View the Foundation’s 2019 Summary of Grants – available here!
In honor of National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, April 30, The Rees-Jones Foundation would like to recognize an innovative project that seeks to harness the power of technology to better improve outcomes for animals in need of a forever home.
Through its work with Dallas Animal Services (DAS) and Spay Neuter Network (SNN), Dallas Pets Alive (DPA), a non-profit animal rescue, encountered a problem within the animal welfare system: The agencies were unable to collectively and effectively track outcomes for animals entering the shelter system. This led Dallas Pets Alive to partner with Doobert, a technology consulting firm with extensive experience in animal welfare, to create a collaborative case management system that will be available later this year to animal welfare organizations across the nation.
The idea for the case management system came about organically as Dallas Pets Alive (DPA) collaborated with Spay Neuter Network (SNN) in an effort to support Dallas Animal Services (DAS).
Both DPA and SNN provide Dallas area families with resources that allow them to keep their pets instead of surrendering them to a shelter. The two organizations, DPA and SNN, would frequently be in contact referring clients to each other as SNN fielded the City’s 311 calls for animal services.
These joint efforts led the two organizations to realize the substantial impact that could be made in reducing the number of animals entering DAS if there was one universal system to manage cases from inquiry to outcome.
No such case management system existed for the animal welfare community.
Armed with years of experience in the field, Dallas Pets Alive decided to build a case management system that would meet the specific needs of animal welfare organizations.
The case management system (CMS) that DPA dreamed up will streamline the legacy animal welfare system, which consists of multiple databases, one-off phone calls, and no collective means of monitoring the outcomes of individual animals. The new CMS is designed to tackle these challenges by aggregating intake data in one place that is then pushed out to welfare agencies in the community.
When a 311 call from the City of Dallas is taken by SNN, or when DPA or another agency receives an inquiry for rehoming or services, the agency will open a case in the CMS. The case will house the relevant information such as the pet owner’s contact information, pet details, and the services the owner is seeking, as well as case notes and updates.
This information will then be available in real-time to any participating agency from the network, such as the SPCA or the Golden Retriever Rescue of North Texas. The agency can then take the case, which “pulls” the animal from the network, and allows the agency to contact the pet owner directly. The agency can then work with the pet owner to deliver services or re-home the pet depending on the need. DPA will have the ability to track the case as it progresses and monitor the outcome.
The collaborative nature of the CMS encourages animal welfare providers to work together in a community-based approach while empowering families to keep their pets in their homes.
The goal is to prevent animals from entering the shelter in the first place. The CMS will accomplish this by leveraging a community of animal rescues to quickly rehome pets with temporary fosters or forever homes, and by entrusting the network of service providers to coordinate service and resource delivery, such as spay/neuter surgeries, routine vet visits, and pet medication and food.
DPA hopes that pets can bypass entry into Dallas Animal Services entirely. This marks a huge shift in Dallas for pet outcome transparency and accountability. Not only will the new CMS allow all participating agencies to collaborate with one another, but Dallas Pets Alive will be able to monitor the interventions and outcomes for each animal in the community.
This fall Dallas Pets Alive will launch the CMS in North Texas thereby creating a network of animal welfare providers that seek to combine their efforts in order to best serve animals in need. The hope is for other agencies to replicate the collaborative effort in their own communities.
The pandemic has heightened the need among industry leaders, animal shelters, and rescue organizations to collaborate for the benefit of animals in the community. While this case management system will impact Dallas first and foremost, it has the potential to transform animal welfare around the nation. Working together, more lives will be saved through preventative programming to keep pets in their homes and out of local shelters.
Below are a handful of animal shelters that the Foundation has supported that serve the North Texas community.
The mission of Dallas Pets Alive is to promote and provide the resources, education and programs needed to eliminate the killing of companion animals in North Texas.
Dallas Pets Alive, founded in September 2012, is a primarily volunteer-run, foster-based organization dedicated to helping healthy and treatable pets at greatest risk of euthanasia at Dallas Animal Services (DAS). Dallas Pets Alive focuses on rescuing pets at greatest risk due to behavioral, medical or other concerns and on proactively reducing shelter intakes by helping owners whose circumstances put them in a position to surrender their pet(s) to a shelter.
