It comes as no surprise to animal shelter workers that they operate on a marginal budget. During budget time, we constantly hear from elected officials that they have to decide between pets and children; making the point that the shelter should prepare for budget cuts.
One of our saving graces is grants.
The most effective way to become no kill is to reduce your shelter intakes. One method is to find a way to get animals back to their owners BEFORE they come into the shelter. Let’s face it, very few animals running loose on our city streets are wearing any form of identification; it is the one thing pet owners fail at. Miserably!
At several locations, I obtained a grant through either the National Animal Control Association, Bissell or PetSmart Charities to purchase an ID tag machine, tags, and collars or microchips. A medium sized operation can ask for $10k to $15k to last your program several years.
It is important that if you engage in an ID program, that you make sure that you place the tag on the animal prior to leaving your shelter. Experience had taught me that you cannot trust the owner to do that; they get home and put the tag on the dresser or the tag may never leave the automobile.
The purpose of the ID tag program is to give finders of lost pets a chance to call the owner prior to making the call to have the animal picked up. By reducing the intakes of owned animals, you can leave more cage space open to allow animals a longer stay for adoptions.
The tag for impounded pets should be provided free upon reclaim; otherwise, you can charge $3 to $5 per tag for additional animals. I allowed each of my staff a free tag to learn how to use the tag machine. This is an effective way to decrease shelter intakes.