Prescott? To meet this need, YHS is partnering with another foundation that wishes to remain anonymous. This foundation is challenging our community to match a $15,000 gift to the YHS Big Fix spay/neuter program.

This challenge gift means your tax-deductible donation will be twice as effective in helping YHS turn the supply of unwanted pets off once and for all. If we can meet this challenge, YHS will have $30,000 to help our community’s most at-risk pets’ access this life-saving service.

YHS envisions the day when every pet born has a good home and is well cared for all its life.

When you make a donation of any size to the YHS Big Fix program during this challenge, you can double your impact in making this future vision our reality today.

Big Fix donations can be made online or by mail.

Fundraiser honors pets that ‘reign’ in our hearts by Ed Boks

To get a message across, the Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) often uses a play on words – a clever or witty use of language. For instance, on Saturday, Sept. 8, YHS is celebrating its 40th anniversary at the Prescott Resort and the event is called Reigning Cats & Dogs.

The name Reigning Cats & Dogs is an attempt to humorously convey the role our pets play in our lives. In many ways, and for many of us, our pets take on a central, or if you will, a “reigning” role in our lives. It is in this fun spirit that we are inviting animal lovers to a royal celebration of the relationship we share with our pets.

The phrase “Reigning Cats & Dogs” is a homophone of the term “raining cats and dogs.”

It is ironic, even tragic, that in a community that celebrates Reigning Cats & Dogs we can at the same time experience a raining cats and dogs resulting in an overflow of lost and unwanted pets at YHS.

So dire is the current situation that YHS is announcing a state of emergency. The crisis was caused by the recent monsoon. Dogs frightened by thunder are escaping from their homes in record numbers – and most are found without a dog license, identification tag or microchip. Worse, pet owners are not coming to YHS to identify their lost pet in a timely manner. This is costly to both YHS and the frantic pet owner. Our concern is pet owners may not know YHS is the central location where all lost pets are taken by local animal control and Good Samaritans who rescue lost pets off the street.

When you lose your pet, please visit the YHS Lost & Found Pet Center every three days at least – and more often when possible. If your pet does not have a microchip, you can purchase one at the YHS Wellness Clinic on any Friday or at the YHS Lost & Found Pet Center Monday through Friday. In the effort to reunite more lost pets with their owners, YHS is offering microchips for just $20. A microchip will help reunite you with your lost pet in the shortest amount of time.

YHS is also launching a month long Raining Cats & Dogs Adoptathon. From today through the end of September all dogs and puppies are just $25 and all cats and kittens are “pick your price.” Every adoption includes spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations and a microchip. This is over a $400 value per adoption. If you are considering adding a pet to your family, now is the time. YHS has the largest selection of quality pets available for adoption at the most affordable prices. When you adopt a pet from YHS you are saving two lives; the one you adopt and the one your adoption makes room for.

Another way you can help YHS is by participating in the Reigning Cats & Dogs Auction which is open online until Thursday, Sept. 6. Auction items range from exotic vacation getaways to having your pet featured in the inaugural 2013 Yava-Paw Calendar. So, tell your friends, family, community and let the bidding begin!  You can purchase your tickets to the Reigning Cats & Dogs Gala scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 8, at the Prescott Resort. All proceeds go to help fund YHS’ many life saving programs. I hope to see you there!

Support local animals in need through gala, raffle, thrift store by Ed Boks

If you’re an animal lover, you’re invited to celebrate the Yavapai Humane Society’s 40th anniversary at this year’s Reigning Cats & Dogs Dinner Gala and Silent Auction. The gala is scheduled for Saturday evening, Sept. 8, at the Prescott Resort. Tickets are $100 each, or $900 for a table for 10. I look forward to seeing you there!

Raffle tickets for the Reigning Cats & Dogs Grand Prize are also available. Imagine winning a three-night stay at the AAA Four Diamond award-winning El Monte Sagrado Resort in Taos, N.M. The resort was featured in Travel and Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler, and is on their elite Gold List. With sunlit fish-filled streams, tropical flora and the sounds of calming waterfalls, the nurturing effects begin the moment you arrive. Should you opt for a winter visit, a ski shuttle runs daily to Taos Ski Valley. El Monte Sagrado ensures a level of personalized pampering you won’t soon forget. For more information on the resort or to purchase raffle tickets, visit the YHS Thrift Shop or Spay/Neuter Clinic. You do not have to be present to win. Only 2,000 tickets will be sold at $5 each, or five for $20.

YHS has new hours: YHS is now open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. It is closed on Tuesdays.

Adoption Special: YHS is promoting an adoption special on all Certified Pre-Owned Cats! That’s right, $0 down; $0 financing; and no payments EVER! Nose to tail, multi-point inspection and catjack (microchip) included. (Testing fees apply.) This means all cats and kittens are available for the price you pick. This is a $400 value (including spay/neuter surgery, microchip, vaccinations, etc.) for the price you can afford.

