Proactive Redemption is one of 11 components for reaching No Kill. It is all about making it easy to reunite lost pets with their families. Why would a poorly performing animal shelter, therefore, take in stray animals that were found in a community that is more than 40 minutes away, particularly when that community is No Kill? That is what No Kill advocates from Pueblo, Colorado are asking of the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region (HSPPR), an organization that has been embroiled in a series of ongoing controversies, which caused HSPPR to lose the contract to run animal control for the City of Pueblo effective January 1, 2019.
After losing the contract to run Pueblo's municipal animal shelter, HSPPR has tried to claim ownership of the brand name "Pueblo Animal Services." The shelter has, therefore, been rebranded "Community Animal Services of Pueblo" (CASP) and operating under the management of PAWS for Life, a No Kill shelter that has operated in Pueblo for more than 40 years.
Some natural confusion has taken place as a result of the contract change beginning in January. Unfortunately, that confusion has been unnecessarily exacerbated by a number of things HSPPR has done, like insisting on ownership of the PAS "brand." People searching for the Pueblo animal shelter now, for example, needlessly get directed to the HSPPR shelter in Colorado Springs, making it harder for them to find their lost pets.
More recently, as reported in the Pueblo Chieftain, HSPPR has been accepting stray animals found in Pueblo at their shelter in Colorado Springs, a 40 minute drive from the city where the pets were found. More startling is the fact that HSPPR also recently sent a letter to supporters, including those in Pueblo, saying they had "opened their doors" to Pueblo stray animals, along with a not-so-subtle suggestion that people should donate to help them because of it.
HSPPR's letter goes on to read:
As an open admission shelter, we accept all animals that come to us. Given our location, that means we see animals from Teller County, Fremont County and Pueblo County.
It should be noted that while HSPPR encourages people to bring them lost animals from outside their local community they make it harder for families looking for lost pets to find them.
To be absolutely crystal clear:
Pueblo has a Municipal Open Admission No Kill Shelter.
Fremont County has a Municipal Open Admission No Kill Shelter.
Teller County, although they do not use the words No Kill, has an Open Admission Municipal Shelter with a higher save rate than HSPPR.
There is no reason for HSPPR, or any shelter, to encourage people to take pets out of the jurisdiction where the animals have been found.
Pueblo City Council President Chris Nicoll said it best when he said, “Nobody will think to find their animals 40 miles north,"
"If there are animals being brought up there, I would think we’d want to have them transferred back here so people can find them,” Nicoll added.
This sort of behavior, which seems to line the pockets of HSPPR at the expense of animals, is how HSPPR lost the contract in Pueblo also continues making the transition of the new leadership of CASP - the new animal control operation in Pueblo - more difficult and at a time when the work is naturally more challenging.
CASP took over the Pueblo contract on January 1, 2019. When they did, they moved into a shelter that had been stripped of anything HSPPR believed they could take, even that had been donated to "Pueblo Animal Services" for the expressed purpose of helping Pueblo animals.
In spite of the obvious challenges this has needlessly created for CASP, the new contractor finished their first month of operating with a 95% Live Release Rate, the highest the municipal animal shelter in Pueblo has ever seen.
One of the ways they achieved this success has been engaging in Proactive Redemption practices that ensure lost pets get reunited with their families as quickly as possible. They are getting so good at it that they are reuniting many animals with their families before they ever get to the shelter in the first place. They scan for microchips in the field. They look for tags and other identification in the field. They literally begin looking for potential owners before they take an animal to shelter.
This practice is saving money, labor and lives and is a clear indication the new management is serving the community well. That’s progressive sheltering.
CASP is saving lives at an unprecedented rate in Pueblo and has put the community on a clear path to a sustainable No Kill success. HSPPR needs to stop working against this. They should help or - at the very least - get out of the way. It's what the people of Pueblo asked for when they chose a new shelter contractor. It is also what the pets of Pueblo deserve.