This webcast was recorded on Thursday, November 10, 2022 (60 minutes)
After viewing, join us right here on Maddie's Pet Forum to continue the discussion and exchange ideas.This webinar has been pre-approved for 1.0 Certified Animal Welfare Administrator continuing education credits by The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and by the National Animal Care & Control Association.Presenter @Allison Cardona California for All Animals State Director @UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program
Before joining the Koret Shelter Medicine Program as California State Director, Allison worked as deputy director for the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care & Control where she oversaw two full-service animal care centers, a communications center, public relations, adoption partners, behavior and enrichment, and volunteer programs. She also served as liaison to the County's Homeless Initiative ensuring that people experiencing homelessness have options and resources for their pets. Before that, Allison spent 14 years as a senior program director at the ASPCA in a variety of departments. She earned her bachelor's degree in Public Affairs from Empire State College and is a graduate of USC Price School of Public Policy Executive Leadership Development Program and Southern Utah University Certificate in Executive Animal Services. The proud daughter of Colombian immigrants, Allison is deeply committed to racial justice and equity work.
Q: How to persuade our municipal shelter to relate better to our Latino population? Southern Arizona is a richly bilingual community. But when I look at the shelter-given names on the nightly adoption report, I don't see that well represented.
Q: Shelter leadership feels that offsite adoption events are not very productive. But so much of the community doesn't even know the shelter exists (it's not located centrally). How to show that even for the PR value, that offsite events are worthwhile?
Q: Rescues IMHO tend to have strict adoption policies because many dogs have been abandoned, abused and neglected, and the rescue does not want the animal to suffer this again. If home inspections, interview, vet reference etc is not the way, what approach do you suggest.
Q: Very important to be able to walk your talk when it comes to communicating in languages other than English. Our shelter did a series of promotions in Spanish on Facebook, and failed to have Spanish-speaking staff or volunteers present during all open hours to accommodate the people we tried to attract.
Q: How do you guys recommend offering more languages to your followers if you don't have the staff to translate things?
Q: How do we address long-entrenched leadership that has a clear bias against BIPOC in their community? That urges transfer out vs local adoption?
Q: How do you convince shelters who are STILL resticting (sic) adoption hours and public viewing based on Covid reasoning to open the shelter to members of the public? And those shelters alleging appointment only adoptions reduces dog bites to members of the public?
Q: How do you navigate community advocates pushing for things that are contrary to your organizational goals? For example, community groups that are against free-roaming cats and want the shelter to take them all in or pick them all up? Realizing that - the voices that get amplified in the system as it currently stand now, and the loudest folks (ex: who may be able to get access to your board/leadership to implement change) are usually those coming from places of privledge (sic)?
Q: Is there any type of implicit bias training that is geared towards animal welfare client facing staff?
Q: In Grand Rapids there's an 8% population of Spanish speakers, (the largest minority group here that speaks a different language). With a limited number of staff members, so what percentage of social media content and adoption materials should we try to translate and offer in Spanish?
Q: I know we've been speaking primarily about adoptions, but I want to make my organization's foster program much more inclusive. We don't have enough multi-lingual support among our staff and volunteers, though. We have the ability to make our foster application in multiple languages, but we also need all foster support services to be multi-lingual: training, medical needs, etc etc. I'm afraid to have our application in Spanish without being able to give them detailed training and emergency medical support (I work with neonatal kittens). Any advice?
We are suggesting creating an open and welcoming relationship with potential adopters so you can be a resource to them. The reality is that people will get pets and if we create welcoming, supportive environments, they will get them from us! I would also say to take a look at the ideas behind dogs being abandoned, abused and neglected. How much is that is about lack of access to veterinary care, financial hardship and entrenched systems of marginalizing communities of color. And are we creating more suffering by keeping pets in shelters and not letting them go into homes or not reuniting them with their original homes?
Great point to bring up! Thinking through the whole plan is essential and thanks for sharing this lesson learned.
How about reaching out to volunteers? Or specifically recruiting for multilingual volunteers. There may be folks in the community who want to help and can offer their expertise. Or you can look for a professional translation agency but make you get references and reviews to ensure they are doing a culturally competent job.
Thank you for this question. It's important to bring this to light and discuss as a reality in animal welfare. I appreciate that you are naming this and seeking help to change this. You could share this webinar with them and ask to discuss as a team. You could also suggest the Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity Racial Equity Diversity and Inclusion training (REDI) https://careawo.org/redi/ and ask if they and other staff members could take the training. Here is an additional list of resources you could share and cite. Ultimately, your shelter is missing out on connecting with communities who have a deep love for pets.
It's hard to comment on individual shelters as they may have reasons for their hours beyond COVID restrictions. We do recommend having accessible adoption hours so the community can meet pets and suggest shelters work with their community to understand the needs. A compromise could be to suggest a hybrid approach, offering walk in hours part of the day and appointments the rest of the day. There are benefits to adoption by appointment, but they don't work for all scenarios.
There are several resources that may be helpful to explain about healthy, adult cats living in the community. This webinar https://www.millioncatchallenge.org/resources/webinars/return-to-field-you-say-tell-that-to-my-community-commissioners! may be helpful for you and to share with advocates. And it can help frame a discussion about access to care and why keeping pets in their homes and communities is better for everyone. I really appreciate that you are naming that not considering human factors is detrimental to the work that is being done. And it sounds like you recognize that the actions may be further marginalizing communities. Keep sharing information and the reasons your organization is working to keep pets in homes and make pet adoption accessible. You can also highlight the ways in which your goals are aligned. If advocates want there to be fewer cats on the street, RTH/TNR is the only proven strategy to achieve that shared goal. If they are concerned about feline wellbeing, highlight the ways in which cats are thriving in their communities vs. cat euthanasia from years past when we practiced catch and kill. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that RTH is the best way to both improve feline welfare AND reduce free-roaming cat populations. The Million Cat Challenge is one giant case study!
The CARE Redi course is a great place to start. https://careawo.org/redi/
So great that you want to connect with your Spanish speaking communities. You may start with translating adoption event promos to Spanish or flyers with available services. You could also reach out to community-based organizations that are working in the community and have Spanish speakers, to give them information on your shelter. Do you have staff members who speak Spanish? If you ask them to help with translation make sure to compensate them for their time (above their current duties). Love that you are taking this step!
Thanks, @Elise Pollard!Reminder if folks want to earn continuing education credit for CAWA and/or NACA, you can watch the webcast and download your certificate on Maddies University here.
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