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U.S Animal Welfare Organizations Launch Human Animal Support Services Pilot

U.S. Animal Welfare Organizations Launch Human Animal Support Services Pilot

We are proud to be a part of launching the Human Animal Support Services (HASS), a new animal welfare organizational model led by American Pets Alive!. This program will implement a new range of services for pets and people in 12 pilot cities, helping keep more animals in their homes and communities and reducing the number entering the shelter system through programs and resources. Our own Gina Knepp says “Michelson Found Animals is proud to sponsor the creation of the Human Animal Social Services model, a reimagining of animal welfare. The project can be likened to a renaissance for animal sheltering, in which the focus is geared to people and their pets with a framework of greater community participation. Meeting people and their pets in the community, providing increased services and minimizing the need for animals to be housed in a shelter.”  The ideas for HASS were born during the early days of COVID-19, as the pandemic resulted in record numbers of pets being housed in the community through pet foster care.

“During the pandemic, we broadened the safety net for animals dramatically by asking the community for support, and they stepped up in a big way,” says Amy Zeifang, Executive Leadership Team, with Maddie’s Fund®, who is partially funding this endeavor. “Animals are being reunited with families by community members in numbers not seen before. By keeping animals in the community and not the shelters, we’ve all realized how much better for everyone it is to focus our efforts on keeping pets and families together”, she continued. “Ninety-five percent of Americans with pets believe their pets are family members. Maddie’s Fund is proud to see our energies spent supporting that important bond.”

The HASS pilot organizations include Humane Rescue Alliance (Washington, D.C.), Charlottes-Mecklenburg Animal Care and Control (Charlotte, N.C.), Greenville County Animal Care (Greenville, S.C.), LifeLine Animal Project (Atlanta), Cabot Animal Resource Center (Cabot, Ark.),Kansas City Pet Project (Kansas City, Mo.), El Paso Animal Services (El Paso, Texas), Pima County Animal Care (Tucson, Ariz.), Los Angeles Animal Services (Los Angeles), Oakland Animal Services (Oakland, Calif.), Fresno Humane Animal Services (Fresno, Calif.), and San Diego Humane Society (San Diego).

“What we’ve learned throughout the pandemic, is that we can do more when it comes to providing community services to help people and their pets stay together,” said says project leader Dr. Ellen Jefferson, Executive Director of Austin Pets Alive! and American Pets Alive!. “Whether it’s providing resources to help lost and stray animals get home, keeping cats and dogs with their families, or getting sheltered pets to foster and adoptive homes faster, HASS aims to provide the tools to support the pilot shelters and their communities achieve these objectives and more.”

Thanks to support from Maddie’s Fund, South Fork Foundation, Pedigree Foundation, Petfinder, Brandywine SPCA, and Michelson Found Animals Foundation, HASS will help pilot shelters test new resources and programs. These include remote services like veterinary telehealth and text support, comprehensive stray and lost pet return services, supported self-rehoming for people who cannot keep their pets, and community-based animal protection services.

More than 100 industry leaders including those from national organizations, shelter veterinarians, and animal shelter directors are part of this collaborative effort, with 20 additional animal shelters participating in phase two of this project in the coming months.

For more information about HASS, visit