Over the past seven years, DPA has built its reputation in the Dallas rescue community and has become one of the top two transfer partners for DAS. As a result of the efforts of DPA and others, the live release rate of DAS has increased from 42.7 percent in September 2012 to an outstanding 90 percent in 2020 – meeting the threshold for Dallas to be designated as a “no-kill community”.
Since its inception, DPA has been focused on general rescue by pulling animals from the shelter into its adoption program to prevent euthanasia. Beginning in 2016 DPA adopted a proactive approach to reducing shelter intakes through its Positive Alternatives to Shelter Surrender (PASS) Program and its Trap-Neuter-Release Program. DPA has also established national and international transport programs that allow animals to be transported to northern states and Canada where there is a need for adoptable rescue animals. DPA believes in an innovative approach to animal rescue and in creating a paradigm shift in the way the community views animal rescue.
The mission of the Humane Society of North Texas is to act as an advocate on behalf of all animals and to ensure their legal, moral and ethical consideration and protection; to provide for the well-being of animals who are abandoned, injured, neglected, mistreated or otherwise in need; to promote an appreciation of animals; and to instill respect for all living things.
The Humane Society of North Texas was founded in 1905 and is the oldest animal welfare organization in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. While the organization’s name has evolved from the Fort Worth Humane Society in 1905, to the Tarrant County Humane Society in 1910, to the Humane Society of North Texas in 1982, its focus has always been on caring for animals in need.
HSNT facilitates pet adoptions, low-cost spay/neuter surgeries and vaccinations, reunites lost pets with their owners, investigates cruelty, and euthanizes when it is the most humane option. HSNT operates four pet adoption centers and a quarantine facility in Tarrant County, as well as an equine and livestock ranch located in Johnson County.
To reduce the potential for COVID-19 spread, HSNT is adhering to CDC safety protocols (face covering required while onsite). Dogs, cats, equine, livestock and other small animals available for adoption can be found on the Humane Society of North Texas website. Learn about opportunities to become a foster hero here!
The mission of Operation Kindness is to care for homeless cats and dogs in a no-kill environment until each is adopted into responsible homes and to advocate humane values and behavior.
Operation Kindness is a pioneer in North Texas for providing assistance to animals in need of medical care, companionship, and most of all, a home. In addition to pet adoptions, OPK provides extensive medical care for its animals, a foster program, a pet food pantry, a surrender prevention program, education for pet parents, and volunteer opportunities.
To reduce the potential for COVID-19 transmission, Operation Kindness is open for tele-adoptions by appointment only. Dogs and cats available for adoption can be found on the Operation Kindness website here. Learn more about fostering dogs or cats here!
The mission of Spay Neuter Network is to eliminate pet overpopulation through spay/neuter services, while empowering communities to care responsibly for dogs and cats.
Founded in 2003, Spay Neuter Network is nationally recognized for its expertise in high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter services. Its mission is accomplished by offering free and affordable spay/neuter, wellness and vaccination services for dogs and cats in North Texas. Since its founding, SNN has altered more than 300,000 pets and administered more than 400,000 vaccinations.
While delivering services to dogs and cats, SNN is also building on its programs to make services easier than ever for low-income pet owners to access, and to help save lives and sustain and improve Dallas Animal Services’ live release rate.
SNN operates three brick-and-mortar clinics located in Crandall, Fort Worth, and Dallas – in areas of town where low-cost services are most needed. It also operates mobile spay-neuter and vaccination clinics, which focus on bringing services directly to underserved low-income neighborhoods in North Texas. SNN provides animal transports to and from more than 35 locations in and around Dallas as well as from individual homes, if needed, to one of its clinic locations. Additionally, SNN offers humane education to North Texas schools to help the next generation become more responsible pet owners.
The mission of the SPCA of Texas is to provide every animal exceptional care and a loving home.
The SPCA of Texas is the leading animal welfare agency in North Texas with three shelters and three spay/neuter clinics located in Dallas, Collin and Ellis Counties, and serves as an active resource center providing an array of programs and services that bring people and animals together to enrich each other’s lives. The acronym SPCA stands for Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
To reduce the potential for COVID-19 spread, visits to the SPCA of Texas are by appointment only. Dogs, cats, livestock and small animals available for adoption can be found on the SPCA of Texas website here – there’s even a pet alert tool. The SPCA is seeking foster heroes who are willing to open up their hearts and homes to an animal in need!