Microchips: This is the busiest time of the year for YHS. With the rodeo, parades, fireworks and thunderstorms, we rescue more terrified lost pets than any other time of the year. Getting your lost pet back to you quickly and safely is our highest priority. To do this better YHS has lowered the price of a microchip to $20. You can have your pet microchipped from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the YHS Lost & Found Pet Center, 1625 Sundog Ranch Road, Prescott Valley, or any Friday at the YHS Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic located at 2989 Centerpointe East in Prescott. Don’t delay, protect your pet today!

Spay/Neuter Special: Are you looking to save your furniture from scratches and snags? Get a free nail trim for your pet cat at the time you schedule a spay/neuter surgery for him/her. Just mention this offer when you call to schedule your appointment.

Thrifter Alert: Have you been by the YHS Thrift Shop lately? Come by to see our new look, lower prices and great bargains. All this for a great cause to help fund our life-saving programs!

From clothing and household items to jewelry and more, the YHS Thrift Shop is loaded with great deals for every bargain hound! If you’re moving, downsizing or just cleaning, please consider donating to YHS Thrift Shop. We respectfully request donated items be sell-able and in good condition. When you drop off your donations, take a moment to shop our fine collectibles, jewelry, antiques and other treasures. If needed, we do fetch large items.

IMPLEMENTING THE NO-KILL EQUATION IN LOS ANGELES – Part VIII: Public Relations/Community Involvement

This is the eighth posting in a series of messages responding to the recommendations of a so-called “No-Kill Equation”. The “No-Kill Equation” is comprised of ten commonsense, long-standing practices embraced and implemented by LA Animal Services with remarkable results.

This analysis compares the “No-Kill Equation” to LA’s programs and practices. Today’s message focuses on the eighth recommendation of the “No-Kill Equation,” which is Public Relations/Community Involvement.

The Ten “No-Kill Equation” Recommendations are:
1. Feral Cat TNR Program
2. High Volume/Low-Cost Spay/Neuter
3. Rescue Groups
4. Foster Care
5. Comprehensive Adoption Program
6. Pet Retention
7. Medical and Behavioral Rehabilitation
8. Public Relations/Community Involvement
9. Volunteers
10. A Compassionate Director

The “No-Kill Equation” is in this font.

The analysis is in this black italic font.

VIII. Public Relations/Community Involvement
Rebuilding a relationship with the community starts with redefining oneself as a “pet rescue” agency. The community must see improvement at the shelter, and improvements in the area of lifesaving. Public contact with the agency must include good customer service, more adoptions, and tangible commitments to give the shelter the tools it needs to do the job humanely. Public contact, however, is not necessarily a face-to-face encounter. The public has contact with an agency by reading about it in the newspaper, seeing volunteers adopting animals at a local shopping mall, or hearing the Executive Director promoting spay/neuter on the radio. It means public relations and community education.

The importance of good public relations cannot be overstated. Good, consistent public relations are the key to getting more money, more volunteers, more adoptions, and more community goodwill. Indeed, if lifesaving is considered the destination, public relations are the vehicle which will get a shelter there. Without it, the shelter will always be struggling with animals, finances, and community recognition.

Increasing adoptions, maximizing donations, recruiting volunteers and partnering with community agencies comes down to one thing: increasing the shelter’s exposure. And that means consistent marketing and public relations. Public relations and marketing are the foundation of all a shelter’s activities and their success. To do all these things well, the shelter must be in the public eye.

Indeed, a survey of more than 200 animal control agencies, conducted by a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania College of Veterinary Medicine, found that “community engagement” was one of the key factors in those agencies who have managed to reduce killing and increase lifesaving. One agency noted that “public buy-in is crucial for long-term improvements” placing primary importance on “the need to view community outreach and public engagement as integral to the agency’s overall purpose and programs rather than simply as an add-on accomplished with a few public service announcements…”

Ed Analysis:  LA Animal Services has aggressively pursued opportunities to publicize and promote its animals, services and activities. In October 2007, the Department received authorization to establish a new, full-time public relations staff position to formalize this effort and enhance its ability to promote its animals and activities. Additionally, the Department has utilized outside public relations professionals to good effect to market special events and adoptable animals over the past two years. The citizen Animal Services Commission provides a unique forum for public dialogue with the Department regarding policies and operations that are integral to the welfare of the animals, and provides opportunities for rescuers, volunteers and the general public to regularly communicate with the Commission and Department at its bimonthly meetings.

