ARL Board of Directors Give Green Light to Become No-Kill Shelter
As many of you may know, the Animal Rescue League of Berks County has been exploring the feasibility of whether our organization could become a no-kill shelter given the fact that we are the sole provider of animal control services for Berks County, and we are an open admissions shelter, meaning that we do not turn pets away regardless of why they come through our doors.
After countless hours of meetings, town halls, research, touring other animal shelters, soliciting advice from industry experts, crunching numbers and receiving feedback from hundreds of community members, the Board of Directors voted unanimously for the organization to become a no-kill shelter.
Jessica Prutzman, Board President, explained, “in just a few short weeks of authorizing Tom Hubric, our Executive Director, to explore the feasibility of the ARL becoming a no-kill shelter, our foster pool grew by over 25%, our volunteer pool tripled in size, we received several very generous monetary donations and the overall support of the community has been completely overwhelming. We now know that the community wants this, and we are going to do it. It’s not a matter of if, but a matter of how soon. We have already made tremendous progress with our shelter maintaining a live release rate of over 92% in the first 10 weeks of 2018. We know it will take time to sustain this rate over the peak summer months, but it can and will be done. The community wants this and so do we.”
The following are some highlights of what we have accomplished since our last communication in January to increase saving the lives of animals in our community:
- We have added staff to our first shift and have added a second shift to handle more animals and to support animals requiring higher levels of care.
- Increased our capacity for cats by providing additional housing in various areas throughout the building including our amazing new cat condos in the lobby waiting area.
- Began our own trap-neuter-return (TNR) program and Barn Cat program while continuing to work with other local rescue partners such as No Nonsense Neutering and Fairchild “Feral Friends” Foundation.
- Developed relationships with several other local and regional shelters and rescues that will assist when our capacity is reached. We are now a proud network partner of Best Friends Animal Society and Alley Cat Allies.
- Increased our hours in our veterinary center and allocated additional funds for higher-level veterinary care to save as many sick and injured animals as we possibly can. We also developed a relationship with Brandywine Valley SPCA to spay and neuter shelter animals when we have significant needs above our capacity.
Even with these changes, we know that as the spring breeding season is now upon us and these great numbers are simply not sustainable as we exist today. This is why we are asking for the help of the community to keep our positive momentum rolling.
We have named our no-kill initiative Push P.A.W. S. (Paws are Worth Saving), to symbolize the need for the ARL and the community to pause and rethink how we handle unwanted animals and how important it is to work toward saving as many animals as humanely possible. Over the coming months, we will continue to reach out to the community and businesses asking for everyone’s help so that we can sustain our live release numbers of at least 90% (and hopefully more) into the future.
Our Immediate Needs
Interested in helping? Here is how you can help. Our key needs for the spring and early summer months are as follows:
Foster Families– we are already seeing a surge of animals coming into the shelter. We need at least 50 more foster families to take animals into their homes on a temporary basis when we run out of space (and we will run out of space). Remember: fostering is free and there is no long-term commitment! We pay for all veterinary care and food for the animals. It is extremely rewarding and literally saves lives not only because of space issues, but also because you can give a higher level of care in a homelike environment and ultimately makes animals more adoptable. If you would like to foster or just learn more about how to foster, please email our Foster Coordinator, Tori Williams at: email@example.com.
Veterinary Care Expenses– we are now spending thousands of more dollars each month on vaccines, medications, surgeries and associated veterinarians and vet technician labor. We need donations for veterinary care and/or local veterinarians to donate their time to enable us to continue to save as many animals as we possibly can. If you are willing to donate to help with these expenses, we would greatly appreciate your support. Please click on this link: https://www.berksarl.org/donate/
If you are a local veterinarian willing to help, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Beginning April 1, we will now be posting our live release numbers on our website and social media each month. Take this journey with us as we work to become a no-kill shelter. Want to take behind the scenes tour of the ARL? Let me know,we have nothing to hide. We want you to know that we are here for the community and are committed to the animals and becoming a no-kill shelter.
Thank you for taking the time to read this message and stay tuned as we will keep the community in the loop with this important initiative. Together, we save lives.