How can the Humane Society for Shelter Pets help you?
By Diana Culp
Diana is the former Director of Education for the Humane Society of the United States and now works at a county animal shelter in Maryland.
First and foremost, shelters need to do a better job communicating how important it is to give locally. To a certain extent, we only have ourselves to blame when we hear a potential donor say, “I already give to the national humane society.” A recent poll found that 71 percent of Americans believe the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is an umbrella organization for the nation’s local animal shelters. We all know that’s not true, and we could be doing a better job talking to our friends, supporters, and others to clear up the confusion.
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- There are a number of other national organizations that can help your shelter. The National Animal Control Association provides several levels of training for humane investigators. Courses are offered across the country.
- Managing a shelter may sometimes feel like being a benevolent despot—on an island. The Society of Animal Welfare Administrators (SAWA) is an organization of animal shelter professionals. SAWA provides a variety of programs to support local shelters including training seminars and a certification program, which may help you avoid reinventing the wheel as you navigate development, human resources, and public policy.
- It helps to compare and contrast different agencies by monitoring admissions, release, and euthanasia data. The National Animal Interest Alliance and Maddie’s Fund have both compiled a database of statistics that will allow you to see how your shelter measures up.
- Many shelters have dog trainers on staff. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers offers seminars and webinars to keep your behavioral staff up-to-date.
- Even if you don’t have a veterinarian on staff, shelter medicine is its own breed of care, and is rarely part of standard veterinary curricula. Many private practice vets who assist you every day could take advantage of connecting with other shelter-associated doctors through the Association of Shelter Veterinarians.
- There are several websites with vaccination and disinfection protocols that will help you manage your standard operating procedures:
- Want to get up to speed with your education? Duquesne University offers an intensive college credit, online course in shelter medicine. Online courses are just about the only way for a busy shelter manager to get continuing education. Flexible log-in times and assignments that are based on what you do every day make this course an easy fit.