On September 27, 2011 the Talk About It! Campaign, hosted an event called “Reno Achieved No Kill: San Antonio CAN too!” featuring , an open community conversation at the Norris Conference Center from 6PM to about 9PM.
In attendance were two No Kill experts from Washoe County in Reno, Nevada. Our featured experts were Bonney Brown, executive director of the Nevada Humane Society, and Mitch Schneider, the current manager of the Washoe County Regional Animal Services. They both shared multiple strategies on how Reno became a No Kill community. It is our goal, San Antonio, to duplicate their success in our own community deep in the heart of Texas. There are eight different topics to be covered in our blog, so there will be a total of eight posts to browse through!
These questions were submitted by community members that were in attendance at the event through their registration, a written submission during our conversation, or there was unfortunately not enough time for these questions to be answered at the event.
Here we go San Antonio: BONUS ROUND includes general questions!
Q: What methods and criteria did you use to increase adoptions by 53% (Dogs) and 84% (Cats) in one year?
A: The Nevada Humane Society focused on those activities that had life saving impact, and quit doing some things that were nice to do, but did not have direct impact on saving lives of dogs and cats—such things as wildlife rescue and humane education. We utilize every holiday to promote adoption. We try to make it exciting and fun. We lowered adoption fees. Money does not buy love. One successful idea for us is “pick you price.” We’ve found that people will often pay more than what we would ask.
We’ve done some fun promotions:
- For Valentine’s Day, Furry Speed Dating
- Safe Trick or Treating at our shelter for Halloween
- Wheel of “Furtune,” where adopters spun the wheel and got various fun deals
- 36 hour adopta-thon
- 12 “Strays” of Christmas
- “Seniors for Seniors”—free adoption of older dogs and cats for senior citizens.
It is a constant effort, but it’s fun for adopters and fun for us when they adopt!
Q: How can we shift the rescue mindset that most animals are unwanted, rather than lost?
A: Work hard on returns to owners and treat each stray or free roaming dog or cat as a lost pet.
Q: More than 51% of our strays seem to come from areas of San Antonio that are considered at or below low-income (which may or may not go hand-in-hand with limited education). How did you target these areas in your town to change their attitudes and feelings toward being more responsible pet owners? Is it a model San Antonio can follow?
A: Citizens are expected to take care of their pets and abide by county ordinances regardless of their income level. Washoe County animal control officers try to make it easy for citizens to do the right thing. They will give warnings first, then escalate to civil penalties and citations. ACO’s make every attempt to return pets to their owners. They have a true respect for their mission, and find that most citizens will share that respect.
Make sure to check out all of our “San Antonio Can Too” blogs that were posted today! They have some great information. Also enrich our blog with feedback we LOVE comments!
Keep your heads high and your tails waggin San Antonio!