Intake prevention strategy highlight: Rehoming Programs – A Proactive approach to serving your community while reducing intake (Webinar hosted by CalAnimals)
Looking for a way to stem the flow of intakes into your shelter to prevent exceeding your capacity and overwhelming your staff? Consider utilizing a platform that helps owners rehome their pets so they never have to come through your doors! In this webinar, hosted by the California Animal Welfare Association (CalAnimals). Mandy Evans, the Executive Director of Pan Handle Animal Shelter (PAS) in Idaho presents Home to Home, a rehoming platform developed by her organization in 2016 thanks to funding by Maddie’s Fund . It has since expanded and is in use at 23 shelters in 15 states. Check out the highlights of this rehoming platform below which empowers the community to be a part of the solution and expands your shelter’s ability to save lives!
- Your organization gets a “Home to Home” website with the organization’s branding.
- Owners looking to rehome their animals fill out an online form with the animal’s information and photograph and submit it.
- The submission is reviewed (to prevent inappropriate posts) by a staff member who then submits it for posting.
- The profile is posted for 30 days. At the end of the 30 days, the managing staff member receives a notification to contact the individual to determine whether the profile should be renewed or given an outcome.
- People looking for an animal click “find a pet” and search through the pet profiles on the site.
- A link is available in each profile to “contact owner” which goes through a portal and sends either an email or text message to the owner who posted. The owner corresponds with the interested individual to facilitate a meet, etc.
- The shelter is not involved in the rehoming process beyond hosting the platform, though they may wish to aid in improving an animal’s adoption profile, or to offer coupons for care in their clinic to provide spay/neuter services for the adopter.
- The platform can also be integrated with Facebook so animal profiles can be shared on the organization’s Facebook page.
- The platform has a networking feature that allows regional shelters to connect through Home to Home.
- Data collection occurs on the back-end of the website and generates a report of the number of animals submitted, animals posted to the website, and outcomes (must be entered by staff member at this time)
- New data upgrades coming soon: will allow the owner to update the animal’s outcome and allow organizations to collect adopter information in order to offer services (such as training, spay/neuter or other medical).
Addressing Common Concerns:
- Liability: Prior to its expansion, three separate attorneys evaluated the platform to determine the liability risk to animal sheltering organizations and determined the shelter was not liable as it was only providing the platform for the rehoming process.
- Cost: No rehoming fee is collected by the organization.
- Charging fees to the rehoming individual can make an unnecessary barrier for them, making the animal more likely to be surrendered to the shelter instead.
- Additionally, rehoming fees do not ensure better outcomes and could lead to the potential use of the platform by individuals who have bred their animal.
- Behavior/health concerns and dishonesty on the part of the person rehoming or the person adopting: There are techniques you can use to safeguard against receiving false information.
- Examples given include: (1) having quality conversations and reading the profiles submitted by the person rehoming to ensure there are no behavioral red flags; (2) Offer microchip placement and registration to the new owner and collect driver’s license information to prevent people from obtaining the animal for illegal activities such as dog fighting.
- Ultimately, it is beneficial to accept that you can’t know everything and have to trust your community has the ability to work together and not lie to each other.
- Accessibility for individuals who do not have a computer: Instead, collect information via paper profile and the managing employee uploads the information. If the individual has no email, an organizational/employee email can be used and the phone number of the interested person can be collected and provided to the owner to complete the adoption.
- FREE for the first year, #ThanksToMaddie, and then $35/month.
- Allows you to provide more support to the community without increasing the workload significantly. Also helps follow up with animals you were unable to bring into your shelter.
- Having a rehoming platform allows rehoming of animal species the organization may be unable to care for in the shelter (fish, reptiles, birds, small mammals, etc).
- By decreasing the number of surrenders, more space/time is available to help other organizations who may be taking in a larger volume of stray animals.
- Helps owners while they are on your waiting list for intake to the shelter.
- Increases customer satisfaction!
- Some people may end up keeping their animal with time.
- Can also be used for foster animals if your organization is fine with a fee-waived adoption and screening performed by your foster families!
Want more information? Check out the full webinar here: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/play/vMF7d-us_Ts3Hd3GsgSDVvUtW9TpJ_ms0HIZ__cImkfhWiJSMVbzZrYTY-d6LaHQ-GI_yZhtWa7HUol1?continueMode=true
Or check out the national Home to Home website here: https://home-home.org