The AVMA recently published an article, Animal shelters see a new day ahead, sharing veterinarians’ take on where the future of the animal welfare movement is headed. Covid-19 has caused animal welfare organizations to pivot both their perceptions and operations; and it looks like the future of the animal welfare movement will be embracing a more community-centric model of animal sheltering.
“Animal shelters should be the last resort,” Dr. Jennifer Hawkins, chief veterinarian at OC Animal Care in Orange County, CA, said.
“By shifting to greater community engagement, we can create operations that allow our shelters to operate within capacity for care, rather than be completely overwhelmed and strained to deliver the care and enrichment we are driven to provide. So, this is our huge opportunity for major system change within the animal sheltering world,” said Dr. Hawkins at the AVMA Virtual Convention 2020 in August of this year.
Veterinarians aren’t the only ones who think the future of animal welfare is community-centric. Human Animal Support Services has been reimagining animal sheltering since the early days of Covid-19. The initiative advocates for community-based solutions outside of the shelter to serve pets and people in need. Human Animal Support Services has inspired a nationwide collaboration, calling for the animal welfare industry to work together in ways we have never seen before. Made of 38 pilot shelters, over 35 working groups and 215 contributing organizations, it’s just beginning to transform the way that we approach animal sheltering in the future.