2020 – what a year of change and challenge. A year ago, who would have dreamed a virus would emerge, causing a pandemic and changing our lives forever. The South Pacific County Humane Society (SPCHS) faced many challenges and hurdles this past year, but thanks to our loyal supporters and dedicated staff and volunteers, we have been able to continue our mission to care for homeless cats and dogs, albeit with some changes. We are thankful to have such a great team and support of the community.
We have had to be creative to adjust to the changes, but our supporters stepped-up and made these changes work. In normal times, the shelter has been open to the public five days a week. When we could no longer allow free access to the shelter, we developed a service window at the shelter and an on-line adoption system including adoptions by appointment, and our adopters just “went with the flow”. In spite of the struggles imposed by the pandemic, we have had positive results with adoptions, supporting the community and maintaining our infrastructure.
Shelter Animal Count: In 2020, our shelter took in 524 cats and dogs, finding forever homes for 430 and returning 76 to their owners with the remaining balance at the shelter waiting for their forever home or transferred to another agency. Our shelter manager and adoption counselors work with potential adopters helping them find the perfect match. Our staff and volunteers are especially delighted when our long-term dogs and cats are adopted.
Details of our 2020 intake and outcome are published and available. As a no-kill shelter, SPCHS had a 97% live release rate in 2020 calculated by dividing live outcomes by total outcomes. As always, our cats and dogs receive their vaccinations including rabies and are altered before adoption. All cats and dogs are micro-chipped.
Assistance Programs: In support of our mission to reduce pet overpopulation through community outreach, SPCHS funded reduced cost spay/neuters for 202 household dogs and cats. Thanks to a grant from the “We Love Our Pets” license plate program many of the household spay/neuters were provided with just a $10 co-pay. Our Community Cat Advocate assisted and educated many community members with the trap, neuter/spay, return (TNR) process for community/feral cats. With her support, 40 community/feral cats were altered, vaccinated and returned to their colony or location. To make it easier for those wanting to help with community cats, our local Dennis Company Ace has agreed to discount a trap for those showing a voucher from SPCHS. Our Pet Food Program assisted 70 households struggling to provide food for their pets.
Cat and Dog Enrichment: Providing the cats and dogs in our facility the best experience possible until a forever home is found for them is our number one priority.
Our Cat Advocate leads the Cat Advocate Team whose objective is to promote cat adoptions, enrich the shelter environment for cats, provide promotion and support of cat spay/neuter programs, develop systems and policies to deal with feral/unadoptable cats and develop an effective foster care program. Our Cat Cuddlers provide enrichment and socialization and details about their personalities helping us find the right home for each cat. We started a closed Cat Cuddler Facebook group making it easy for the Cat Cuddlers to communicate personality traits and other pertinent information.
We are fortunate to have several great foster homes for our cats and kittens. The shelter took-in 186 kittens with many of them requiring to be bottle fed. Until the kittens are old enough to be altered, they are placed in a foster home. Our cat/kitten foster coordinator has done a great job of placing the kittens in the foster homes, tracking their health, vaccinations and spay/neuters all while fostering herself with many needing to be bottle fed.
Our Dog Advocate leads the dog walker volunteers bringing the team together for training, scheduling and sharing of information and experiences with the dogs. She ensures the dogs are walked every day with most dogs walked two to three times per day. Our Dog Advocate works with professional trainers to assist with dogs that require some extra training and focus to increase their adoptability. A closed Dog Walker Facebook group was established to enhance communication about the dogs and their personalities.
Shelter Roof: Thanks to Dr. Roof, Oman and Son, Owens Corning, Builders First Source, Peninsula Sanitation, the Loren H. Corder Foundation and a private donation for making the much-needed replacement of the shelter roof just in time for winter. Thank you to Glenn Trusty at Dr. Roof for bringing it all together.
Website: Thank you to Keleigh Schwartz at beachdog.com our website was totally revamped. The new website makes it much easier to locate activities and information including viewing available cats and dogs at the shelter and submitting an adoption application. With the pandemic, the new website was critical in helping us move activities online instead of at the shelter.
Donor Management and Donation Processing: In December of 2019, a donor management system was selected and the migration process was completed in early 2020. The system improved our tracking and acknowledgement of donations and provided for end of year tax letters to our donors. In March, we implemented a new website payment processing system with VANCO Payment Solutions. This system integrates with our donor management system and provides for automatic updates to our donor management system and donor receipts.
Pandemic: The pandemic impacted how we managed staffing, interactions with the public, training volunteers and raising funds. We implemented the recommendations of social distancing and masks. Our staff schedules were arranged to minimize the number of people working in the shelter at the same time. We interacted with the public through a service window. Visitors were only allowed in the shelter after they had a submitted and approved adoption application and only two visitors were allowed in the shelter at a time. We changed our monthly volunteer orientations to an on-line application, initial phone call and discussion, and scheduled one on one training sessions. Our fundraising activities were canceled. We conducted some successful on-line campaigns and in November conducted an on-line auction. We were able to receive a $10,000 Pacific County Grant Assistance for Small Businesses that helped us to maintain staff critical to the care of the cats and dogs at the shelter. Raising funds for the shelter continues to be a challenge.
Ringworm: Our shelter along with many other shelters experienced a high number of cat/kitten ringworm cases. All appropriate protocols were followed to manage and minimize the spread of the infection. Ringworm takes time to heal and not only increased our care and medical cost but delayed adoptions by two to three months.
2021 Priorities: Our priorities for 2021 include creating cash flows to cover program expenses, recruiting and training volunteers for leadership positions, replacing the HVAC systems at the shelter annex, improving our membership and donor acknowledgement processes, and reviewing/revising our policies and protocols as needed as pandemic requirements change.
We are looking forward to a terrific 2021! Thank you to our community, staff and volunteers!
Sandy Clancy, Board President