Animal Welfare Professionals

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  • 1.  Collaboration NOT Competition

    Posted 05-14-2024 06:38 PM

    For those who are from communities that have more than one shelter/rescue/animal welfare organization, I'm curious to hear if you ever experience feelings of competition from other organizations. If so, how do you respond? What are some ways you work to lessen that and collaborate with other organizations?

    Story Time:
    My shelter is in the middle of a capital campaign to build a much needed, upgraded facility. Over the years, our organization has built relationships, grown our program offerings to extend our reach to new areas of need (working cats, medical resources, senior assistance, pet bereavement services, etc.) and because of this we've earned the trust of many in our community.

    One of our main supporters over the years is a family that has been with us since the beginning, has a love of our shelter and has provided financial support for various projects. The matriarch of the family passed away, and a $2million donation was made towards our capital campaign in her honor. While many are supportive, appreciative, and as excited as we are, there are also people from other animal organizations that are upset it was given to us and state we don't deserve it for the following reasons:

    • We maintain contracts with the city and county in regards to stray animals
    • Our current building is city owned and was "given to us" (It also houses city Animal Control which is a separate entity)
    • Earlier this year the city voted to donate an unused piece of land for our new building to be constructed on
    • We have recently partnered with a university who is starting a new veterinary school in town to grow our medical program/resources
    • Other organizations get less money than ours does
    • People remember the way things were 20 years ago, before our organization became a 501(c)(3), before new leadership, before so many programs were changed and we truly became a no-kill/low-kill shelter
    • People are spreading rumors that we falsify our transparency data because they don't understand how our processes work, and are stuck in this mindset that our save rate can't possibly be as high as it is (I promise it's 100% accurate)

    Our shelter truly has transformed over the last 5 years especially, and though I may be biased we have worked our butts off to overturn any previous misconceptions. People can SEE the difference. There is a reason so many people choose to support us. We have become so much more than "just a shelter."

    So what are your tips on creating a community of collaboration, rather than competition? How do you you educate people and get them to see that it is not/should not be one organization against another?


    Riley Bailey
    Spay & Neuter Clinic Manger
    Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter

  • 2.  RE: Collaboration NOT Competition

    Posted 05-16-2024 05:05 AM

    Could any of your programs possibly help the other rescues in your area too? For example, maybe the new veterinary partnership could provide spay/neuter services to some of their animals as well as the ones in your program. Or maybe next time you have a training that could benefit them also you could invite them to open the lines of communication?

    Ashley Dames
    Beyond the Fight Initiative

  • 3.  RE: Collaboration NOT Competition

    Posted 26 days ago

    Unfortunately there are things that we already do for other orgs, it just never seems to be enough. We receive regular donations (semi-truck full) of pet food/supplies, and we always share with the 10-15 other rescues/organizations in our area. We have worked closely with other rescues to transfer/trade animals based on specific needs. We do help provide medical resources when there are major surgeries or things needed by other rescues that we have the capability of providing. We are also open to conversation, questions, advice, etc. with other organizations. 
    There is absolutely opportunity to expand on these relationships in the future once our capital campaign is complete. Unfortunately we can only do so much with what we have at this moment. We have a lot of positive things going for us that we're willing to share, once we physically can. Everything is just still in the works at the moment.

    Riley Bailey
    Spay & Neuter Clinic Manger
    Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter

  • 4.  RE: Collaboration NOT Competition

    Posted 30 days ago

    Hi Riley, 

    Hope you're doing well. 

    So sorry to hear that you all are facing critique from entities who you would naturally assume would be supportive, as we are all in the business of helping animals and that's what should be our foremost thought. 

    With that being said, if what they are saying is solely opinion and not fact other words, if the shelter at which you work is truly standing by their mission and values and doing the work that they set out to do and making an impact on the lives of animals in the community, then opinion is opinion. Everyone is entitled to one, but not every opinion has the same value. I think it's a great opportunity to self assess to hold yourselves accountable that you are actually making the commitment that you all made first and foremost to the animals and second of all to the community and third, if you all do make the effort to spread the benefit amongst the other shelters/rescues in the community. If you all can say that you are, then harsh opinions and comments always come when someone else is winning. It's an unfortunate byproduct of business and human nature. If you all are not living by the standards that you all set for yourself, then I think it's important to take into account what they are saying. 

    However, at face value, with the limited details provided, it sounds like a good ol' case of the green-eyed monster. Which, again, is unfortunate seeing that we should all be working to make sure that the animals are given the highest quality of care and concern at the end of the day. 

    This may not have been the answer you were looking for, however, hope it helps at least a little. 

    Kenni Kennedy
    The Kennedy Puppy Foundation