Memphis Animal Services is adding extra services that aim to reduce two major contributors to the number of animals in the shelter — pets surrendered by owners and lost pets.
The MAS Safety Net Program includes initiatives that will alter the intake process for both.
For owners that are surrendering their pets, they may only do so by scheduling an appointment on either Wednesday or Friday. However, before the appointment, owners must go through counseling session via phone with an MAS employee who will educate the owner on potential alternatives to surrendering their pet.
If the owner wants to keep their pet, but is facing a hardship that prevents them from being able to provide for them, then MAS will help them acquire assistance with food and spay/neuter services.
“We see so often people who love their pets and want to be able to keep them, but they lack access to some resource allowing that to be possible,” said Alexis Pugh, MAS administrator. “The goal of this program is to, firstly, keep pets in those kinds of loving homes, and secondly, reduce intake and leave more room for pets coming from homes where they truly aren’t cared for.”
The second component of the Safety Net program involves utilizing the neighborhood-based social network platform Nextdoor to match lost and found pet postings in the same geographical area.
Starting May 8, a team of volunteers will review the previous day’s list of pets who were found stray and post each pet in the NextDoor neighborhood in which it was found, along with instructions for potential owners on how to reclaim that pet from MAS.
Additionally, MAS field officers will now be equipped with electronic tablets so entering pets' photos and information into the MAS database can be done in the field, which will enable owners searching for lost pets to access a routinely updated database on the shelter's website
“Memphis Animal Services has consistently improved our save rate, or percentage of animals who leave the shelter with positive outcomes, over the last several years, jumping from 65 percent in 2015 to 74 percent in 2016, and up to 83 percent year-to-date in 2017,” said Pugh. “Our goal with these MAS Safety Net initiatives is to continue that upward trend to save as many lives as possible.”