When Fred Myers and his colleagues founded The Humane Society of the United States in the mid-1950s, one of their primary goals was to strengthen the network of local animal care organizations operating throughout the country, on the theory that “a rising tide lifts all boats.” One of the first departments of the fledgling organization provided direct support to animal shelters trying to improve their work.
Today, our Companion Animals division carries on this core tradition through a variety of programs that focus on the needs of local organizations. One of the best is our Animal Services Consultation (ASC), which provides an independent consultation and evaluation service for municipal and nonprofit animal sheltering agencies. For these thorough, multiphase evaluations, we recruit a team of experts from both within and outside of The HSUS. The team helps these agencies diagnose and address their operational challenges—enhancing their capacity to do right by the animals in their care.
Local animal care and control entities negotiate a difficult landscape of community expectations with limited resources. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, and ASC has evaluated more than 70 agencies, both private and public. We’ve helped to turn around troubled shelters and improved the lives of tens of thousands of animals in the process.
I was pleased to see the ASC program get its due through an editorial published several days ago in the San Luis Obispo Tribune. The Tribune praised the San Luis Obispo County decision to bring in The HSUS to examine its animal care operations and practices.
The HSUS has an abundance of programs to strengthen shelters around the nation, including:
- Animal Sheltering magazine and the resource-rich website humanesociety.org/animalsheltering
- Animal Care Expo, the largest conference for animal care professionals and volunteers
- Training programs for shelter workers
- More online resources like humanesociety.org/rentwithpets and www.humanesociety.org/petsforlife
- Grant programs (including our Foreclosure Fund)
- Spay and neuter programs and research
- Feral cat resources
- Policy work for dogs and cats (including anti-dogfighting, greyhound racing, anti-chaining, and puppy mill work)
That’s the way it should be, and it’s the kind of unique contribution anticipated by Myers and our other founders more than 50 years ago.