The progress that San Antonio has made towards achieving No Kill is definitely heading in the right direction. Despite what kinks that still need hammering, the progress that has been made is a result of the collaborative efforts made by animal welfare agency staff, dedicated community volunteers, universities, businesses, City officials, and the San Antonio Area Foundation. Texas’ population had a 20 percent increase over the last ten years, making San Antonio the 7th largest city in the nation with over 1.7 million people! So resolving our city’s pet overpopulation issue while reaching no kill has shown to be a multi-step process that must involve all the key players, which we are proud to say our community has worked very hard in doing so.
Last week we reported that the San Antonio Area Foundation released their Quarterly Report of the Animal No Kill Program. This week, we wanted to touch up on some of those successes. In 2006, 4,684 dogs and cats were adopted, transferred to rescue groups, or returned to their owners from Animal Care Services. In 2010, Live Release was 6,983, which is a 49% improvement, but becoming a No Kill City cannot be accomplished by one single organization. In 2010, our community came together to collaborate resources and coordinate programs that has shown to be a more effective approach to becoming No Kill.
Last year, the San Antonio community worked together to:
- Perform over 48,000 Spay/Neuter surgeries in all the high-volume, low-cost clinics, of which almost 13,000 of those were free.
- Increase support for trap-neuter-release programs for feral cats that resulted in over 4,000 feral cats being sterilized and returned to their colonies in San Antonio.
- Accomplish over 1,000 pet adoptions through 14 community events coordinated by AAPAWand local rescue groups.
- Distribute 20,000 spay/neuter comic books to school age children and their families through partnering nonprofits such as KLRN, AAPAW, Sea World San Antonio, the Animal Defense League, and Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation.
- Garner the support of universities such as Texas A&M San Antonio, which established a Responsible Pet Ownership curriculum and lesson plan framework that meet the TEKS standards and are available to all public, private, parochial, and home school educators. Additionally, the Center for Policy Studies at University of Texas at San Antonio launched their LEARN from each other AND SERVE San Antonio: No Kill Program. It involves nine UTSA Graduate students, over 100 local high schoolers, and eight area high schools that will hold their own grass roots No Kill programs and events.
- Distribute over $400,000 in grant money to fourteen projects dedicated to increasing the capacity of spaying and neutering.
- Finally yet importantly, San Antonio launched the Talk About It! campaign to promote a centralized theme of – Care. Adopt. Neuter.
Last August, we introduced the Talk About It! campaign to the San Antonio community. Since then, the Talk About It! campaign has collaborated with a number of organizations within the animal welfare community; accomplishing so much in just four months:
- 468 spay/neuter surgeries from the 14 spay/neuter clinics organized by Talk About It!
- Organized 10 Pet Fiestas that included trainings and information sessions by groups such as: Alamo City Bully Breeds United, Bully Breeds Need Love, Rivercity Weight Pull Club, and San Antonio Big Dawgs.
- Recruited over 208 volunteers
- Had a total of 5,000 event attendees
- Canvassed over 3,000 homes in the grassroots block walking program
- Informed 35,177 households about upcoming free or low-cost spay/neuter events in their neighborhood
- Collected over 1,000 signed petitions in favor of making San Antonio a No Kill community
- Released 25 media alerts resulting in much needed local news coverage for our cause
- Placed 17 advertisements promoting upcoming events for AAPAW Mega Adoptions, spay/neuter clinics, and Pet Fiestas
When we look at San Antonio’s efforts towards achieving No Kill, too often we focus on the challenges and obstacles of this initiative because each day we know that innocent lives are at stake if we do not act fast. All the meetings, brainstorming and planning for collaboration seems so tedious and slow moving at times to our fellow partners, but to create a social impact by saving the lives of San Antonio’s dogs and cats, we need to do so collectively. Yes, everyday wonderful dogs and cats are still being euthanized which means we have not reached No Kill and we (as a community) still have a lot of work to do. However, on the bright side, the fact is that everyone working on this initiative loves animals, they want to share their love of animals with others, and they want to help the dogs, cats, and people of San Antonio. It is because of this passion, people are working together to create a bigger impact towards becoming no kill.
With Talk About It!, the message of “Care. Adopt. Neuter.” came down from the billboards and transformed into one-on-one conversations with people in the city. When you can have that kind of conversation with someone and build the connection between the three actions to the No Kill initiative, you can see the light bulb turn on in their minds and we have brought another person on board in understanding why this cause is a crucial one.
Everyone involved in San Antonio’s efforts to becoming No Kill has fueled the momentum so many times and in so many ways. Let’s continue to build progress San Antonio and make 2011 the best year yet for our dogs and cats.