LA Animal Services’ animals are regularly seen on local television newscasts. Department staff routinely discuss spay/neuter, pet adoption, animal cruelty prevention and other important topics on local television and radio and in local newspapers, as well as meet with neighborhood councils, associations and other organizations to discuss these issues. The pending re-establishment of an in-house public relations staff for the first time since 2005 is intended to enhance the Department’s ability to communicate with both the media and the public.

LA Animal Services is receiving a lot of positive feedback to the “No-Kill Equation” series from people around the City and the country who were not aware of the effective programs and remarkable progress LA is making in transforming itself into the nation’s most humane city.

This feedback points to a significant departmental need, the expert staff to help effectively tell our compelling story. LA Animal Services is one of the largest and most effective animal rescue organizations in the nation, rescuing between 100 and 200 lost and homeless animals everyday. Many of these animals are rescued from abusive or neglectful situations and are either sick or injured. As a department we are so focused on helping the hundreds of animals in our care at any given moment that we have not always been as successful in sharing these remarkable life saving stories with the community.

That will all change in several ways in 2008, some of which I am not at liberty to share right now, but there is one change I can share. LA Animal Services is now actively recruiting to fill a Public Relations Specialist position. The Department has been unable to fill a public relations position since 2005 and we are eager to fill it for all the reasons stated above.

The City of Los Angeles launched their animal department nearly a century ago as a humane program. LA Animal Services is the true successor to that humane vision, with our emphasis on re-uniting lost pets with owners, helping people adopt new family pets, enforcing laws that keep animals and people safe, and educating the public about responsible pet ownership and co-existing with wildlife.

New Hope Improved Again! by Ed Boks

The New Hope Alert Program has undergone some recent enhancements making it arguably one of the most progressive innovations to communicating with rescue organizations that can be found in any community in the country. This program includes the thoughtful input of experienced, committed rescuers in Los Angeles, who have been helping us tweak this program on an ongoing basis since its introduction last summer.

The New Hope Alert now has two steps:

The first step is called, “New Hope At Risk (or Green) Alert”.Animals placed on the New Hope Green Alert are free to all New Hope Partners at no cost, and come with free spay/neuter surgery, microchip, and vaccinations. They are not on the list because they are at risk of euthanasia but because they are animals difficult for Animal Services to place. Of course, the public is still able to adopt these animals for the regular adoption fee. It is not uncommon for animals to be on this list for months.

The second step is called, “New Hope Red Alert”. Animals who are sick and/or injured and have not responded to at least two regimens of medical treatments, animals who are irremediably suffering, healthy animals who have been in an LA Animal Care Center for at least 45 days, and dangerously aggressive animals not wanted by any New Hope Partner are candidates for the New Hope Red Alert.

When an animal is placed on the New Hope Red Alert the animal’s post is time stamped on the first day so all New Hope Partners and concerned potential adopters will know when the seven-day clock starts ticking. They now have seven days to adopt the animal compared to the 24 hours allowed by the pre-New Hope euthanasia list. New Hope Partners can extend this holding period by working with their New Hope Coordinator. 

Both New Hope Alerts, Green and Red, are posted on our website and are updated every hour. Every animal’s post is time stamped so you can see exactly how long it has been available and in the case of the Red Alert, when the seven-day period begins (see: www.laanimalservices.com – click on New Hope).

Healthy animals are placed on the New Hope Red Alert only when space is at a premium and needed for incoming animals and AFTER Animal Services has exhausted every option for placing the animal. Should space constraints be alleviated, healthy animals may be removed from the New Hope Red Alert.

LA Animal Services rescues more than 125 animals every day, and despite this constant influx of animals we are committed to euthanizing 10% fewer animals every month than we did the same month last year. This will certainly become less problematic as our new shelters come on line increasing our shelter capacity by 400%. In the meantime, and until we achieve No-Kill, we need the help of all concerned Angelinos to achieve this goal!

Animals placed on the New Hope Red Alert may or may not have been on the Green Alert before being transitioned to the New Hope Red Alert. Animals that are placed directly on the New Hope Red Alert are done so for medical and/or behavioral reasons so as to call special attention to them by our New Hope Partners who can take them at no charge, with free spay/neuter if appropriate, free microchip, free vaccinations, and free medical treatment until the animal is in their care.

Sick and injured animals are removed from the New Hope Red Alert if their physical condition improves during the seven-day period and healthy animals are removed when the space constraints in any of our shelters are alleviated making it possible to transfer animals to another shelter increasing their opportunity for placement.

These enhancements to the New Hope Red Alert are in response to our community’s rescue organizations who are trying to determine which animals are most at risk of being euthanized. The pre-New Hope euthanasia list gave rescue organizations a mere 24 hours to adopt animals before they were euthanized.

