Yesterday, the folks over at Maddies Fund posted the video below. The presentation is given by Brian DiGangi, DVM and professor at the University of Florida school of veterinary medicine.
The presentation is about 50 minutes long, but well worth watching for anyone who is involved in sheltering because he spends a lot of time discussing the first 60 minutes of an animal's life in a shelter and the importance of that first 60 minutes in the likelihood of the animal leaving the shelter safely.
The presentation, while not terribly dynamic in nature, does cover a lot of ground and gives a lot of good information. It covers how to properly scan for microchips (it's a bit more complex than you think), quickly taking intake photos, providing a physical and behavioral evaluation (including the importance of gathering any history you can get on the animal -- even someone who picked up a stray in their neighborhood 2 hours ago knows more abou that animal than you do), vaccination protocols (and the importance of doing this every time, and quickly), and on planned movement of people and animals through the shelter (this section, at about minute 21, is very interesting as well).
While I want you to watch the whole video, there are three things I want to talk about a little bit more.
#1) Determining a pathway for an animal early on -- This is something we've talked quite a bit about at our shelter is determining an animal's pathway out of the shelter early on after intake. It doesn't take a lot of effort to do a quick evaluation effort on an animal and envision how that animal is going to eventually leave the shelter. Well-fed, well-cared for elderly animals are the most likely to be reclaimed by owners. Animals with identification are likely to be returned home.
Are certain types of dogs more likely to go to rescue groups in your community (for instance, we know that certain breed-specific rescues in town are always willing to take dogs of certain breeds)? Are certain animals likely to be adopted quickly at the shelter? Are some likely to need foster care in order to come behavioral or health challenges? While you may change which "track" out of the shelter an animal is on over time, determining one early on can save a lot of headaches vs waiting for an animal to come off of stray hold and then wonder "now what do we do with it?". The speaker covers this idea early on -- about 3 minutes into the video.
#2) According to the statistics in the video, about 22% of dogs without microchips are reunited with owners. About 52% of dogs with chips are returned. For cats, a terrible 2% are reunited with owners without chips, but about 39% with chips are returned. Having a higher percentage of microchipped animals in a community is very important for owner reclaims and proper chip scanning is essential. This is all at about the 7 minute mark of the video.
#3) Vaccinations -- The speaker also gives some statistics on vaccinations. According to his numbers, more than 1/2 of the dogs that enter a shelter are not vaccinated against distemper, and about 30% aren't vaccinated against Parvo -- and there is really no way to tell if ones are vaccinated or not. So vaccinate them all -- not just for that animal's benefit, but to ensure the entire shelter population is kept safe.
Take a look and I'd love to hear your thoughts.