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July 25, 2012

Saving Pets

We have so many programs to save companion animals, including our muscular work against puppy mills and dogfighting. Another of our top priorities is ending the euthanasia of healthy and treatable pets, given that more than 3 million healthy animals are still dying in public and private shelters.

HSUS shelter visit 2012
A recent HSUS shelter visit to South Dakota's
Brookings Regional Humane Society.

At The HSUS, we’re committed to helping pet rescuers and sheltering professionals by ensuring they have the information they need to advance their important work. Over the last six months, our shelter services team has provided free training and guidance to shelter professionals at more than 300 shelters around the nation, including visiting shelters in Georgia, Idaho, Oregon, South Dakota, and other states.

Through that outreach―combined with our long-standing programs such as Animal Care Expo, Animal Sheltering magazine, and Humane Society University―we continue to seek new ways to professionalize our field and to save more lives. Our Shelter Pet Project advertising campaign with Maddie's Fund and the Ad Council has now produced an astonishing $75 million in advertising to promote adoption.

Part of our work involves partnering with other experts like the Association of Shelter Veterinarians to ensure that outdated, unacceptable sheltering practices are replaced with more humane alternatives. And part of it involves identifying practices that should never be considered acceptable and working to eliminate them.

For example, we were thrilled to see Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va. (co-chair of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus), recently introduce a resolution condemning the use of carbon monoxide gas chambers for euthanasia of shelter animals. The HSUS has been working behind the scenes with individual shelters to provide training and support to eliminate gas chambers as a method of killing.

Of course, saving pets’ lives goes far beyond the shelter walls. We’ve recently added a new branch in our Companion Animals Department devoted entirely to rescues, we’ll be launching a new Rescue Central section on our animalsheltering.org website next month, and we’ll have an entire track devoted to rescues at next year’s Animal Care Expo.

In my book, The Bond, I identify the great progress that our movement has made on reducing the euthanasia of healthy and adoptable dogs and cats, and a goal of 2020 to completely end the practice. We can get there, but only with diligence and a strategic focus on this goal.

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