Our first “Stand Up For Harford Pets” meeting was a HUGE success!
Right up until the meeting’s start, we had no idea of how many people to expect, but the attendance was amazing! We had a little over 25 people show up to learn what we are all about. There were representatives from rescues, spay/neuter clinics, shelters, and advocacy groups as well as every day citizens that want to do more for our county’s companion animals and feral cats at the meeting.
We were also happy to see the Bel Air Patch there!
After everyone settled in, a presentation was given by Adam Wysocki, one of No Kill Harford’s founders. The presentation covered:
1. An Introduction – Adam introduced himself, gave a little information about his background, and talked about why he chose to get involved with No Kill Harford.
2. Traditional Sheltering Overview – A brief history of sheltering in the United States was discussed and an overview of where the current state of sheltering in the US was given.
3. No Kill Sheltering Philosophy - The No Kill Philosophy was presented. People & pet census numbers published by the American Veterinary Medical Association were shown to demonstrate that a No Kill nation is possible.
5. No Kill Harfords Plan – Adam discussed how No Kill Harford would like to work to keep adoptable pets and feral cats out of the county shelter by building a foundation of community support. He then outlined three programs that No Kill Harford would like to launch in 2012.
6. Harford Feral Friends – Harford Feral Friends is No Kill Harford’s Trap, Neuter, Return, & Manage (TNRm) program. With an estimate of as many as 50,000 feral cats in Harford County, the current program of catch and kill is not only not working and inhumane, but it’s costing the county tens of thousands of dollars a year. No Kill Harford is committed to supporting TNRm in Harford County. Instead of being killed, feral cats can be: caught, spay/neutered, vaccinated for rabies & distemper, treated for any illness, and then released. After their release, a “caretaker” trained by No Kill Harford will be charged with providing food & shelter for the cats, and monitoring the health and well being of the cats. TNRm is the only proven way of effectively controlling feral cat populations. Catch and kill drains critical county resources and money and has never worked in any community as a means of eliminating feral cats.
7. Fix Harford – Fix Harford is a program for bringing additional low/no cost spay & neuter services to Harford County. Low and middle income families in this economy are struggling and spay/neuter is the most effective way of keeping cats & dogs out of shelters. A comprehensive low/no cost spay & neuter service for low and middle income families is a critical step towards saving the lives of our companion animals. While it was pointed out during the meeting that some spay/neuter services already exist in the county, it was agreed that there was a great need for even more. In addition to the spay & neuter, No Kill Harford would also like to include: vaccination, micro chipping, and follow up care to make sure that families in need of assistance are able to provide their pets with food, supplies, and veterinary care.
8. Rescue Rewards – Rescue Rewards is No Kill Harford third program for 2012. The rewards programs provides support for rescues, fosters, and adopters in Harford County giving our homeless pets even more opportunities to find forever homes. No Kill Harford would like to partner with local business that would be willing to provide discounted or free goods and/or services to members of the community that work to save pets. These “rewards” can be as simple as a coffee shop owner giving an adopter a free cup of coffee, to a restaurant providing a foster family with a 5% discount on a meal, or a law firm providing free advice to a rescue applying for 501(c)(3) non profit status. Businesses that participate in the Rescue Rewards program will have the gratitude of every pet lover in the county for their contribution to saving lives.
During the presentation and after wards there were many questions and a lot of great discussions about how different groups within the county can collaborate to help save pets. It was a huge learning experience for No Kill Harford and we are grateful to have met representatives from programs that have existed in the county for many years but are not that well advertised. Many great contacts were made and the exchange of ideas for the future was very energizing!
We have a lot to work on moving forward. Clearly, we need to explain TNRm much better as there seems to be a lot of confusion about what it actually is and how it works. We also need to add more detail to our program plans and publish them on our website to share with all.
We’re currently in the process of planning a meeting and an event in late February. As soon as we have the details worked out, we’ll share the information here on the website and on our Facebook page.
Thank you to all that came out and for those that couldn’t make it, we hope to see you next time!