Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter (FAAS) assumed responsibility for the Alameda Animal Shelter on January 1, 2012. In the ensuing year, we have made great progress toward our goal of making the shelter a safe haven for homeless animals and a resource to the community. Here are some highlights of our accomplishments this past year:
Increased adoptions: More than 450 animals were adopted during 2012 — a 21 percent increase over the previous year. This was due largely to an aggressive marketing effort that included increasing the hours the shelter is open, advertising and publicity in local media, notices online about available animals, and multiple adoption price promotions during the year. We also worked with Citizen Canine to create an outdoor play area for adopters to meet their new pets in a more natural environment and created a mobile adoption program to take shelter animals to the public to encourage adoptions.
Improved the health status of shelter animals: We introduced a prevention program to vaccinate all incoming animals for contagious diseases to keep animals healthy enough for adoption. We also arranged on-site visits by a volunteer veterinarian to examine sick animals and create treatment plans. In addition, we created the Angel Fund to pay for medical care for sick animals. Providence and Park Centre veterinary hospitals agreed to treat the animals at discounted rates to help us treat more animals at less cost.
Reduced euthanasia rate: The Alameda Animal Shelter has always had a low euthanasia rate, and FAAS was able to reduce it significantly. Animals are sheltered for as long as it takes to find them new homes. Our success is due to our efforts to treat sick animals that would otherwise not be adoptable and by establishing new partnerships to relocate feral cats.
Increased efforts to reunite lost pets with their worried owners: We returned 229 pets to their owners this year. We initiated several programs to increase that number in the future, including micro-chipping all adopted pets, offering low-cost micro-chipping to all pet owners and developing strategies to increase the number of Alameda pets licensed by their owners.
Improved the experience of pets during their stay in the shelter: We are making a stay in the shelter more comfortable by introducing enrichment programs so the animals can have chew toys, Kongs, playtime and other stimuli to help minimize the stress of being in the shelter. We also tripled the number of volunteers and completely retooled the program to include orientation, training and specific job descriptions so that volunteers can function as the backbone of our efforts to make shelter animals feel loved and cared for. Volunteers put in more than 5,000 hours of service during the year.
Initiated community outreach programs: Our Pet Loss Support group is the first of a series of efforts to make the shelter a resource for pet owners and the community at large. Planning is underway for community education programs and other outreach efforts.
Exceeded our fundraising goals: By introducing a number of new fundraising efforts, we not only raised our share of the funds needed to operate the shelter per our contract with the City of Alameda, but exceeded that goal by $84,000.
2012 was a year of settling in and getting our bearings, but we are happy we were able to accomplish as much as we did. We expect to achieve much more in the coming year and have developed the following vision statement to guide us into the future.
As Alameda’s leader for animal welfare offering comprehensive education, training, outreach and adoption services, FAAS partners with the community to achieve a “humane society" that fosters respect for animals, promotes responsible pet guardianship, and is dedicated to eliminating animal suffering due to abuse, neglect and ignorance. We envision a time when our community fully celebrates the human-animal bond, when there are no more homeless pets, and our fellow beings treat each other with compassion and respect.
During 2013, The FAAS Board of Directors will be creating a three-year business plan to set a solid path towards this vision.
We are honored to be the stewards of our community’s commitment to its animals. Our successes this year are because of the unwavering support of Alameda’s animal-loving community. We are grateful to everyone -- our donors, our volunteers and all the community members who have supported us in saving animal lives. We will continue to do our best to live up to the trust you have placed in us.