Customers are loyal to brands who share their values and give back to their communities. Here are five ways you can #BeAHelper to bring and keep pets and people together while rallying around your shared values.
Your business is already a core part of your community—all you need is a microchip scanner to be a one-stop-shop for keeping pets and people together and opening your doors to new clients or customers. You could also offer to print lost and found flyers.
Why is this important? Loose pets aren’t always lost: research has shown that most loose dogs are within a mile of their homes and many are within a block. A cat who looks healthy with good body condition is most likely an indoor/outdoor pet or a community cat cared for by a network of neighbors. When found pets are brought to shelters, less than 20% of loose dogs and only 5% of cats nationally are reclaimed by an owner; when a pet can stay safely in the neighborhood where they were found, their chances of being reunited with their family increase significantly. The best way to ensure a healthy, friendly pet gets home is to start by looking for an ID tag, posting on social media, checking with neighbors nearby, and scanning for a microchip. Learn more about how to help a found dog, cat, or kitten.
It’s easy to become a microchip scanning station, just like the people and businesses who are part of Chico Animal Shelter’s Pet Pals program. Talk to your shelter about teaming up!
If your business has a meeting space or you’re a landlord who has unused space, consider partnering with shelters and foster-based organizations to showcase pets who need new homes and bring more pets and people together. You can also help promote adoptable pets by sharing posts via your social media accounts or employee newsletter, posting flyers, or hosting a community bulletin board for pets who need to be rehomed.
Check in with local shelter, human services, and animal care organizations to find out what families and pets and the organizations working with them most need. Some businesses have organized a pet food and supply drive; gathered crates, blankets, or bedding; collected donations for helping with spay/neuter costs, veterinary care or the fees people have to pay to get their lost pets back; or created and publicized online shopping lists for organizations. You can also search for a donation site distributing pet care supplies to people experiencing homelessness and their pets near you or consider becoming a pet food provider site if none exist in your community.
Build relationships with other organizations and people in your community by partnering with your local shelter to host a drive-through vaccine clinic, fundraiser, or other community event.
When pets and people have access to the resources they need to thrive, our communities thrive, and that’s good for business. Just as building a strong house requires a variety of people and materials, building and sustaining the well-being of people and pets building well-being in your community depends on many people working together. Talk to your city and county elected officials about the importance of allowing shelters to waive or reduce fees so that reclaiming a lost pet or adopting a new one is affordable for everyone. Emphasize the urgency of funding staff and programs that address gaps in our system of care so that we can provide people and pets support they need to be well together.
It’s especially critical to encourage support for initiatives that build veterinary capacity and expand access to spay/neuter. When spay/neuter surgery had to be suspended during the pandemic, we fell nearly three million surgeries behind what would normally have been accomplished. A nationwide shortage of veterinarians and veterinary nurses is making it even harder to keep up with the need, let alone catch up from the deficit, which is compounded in communities that already lacked affordable veterinary care or veterinarians at all.
You can also fundraise for mobile clinics, community cat/TNR groups to cover spay/neuter surgeries, or to help local animal shelters and partner organizations ensure we can waive or reduce fees that come between pets and people and provide essential resources and services—like vaccine clinics and low-cost spay/neuter services or vouchers—that bring and keep people and pets in our community together.
For more information on these and other ways your business can make a difference, visit petsandpeopletogether.org.
What are shelter reclaim fees (also called return to owner or redemption fees)?
When a pet found outside is presumed lost and brought to the shelter by animal services officers or community members, owners will likely have to pay redemption and/or boarding fees and potentially civil fines in order to reclaim their pet. These fees are often set at a municipal or county level with no discretion given to shelters to waive or lower them. Depending on circumstances, an owner may be faced with an expensive bill to reclaim a dog who escaped from a yard or was simply visiting a dog friend down the street. Along with transportation, language, or other barriers, expensive reclaim fees can prevent pets from returning to their families and are one reason less than 20% of dogs and only 5% of cats are reclaimed in shelters nationwide.
You can help make sure fees don’t stand between pets and people who love them by helping a pet get home instead of bringing them to the shelter, starting or donating to a shelter’s return-to-home fund, and joining with your shelter to advocate for their ability to lower or waive fees in order to reunite pets with their families.