The improved New Hope Red Alert now gives rescue organizations 7 days to claim these animals at no charge, with free spay/neuter surgery if applicable, free microchip, free vaccinations, and no charge for any medical treatments already provided the animal. Rescue groups can call the appropriate New Hope Coordinator and place the animal on hold for them, and they now have 24-hour/7 day a week access to come in and evaluate the animal. Animal Services will then work with our New Hope Partner to assist in getting the animal out of the shelter, up to and including transporting the animal for them and will provide more time if needed.

The ONLY time a Red Alert animal is euthanized prior to the completion of the seven days is when the animal’s medical condition deteriorates to the point of irremediable suffering. Should the animal’s prognosis improve it may be removed from the New Hope Red Alert and if space constraints improve healthy animals will be returned to the Green Alert and not be euthanized.

The New Hope Red Alert is our best final way of calling attention to these animals. Everyone now has at least 7 days to marshal their resources to adopt a Red Alert animal. Again, all healthy animals will go to at least one Mobile Adoption Event, or will be showcased in their respective Centers, and will be featured in an e-mail blast to New Hope Partners and interested parties before even being put on the New Hope Red Alert. 

If a healthy Red Alert animal is taken to a Mobile Adoption Event, the animal will be returned to a Green Alert to allow volunteers and New Hope Partners at least five days to network the animal in the community.

LA Animal Services is committed to the No-Kill philosophy, which means we are committed to LIFE and we are striving to save as many animals as possible.

We already know what has to be done, and we’re steadily improving our ability to do it.

For all intents and purposes the New Hope Red Alert is virtually the same as the pre-New Hope euthanasia list, except that now the focus is on saving lives in an unprecedented way. The expanded time frame allows groups and individuals the time to find adequate facilities and/or homes for these animals, and it alleviates the “11th hour” rescue that lends itself to wasted efforts and sometimes to the hoarding of animals.

LA Animal Services is asking all Angelinos to come together in the name of life and the life affirming programs of Animal Services. If LA is to become No-Kill it will take all of us working together! Let’s make 2007 the most significant year in LA history towards achieving our shared No-Kill Goal!

How To Help Save Lives by Ed Boks

Everyday people ask me how they can help LA Animal Services achieve its No-Kill Goal. The key to achieving this goal is funding life saving programs, programs we may not be able to afford through our budget. Animal Services has many life saving programs and giving opportunities. And now, making a donation to one of our life saving programs has never been easier.

TO MAKE A DONATION all you have to do is click Here

The two main funds that LA Animal Services accepts donations through. They are:

The Animal Welfare Trust Fund
The Animal Sterilization Trust Fund

Funds may also be donated for specific programs and services and shelter operations.

LA Animal Services has developed and will continue to develop programs designed to reduce LA’s euthanasia rate as we increase our live animal placement rate through adoptions, our New Hope program, returning lost pets to their frantic owners, and by humanely reducing feral cat populations in our neighborhoods.

If you would like to help join Animal Services war on pet euthanasia, please send a tax deductible financial gift to:

LA Animal Services
221 N. Figueroa Street Suite 500
Los Angeles, CA 90012

You can designate your gift to the general Animal Welfare Fund or to any one or more of the specific programs described below:

Big Fix sponsors low/no cost spay/neutering services for pets in low-income households.

New Hope is a network of over 70 of LA’s pet rescue, support and adoption agencies in Southern California who work with LA Animal Services in the process of locating permenant loving homes for the animals Animal Services rescue.

Safety Net helps pets and their families stay together through difficult financial times or relocations.

STAR (Special Treatment And Recovery) program provides medical treatment to severely injured, abused, and neglected animals rescued by Animal Services.

TLC (Teach Love and Compassion) provides at-risk youth with the employment training in animal care. This is an intergenerational program in which our community’s elders work with our youth teach love and compassion through the care and love of animals.

Volunteer Dog Training Program trains Animal Services volunteers to improve the quality of life and adoption rate of sheltered dogs through behavior training provided by our community’s most reputable volunteer dog trainers.

FELIX (Feral Education and Love Instead of X-terminations)provides low or no cost spay/neuter service to feral cats managed by a trained feral cat colony manager trained by one of Animal Services feral cat partner organizations.

Foster Program trains volunteers to provide temporary homes for special needs animals until they are healthy enough for adoption.

If you would like your donations to be used for specific programs and services, please specify.

Please make your check or money order payable to:

Department of Animal Services
221 N. Figueroa Street, 5th floor
LA, CA 90012
Your donations are tax deductible and your generosity will be acknowledged.
Even if you cannot make a financial contribution today, there are other ways you can help. Our Animal Care Centers always need blankets, newspaper, and other items. For more details, take a look at our six Animal Care Centers to understand their specific needs. And of course we always need volunteers.
By working together, we can make LA the safest City in the United States for our pets! Thank you for your support and gifts!