June 27, 2024
Categories: Grants

With more pets going missing on Fourth of July than any other day of the year, having a Return to Home program is imperative to keeping pets and people together. This post originally was published in May 2023. 

Looking to improve your return to home rates at your animal organization? Return to Home Challenge Overall Winner, Peoria County Animal Protection Services (PCAPS) in Peoria, IL, shares insights, most effective practices and more from its winning program. See what you can apply in your community! 

 “We have a great culture of Return to Home (RTH) in our shelter and among our team,” said Rebecca Spencer, Director of PCAPS. “We do everything we can to remove barriers to returning animals home.” This includes returning in the field whenever possible. A new officer started during the Challenge and he was taught to take animals home at all cost as being the norm, versus it being taught as something “new.” 

 Spencer shares that PCAPS’ most effective practices included changing their local ordinances to allow them to waive or reduce RTH fees, should that be a barrier to getting an animal home. PCAPS recently changed its local ordinances to allow trap/neuter/vaccinate/return (TNVR) of cats! 

 “In February of 2023, we worked with our Assistant State’s Attorney to re-write our local county ordinance to remove old language that prohibited TNVR.  In March of 2023, I am thrilled to report that the County Board approved our language change and the new ordinance took effect immediately!” 

 Spencer also shared that they work with pet owners to solve problems and offer resources and solution first, instead of taking an enforcement heavy approach.  All Animal Control Officers carry tie outs, animal food, poop bags, collars and leashes – everything a pet owner may need to solve a problem. They also offer free microchips to any pet owner. “All they need is to bring their pet to the shelter with a photo ID or catch one of our officers in the field, driving by,” she shared. 

Read the rest of the story on Maddie’s® Pet Forum to see PCAPS’ Aha! Moment, new practices for officers, partnerships and more!